Over the past several years, I have reviewed and tested out dozens of personal emergency response systems (PERS). I have seen the PERS industry change more in the past five years than it has in the past 30. Remember the old “Help! I’ve Fallen and I can’t get up” advertisements? Featuring a frail older woman, that commercial struck fear in the hearts of families and seniors everywhere.
Back then, the options for medical alert systems were pretty slim- there were plenty of competitors, but not much deviation in the technology. It was simple. Stay within the range of the base unit plugged into the phone jack in your home and push the button worn around your neck when you needed help. Pretty easy, right? The problem was only a small percentage of seniors actually push the button- either because they can’t or won’t- in the event of a fall or to summon help.
The good news is that these systems are evolving quickly and the new technology is very exciting. Here are my favorite features of many new medical alert systems offered today.
- Waterproof (duh)
- Automatic Fall Detection (it’s about time- and it’s accurate too)
- Activity Tracking (authorized caregivers and family members can login to see how active or not the user is)
- GPS enabled (the alert system works OUTSIDE of the home)
- Safe Zone Alerts (an alert and the location of the user is sent to authorized caregivers and family members when a user travels outside a pre-determined zone )
- Medication Reminders
- No Long Term Contracts
- Long Battery Life
It can be overwhelming to try to choose the right system for your loved one, make sure to read plenty of reviews and check out comments on blogs to see what other people have to say about their experience. Some good resources that provide reviews are TheSeniorList.com, Reviews.com, and ConsumersAdvocate.org.