No Need to Panic! A Guide to Personal Emergency Alert Systems

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Families of seniors and those with certain disabilities want to be assured that their loved ones can maintain as much independence as possible. It’s important that these folks have the opportunity to live where they prefer; safely, securely and with the support they require to enjoy a high quality of life. One way to ensure that seniors and the disabled can have a greater degree of safe independence is to equip them with emergency alert technology.

Emergency alert technology provides these folks the ability to receive safety and medical assistance whenever they need it. This technology, in its simplest form is a “S.O.S.” button that can be pressed by an individual experiencing a medical or safety emergency. Newer technology includes enhanced features which detect and protect against a wider array of situations.

There are numerous emergency alert systems available, offering a wide array of services. Choosing the appropriate one for its intended user will ensure maximum benefit and peace-of-mind at an affordable cost.

Factors to consider when choosing an emergency alert system:

Features – In general, emergency alert systems are comprised of an alarm/sensor worn by the user and a means of transmission (such as a base unit or GPS-enabled device) which relays information to an emergency center which routes the information appropriately to dispatch assistance. If the user is housebound, a base unit connected to their telephone line will be sufficient to relay emergency information. If the user is mobile, a GPS-enabled device may be more appropriate for providing emergency assistance wherever they may be.

Services – Some companies provide a full suite of services beyond an emergency button to press when a user experiences a medical problem. Among them are 24/7 monitoring of individuals’ vital signs and their homes and fall-detected alerts. Be certain you and the user understand what action will be taken by the service provider when an emergency is detected so everyone involved knows what to expect and that everything is taken care of.

Reputation – Reliability is critical in this industry. Research a variety of companies to find the most trusted and effective services.

Usability – If the user finds the emergency alert system too complicated or fears they may use it “wrong,” he or she may not bother to wear it or use it when needed. Especially in a panic situation, the goal is for the user not to hesitate to deploy the device to get help. Buttons should be easy to access and use; devices should not be cumbersome to wear.

Cost – Prices vary considerably among emergency alert systems. Much of that variation is due to the services provided. Other cost variations pertain to billing; for instance, whether the system components are paid for upfront or included in the monthly service charge.

Attitude – Regardless of features, services or usability, the user must be on board with the need for the system. Some elderly or disabled may feel that having such a service underscores their frailties or infirmities. Emphasize how an emergency alert system can enhance their independence while providing peace-of-mind. The more comfortable they feel with the system, the more likely they are to actually wear it so it can help them if needed. No matter the cost of an emergency alert system, it’s worth nothing when it’s not worn.

Consider the needs of the user and his or her predisposition to use an emergency alert system. It can be tremendously helpful in giving seniors and the disabled and their families a sense of security – but only when it’s actually understood and used.

Do you know someone who could benefit from an emergency alert system?

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