Purchasing a medical alert system for yourself or someone you love is a step in the right direction. The trouble is, with so many medical alert systems to choose from, it’s easy to feel confused about which features you should be focusing on.
Although many features, like medication reminders, lockboxes, and urgent care are wonderful additions to any plan, they aren’t absolutely essential to the quality of your system. These 5 essential features are.
- Two-way voice communication
Although this feature seems pretty standard among the systems in today’s marketplace, the reality is that some systems still don’t use two-way voice communication. Instead, they use a button that sends a signal and emergency responders are sent to your location without communicating directly with you.
If emergency responders will be sent to your location either way, why is two-way voice communication so important? Speaking directly with an emergency response agent means you can get care that is catered to your situation. They can call family members, neighbors, and caregivers instead, if the emergency doesn’t require medical professionals. Some medical alert systems with two-way voice communication will even help you in the event of a fire or home intrusion.
The number one reason why two-way voice communication is so essential? It’s just good customer service.
- Quality customer service
Providing two-way voice communication is only the first step in providing quality customer service. When choosing a system, you should take a good look at the details associated with each service center, along with customer reviews and any special certifications.
Not every service center will have it all, but they should definitely have some features that make them stand out:
- 24/7 service, 365 days a year
- Multiple call centers, so in case there’s an outage, agents can still take your call
- Separate call center for customer service and emergency response agents
- Highly trained emergency response agents
- CSAA Five Diamond Certified center
Avoid any medical alert system that doesn’t emphasize the experience, quality, and effectiveness of their customer service program.
- No need to sign a contract
Most programs and systems require you to sign a contract. From cell phones to cable, and even magazine subscriptions, signing a contract is what it means to be a consumer. Even though this is definitely the case for some services, it shouldn’t be the case with your medical alert system provider.
Many providers nowadays allow you to pay for service in the way that’s most convenient for you. When looking for a plan, check to make sure that there are no contracts to sign. A good sign that contracts aren’t needed is if there are multiple payment options on their website.
Although this this fairly common, it isn’t any industry standard, so stay away from systems that make you sign a contract. Why get locked into a contract when you can choose another plan that doesn’t require one?
- Waterproof emergency buttons
Your emergency button is your lifeline to receiving help. That’s why medical alert systems make it so convenient for you to wear it around your neck or on your wrist. Your button should be able to go with you wherever you go, and that includes the bathroom.
According to the LA times, nearly two-thirds of all accidental injuries take place in the bathtub or the shower. It follows then that the majority of emergency calls sent by medical alert systems should take place in the bathroom, but this can only be the case if your emergency button is waterproof.
Some buttons are only water resistant, while some buttons aren’t waterproof at all. That means you can’t take it in the shower or tub with you where most accidents happen. It is absolutely vital that you choose a system with a waterproof pendant.
- Battery life
The last item on our list of essentials is the battery life of your device.
GPS systems need to be charged, but they should hold a charge for a very long time. Avoid any systems that don’t offer at least 24 hours, and strive to find one that offers 36 instead.
Even though your base unit is plugged into the wall, it should contain an emergency battery as well. If the power goes out, you need to know that you’re protected for at least 24 hours, although some base units have an emergency charge that’s much longer.
Make sure you understand the battery life on your pendant, and how to know if the battery is getting low. Most pendants can function for two years on just one battery, but you don’t want to walk around the house for weeks with a dead pendant and not even know it. Discuss replacement schedules with the medical alert system providers you’re interested in.
Don’t let all the choices you have when it comes to medical alert systems get you down! With this list, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so you can live comfortably in your own home for many years to come.