Medical Alert Systems, a guide - Riverstone Senior Life Services

Medical Alert Systems, a guide

July 9, 2019
medical alert systems

What is a medical alert system?

Guest post from
By Joe Supan, Staff Writer

On the surface, medical alert systems are pretty simple: Push a button and get help. But the number of options can be overwhelming. Do you need a device that you wear all the time? Should you get one that works outside of the house? How do you know which medical alert system companies will be there for you if an emergency does occur?

Despite the array of products on the market, all medical alert systems work the same way. You wear a device with a button around your neck or wrist. Once it’s pressed, it sends a signal to a larger base system, which calls a pre-programmed number. This is usually the company’s call center, but some devices let you set it up with a family member or caregiver instead.

Once the call center receives your signal, the operator calls back through the base system where you can direct them on next steps: Call an ambulance, family member, neighbor, or simply tell them it was a false alarm.


What’s are the benefits?

While Life Alert’s oft-mocked “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” commercial is still what most people think of when they hear the words “medical alert,” these are truly life-saving products.

“In the case of a stroke or heart attack, getting immediate help is critical. Seconds matter,” Dr. Kori Novak, a gerontologist and researcher at Oxford University, explained. “The push of a button that alerts help and gets them there 3 minutes faster can be the difference between not only life and death, but life with limited function versus returning to where they were.”

But even outside of emergency situations, the greatest benefit provided by medical alert systems might be the sense of security they offer. Every elder care expert we spoke to emphasized how these devices offer peace of mind for seniors and their family members. “It’s not supposed to be a monitoring device that impedes them, but something that increases their quality of life,” Dr. Novak said.

Jonathan Marsh, owner of in-home senior care company Home Helpers of Bradenton, Fla., agreed, saying, “I believe strongly in medical alert services and the idea that they can be a key component of any care plan, giving both confidence and peace of mind to not only seniors but also their families.”

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If you know a senior who needs in-home assistance, contact the Social Services department at Riverstone. We are ready to help.

We look forward to hearing from you.