A Medical Alert System: A Guardian Angel For Seniors

It is no secret that life is full of surprises; some are wonderful and welcomed, while others are devastating and undesirable. More often than not, most unwelcomed surprises could have been prevented had precautionary measures been taken. For seniors who face a medical emergency, experience a debilitating fall, slip in the shower, are stuck in inclement weather, or even have an unexpected intruder break in, will find that a medical alert system is the perfect precautionary measure to prevent a tragedy. A medical alert system acts as a guardian angel to seniors by providing priceless assurance and endless peace of mind.

How the System Works
Imagine having a guardian angel that is a constant companion and can call for help if any potentially hazardous situation arises. This is the essential function of a medical alert system. With the simple touch of a button on a pendant or wristband a senior will be quickly connected to a friendly help center representative. Once connected, the highly-trained representative can call for emergency assistance, as well as contact family members, friends, or neighbors. After emergency responders have been called, the help advisor will stay on the line and monitor the situation until help arrives. In addition, the Care Center is open and available 24/7 year-round. This immediate access to assistance in an emergency situation greatly reduces the risk of an even greater tragedy occurring.

Medical alert systems are an expansion of a senior’s safety net. They are available when family and friends can’t be. Some may argue that a cell phone can do just the same, however there are many factors that differentiate a medical alert system from a cell phone. A wristband or pendant worn around the neck is much less likely to be left on the table or forgotten in another room because it is attached to the body. If a senior were to trip and fall down the stairs, or slip in the shower and physically not be able to reach for the phone, they can still touch the button on their medical alert system and be connected to help. The water proof, single button design makes them more effective and efficient. In the event of an emergency timing is critical. Instead of having to go find the phone (if one is even able to move), dial for help and then wait alone, a medical alert system only requires one button to be touched to be connected to a wide range of help options. This system ensures that all of a senior’s bases are covered and it provides incredible peace of mind not only for seniors, but also for their loved ones.

Who Should Use a Medical Alert System
Seniors that are at risk for a medical emergency, have chronic disabilities, spend time alone, or simply like to have secure safety nets in place will all benefit from the use of their very own personal emergency response system. As the aging process occurs seniors are naturally more at risk to fall, slip, or experience medical complications. Additionally, a medical alert system can be used in the event that a senior hears an unfamiliar noise at night, or walks to the mail box in the rain or snow, feels faint or dizzy, or even if they are concerned about taking medication. Utilizing these services and systems can greatly reduce stress for the senior and their family and friends. The peace of mind that comes from knowing professional assistance can easily be accessed at any time of the day or night provides matchless comfort.

A medical alert system helps seniors maintain their independence by giving them the freedom to stay at home longer. The greatest benefit is the security of being able to reach help quickly and easily if needed. These systems have already saved countless lives and will continue to do so. The best way to prepare for life’s inevitable surprises is to be prepared. A medical alert system acts as a precious guardian angel to the senior by helping protect their security, health, and well being all year long.

Will Your Medical Alert Work Well With a VoIP System?

Many medical alerts are still analog. This means such devices are designed to work well and flawlessly with a traditional telephone system. But new digital communications technologies (such as Voice over Internet Protocol and cable-based data and phone services) are fast-replacing traditional phone lines, and pretty soon, users of analog alert alarms might find themselves at risk for unreliable service. How is this so?

A little backgrounder first: a typical medical alert system has three parts: a wearable panic button (either worn on the wrist or around the neck), a base unit connected to a phone line, and constant 24/7 connection to the system provider’s response center. If some medical emergency occurs, the wearer presses the panic button, and the response center is instantly contacted through the base unit.

Quick real-time communication is therefore extremely crucial for this system to successfully protect the life of a loved one: any delay in the two-way communication between the person in distress and the response center can literally mean the difference between life and death. Here enters the “little” compatibility problem between analog alert systems and VoIP.

Now, the issue of compatibility is crucial. There are unscrupulous medical alert providers, whose devices can be categorized as “traditional” or essentially analog, that would still insist that their systems are completely “future-proof”-which means their devices could work whatever new communication system is introduced. In some instances-especially those medical alert companies that have specifically designed their systems specifically for digital communications technologies-they would be right. But in most instances, especially with the older providers, using their medical alert with the newer VoIP could be putting you at risk. This is because, like other digital communications technologies, VoIP is very much like the internet: it transmits data (including voice) in packets. This means the system spends a certain amount of time converting analog data (from your analog medical alert) into digital packets to be relayed to the person on the other end of the line (the response center). In most cases this would be fine-but the risk exists as possible delays between the two-way communication between the wearer in distress and the response center are not altogether eliminated.

So imagine having to wait a few seconds before the response center hears you. In a medical situation, especially serious ones (and you never know when something serious occurs), those few seconds are extremely important.

Make no mistake: there is a raging marketing war between the old telephone system and the newer Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other related digital communications technologies. In fact, many telecommunication companies throw generous discounts just to win new customers and convince them to switch to using the new digital systems. What used to be the pricey option (cable systems) is becoming more and more commonplace. Pretty soon, VoIP would outrun analog, leaving many medical alert wearers (unaware of this difference) at a certain risk.

The fact of the matter is, of course, you should check with your medical alert provider if their devices are specifically designed for VoIP. Moreover, keep in mind that there is a distinct difference between “specifically designed for VoIP” and merely “upgraded for compatibility”: the latter might still be unreliable. The resident medical alert technician might seem at first “successful” in making these two systems compatible, but you never know its reliability until a real emergency occurs. And by then it might be too late.

In the recent past, when digital communications services were just emerging, people had no other choice but to discontinue their medical alert system subscription. For the most part, this was easy: the typical medical alert system provider does not tie-up their clients with long-term contracts. Most, if not all, require only monthly or quarterly renewals, so it was simply a matter of not renewing for the succeeding month. There are also certain devices that serve as a “bridge” between the analog medical alert and the digital VoIP, and such devices can cost extra. Not to mention they might not be a hundred percent efficient.

Chances are, you might already have been using the newer medical alert systems. But if you are not, you owe it to yourself (or to those elderly loved ones who use a medical alert system) to make sure that your telecommunication system and personal emergency alert device are designed to work faultlessly with each other.

How To Properly Utilize a Medical Alert System While Alone During a Medical Emergency

There are ways to use just about any device improperly. Lack of knowledge is typically one of the most common reasons why devices are improperly used. For devices that are created with the intent to be used in a medical emergency, such as a medical alert system, the difference between proper and improper use can be life or death.

Do you know how to react in a medical emergency? With or without a medical alert system in your home? One of the hardest things to do in a medical emergency is to not panic, but unfortunately it is one of the most common things people do in these types of situations. Panic is just the simplest response to an emergency because it is instinctual and it is done without thinking. People also panic because they have no idea what else to do! This is very sad because panicking is the most dangerous reaction a person could have in an emergency situation. People who panic can cause a lot more harm than good during a medical emergency. One of the best ways to keep yourself from panicking during a medical emergency is to know how to handle one, especially for when you are all by yourself. Here are some great tips to help you know how to handle a medical emergency and get through it in the safest way possible.

Press Your Medical Alert Button
For the most part, since you have equipped your home with a medical alert system, you can easily call for help by hitting your medical alert button located on your medical alert bracelet, necklace or pendant. This will automatically dial a care center where a trained help advisor will be on the line in just seconds, ready to call your family members, friends, neighbors or send emergency assistance to help you with any medical emergency. The help advisor will also stay on the line with you until help arrives. However, if you are out of your home, or maybe you have unfortunately not invested in a medical alert system, you will need to call 911. In cases where you are alone, reaching the phone may be difficult to do if you are injured after a fall and you are unable to move. That is why a medical alert system is very valuable to have, especially during a medical emergency when you are all by yourself.

Some people don’t call 911 first because they are trying to assess the situation, and not bother 911 if the emergency is not that dire. This can cause the person to lose valuable time that is necessary for helping them survive the situation. Do not wait to call 911 or press your medical alert button. Even if the emergency turns out to not be that serious, it could have been, and hesitation is another enemy of medical emergencies.

If Physically Injured, Try Not to Move
Many times when people fall, they try very hard to get themselves back up or move around to attempt to find a comfortable position. This is the absolute worst thing a person can do in the case of a medical emergency when a fall is involved. You may not realize, but you may have a neck or spinal cord injury. Moving can cause even more harm and possibly cause you to become paralyzed.

If you have a medical alert system in your home as you should, you will be able to call for help with such minimal movement because you will only need to move your hand to press the medical alert button on your medical alert bracelet, pendant or necklace. Not having to move much to call for help during a medical emergency in which you are alone is a very important aspect of trying to maintain mobility after the fall.

If you do not have a medical alert system and need to try to get to a phone, you run the risk of injuring yourself further. If you have nearby neighbors, try to shout for help and hope someone hears you. Otherwise, you can either wait until someone finally comes, or risk injuring yourself further by trying to move and get to a phone to call 911.

Keep Medication With You
Some people take many medications that can help them immediately in the event of a medical emergency. Obviously, sticking ten different pill bottles into your pockets will never be practical, but keeping a small pill case in your pocket with a few of each important pill in it is good practice just in case of a medical emergency. This way, you can have the medication you need in seconds.

When you are alone, you can not exactly ask anyone to get your medication for you, so if you collapse due to a issue that one of your medications can fix, the pill case in your pocket will be your best friend. However, if you have not prepared for this situation, a medical alert system can act as another person in your home and call medical personnel to help you promptly. Without a medical alert system, it will be difficult to tell how long you might be without your medication, or if you will even survive the situation.

Medical emergencies can happen at any moment, even when you are alone. It is vital that you prepare yourself before they happen and not after the fact. Being knowledgeable about how to handle a medical emergency will be the best way to prepare yourself to combat one. Having a medical alert system in the home will even further help the situation since it basically acts as another person that can help you get the help you need.