Comparing Medical Alert Systems to Assisted Living Arrangements and Nursing Homes

Age and medical issues can make independent living a challenge for many people, especially those more prone to diseases and injuries caused due to accidents. The sheer range of health problems we face as we age makes it necessary for us to have immediate support and help, especially in the case of emergencies. Assisted living and nursing homes are one alternative, but many of us don’t need that kind of round-the-clock care, and want to keep our independence. That’s how the concept of medical alert alarms came about, which many feel is a far better option than nursing homes or assisted living.

Understanding Medical Alert Systems Medical alert systems are technologically advanced electronic devices, typically presented in the form of a pendant or a wristwatch that you wear, as well as a connected console with an emergency button. Some of these systems can be personalized in such a way that alarms and alerts can be created depending on an individual’s health requirements. For instance, a person could create an alarm for his or her daily medication, as well as for regular checkups. Similarly, the button on the console or on the pendant/wristwatch can be pressed in times of emergency to immediately connect the wearer with a customer service representative who can determine their medical requirements and make sure that help will arrives at their doorstep. Additionally, this medical alarm service can be used to notify next of kin immediately during times of need. What makes the system even more special is the fact that such services can be used 24/7, making the medical alert system a true companion for life.

Comparing Medical Alert Systems with Assisted Living or Nursing Homes Taking care of people with extreme physical or psychological needs can be quite difficult in certain cases. Under such circumstances, nursing homes or assisted living are usually the preferred choices for various reasons. But despite the advantages of using these kinds of services, it is important to realize that they have disadvantages, too, which could prove to be the underlying reason why they don’t work for everyone:

– Independence: One of the primary factors to be considered when choosing care services is the level of independence given to the person in question. Most people prefer to be independent and take care of their own needs, unless they have a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to do so. Given this situation, nursing homes can be extremely restrictive for people, even when they claim to offer a lot of independence. Assisted living, similarly, has its own problems Here, the perfect solution is a medical alert system, which allows the individual to live on his/her own while also ensuring complete safety, especially in times of emergency and need.

– Continuity and comfort: Another factor most people deem absolutely necessary is the continuity factor. We all prefer living in a place that is known to us and where we are comfortable. This is usually our own home where we may have lived for years. Opting for a nursing home means taking us away from our zone of comfort, which may not really be advantageous. It’s not unheard of for people to experience severe psychological trauma in the face of having to move out of their homes.

– Cost of safety and help: When comparing nursing homes and assisted living with installing a medical alert system, it is obvious that the latter is cheaper than the former. Nursing homes, especially good ones, can cost quite a lot, which is also the case with assisted living facilities. This is largely because the cost of such living is directly proportional to the amount and nature of amenities that the person in question would need to ensure comfortable living. Medical alert alarms, on the other hand, are simple, easy-to-use pieces of electronic equipment that can be rented out from various companies that offer such services. Additionally, the cost of the subscription plans on offer – even the most detailed and complete ones – will be far less than what one would pay for a nursing home or assisted living companion.

– Immediate response: While nursing homes do have round the clock doctors and medical practitioners on their rosters, it is possible that a resident could lose some time in getting immediate care, especially as these professionals may have several people to attend to. Similarly, with assisted living, there may be situations where there is no one present with the elderly 24/7, which could again delay the process of getting help in times of emergency. Under both these circumstances, a delay could lead to a dangerous situation that could easily be avoided with the help of a medical alert alarms. Here, the simple press of a button will connect the wearer to a representative, who in turn can send immediate medical help. Since the distress call is responded to immediately, precious moments are not lost.

– Notification to kin made easy: When someone is in a nursing home or living with assistance, notifying his/her relatives in case of any accident or other emergency can be difficult and confusing, not to mention take a bit of time. This is largely due to the fact that the resident has to wait until the authorities find the necessary information and make that phone call. However, medical alert devices can be set up in such a way that in case of any emergency, the next of kin gets notified immediately. Additionally, such devices offer an individual the chance to personalize his/her emergency and other alert systems to suit his/her needs. This will not only ensure immediacy of medical help, but also enable speedy flow of proper information.

While these factors mentioned above are definitely good reasons for adopting medical alert alarms, the most important factor remains that they are extremely safe and user-friendly. Irrespective of whether the wearer is tech-savvy or not, they can get immediate help with the simple press of a button and even get their queries answered should the need arise. If only everything else in life was so simple.

Medical Alert Systems Help Reduce the High Costs of Senior Care

With the high costs of home health care personnel, rehabilitation centers, medication, home medical equipment and doctor’s visits, there is typically little-to-no money left over. Senior care is very expensive already and the costs just continue to rise. Sometimes it becomes impossible to pay for the things needed most with so many outside costs weighing a person down. A medical alert system can greatly lessen the high costs of senior care. Lightweight, simple and inexpensive, medical alert systems can cut down on the need for home health care, and costly doctor visits.

It may be difficult to believe that a simple home service like a medical alert system can help reduce the costs of senior care so greatly. However, there are many ways in which medical alert systems can act as somewhat of a replacement for certain types of home care. Let’s take a look at some of the average costs of senior health care and how a medical alert system can help lower the overall costs.

Be sure to keep in mind that the use of a medical alert system is typically free, and just carries a monthly monitoring fee ranging from about $17.95-$24.95. Annually, our advertised medical alert system will cost no more than $215.40. Hopefully this will help more easily put its cost in perspective in comparison to all the other costly senior care expenses.

Home Health Care
Home health care can be incredibly expensive, especially if insurance does not cover it or only covers a small portion. Most home health care nurses make upwards of $30 an hour. This means it costs more for a nurse to monitor someone for an hour, than it costs for an entire month of medical alert system service. Obviously, a device can never replace a trained medical professional, but many times home health nurses are utilized to work in the home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can be excessive and unnecessary for some patients. Sometimes having a nurse or loved one check in regularly is enough. However, it may seem daunting to leave a loved one all by themselves for so many hours in the day, so having a home health nurse or family member stay with the patient seems to be the one and only option. At $30 an hour for 24 hours a day, each day will cost $720. By the time a 7-day week is over, the cost of a home health nurse has become $5,040. And by the end of a 30-day month, it will have cost $21,600. For some people, this is a yearly salary. And if insurance is not covering the care, this could be all out of pocket, which for many people is completely out of reach. Keep in mind as well, that this is only the cost of a nurse, (and it is also a conservative estimate.) When using a home health agency, as many people do to find a home health nurse, the cost may actually be double because what the home health agency pays the nurse is only a portion of the cost they pass on to the patient.

With a medical alert system costing no more than $24.95 a month, completely replacing home health care with a medical alert system could reduce the cost by $21,570. Of course, it is typically not feasible to cut out home health care entirely. If home health were provided in the home for a typical 40 hour work week, it would bring the cost down from $21,600 to $4,800 a month, a savings of $16,800. With the aide of a medical alert system during the hours that a nurse is not in the home providing home health care, people are able to swap out a bill of $16,800 for a $17.95 to $24.95 bill.

Costly Doctor and Hospital Visits
To not see a doctor or visit a hospital at all as a senior with medical issues is not advisable. However, the amount of times it is necessary to see a doctor or visit a hospital can be greatly reduced by having a medical alert system in the home. When a medical alert system is utilized in the home, medical personnel is able to reach a person in need more quickly. This greatly reduces the chances of more serious injuries and health problems. Therefore, there will be fewer follow-up doctor’s visits or emergency trips to the hospital since it is likely that medical emergencies will be far less disastrous.

Think about this situation: A person falls in their home and does not have a medical alert system. During the fall, they sustain mostly minor injuries, but unfortunately they twisted their ankle and have become immobile. They try to pull themselves across the floor, but it is too painful. They are alone, and no one is scheduled to stop by the home until the next day. By the time someone finds them, they have endured a great deal of stress from trying to deal with the pain, they are dehydrated and malnourished, and their injuries have gone untreated for a day. This causes them to spend three days in the hospital and have several scheduled rehabilitation appointments to help them regain use of their ankle, since they further injured it by trying to move and failing. All of these extra appointments cost thousands of dollars.

Now imagine the same situation, but the person who fell had an emergency alert system and was able to press their button just a moment after they fell. Within seconds, an operator is on the phone, and able to dispatch emergency personnel to the house. Soon after, the patient is at the hospital getting the necessary help. By later that day, they are released with few injuries, and a request for just one follow-up visit. The medical bills are significantly less in this situation.

Home health care, doctor’s visits and hospital visits are just a few of the ways in which a medical alert system can help save on the high costs of senior care. However, both of these areas together are typically the mostly costly aspects of senior care. Being able to cut costs in this area can be invaluable to financially staying afloat and improving quality of life.

Medical Alert: Enabling Seniors to Connect Instantly to Caregivers

To fully appreciate the efficiency of an alert system in the context of complementing the work of caregivers, let us consider an actual real-world case. Madelyn is a subscriber to one of the leading medical alert system companies. She is 60, with narcolepsy, and lives alone at her own home in California. One day, she decides to change the light bulb in her kitchen. As there is no one else to do the job, and because it is supposedly a simple job of unscrewing the old bulb and replacing it with a new one, she gets up on the short ladder and begins removing the old bulb.

At one point, however, the table slightly moves and Madelyn loses her balance and she ends up on the floor, writhing in pain, her hips probably shattered. The phone is on the other side of the house, and if not for the medical alert she’s wearing around her neck, Madelyn’s situation could have been worse. She presses the panic button, contact is made with the medical alert system’s response center, and within minutes one of Madelyn’s registered responders (whose numbers she registered with her medical alert device) arrive to give her assistance as they waited for the ambulance’s arrival. And while Madelyn subsequently endures months of hospitalization (her age and the location of the bone fracture made her condition complicated), it is obvious that things could have been a lot worse if not for the timely response of the system’s monitoring center.

Now, the abovementioned story is not a fairytale-it is actually based on a case file from a medical alert system provider. The lesson here is simple: a medical alert system is designed to allow further flexibility for caregivers. In fact, it smoothly complements-and even extends-the duties of a caregiver in order to give the senior the best care possible.

Most senior alert systems can be programmed to register the numbers of the persons that you want to be notified first in the event of an emergency. Most people register the neighbors that they trust, while others register relatives, or their grown children if they happen to live nearby. While notifying next of kin or caregivers, the response center will also send the necessary medical help from the medical facility that is located nearest the patient’s address. The whole system is set up with emphasis on efficiency and speed: in a few minutes, barring other mishaps, able hands are arriving to help.

Seniors can connect much faster to caregivers in an emergency with an elderly alert, thanks to the device’s single push-button action: there is nothing to confuse the senior wearing the device because there are no other options. You just press it. Also, the wearer does not have to worry about pressing the button by mistake when they don’t even need medical help, the response center understands that such harmless mistakes can occur and, after all, it is better to be mistaken than to be sorry about failing to respond quickly to a real issue. In fact, most medical alert companies want you to test the device periodically by pressing the button and making sure you are comfortable using the system.

The system’s design is so simple. That is why you will never find it accompanied with pages and pages of how-to guides. The medical alert system itself is pretty much direct to the point: the package contains nothing but the wearable medical alert device and the base unit.

In the end, a medical alert system provides so many benefits and advantages to both the senior and the caregiver that there is hardly any argument against using it. To top it off, the monthly service fee is very reasonable, especially when one considers that the monitoring service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Indeed, ordering a medical alert is one of the best proactive decisions a caregiver can make to bring back quality to a senior’s life.