Growing up I was the youngest of three children. In fact, I was what many would refer to as, “the late in life accident”. My mother was forty when she had me, while my father was forty-one. While I was in college my father passed away and I became more and more concerned about my mother with every passing year and with every illness she acquired. My sister and brother and I began to have concerns about her living alone even though she was still very active and mobile. We worried about what might happen if she got sick in the middle of the night, or in the case of a break in, or even a fire while we weren’t there.
So we started to look into some ways to alleviate this concern, one of which was an alert button device. Even though she didn’t feel that she needed it, we stressed the importance of us knowing that she was okay, or if she needed help, so she agreed.
Medical Alert devices have saved many lives over the years. By wearing a small pendant either on one’s wrist or around one’s neck, depending on what’s more comfortable, this pendant when pressed sends a signal to a base unit that is connected to the telephone and it dials into a central station for help. Just by pressing a button, within minutes a live technician actually talks to them to find out what they need. This technician has all of the client’s information such as medications, location and even family contacts to be called. There are systems available now that even work with cell signals and allow the client to be more mobile and leave the home. The biggest drawback for these types is they must be within range of a cell signal to work. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a good cell signal, this would not be the best choice for you. Some systems now advertise fall detection for people that fall and cannot press their button. These work, but I’m not convinced their technology has been perfected enough to say they have all the bugs worked out yet.
The most important thing to know is, if you have a loved one or even if you are living alone, no matter what your age, you should consider an alert button service from a reputable company. The cost should be under $30.00 a month and you shouldn’t have to agree to a long-term contract if the company is a good one. You should be very skeptical of companies that call you and tell you they will send you a system for free or somebody has already paid for it and all you have to do is pay the monthly fee of some high rate. These companies are scammers and no reputable company will ever expect you to pay for the equipment.
There are now so many different types and so many different companies offering them that it’s difficult to determine which one meets your needs. Therefore, it’s very important to consider the following when choosing a company:
Water Proof Pendants
24/7 call centers with backup centers
Centers that keep track of medications and health history
Don’t choose a company that uses telemarketing to contact you offering something to good to be true.
Pick a company that will give you references
Seek out a friend who may use a device already and ask them if they’re happy with their service.
Choose a company that’s been in business for several years.
Remember, bigger isn’t always better in this case. Sometimes the bigger companies can be much harder to deal with than the smaller ones. Ever try to get through to one of the nation wide phone companies without having to jump through at least five steps on the phone? Many times their customer service is not very good once you finally get to talk to the right person.
Once you decide on a company and try them out, make sure you have the option to cancel at anytime and go to a better one that can suit your needs.
I actually found out that it’s not just elderly people that can benefit from such a device. The other day I fell while getting out of our basement shower. If my wife had not been home at the time and I would have hurt myself, I would have found myself in the middle of a real problem, possibly laying there for hours waiting for help. This scenario happens every day, to far too many people and unfortunately ends in some cases with death. Don’t let this happen to you. Take the steps today to ensure your safety and well being. You may thank yourself someday and your family will sleep better at night, I promise.
Dan Taylor is the founder of Family First Alert