Knowing that your aging parents need the security and peace of mind of a medical alert system is one thing. Knowing the right one to choose is a completely different thing. There are a number of different home medical alert systems on the market, and it can be confusing to know the right one to choose.

Home medical alert systems basically fall into two different categories: those with ongoing monitoring services, and those that provide equipment only, but no ongoing service.

Home Medical Alert Systems with Monitoring Service

With a monitoring system, there is a service agreement between the customer and company who provides the monitoring. Basically, if the alert device is activated, the monitoring system is notified, and they in turn, contact the designated people and/or emergency personnel.

It is important to note that home medical alert systems that involve a monitoring system are typically more expensive than products without. There will be a monthly fee charged for this service, which can be in the range of $30-40 per month, and there may also be an installation or activation fee.

Considerations when choosing a monitoring service are things like the quality of the central station, whether there is a long-term contract commitment, whether the monthly service fee is affordable, and if the needs of the senior require the involvement of a monitoring service. In addition, one would want to look at the quality of the equipment, the range of the monitoring device, as well as the length of the battery back-up for the console.

Home Medical Alert Systems without Monitoring Service

For some seniors, home medical alert systems that do not involve a monitoring service will be the best choice. With these systems, if the senior pushes the button on the pendant, the calls go directly to family, friend, or 911. Certainly, if cost is an issue, this is a more affordable option, as there is no monthly service fee. There is not usually any kind of agreement or long-term commitment either. Once the basic equipment is purchased, the only cost would be replacing batteries periodically as needed.

For systems such as these, the main considerations once again would be related to the quality of the equipment, the range of the monitoring device, and the length of the batteries in both the console as well as the pendant. In addition, the buyer will need to determine if they want the option to have several numbers pre-programmed into the system, or if they want any emergency calls to only go to 911 responders.

There are literally hundreds of home medical alert systems on the market, and as the aging population increases, there are likely to be more. Careful research of all of the features of the home medical alert systems being considered is an important first step in choosing the right systems for your aging parents.

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