Is It Time to Start Wearing a Medical Alert System?

Is It Time to Start Wearing a Medical Alert System

It may be a difficult thing to admit that you or someone you love is at a point in life where you are slowing down and may need a bit of assistance.  American culture exhorts us to live independently and pursue activities of our own choosing. It is also important to note that there are times in our lives when all of us need a hand up to help us in our time of need, and this should not be considered “weakness.”  It could be the loss of a job, an illness or accident, or the loss of a friend or family member. These things can occur at any point in a person’s life, but aging can make many things that younger people take for granted much more difficult, such as stamina, physical strength, energy, balance, hearing, and vision (just to name a few).

Even as we age, many of us desire to retain as much independence as possible. In fact, statistics show that 90% of all American seniors wish to remain in their own homes rather than move into care facilities.1 For the vast majority of us who want to live at home as long as we can, a medical alert system is an assistive device that helps us achieve that goal by insuring that professional help is on “stand by” 24/7/365 and can be accessed with the simple press of a button. This security and peace of mind is extremely affordable (Alert1 has systems starting at just $19.95 for a full month of service), especially when compared to the costs of in-home care or assisted living.

Here are some of the signs to look for in yourself or your loved ones that indicate it’s time to start wearing a medical alert system.

1. Loss of Muscle Mass

According to Harvard Health Publishing, after age 30, you begin to lose muscle mass by as much as 3% to 5% per decade.  This loss of muscle through aging, called sarcopenia, can be slowed through exercise but this gradual weakening of the body could lead to falls the older one gets.  A study into sarcopenia found that those with this condition reported a higher number of falls in the past year and a higher prevalence of fractures. [2]  Whether you are able to exercise or not, it would be a good idea to protect yourself from a potential fall.  At Alert 1, we have a variety of medical alert device options to suit every need and lifestyle, including fall detection medical alert systems and mobile medical alert systems with gps capability that can pinpoint your location.  Annually, up to 80% of all falls occur in the bathroom.  Notably, our fall detection pendants and mobile alert systems are water resistant, allowing you to wear them in the shower so you can have peace of mind that if you were to fall, they would alert our friendly and professional agents at our monitoring centers.

2. Living Alone

As you age, it becomes increasingly likely that you will live alone.  In the US, 27% of adults aged 60 or over live alone compared to only 16% in the 130 countries and territories that were part of the study. [3]  Living alone is more difficult as you age.  As mentioned above with sarcopenia, muscle loss due to aging can cause more falls, and if you are alone it can be even more dangerous. This is why it is so important to consider a medical alert system. Those with medical alert pendants or fall detection devices simply press their alert button and get the help they need. With the fall detection device, when sensors detect a fall, the monitoring center is alerted to your emergency without you even having to press the button.  Additionally, our medical alert systems are not dependent on communication with an agent.  If you are in an area of the home beyond the range of the home base unit’s microphone or you are unable to speak into your device for any reason, the agent will treat the alert as an emergency and get you the help that you need.

Another risk of being alone is that you are more susceptible to burglary and violent crime.  Based on the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted in 2015, for every 1000 persons, 15.9 men were victims of violent crime while 5.4 were victims of serious violent crimes.  The numbers for women are even higher with 21.1 women surveyed indicating they were victims of violent crimes while 8.1 were victims of serious violent crimes. [4] Medical alert systems are not just for medical emergencies. You can press your button and request the police, fire department, or a loved one or neighbor as well. The agent will answer your emergency call quickly and immediately ask what kind of help you need.  Even the sound of one of our alert home systems beeping to indicate an emergency button has been pressed may be enough to deter someone from entering the home and if you are speaking with the agent at the time of the potential break-in, the intruder might think you are not alone and abandon the attempt.

Many adults over the age of 50 who are socially isolated are at an increased risk of health issues.  The numbers are somewhat shocking.  According to the CDC,  poor social relationships due to isolation or loneliness were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and 32% increased risk of stroke.  It is also associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety.  Finally, for heart failure patients, loneliness increases the risk of hospitalization by 68%, and increases the risk of emergency department visits by 57%.  In all of these cases, having a medical alert system can certainly help.  At Alert 1, we recommend and encourage our valued members to test their systems weekly to not only ensure proper functioning, but also to give someone the peace of mind knowing that they are never alone.  Our friendly agents are trained to handle these test calls and will gladly speak with you or your loved ones to provide reassurance that they are always there when needed.

3. Living Remotely

Sometimes, even living with your elderly spouse is not entirely safe, especially if you live in a rural area without nearby neighbors.  Let us imagine a scenario where one’s husband fell and his spouse is too frail to give him aid.  Without a nearby neighbor, precious time could be lost that could sadly make the difference between life and death.  The benefit of an emergency alert pendant is that agents would answer the alarm within seconds and send help right away, possibly saving a life. 

4. Experiencing Anxiety

People become aware of their physical and mental limitations as they age.  If you or your loved one is experiencing anxiety in response to these feelings, a medical alert system could certainly be of benefit.  Knowing that you can press a button at any time, speak with someone, and get help if needed can ease one’s mind and allow you to feel more confident in living independently.  Our monitoring centers are open 24/7/365 so there will always be someone available.

Worry is not just a problem for those advancing in age.  It is quite possible for a daughter or son to be burdened with concern over an aging parent. A medical alert system will not only protect your loved ones so that they can continue living at home, but will give other family members peace of mind as well.

5. Side Effects from Medication

Medications prescribed by a doctor can have serious side effects.  These side effects can be even more pronounced in the elderly.  The aging process can affect how medication is absorbed, used, and then released from the body.  In most cases, older adults need lower doses of medications than younger adults, so it is very important to prescribe the dosage properly.  It may take time working closely with a healthcare provider before a proper dosage is prescribed.  Furthermore, many older adults have multiple medical conditions that can affect how medications work.  One medication that helps one condition may worsen another. If the person is on multiple medications prescribed from multiple healthcare providers, it is also possible for the medications to interact in a negative way.

Common side effects of prescription drugs for seniors can be dizziness, falls, weight loss or weight gain, and also may affect memory and the ability to think and process information.  [5]  Because of these possibilities, it would be very wise to consider a medical alert system if you or a loved one is experiencing any of these conditions.

In closing, if you or a loved one meet any of the aforementioned criteria, it is probably time to take the step of adding a medical alert system to the home. It is a way to help seniors achieve their aging in place goals while remaining protected around the clock. Alert1 has several personal emergency alarm options available that are affordable and dependable, so you and your loved ones will never have to face an emergency alone.


[1] 'Aging in place' tech helps seniors live in their home longer (

[2] University of Southampton. Nov. 2015, Muscle loss linked to falls, fractures in the elderly. Science Daily. Muscle loss linked to falls, fractures in elderly.

[3] Ausubel, Jacob. Mar. 2020, Older people are more likely to live alone in the U.S. than elsewhere in the world. Pew Research Center, Older people are more likely to live alone in the U.S. than elsewhere in the world.

[4] NA, Crimes Against Women Living Alone. Crimes Against Women Living Alone.

[5] NA, Medications Work Differently in Older Adults. Medications Work Differently in Older Adults.