Medical Alert FAQs

medical alerts

Modern medical alerts are entirely different from those you might remember from decades ago. Today, these handy devices are sleek, comfortable, and quite reliably allow you to reach out for help at the touch of a button. Because of this, they’ve become much more popular over the years.

According to Forbes Health, 54% of adults in the United States say that they or the loved one they care for use a medical alert system, and of those people, 86% say the device has come to the rescue in the event of an emergency. And according to Home Care Magazine, those who use a panic button alarm often have less severe injuries after a fall, thanks to the quick response times and getting help right away, rather than languishing on the floor after a fall or other emergency. 

But exactly how do these devices work? Let’s talk about what to expect when you opt for better safety and security.

How Do Medical Alert Devices Work?

Emergency button alerts are available in two types: on-the-go systems and home-based systems.

The home-based system uses either a landline or wireless connection. The base units for Alert1’s in-home systems have a range of up to 600 feet, so that’s a lot of coverage! The base unit connects wirelessly to a pendant or bracelet, which you should wear at all times. These units have a button to press if you need assistance. When you press that button, it sends an alert to the base unit, which then sends the alert for help.

The on-the-go unit doesn’t use a base unit. Instead, the speaker is in the device itself. When you press the button, the medical alert wireless system connects to an emergency monitoring center by accessing nearby cell towers. Alert1 uses Verizon and AT&T networks, so you get incredible coverage throughout all 50 states. Our trained agents speak to you within seconds of pressing the button for help.

Some devices use GPS to pinpoint your location. This means that if you are on the go and aren’t sure where you are, that’s okay – we can locate you via your device and use the information to send emergency services to you.

There is also a fall detection option, which can send an alert for help even when you cannot. Fall detection uses tiny fall sensors in the pendant, whether it’s an at-home option or on-the-go unit. These sensors can recognize when a fall has occurred. The emergency alert system then sends out an alert on your behalf, so you don’t even have to press the button. (Though for added security, you should always press the button if you can.)

Fall detection is an added feature that is available on both Alert1’s in-home and mobile devices.

When Should I Wear a Medical Alarm?

It’s important to remember to wear an emergency alert system at all times. This includes when you’re in the shower. The various button alarms are showerproof, meaning that they can withstand being in the shower with you – and that’s important, since the CDC reports that about 80% of all bathroom injuries are caused by falls! If you do slip and fall, you might need help quickly.  

The only time you should take off your medical alert technology if you have a mobile unit that needs charging (usually about once a week). On-the-go devices come equipped with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, so just put the device in its dedicated charging cradle for 2 - 3 hours while you watch television or otherwise stay in one place for a while. This will help ensure that you have adequate battery charge at all times.

There is a common misconception that some medical alert systems for seniors will not be compatible with pacemakers and other devices, such as insulin pumps. The medical alerts for elderly adults from Alert1 are safe to use alongside these delicate medical instruments. And in fact, getting a personal alarm button when you have a pacemaker or other device is a fantastic idea – it adds a layer of protection that can help you stay safer as you deal with chronic medical conditions. 

Who Gets Called?

When you send an alert for help, a monitoring center responds within seconds. You can request specific help to be sent, such as an ambulance, police, fire, family, friend, or neighbor. Even if you can’t communicate, help will be sent. In this way, the 24/7 service is truly priceless!

You create a list of trusted individuals to be contacted. They might be neighbors, friends, or family members. You provide their contact information, and when you press the button, they will be contacted in the order you have requested. It’s very straightforward.

What If I Need Emergency Services?

The people you’ve requested to be contacted are not the only ones to be advised. If the situation is serious, such as chest pain or an injury, emergency services will be summoned for you. Time is of the essence – that’s why you have a simple button alarm to get help fast.

When the EMTs get there, how will they get in? A handy accessory is an emergency lock box. The lockbox has a four-digit code that allows EMTs to access the house key you’ve put inside it. The lockbox attaches securely to door handles, railings, or even fencing. This gives emergency services access to your home without having to damage your door or windows to get to you.

Does Medicare Cover Medical Alert Watches or Pendants?

Most Medicare plans don’t cover personal emergency response systems, as they are not considered durable medical equipment. However, those who choose Medicare Advantage Plans might find coverage for their senior life-saving alert system. The benefits vary from one state to another, so verify with your plan whether the cost of medical alerts is covered for you. If you have private medical coverage, they might cover much more than Medicare Advantage Plans. Get in touch with your insurance provider to make certain of what they cover and how much they will contribute to the overall cost.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t have any coverage at all for these plans, they are still quite affordable. For example, Alert1 supplies free equipment and has some of the lowest rates for monitoring service in the industry.

Who Should Use a Medical Alert?

And finally, remember – though medical alert systems with fall detection are mainly marketed to the elderly, they make a great option for anyone. They provide peace of mind for those with chronic conditions, individuals of any age who live alone, lone workers, or even students who need some peace of mind when they are out and about. They can even be helpful for family caregivers who may not always be able to be present with their loved ones. A panic button alarm for falls can provide strong peace of mind for everyone.

While fall detection and calling for help if you do fall are the top reasons a person might choose to wear medical alert technology, having the ability to simply press a button for help can appeal to anyone. There are attractive and affordable options available for every need, lifestyle, and budget!