Medical Alert System FAQs

If you’re looking to buy a medical alert system for yourself or your loved one, the following FAQs can help you understand how these systems work, whether they are right for you, if they are covered by insurance, and more.

What Are Medical Alert Systems?

A medical alert system includes a base unit with a built-in speaker and a pendant that can be worn around the neck or wrist. At the push of a button, the wearer will be connected to an emergency response team and can get assistance following a fall or serious health episode.

Is A Medical Alert System Right for Me?

If you live alone and have limited mobility, a medical alert system is suitable for you. You should also consider one of these units if you know someone with dementia who is prone to wandering off, or if you are at risk of suffering trips and falls in your home.

How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?

The base unit is connected to an emergency response team and the pendant is connected to the base. In the event of a fall, the user presses the button, a signal is sent to the unit, and the response team is alerted. 

These systems either work through your home landline or with cellular and GPS technology.

How Much Do Medical Alert Systems Cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 a month on average and you may also be hit with a setup/activation fee. If you pay by the year instead of the month, you should pay less overall, but pricing and discounts differ considerably depending on the product and brand.

Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Insurance?

Medicare will not cover these systems and Medicaid likely won’t cover them either. However, there are programs such as Money Follow the Person that help recipients get medically necessary devices. It varies by state and user, and you should check with your insurer for more information. 

Does the AARP Recommend A Medical Alert System?

The AARP doesn’t recommend or endorse a single product, but there are a number of AARP discounts available for medical alert systems. Discounts, special trials, free gifts, and other such benefits are occasionally offered. 

Check the manufacturer’s website to see what discounts or other extras you can secure.

What Are the Best Medical Alert Systems for Seniors?

There are many top brands and products out there, including MobileHelp, Medical Alert, Bay Alarm, Life Alert, and many more. There is no single “best” option as it all comes down to the health, lifestyle, status, and budget of the user.

If you live alone, rarely leave the house, and are relatively healthy, for instance, a simple home unit should suffice. If you have mobility problems and regularly leave the house, a cellular system is better, and you should also look for automatic fall detection devices.

Are Medical Alert Systems A Good Idea for Seniors with Memory Impairment?

These systems are essential for seniors with memory issues. Some systems can be programmed to send medication reminders to ensure they don’t miss their doses. They can also detect when the wearer wanders off.

These systems can give a person with dementia some of the independence they crave while providing peace of mind for their loved ones. It is very common for patients with severe memory problems to go missing, triggering police searches and sending waves of panic throughout their family and friendship circle. 

If you have a GPS alert system, all this panic will be stopped in its tracks and you can find them straight away.

What Are the Most Important Medical Alert System Features?

There are a few features to look out for. The ones that are most important will depend entirely on your circumstances:

  • Fall Detection: Detects when the wearer falls, without the need for them to press a button.
  • GPS: Finds their location when they are outside.
  • Long Battery Life: As you don’t want to be constantly charging mobile units, a long battery life is essential.
  • Waterproof: That pendant needs to be part of your everyday life, which means it needs to stay operational when it’s raining or you’re showering. After all, many falls that occur in the home happen in the shower.
  • Reminders: Some units will send notifications to tell you when it’s time to take your medications.
  • 24/7 Support: You need to ensure that someone is going to be on the end of the call at all hours of the day, as you don’t know when you’re going to need help. 

Does Walmart Sell Medical Alert Systems?

You can purchase numerous different medical alert systems and other mobility aids from Walmart. It really does have everything!