What Are Modern Medical Alert Systems

Amy Sullvian

Dec 27 2023 comments- 63

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The increased sophistication of modern medical alert devices has made these life-saving systems more affordable than ever. Technology is the main reason why the global modern medical alert system market is growing rapidly. It has increased from $1.23 billion to $1.85 billion within the last 5 years, and it’s expected to go as high as $2 billion by 2020. The convenience, reliability, and affordability of modern life alert bracelets and pendants have become a must-have for the elderly, weak, and disabled people. They offer increased independence for your loved ones and peace of mind for family caregivers.

The state-of-the-art modern medical alert systems of today offer a range of features from many service providers. Luckily, there are hundreds of medical alert systems reviews available online. These can help you find the right medical alert pendant or bracelet for your parent or elderly loved one.

But what are these systems exactly, and how do they work? Here, we briefly explore the history of medical alert systems and discuss what features you can expect from modern medical alert systems.

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A short history

Medical alert systems have been used to protect against medical emergencies for many decades. The first documented development of a home alert system dates back to the 1970s when Wilhelm Hormann conceptualized the Hausnotruf (home alert). Hormann intended to use the home alert system for social communication and to allow the transfer of biomedical data along.

In 1975, the American International Telephone Company developed an emergency phone system that truly realized the concepts put forth by Hormann. The solution included a pendant that automatically dialed pre-configured telephone numbers in case of emergencies.

Five years later, the German company AEG-Telefunken Backnang GmbH produced a medical alarm system. In the 1980s, live operator services were introduced for medical emergencies. Over the past few decades, advances in modern medical alert system technology have transformed them into an affordable service for seniors and the disabled that millions have come to depend upon.

modern medical alert

Features of a modern medical alert system

The first medical alert systems were rudimentary in comparison to today’s systems. These are some of the features that you can expect modern medical alert systems have:

Help at the click of a button

Whether your loved one is sitting on the couch not feeling well or has fallen in the bathroom, modern medical alert systems work with just a push of a button. This is because most modern medical alert systems use wearable help buttons. These are generally available as neck pendants or wristbands. Pressing the button sends a radio message to the homeowner’s base unit. The unit then sends an emergency signal through a landline phone to the operators standing by to help. They can send an ambulance to save their life or alert a friend or neighbor that your loved one needs help.

Water-resistant and waterproof help buttons

In the past, medical alert buttons couldn’t get near water. But most modern medical alert systems come with water-resistant or waterproof options so seniors can do regular activities of daily living without making annoying adjustments. This feature is especially important for when people in fragile health are bathing, as falls in the bathroom are extremely common.

Immediate help

The word “immediate” has been redefined by the technology behind modern medical alert systems. In the past, seniors living alone without an alert system could wait for hours before getting any medical attention. Now, with modern medical alert systems such as ADT Health, an individual in distress gets connected to an emergency respondent within 20-30 seconds. These fast response times help ensure medical attention happens quickly, preventing additional injuries or medical catastrophes.

Landline-free services

Not all elderly or disabled people are stuck in the technological past. That’s why many of the top modern medical alert systems, such as MobileHelp, offer their life alert systems without having to rely on a landline. These companies instead use cellular service providers to guarantee dependable, immediate connectivity to operators who can dispatch help.

Two-way, hands-free communication

A modern medical alert system will provide two-way, hands-free communication. The central cellular or landline-based units that are integral parts of such systems have high-quality speakers and microphones that can pick up the voice of the person in trouble. This ensures your loved one is connected to an operator during an emergency situation.

Battery backup

Medical alert systems of the past couldn’t function during power outages. Without battery backup, they were totally useless unless connected to an active power source. The modern medical alert system uses its battery backup to protect a substantial amount of time without the need to charge.

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On-the-go protection

On-the-go protection may be the biggest improvement in modern medical alert systems compared to their older counterparts. In the past, a medical alert system only protected a senior if he or she was at home. That meant they couldn’t call for help if they went outside of their home. Nowadays, if your loved one has a mobile phone with them, their medical alert system can integrate with the phone’s GPS. This then provides on-the-go protection. So even if an elderly person is far away from home, they can simply press a button. Then emergency responders are dispatched to the person’s location.

Caregiver tracking

With a modern medical alert system, caregivers or neighbors can track their loved ones or elderly parents. Online portals and mobile applications help make this happen. For example, if your elderly mother has a medical alert system that provides caregiver tracking, you can log on to the online portal. This allows you to know where she is at all times and also learn certain information about her health.

medical alert caregiver tracking

Fall detection

Falling is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a disabled or elderly person.  Many modern medical alert systems offer automated fall detection. This is a feature of the pendant or bracelet that can sense if a person has fallen. When it does, it sends a message to the system operators to provide immediate help and hopefully prevent life-threatening injuries.

Conclusion

Modern medical alert systems have a come long way in the past few decades. They’ve served to help the elderly age in pace and offer them greater independence. You can expect features like on-the-go protection, long battery backup times, and two-way, hands-free communication. Medical alert systems not only give the user protection against unforeseeable emergencies. They also give their families and caregivers peace of mind that their loved one is never without help at hand.

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Questions & Answers

Guest
i belong to medical alert system

What is the purpose of a flat button with a string call neck button for?

Guest
Amy

Most medical alert systems offer a neck pendant or a bracelet option for their devices. Both work well for use in an emergency.

Guest
Deborah

I was about 100 miles away visiting a church function. I accidentally hit my bracelet button and low and behold the ambulance was outside the church looking for me. I was impressed as well as knowing that the MobileHelp alert does exactly what it promises.

Guest
Majeed Aldamah

Hi
I am looking for this device because i am living who don’t speak English or spanish
I pass out many time but fotunatly my son near me but now i am alone
My problem I can’t pay for this device due to my limited income (gov. assistance so is there any help or cheap device to save my life ?
Thank you in advance

Guest
Amy

Thank you for your comment. You will need to contact Medicare directly to see if they will help you cover the cost of any medical alert systems.

Guest
Shelly Gehrke

Are there alert buttons that have fall detection only and no button to push: -for patients with Dementia so they don’t have the option of pushing a button so they don’t hit the button just to hit it when their memory is poor and they don’t remember what it’s for.

Guest
Amy

Hi Shelly,
Automatic fall detection, while quite accurate, is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. This is why there is also a button. The trained personnel at the call centers should be used to working with a variety of clientele, including dementia patients who may accidentally call when not needed.

Guest
simone smith

i have medicare, nedicaid, and cigna, will one of these pay for my bracelet that goes off if i fall? i live in winchester nh

Guest
Amy

Hi Simone. You’ll need to check your specific insurance policies to see what their coverage options are. Good luck!

Guest
Zeeshan

I need it for mom and dad

Guest
Martha Fox

What kind of Lock Box are you mentioning? More details.

answer
Some brands, like MobileHelp at the moment, offer a free lock box when you sign up. This is so that emergency personnel can enter your home if you are unable to unlock the door for them, and they won't need to break your door down in the process.
Guest
dorothy serfass

Who locks the home if you have to go to the hospital and can the people that come out to you be trusted.

answer
Each state has its own licensing standards for EMTs however medical professionals do generally go through background checks as part of hiring processes given the nature of their work. Generally, if the EMT is able to lock the door they will. If you're able to give the EMT your key for a moment or tell them where your key is to lock the door, that could help. If they are unable to lock the door, they might call the police to secure your home.
Guest
Betty Woods

How much do they cost?

answer
Dear Betty,

You're welcome to check our review pages for each service provider and find prices there. Regardless, you can always call a certain provider and ask for pricing over the phone.
Guest
Florence Gardner

Which system has the fall detection without the wearer pushing a button via a bracelet?

answer
Dear MaryEllen,

We currently have several brands on our line-up that offer fall detection. Please read the reviews on “Medical Alert”, “Lifestation”, and “Lifeline”.
Guest
Florence Gardner

Which system has the bracelet option for fall detection when a person is not conscious?

answer
Fall detection triggers automatically and sends an alert to either your emergency contact or an operator. There is no need to manually trigger it.
Guest
Jay Swayze

Hello-my wife has dementia. She has a tendency to roam. I need to know where she is,
Does your service cover this as part of your service.

Admin
Top5 Team

Not all medical alert devices offer GPS tracking however slowly, more and more brands are offering it as part of their devices, such as MobileHelp and LifeAlert.

Guest
nina C. perger

IF I FALL IN BATHROOM ,MY MEDICAL ALERT NECLACE IS IS WAIT, HOUSE DOOR LOCKED HOW THE HELP CAN GET IN. BREAK WINDOWS ?

Admin
Top5 Team

If they need to, then yes they will break the windows to make sure you get the emergency help you need.

Guest
robin

want a price

Admin
Top5 Team

It really depends on which brands and model you chose to go for.

Guest
james keefoverr

does any of these systems offer a daily check call?

Admin
Top5 Team

Yes, some of them do offer a daily check-up call such as the classic plan offered by MobileHelp.

Guest
David Moore

If there is an accidental triggering of the system is there a system where it can be reset from the pendant rather than traveling back to the base station?

Admin
Top5 Team

Yes, you can reset the system from the pendant by pressing the button and holding it down for a few seconds.

Guest
phyllis

How do you select the best medical alert system

Admin
Top5 Team

There are many factors to take into account but mainly what your specific needs are and also of course what your budget is. You can see our reviews and comparisons to best understand what’s right for you

Guest
phyllis

How go identify the best medical alert system

Admin
Top5 Team

There are several factors to take into consideration before choosing the right one, mainly being your specific needs and budget. Reading our detailed reviews can help you make a more confident choice and understand the differences/options available.

Guest
Deborah Jeffries

I need a medical alert system in a bracelet desperately after my husband recently was found dead in bed. The. I fell doing something stupid outside on sharp rocks! I couldn’t get up and thanks to my sister and a neighbor I finally got up! Now I’m weirdly obsesses with having a bracelet as I have a necklace for step counting and sleep.

Admin
Top5 Team

Wow we are so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s without a doubt incredibly helpful to have a medical alert system to make sure you always get the help you need – be safe please!

Guest
Deborah Jeffries

Oh, and I have ordered my own lockbox as my hubby had a padlock on our power box (its outside and has been opened at a couple of times) , had another neighbor come with his opener and geez! Decided to order a easy luck and so there. Will there be a discount? It was MY lock too but I couldn’t remember the combo.

Admin
Top5 Team

Some companies do indeed offer discounts if you have your own lockbox and can save you anywhere from $25-$50 per year.

Guest
Walter Shadick

I am 91and my wife is 89, she has a start of mile Memory loss. we are both active, Walk and play golf most days. We spend 8 months in FL and 4 in Mn Our children thought we should look into these. Any suggestions ??

Admin
Top5 Team

Yes! Our top recommendation is MobileHelp’s devices but you can read more about their specific services in our review and see if it’s right for you. If you don’t find the right match for what you’re looking for you can check out our other suggestions.

Guest
norma ruf

DO YOU HAVE A WRIST ALARM

Admin
Top5 Team

Yes many top-rated brands offer a watch alert device for your comfort and convenience

Guest
Karen

Interested in something that light on wrist and i can sleep with. Fall detector is a necessity. I also want protection while out if the house

Admin
Top5 Team

MobileHelp Smart is a waterproof watch that you can sleep with and has fall detection

Guest
Gloria

Are there watches for women

Admin
Top5 Team

Yes, MobileHelp offers a watch for women called the MobileHelp Smart. It is a waterproof, stylish watch that can be worn 24/7. The watch has a fall detection feature that will automatically send an alert to your emergency contacts if you fall. You can also use the watch to call for help manually.

Guest
Jeannette Gill

I have changed my address since signing in. I have no directions as to signing up again. Only model number and FCC ID. The name Great Call is embossed. I hesitate to use it as it would not be an emergency. How do I proceed?

Admin
Top5 Team

To which brand?

Guest
Patty Musco

How does emergency help get into a home when we have locked all entrances.

Admin
Top5 Team

If need be, they can enter through the window or can break the door open. They may also be able to disalarm an alarm system if need be.

Guest
Blanch

Are these made in USA?

Admin
Top5 Team

Certain brands are made in the United States such as LifeStation

Guest
mary howard

I am a graduate student (MBA) working on a device that can DETECT a fall before it happens. Can you give me any advice, research portals to check out etc etc that would add to my report/project. Is there anyone there among your staff who would be willing and perhaps even anxious to speak with me?
203-550-7601
Thank you!
Mary Howard

Guest
Barbara Leline

What medical alert systems feature fall detection and bracelets/watches? I don’t want to wear a pendant.

Admin
Top5 Team

Most modern brands now offer bracelets and watches as most people nowadays also prefer to be without a heavy pendant, Medical Guardian is one of the brands that we would recommend.

Guest
Linda Sledd

Is this covered my Medicare

Admin
Top5 Team

Some do and some don’t, it really depends! If it’s important to you can find a plan that does include medical alerts

Guest
Linda Sledd

Does Medicare pay

Admin
Top5 Team

It depends on your specific medicare plan but in many cases they will

Guest
Diane Germann

Is there a pendant that has no monthly cost and goes directly to 911 for help

Admin
Top5 Team

They do exist however they are limited in their features – the LifeStation Classic for example is a basic pendant that can call 911

Guest
kat

My Mother lives in a retirement apartment, everything we have tried will not work with the metal siding that’s on her building. Do you have a watch that would hook up to WIFI when she is in the apartment, and still cover her when she is outside? Our other problem is she is going blind.

Admin
Top5 Team

MobileHelp has the ‘MobileHelp Touch’ which is watch that can be connected to wifi – we hope this helps keep your mother safe!

Guest
Deborah Murray-Dates

I feel much better living alone knowing that I have MobileHelp A response is exceptionally immediate.

Guest
Dolores Neumann

I have blackout seizures and only a cell phone. Do you have a women’s wrist watch with fall alert?

Admin
Top5 Team

Medical Guardian offers the MG move – it has a very feminine, sleek design and also offers automatic fall detection, as well as GPS built in and a cellular connection. It also has a 1-way calling feature to call for help.

Guest
Debbie

What if in a medical emergency the patient is so out of breath they are unable to speak? Does GPS automatically send help when the button is pushed

Admin
Top5 Team

When the button is pressed yes help will be sent as soon as possible.

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