I am researching Medical Alert systems for my parents. What are the best systems available?

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After many years I finally got my MIL to agree to wear a medical alert necklace. Two weeks later she fell and broke her hip. It had fall detection and the monitoring company instantly responded. Please consider the fall detection feature. It's more expensive but so worth it.
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While you shop for and consider various alert systems, don't overlook how any emergency responder would gain access to the house short of bashing in the door. Security systems are becoming more common and houses are often kept locked. Timing is critical.
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I would ask myself how well my loved one is equipped mentally and physically and emotionally. My mother would panic, possibly not wear the device so for that reason I have a smart tv for her. She uses the wifi for tv watching and a clear tv antenna for local channels. She also has magic jack to allow phone service which is $3 a month. Now affording the internet, I bought a trend cam with dual audio face recognition and it is linked to my cell phone. I can peek at her whenever I want and I receive a prompt with movement as it falls under security cameras category. I feel more at peace and can talk to her thru it and she seems to feel at ease knowing I can see her. Good luck.
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The system that I currently have for my parents is Mobile Help. They don't have a contract and can cancel at any time. I have the additional mobile devise that they take with them when they are in the car. Both have the button they wear around the house. They test it once a month. I have it set up that I get noticed via text when the system is activated - this also includes if the electricity goes off and comes back on. That really helps. They have a 24/hr live person call center. I have been please and it helps my piece of mind living 2 hours away. Hope this helps.
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DirectAlert poster has been reported - advertisement.
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In Canada, besides Lifeline there is really only one other medical alert system that compares and that is Direct Alert. The have been in business since 2005 and provide standard alarm monitoring for seniors, fall detection and medical alert systems with GPS.
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My mom had a pendant through her regional Ambulance Service. She and my brother did monthly checks on on the device with service reps. When she fell (for the second time) it did not work. She lay on the floor of her home for hours before dragging herself to the living room to pull the phone cord down to access the phone for a 911 call. The pendant was sent back and indeed it did malfunction. After two broken hips her doctor says no to living alone as mom's risk of a third fall is even greater. So here I am...a caregiver.
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ninakay,

If someone has a history of falls and being unconscious, the person should look into any company which can offer a "fall sensing" pendant or bracelet-- this means there is a sensor in the device which senses that a fall has occurred. So, if the person doesn't push the button, the system will activate. These are usually a little more expensive than the basic buttons which you must push to activate. Most companies offer several different devices, that way people can choose which will work best for them. There's a Consumer Reports article from May 2015 which compares six of the top systems. You might also want to read an earlier post I left on this main thread, which lists things to think about when you're shopping for one of these systems. Hope that helps!
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Which companies offer the fall alert because if you have a history of falls and are unconscious, the others do nothing? And how much is it?
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No matter which company you choose to go with, here are some suggestions of how to choose between them, and good questions to ask:

1. Look at several different companies before signing up.
2. Compare costs. Is this a system you could install yourself, or will you need professional installation? If so, is professional installation free? Also compare monthly fees. Would you be purchasing or leasing the equipment? Private insurance and Medicare usually do not cover these systems. In some states, Medicaid in-home care programs may cover a system if needed; for more info, check with your state Medicaid rules.
3. Do you want a contract or a contract-free service? Before signing a contract, read through it very carefully to make sure you understand all the fees and rules about cancellation.
4. Make sure the company has a 24/7 call center/customer care and technical support.
5. Ask the company how they test their system, and how often.
6. See if the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee or a trial period, to see if you like their system.
7. Compare the different types of services. For example, do you want just a basic alert button in a pendant or wrist bracelet form? Or do you want a fall-sensing pendant, which will sense a fall and call for help in case you are unconscious? Do you want or need a medication reminder system or a medication dispersal system? Do you need it to be wireless? Does the system require a landline, cell phone, or internet connection?
8. What is the signal range? If you are out in your yard, will the button still work?
9. Ask the company reps about their procedures; what happens when someone pushes the button? Will they contact your emergency contacts first (like your neighbor or family member), or call 911? What is their protocol if they're unable to communicate with you though the speakerphone?
10. How will the emergency responders get in? Will the company provide a lock box for your house key? Will they give the emergency responders the code to the lock box so they don't have to break down your door to get to you?
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