How effective are medical alarms? - AgingCare.com

How effective are medical alarms?

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I have been planning to buy one for my aged mother. How effective are medical alarms?

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My mother uses one, that has been a god send. She is 93 and it tests and works perfectly. I think it is Life Alert.
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We have ResponseNow for my mom - I also own the company! The system is monitored, both the pendant and the base station test automatically, the pendant is waterproof and lightweight. We customized the call list so if she pushes the button, the operator will call me first. We provide a lockbox and the monthly fee is competitive - far less than the large competitor. Fall detector available for $11.95/month and a cell based system will be available this Spring. Great sound. If people have memory issues, we have them push the pendant daily to reinforce what it's there for! Hope this helped.
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There are options. Some companies charge $10 a month but when the button pushed they call 911 but don't talk to the pt.
There are auto alerts...when a fall is sensed they call without need to push a button. The two that I know of are Phillips lifeline and the other is chaperon medical alert.

I guess if they do their job once they paid
For themselves ?????

Most are rented....maybe just try it for a
Couple of months.
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We had one for my mom-in-law who died two weeks ago. In the 2 years she had it, she fell many, many times and it never occurred to her to push the button. One fall ended in a broken shoulder, another in a concussion and both times her live-in companion ran to get the neighbor to help her get up, then called us to come and see whether or not she needed to go to the hospital. Absolutely useless in our case, but I can see where it would be a blessing for those that would actually use it.
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Both my mother and my husband have/had these devices. They both also had dementia, so the biggest unknown is would they have presence of mind to use it if it was needed. My mother actually remembered to use it when she fell once, Yay!

Be sure that there is a way for emergency personnel to get into the home (such a lockbox for the key, or the code to an electronic lock) so that if they do need to come time isn't wasted with entry.
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Judging from above answer, I guess all systems are not created equal. From my experience, it was a great investment and worked perfectly fine. My mother abused it and was pushing the button more than necessary - but that is another story - it did work every time and I was called immediately as it was programed to have person contact me. In my situation, it was absolutely necessary and my mother could not have lived at home without it. Good luck and hope you find a reliable one if you decide on it.
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From my experience, they are a waste of money. My mother had paid for her medical alarm for months, and one day I accidentally hit the button and activated the system. It was like I had used an old walkie-talkie to call Siberia. The service person couldn't hear me, and I couldn't understand her through the noise on the line. Finally I made out that she asked me to call the number on the set. Of course, if this were an actual emergency and I were able to dial a 10-digit number, I would probably be able to call 911. In any case, they encouraged me to do a few other 'tests' of the system. We were shocked by the terrible reception--not remotely close to the clarity of, say, having someone on speaker phone. We got rid of it.
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Futher to my post above, you should read the reviews of different systems -- Google "medical alert system reviews." All of them send an alert after the press of a button. The technology that uses a standard phone line is proven. Main variables are 1)how sensitive they are in terms of voice distance from your phone installation and 2) the reliability of the human operators who receive the alert.

When my mom moved in with me I didn't think she would need the system while we around in the house, but after she fell and we were upstairs and didn't hear her, we bought the Philips system with the new fall detection technology (at the discounted price mentioned in my post above.) Keep in mind that the button your parent pushes transmits to your phone system, which must be in working order. If you have cable-based phone, the system will not work when power is out.
I did come across one company that uses cell phone system so button transmits directly, but reliability would depend on reliability of cell phone coverage in your area. Sounded dicey to me, and not relevant to a parent who is inside the house most of the time.
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I was interested in one that had a fall detection feature. I called the 800 number and found it to be too expensive. I got a call back the next morning and was told that if I installed it myself they would take $20 PER MONTH off the rate. It was very easy to install and mom, having fallen and suffered a broken elbow, wears the button medallion all the time. The system works in tests. Have not had occasion fortunately to evaluate real situation.
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