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Cell or Landline Medical Alert System: What’s Right for You?

Finding the right medical alert system for you can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Before looking into monthly plans and models, you need to figure out if you want your system to be connected through a cell phone or landline.

Originally, medical alert systems were connected to your landline and only worked inside your home. Landline medical alert systems are still an option, but they are not the only one now.

Most companies now offer the option to add a cellular plan to a home-based system if you do not have a landline.

It is also common for companies to offer mobile options now. You can use cellular systems in the home and while you’re out and about as well, giving you more freedom while keeping you safe. These systems operate with cellular networks and GPS technology. These devices allows dispatchers to find your location if you end up lost or unable to talk.

What is a medical alert system?

A medical alert system is used for assistance with people who may have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk and may not be able to help themselves in the case of an emergency. A medical alert system has many functions. It can be used for people who have medical conditions, people who are at a high risk of falls, and anyone who wants protection in case of an emergency. 

Most medical alerts are a lightweight design that you can wear as a wristband, necklace, or similar accessory. These devices typically have a two-way communicator so the user can talk to a medically trained employee at the monitoring company at the push of a button.

Certain providers of medical alerts have started expanding what they offer. Add-on services such as fall detection are giving companies an edge above others.

Mobile medical alert systems

A common discussion about medical alert systems is whether you should go with a mobile phone with medical-alert benefits or a cellular medical alert system. Some smartphones have voice activation in case you drop your phone during an emergency and are not able to reach it, but cellular medical alert systems are wearable and stay with you. 

Similar to a landline remote, the wearable devices require regular charging. However, because cellular medical alert systems do not rely on phone lines, outages are less likely to interfere with the function of the device. Cellular networks can experience extended outages as well. In cases like natural disasters, cell towers can be knocked out and last for hours or even days. Even though occurrences like these are rare, cell systems can be overwhelmed if too many calls are happening all at once during situations like accidents or fires. Cellular networks can be unreliable in areas where cell coverage is weak as well.

When using a mobile or cellular medical alert system you have the freedom of moving farther from home with cellular network in comparison to the landline systems. For active older adults who like to travel or being outdoors, this system is crucial to the lifestyle they are living. Cellular medical alert systems have additional options that are not possible with landline system, the most common being GPS tracking. 

Landline medical alert systems

Landline medical alert systems have a base unit that plugs into a phone jack and syncs up with a wearable pendant or wristband with an emergency button. Like most other devices, the wearable remotes require you to either charge the battery or change out the battery for a new one regularly. 

However, landline medical alert systems are self-powered and do not require batteries and continue to work even if the power goes out. However, any situation where the phone lines become damaged can result in the medical alert system being unusable.

While wearable medical alert devices typically have a two-way speaker, some systems only have voice capability on the base unit. The range from the base unit to the wearable device will typically range from 600 to 1,500 feet. 

Most landline medical alert systems have decent ranges. However, it is important to keep in mind that if your wristband or pendant does not have the voice capability option, emergency services will have to search to find you. If you were using a mobile device, they would be able to look at your GPS location or talk to you because they would be dispatched to the location of the base unit in your home.

Both cell or landline medical alert systems are openly available to anyone who wants to secure their safety. In order to find the right type of medical alert system for you, you will need to determine which features will work best for your lifestyle, healthcare needs, and budget.

Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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