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How to Shop for a Medical Alert System

Are you looking to compare medical alert systems and want a clear path to good results? Here are some simple guidelines to make the process smooth for you and your loved ones.

Questions to ask before buying a medical alert system

(1)  Do you want an in-home system or a mobile system? For people who are more mobile, a cellular-based system will be the better option. For people who are mainly at home, an in-home system will work fine. Check to make sure the range of the home-based unit is large enough for your home.

(2)  The best med alert brands will not make you sign a long-term contract. Consider, for example, if you’re hard of hearing and you can’t hear the two-way speaker on the med alert you purchased clearly enough. You’ll want to return it and get a different product. Make sure that you don’t sign a long-term contract. Also, make sure that you read the fine print on return policies for the equipment. Some companies will require you to return equipment in its original packaging.

(3)  Make sure to do your research first and compare medical alert system prices, features, benefits, and more. Compare all the top brands, then narrow it down to two or three brands you want to focus on. Then you can contact those brands for more information.

Options for purchasing a med alert system

(1)  Retail stores. You can purchase some medical alert brands at “big box” retail stores like Best Buy. While these stores do offer medical alert systems, you won’t get very detailed help in your process of buying one. Unless you’ve done your research ahead of time, this experience might be a daunting one. You also risk encountering a pushy salesperson and being rushed into a decision.

(2)  Online. You can also purchase a personal emergency response system online via certain retailers. On websites like Amazon, you can compare prices and read customer reviews, which can be helpful. But buying this way can still be like navigating a maze.

(3)  Directly from the company. You may also purchase directly from the medical alert company, which will have an expert available who knows the ins and outs of their system. After researching the top brands, you can narrow it down to a few and explore their websites or give them a call. Some sites even have a live chat feature where you can message someone on their site.

Safety and costs

The important thing is for you to gain safety and assurance of round-the-clock personal emergency response assistance in your home. There are many options in medical alert systems, such as in-home, mobile, or even smartwatches. Do you want extra options like fall detection and carbon monoxide monitoring? Make your choice wisely by doing some research beforehand.

The process shouldn’t take too long as you compare the top medical alert brands and make your selection. Most med alerts come with a monthly fee, which can range from around $20 to $50 or more per month. Some brands charge extra for more advanced equipment. A simple landline system is usually the least expensive option and the simplest to set up. You simply plug it into an outlet and plug it into your phone jack. Home landline systems should have a large enough range to cover your whole home, but check beforehand to make sure.

Key questions before you buy

Once you’ve narrowed it down to your top three, some key questions you might want to research or ask the company are:

  • How many call centers do you have?
  • Are call centers located in the U.S.?
  • How fast are the typical response times?
  • Who installs the system — the company or the consumer?
  • Is the pendant or wristband waterproof?
  • What are the specifics of the return policy?
  • What will my costs be? Up-front costs? Monthly costs?
  • Is there a contract?
  • What kind of support is available?
  • How are the ratings in customer service?

Features to consider

After you’ve asked the important questions, consider whether you want the following features.

  • Fall detection. If you want extra safety and protection, opt for a system with fall detection. Most systems offer fall detection as an add-on feature at extra cost. This advanced, wearable technology senses if you fall, and automatically contacts the 24/7 emergency response center. Fall detection is available on landline systems and mobile systems.
  • Mobile med alerts. Do you want to have protection no matter where you go? It’s a smart choice to go with a mobile med alert system. You can get a mobile system by itself or along with a home system. With a built-in two-way speaker and GPS, you’ll have all the help you need on the go.
  • GPS tracking. GPS tracking can locate you no matter where you go. Even if you’re not sure where you are, emergency help will be able to find you. Give loved ones peace of mind with GPS technology.
  • Medication reminders. Some medical alerts offer a medication reminder system to make sure you never get off track with taking your prescriptions. Take advantage of this extra feature to make sure your remain healthy.
  • Wall-mounted button. You may choose to get extra wall-mounted buttons that you can place throughout your home in spots where falls might be common, even in the shower.  A wall-mounted button is a perfect complement to your pendant or wristband.

Good customer service goes a long way

As most know, good customer service can make a world of difference when picking a product.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know which service provides the best customer service and support. Sales reps are always kind and friendly during the ordering process, but if you ever have a technical question after purchasing, a lot of companies may try to rush you off the phone.

Before doing business with a company that you’re unfamiliar with, look at their reviews. Try to find reviews that are unbiased, unfiltered, and unedited. Outside third-party resources can be great tools when doing your research. Make sure to look out for companies with a lot of bad reviews AS WELL AS too many good ones. Companies with the latter could be hiding the bad reviews and giving a skewed perspective of the way their company functions.  

You don’t want your loved ones to be left in an unsafe situation. Don’t wait until it’s too late before purchasing a medical alert system. Prepare by starting your research now so that you can quickly make a decision when the time is right. Compare medical alert systems today.

Joan Biddle
Joan Biddle
Joan Biddle is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros. With nearly 20 years of editing, research and writing experience, Joan crafts detailed, reliable articles that help people navigate complicated topics. She enjoys movies, reading, poetry and art.

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