We’ve written extensively about purchasing medical alert systems, and offered tips for consumers to get the best value when doing so. This is not an easy industry to navigate. There are really good providers out there, and some not so good. Many medical alert providers even try locking consumers into long-term contracts so they can hold you hostage – regardless of your satisfaction levels. A word of warning… There are still medical alert providers that practice this long-term-contract policy… None of those providers are recommended by The Senior List.
Years ago, we offered up a top 10 list of questions to ask, when buying a medical alert system. We wanted to offer a blanket of protection in the form of a checklist so you didn’t get taken by providers that didn’t have your best interest at heart. Conversely, we’re very happy to advocate for those medical alert providers that we believe offer the best services. These are the same providers that we recommend to our friends and family, and we send them business all the time! That’s the back-bone of The Senior List… Enabling consumers to make quality choices among the best providers in the market. We do the research ahead of time, so you can focus on your loved one and their care needs.
Since our old top 10 list is a bit dated, (and geared toward traditional in-home medical alert systems) I thought I’d offer up these general questions to get you started on the right foot:
Top 10 Questions to Consider When Buying Medical Alert Systems
1. Do I need a traditional in-home medical alert system or a cellular based medical alert system? Click here for more on this –> Traditional vs Cellular Medical Alert System
2. Am I comfortable trying out one of the newer medical alert systems on the market, like the Lively Safety Watch or the QMedic Smart Medical Alert? They may not have the history of some of the traditional providers, but these guys are legit.
3. Does someone install this for me or do I install it myself? Is there help available to guide me through the process?
4. Who staffs the call center, where are they located, and what are the average response times? How are they trained?
5. Do I need automatic fall detection? The auto fall detection feature is available on many models of medical alert systems, but not all. It automatically notifies the call center if it thinks the user has fallen. There are limitations to fall detection technology, and this “fall detection” feature has both strong advocates and strong detractors.
6. Does the medical alert system come with other services like medication reminders, or anything else? Do those additional services cost extra?
7. Is this device mine to keep, or am I required to return it when I’m finished with it? Am purchasing the device hardware? You’ll want to ask this question to be clear.
8. Can I cancel my contract at any time? Don’t get locked into long-term contracts with no out clauses. You’ll find that the provider has no incentive to provide quality service if they’ve got you shackled for a year or more. (Yes we’ve heard horror stories of 3 year contracts…) You need to know if there are penalties of any kind for canceling my service agreement?
9. What is my total monthly cost? Is there an incentive for pre-payment? Do you return pre-payments if I cancel my service?
10. Is the medical alert system covered under a warranty? What happens if something goes wrong with the equipment?
If you’d like more help and/or additional resources to help you purchase medical alert systems, browse around The Senior List, we have a compendium of articles to help you through this process. Also, visit our Medical Alert System Buyers Guide as it has a lot of great information as well.
Have any other tips to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!