Medical alerts offer peace of mind to seniors and their caregivers and loved ones everywhere. With a medical alert system, seniors know they can get help whenever they need it, with just one press of a button.
Many systems also offer fall detection, so the medical alert device will send out a call to the center when it detects a problem, even if the wearer is unconscious and can’t press the button for themselves.
When is it time to purchase a medical alert? Are they only for long term use?
It’s easy to assume that medical alert systems should be on you or your loved one's radar if they develop a chronic medical condition or simply reach an age where a fall or other medical emergency is getting increasingly likely.
In those circumstances, medical alerts offer reassurance and ongoing protection – which is a wonderful thing!
However, there are also some instances where a medical alert can be really useful in the short term as well. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Following a Hospital Stay or Surgery
Recovering from a hospital stay or surgery can be challenging for older adults. Recovery brings with it extra challenges such as mobility, pain management, and an overall decrease in health and vitality.
Older adults might also find themselves struggling with reactions to pain medication or other medicines, such as dizziness or forgetfulness.
Using a medical alert service gives older adults extra reassurance during their recovery and ensures they can get help whenever they need it.
When Transitioning Back to Home
Older adults who’ve spent time in a hospital or care facility might find transitioning back to living at home difficult.
Being able to live at home again after being in a hospital or care facility is wonderful, but it does have some challenges too. Seniors will be used to having someone there 24/7 and might find the transition back to living in their home difficult.
Medical alarm bracelets or pendants provide extra comfort during the transition, helping seniors feel more secure as they settle back into their daily routine.
During a Time of Grief
It’s a sad truth that many older adults will face the death of a partner, sibling or other loved one as they age. Grief is difficult for anyone at any age.
Grief can bring extra challenges for seniors such as feeling disoriented or forgetful, adjusting to living alone for the first time in many years, or finding it difficult to take care of themselves.
Caregivers who are worried about a grieving loved one will appreciate the extra support of a medical alert. It’s impossible to be there for someone 24 hours a day, but with a medical alert system, caregivers know that help is only a button press away, day or night.
In fact, according to our contacts at Medical Guardian, a leading medical alert provider, 90% of the button presses handled by their support team are non-emergency calls. These users are either testing their system, asking to be connected to a family member, needing non-medical assistance or simply wanting to hear a friendly voice.
When Dealing with an Illness
Not all illnesses are long term – older adults can face shorter term illnesses too. For example, they might find themselves in the position of recovering from pneumonia, influenza, or recovering from surgery.
While they’re on the mend, seniors might find themselves feeling weaker than usual, or struggling to get around the house or carry out day-to-day tasks. older adults in recovery from an illness might feel anxious, or find they’re physically weaker or more disoriented than usual.
Medical alerts are helpful for seniors who are facing an illness. By wearing a medical alert, seniors know they can get help if they feel unwell, and their caregivers know they have extra support if needed.
If Loved Ones or Caregivers are Out of Town
Some seniors are generally active and capable, but still need a little extra support from their partner, a family member, or a caregiver.
If their loved one or caregiver is going out of town, for example on a vacation, having a medical alert for a short time gives peace of mind to both seniors and those who care for them.
Keep in mind, most medical alert companies will offer month-to-month pricing. While you can cancel the service at any time, you may not be offered a refund. Make sure to read the terms and conditions before you commit.
Choosing the Best Medical Alert System
When choosing medical alert devices for short term use, it’s vital that you don’t get sucked into a long-term contract that will see you paying long after the med alert is no longer in use.
At The Senior List, we are firmly against long-term contracts, and only recommend medical alert systems that don’t tie users in to long term contracts. Every provider on our list of the best medical alerts offers flexible, short term, and easy-to-cancel contract options.
What to Look for in Medical Alerts
Other features that might be helpful include:
- Extra wall buttons for areas where falls are more likely, such as bathrooms or hallways, are useful for seniors recovering from illness or surgery
- Automatic fall detection that sends an alert to the call center if the alert device detects a fall – even if the wearer is unconscious or is unable to press the button
- Medication alerts are great for seniors who are taking new medications
- Vital sign monitoring and alerts let caregivers know how the older adult in their life is doing physically
- Activity tracking shows caregivers how active their loved one is
Depending on the circumstances, the right extra features can make all the difference. Our top medical alert list highlights the features and extras offered by the best medical alert providers in the market today.
Medical alerts are not just for long term use, though they are fantastic for that, too. If a loved one in your life is currently facing extra challenges, or has a situation on the horizon where they’re going to need a little extra support, a medical alert will give you both extra peace of mind.