For seniors with vision loss, it's important to look for a medical alert system that is easy to install and use. These are the best medical alert for people with visual impairments.
Their medical alert systems:
QMedic was designed with blind or disabled seniors in mind, and it shows. Everything about their systems is built around ease of use. QMedic also offers impressive tracking functions, giving caregivers additional peace of mind.
Medical Guardian’s Active Guardian is a particularly good choice for visually impaired users. This lightweight device works on both GPS and WiFi networks, offering a full range of protection at home and on the go.
LifeFone offers a wide range of in-home and mobile options to suit every need. In particular, I think their “At-Home and On-The-Go” pendant is particularly suitable for visually impaired seniors, due to its GPS capabilities.
According to the CDC, about 12 million people over the age of 40 have a severe visual impairment, including one million people who live with total blindness. Seniors who are blind or visually impaired face unique challenges in their daily lives, and these extend to their needs when it comes to medical alert systems.
An older adult with a visual impairment might struggle to find their alert button or to press it, even while wearing it. The same is true of the base station. Getting to it could prove challenging, as could finding the proper button to press.
There’s no doubt that a medical alert system is an excellent idea for seniors with vision impairment, especially those who live alone. In the event that there is a fall or the user is injured or becomes ill, being able to get help quickly is a must.
Having a medical alert system gives caregivers additional peace of mind, as well. They know that their loved one can get help easily if something happens. Here’s what to look for when it comes to medical alert systems and visual impairments.
Check the base unit on the system you’re considering. Most medical alert systems worth their salt have large, oversized buttons for easy use. Additionally, textured buttons and bright colors can help those with limited sight.
If in doubt, we recommend giving the medical alert company a call and asking some questions. Any good medical alert service will be delighted to help, and you’ll get a taste of their customer service too.
Think carefully about wearable buttons. The wearable button is vital because it ensures seniors can summon help even when they’re not near the base station. Make sure the button is large enough to find and press easily and that it’s comfortable enough to wear around-the-clock.
Choose Integrated Fall Detection
Fall detection is a common add-on for many medical alert services. Although fall detection isn’t perfect, and false alarms do happen, we still recommend it as it helps more often than it hinders, and medical alert providers are used to the occasional false alarm.
For seniors with visual impairment, trying to distinguish between which is their medical alert and which is the fall detection pendant could lead to a delay in pressing the button to get help.
For some companies, fall detection comes as a separate pendant that must be worn alongside the existing alert button. For seniors who have a visual impairment, we recommend looking for an integrated fall detection option, like that of GreatCall’s Lively Plus.
This means the existing medical alert button has fall detection capabilities that can be activated for a fee, with no need to wear a second pendant.
Consider A GPS Pendant With Two-Way Voice Built In
GPS medical alerts work outside the home, using a cellular network. These are ideal for seniors who still live active lifestyles and who would like some added protection throughout their days. Some GPS alerts feature the mobile device itself, plus a separate button to wear to summon help. The user and operator then talk via the two-way speaker in the mobile device.
With two-way voice integrated pendants, everything is in one unit. In the event of an emergency, seniors simply press their button and then talk to the call center via the same device.
GPS voice-in pendants are ideal for active seniors with visual impairment. However, in some cases, they are appropriate for less active seniors, too. The two-way speaker function means they can carry it with them wherever they go in the home or garden, safe in the knowledge that they can always talk to someone without the need to be in the range of a base station.
QMedic was designed with blind or disabled seniors in mind, and it shows, with each of their systems being incredibly intuitive and easy to use. QMedic also offers impressive tracking functions, which give caregivers additional peace of mind.
QMedic offers a range of systems – traditional base station and wearable alert button units that work either on a landline or cellular connection, plus a mobile unit for use out of the house. Both in-home systems come with a base station and a button. The mobile system comes with a mobile unit and a charging cradle. In our experience, both types of systems offer buttons with both a tactile feel and textured surfaces. They’re also completely waterproof, so they can be worn in the bath or shower with no worries.
Rather than offering a huge amount of add-on features at different price tiers, QMedic includes the same powerful tracking features with every plan. Caregivers have access to a portal, where they can see 24/7 device usage monitoring and call history. Caregivers can be alerted when the device is not being worn. QMedic also monitors sleep and activity, and if something seems wrong, they initiate a wellness call to check in on the user.
The only downside of QMedic would be that they don’t currently offer automatic fall detection with their systems; however, their impressive array of wellness tracking metrics make them a solid choice for anyone caring for a loved one with visual impairment.
Medical Guardian is another popular medical alert company with a range of in-home and cellular systems. The Active Guardian is a particularly good choice for visually impaired seniors. This lightweight device works on both GPS and Wi-Fi networks, offering a full range of protection at home and away.
The Active Guardian is an all-in-one mobile system that features GPS tracking and optional fall detection, for an additional $10 per month. This medical alert system is also safe to wear in both showers and baths, something not common for all-in-one units. The battery also lasts for up to six days on a single charge, making it one of the longest-lasting mobile units I’ve tried. Medical Guardian even throws in a lockbox and protection plan, which will replace a lost or stolen device for free.
The one downside to Active Guardian would have to be the cost. Starting at $44.95 per month, (not to mention an extra monthly $10 for fall detection), this system is definitely on the more pricey end for medical alerts. With that said, I think the price of this system is justified. Active Guardian has everything you could want to keep your loved one safe both in their home and outside.
No Long-Term Contracts
Variety of Medical Alert Systems for Any Budget or Lifestyle
Excellent Range (1,300 ft) for Classic In-Home System
LifeFone offers a wide range of in-home and mobile options to suit every need. We think their “At-Home and On-The-Go” pendant is particularly suitable for visually impaired seniors. It’s an all-in-one solution that users can wear wherever they go. The necklace also serves as a two-way communication device so they can always talk to Lifefone’s monitoring center.
What’s more, customers can opt for a daily check-in call for $19 monthly, or a location service to help caregivers keep track of them for $9 per month. There are also several accessories on offer, including a lanyard, a lockbox, and a protection plan in case the device is lost or stolen. Fall detection is also available for an added $5 per month, the lowest price I’ve seen.
While the fall detection might be cheap, the rest of the system isn’t as much. LifeFone offers good quality, but the $42.95 monthly price tag could be a bit much for some people. Still, a Lifefone system is ideal for seniors who are still active and want to stay safe no matter where they are.
How We Chose the Best Medical Alert Systems for Visual Impairment
We take care to recommend companies who offer a reliable service, backed by strong customer support. For the medical alert companies on this list, we looked for the following:
Durable equipment: I looked for companies that provide reliable equipment that will perform in moments of crisis. All of the providers on this list offer warranties, in addition to customer support.
No long-term contracts: Most medical alert companies don’t require you to purchase their equipment; rather, the equipment is leased through your monthly service agreement. Because of this, I always recommend medical alert companies that don’t lock you into long-term contracts.
Responsive customer service: Medical alert systems, in essence, are a direct line of communication to trained response agents. Since every company has its own specific call centers, we make sure to test their professionalism and compassion.
Vision-specific features: Although there is not yet a medical alert system marketed specifically to those with vision impairment, some systems have features that are particularly useful to those with vision issues, features such as location tracking and caregiver dashboards.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here