We’ve all seen the commercials with the elderly woman on the floor yelling “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Although the commercial is a little cheesy, the risk of falling is no laughing matter.  

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recently reported “for older people, a fall-related break can be the start of more serious problems, such as a trip to the hospital, injury, or even disability. … More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age.”

I currently work as a sales rep for a company that provides medical alert pendants.  I am a big supporter of these pendants for patients who are at risk for falls or even older adults who simply live alone and want the peace of mind that comes with these devices.  

At the end of an appointment, having just set up and trained an elderly patient on how to use the pendant, there is a noticeable sense of relief and confidence felt by the individual and their family members.  

These simple pendants are a game-changer!

What do you look for when choosing the right pendant for your loved one?  

Here are the details you need to find out:

  1.  Is the pendant a “newer generation” style that works through a cellular network (like your phone) or an “older generation” style that works through a landline at your home?  Most reputable companies provide both options. The older models are limited to the home and a small radius that surrounds the outside of the house (yard).  The older models are a good option for individuals living in remote areas with poor cellular coverage.
  2. What is the monthly fee and is there a 1-time activation fee?  The monthly fee covers the cost of the monitoring.  Most are in the $30-$50 range.  Often there is a 1-time activation fee that covers the cost of set up.  This averages around $50.
  3. Is there a long-term contract?  I would strongly encourage you to find a company that does not require a long-term commitment.  Month-to-month payment is ideal for older adults whose circumstances can change quickly. You do not want the hassle or extra expense of paying for a service you no longer need.
  4. Do you need to purchase the equipment?  Most companies do not require you make a purchase.  Ideally, when the device is no longer needed you can simply return it to the seller.
  5. Bells and whistles?  There are other features to inquire about such as GPS location services, fall-detection, and if it is water proof or water resistant.  Also, you should find out if it is battery powered or needs to be recharged occasionally.  
  6. Is the company local or national?  My personal experience is that local is better!  There’s nothing that replaces customer service provided by a hands-on representative when your loved one needs it most.

The company I work for is Show Me Systems in Springfield, MO.  Other national companies are Life Alert, Phillips, and Bay Medical.  They all provide older and newer generation pendants and will gladly work with you to get your loved one the right pendant for their needs.

Overall, medical alert pendants are great!  They’re simple, basic, affordable and can provide peace of mind to both your loved ones and YOU!

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