wheel-chairMedical alert systems were introduced in the 1970s to help individuals who are unable to call 911 in case of a medical emergency. Thanks to television commercials like the one from Life Alert and website advertisements, most people associate them with the elderly and there are many medical alert systems for seniors. However, individuals with disabilities and certain illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, sudden fainting, osteoarthritis and diabetes, can also benefit from personal emergency response systems. It can also help patients recovering from surgery.

How can They Help?
Medical alert systems consist of a base station that connects to a traditional phone landline. Some base stations can also connect to mobile phones and Internet modems. The base station contains a prominent and accessible help button. When an individual with disability presses the help button, the system automatically establishes two-way communication with the monitoring center. An agent will talk to you and analyze your situation before contacting the appropriate authorities. You will get help even if you are unable to talk. Most personal emergency response systems also inform your loved ones simultaneously. The monitoring centers are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They work on weekends and holidays as well. The agents often possess emergency medical dispatcher certifications, and their training is similar to that of 911 operators.

Many medical emergency system providers also offer a detachable help button that can be worn as a necklace or a bracelet. These detachable buttons work well within a few hundred feet from the base station. This range is ideal for most homes and apartments. Individuals with disabilities can press the help button from any point in their house and get access to emergency medical care without moving or talking. The detachable buttons look attractive, artistic and trendy. Individuals with limited mobility can wear them at all times without feeling conscious or uncomfortable.

Additional Features
Advances in science and technology have also impacted personal emergency response systems. Companies have come up with innovative products and accessories that facilitate improved communication and care. You can opt for a mobile alert system and take it along with you to run errands and meet friends. Their help buttons will work anywhere in the United States. Many emergency medical communication companies also place lock boxes outside your home. The box contains your home key and is protected with a password. The monitoring agent will share the password with emergency personnel only. This paramedical professionals can enter your home quickly and provide assistance, even if you are unable to move or walk.

Some medical alert systems also come with medication monitoring systems. You will receive a medication storage system that is linked to the monitoring center through the phone line. When you forget to take the medication within 30 minutes of the stipulated time, the system will alert a monitoring agent. The agent will call to make sure you are healthy and safe and remind you about the medication. Some companies also inform your loved ones.

Other innovative features include GPS monitoring and multilingual communication. The idea is to help individuals with disabilities live independently without worrying about safety and health. Your loved ones will also have peace of mind knowing you will get emergency medical care immediately even in their absence. Many companies also keep your medical information on file. This helps the monitoring agents to make important decisions and contact the right authorities. They can also share the information with emergency personnel.

Making the Right Choice
There are hundreds of personal emergency response systems in the market today. Each product comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The choice can be overwhelming to the common consumer. Important criteria for selection include monitoring features, additional features, equipment, price and value, contracts and termination, and customer service.

Make sure the provider offers 24/7 monitoring. The monitoring centers should be based in the United States. The company should have a backup facility that would operate in case of a technical problem in the original monitoring center. Choose additional features carefully because most companies charge extra for them. Understand your needs and sign up for features that you will really use. The medical alert system provider should offer high quality equipment and should replace faulty pieces for free. You should be aware of contracts and cancellation policies before signing up for the service.

Personal emergency response systems can save lives of individuals with limited mobility, irrespective of their age and medical condition. Take time to learn about various options before making an informed choice.