Medical alert systems: anyone have any experiences to share?

My wife’s grandmother is 83, and is at the point where she really needs to wear one of those gizmos with a button to push in case she falls, breaks her hip, and can’t get back up again to get to a phone and call 911.

So, does anyone have any experiences (mostly secondhand, I’m sure, given that we don’t have that many octogenarians on the board) to relate about such systems/products/whatever? Who’s good, and who should we stay away from?

I forget who manages it but my aunt had one when she lived at home. She either tripped and had a heart attack or had a heart attack and fell. It saved her life.

Happy to help.

Here are a couple of devices that work without a service. They just dial the phone remotely, with 911 being the last number called.

Here are a couple of companies that offer more service at less cost than Life Alert.

Hmmm. I’m a visiting nurse and just about all my patients have them. I’m not sure of which co. we use. I would say go with cost and one that’s been around at least 5 years.

Make sure you test the unit at least once a month. The company will probably do a monthly test as well but I like to have my patients test it every once in a while. Also, make sure your family member actually WEARS the button. Some of my patients just hang it by their bed.

I tell them that it won’t do them any good there if they fall in the kitchen! And also make sure the receiver is in a location where the operator can hear your family and also be heard. For instance, if the box is set up in the bedroom and family falls in the bathroom, the operator may not be able to hear them.
It’s much better to set the box up in a more central location. HTH.

Check with your local hospital ER or your local ambulance service. They can tell you which companies in your area have the best track record for reliability and accuracy.

Many local police agencies or health districts provide a free check up call to elderly or disabled people who sign up for the service. This would probably be a good back up for the alert company, and I’d look into that as well.

Depending on the layout of the house, this might not be possible, but it still shouldn’t stop anyone from getting the device. If the operator can’t hear you, he’ll send out an ambulance just to be safe.

My grandmother has worn one for years, not because she’s doddering, but because she’s simply lived alone. Last winter, she went out to get the mail at about 8:00 at night, slipped on some ice and fell, breaking her hip on a cement stoop. No osteoporosis or bone weakness - the same thing could have happened to me at 32. She pushed her little button and tried to shout through a mostly open door, but they couldn’t hear her. They called an ambulance and the neighbor across the street. Mind you, this was in the middle of an icy snowy Chicago winter, and she was out there in a nightgown only - the mailbox in on her front porch, so she just intended to step out and rush back inside. And it was after dark, so none of the neighbors in her cul de sac could have seen her, even if they’d been looking out their windows. If she hadn’t had her Life Alert thingy, she would have been out there all night and gotten hypothermia and probably pneumonia, if not frozen to death outright.

So I’m a great supporter of the things through personal experience. I’m pushing my mother to get one - she’s only 60, but she lives alone and the same sort of thing could happen to her. Heck, if I lived alone at any age, I’d get one.

I can’t recommend any specific brands, 'cause I don’t know any. Seems like everyone else has given sound advice. I will say, however, that it would be HUGELY helpful if you could help her put together a list of her medical history, medications, and any allergies. Keep it readily accessible and up to date.

If you format it like this, I’ll be your best friend :slight_smile: :

Homer J. Simpson Birthday 01/01/20

Heart Attack (9/05)
Right knee replacement (1/00)

Atenolol 50 mg
Lovastatin 40 mg
Lisinopril 20 mg
Metformin 500 mg


St. Urho

Here is an old thread on the subject.