Choosing a life-alert solution can be a confusing purchase decision. Most people will be first-time customers and, in most cases, if the purchase is made with the right considerations, it will be the only time that they will be buying one. While it’s great to have insurance, excellent medical facilities, and even a dedicated caretaker to assist the elderly at home, nothing beats the responsiveness of a proper life alert device. In most cases, this device will be a pendant-like necklace that can be worn around the neck or it will be similar to a watch that you can wear on your wrist. The device has an emergency button on it that the wearer can press in the case of an emergency. The button is connected to a base device that is linked to either an emergency response center or dials 911 directly. In either case, the purpose is that the person wearing it gets an immediate response from professionals who are qualified to manage medical conditions for the elderly. Here are a few things to look out for to ensure that the device you invest in will be the best match for your needs.

6 Features To Look For In The Top Life Alert System
6 Features To Look For In The Top Life Alert System

1.  Comfort

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to elderly people. Chances are that your parent of an elderly patient has never worn a pendant or has a favorite watch that they wear every single day and they will resist the change when it comes to wearing a safety device 24/7. Making sure the device is comfortable, discreet, and easy to wear for them will make it a lot more acceptable for the elderly wearer. Get one with a refund policy so that if they don’t like it you can change it later.

2.  Water Resistance

Life alert devices are meant to be worn at all times, so you need one that will stand up to water. Even if the elderly patient has someone helping them out in the bathroom, it can be very difficult for a caregiver to single-handedly help a person who has fallen over. According to research, most elderly adults fall in the bathroom, and fall alert systems help report this problem, but if the device isn’t waterproof it won’t be any good in this situation. At the very least, you should get a device that is water-resistant. Ideally, you should invest in something that is 100% waterproof. Situations in which an elderly person is exposed to water are very dangerous and you want to make sure they have some safety net in those conditions.

3.  Fall Detection

If you go for a basic life alert system, it will come with a dongle of some kind and a base connector device. It hooks up just like a regular landline phone would while the dongle is meant to be worn by the elderly person. The most basic devices simply have a button and no additional features. Though with elderly patients, it is very important to have medical alerts with automatic fall detection; in the case, the person falls over and becomes unconscious, the appropriate people are alerted. Depending on the service you use, this could alert the direct family members or this could alert medical authorities. For an elderly person, a simple fall can be extremely dangerous. With brittle bones and poor healing, even basic wounds can take months to recover completely.

4.  Good Connectivity

With the right medical alert system and an elderly person who is willing to wear it at all times, the last thing to check is that it is working the way it should. This is especially important if the elderly person is rather active and is in and out of the house often. Different devices connect in different ways and you need one with enough range for your elderly person’s lifestyle. For maximum coverage, you should use devices that rely on cellular networks to stay connected. If the person stays home but has a large house then you can use devices that use a local connection but have a broader range. You can even get devices that stay connected to the base from over 1000ft. Cellular network-based devices stay connected as long as there is a mobile signal.

5.  Battery Life

You can’t expect a person of old age to be punctual about charging their device, so the more battery time you can get the better it is. Having additional batteries is great but only if the person wearing it can go through the hassle of changing batteries. Ideally, having one that will work for multiple days is the best option. Some can go for as long as a month without the need for a charge. Also, it should have an alarm or some kind of signal to alert the wearer that they need to charge the device.

6.  GPS

For some elderly people, it can be hard to communicate. In the case of a fall, unconsciousness, or even just the general anxiety from having a medical emergency, the last thing on a person’s mind is their location. GPS-enabled devices remove the guesswork and give responders an exact location that they need to reach. This can be a lifesaving feature in dangerous situations. GPS detection also eliminates the need for the wearer to communicate with a responder to inform them of where they are. As soon as the responders get the emergency signal they will rush directly to that location.

6 Features To Look For In The Top Life Alert System

A medical alert system is usually connected to the local police or health services bureau; some devices even offer additional support through a dedicated support team. In the case that the alert device is triggered it will connect to the assistance center and a trained representative will intervene. If they find that the problem requires immediate or physical assistance,  they will alert the local authorities and try to send help as soon as possible. This is a great feature because it eliminates the guesswork on behalf of the responders. When they get a signal from the assistance center they know that it is not a false alarm and that they need to get there quickly. More importantly, the assistance center can also relay vital information about the person in danger and the responders can take the necessary measures to come prepared. In any case, a medical alert system is a great bit of equipment to have for all elderly people. The more it can be customized to their needs and the better quality it is, the more effective and reliable the solution will be.

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.