by Charlie Kimball
The purpose of a medical alert device is to contact emergency services. Medical alert devices have been on the market since the 1970s, but they are a huge boon to both the elderly and to caregivers. People who have been thrust into the caregiver role may not know why getting a medical alert device can be a boon. Haven’t smart phones and cellular technologies made these devices obsolete? They haven’t, and here’s why:
- Easier to contact EMS
We’re all trained to dial 911 or our local emergency number in case of an emergency. But when an emergency actually happens, many people forget how to dial for help due to anxiety or because they are too injured to operate a cell phone. A medical alert device makes it much simpler. It’s just one button that’s easily accessible on the wrist or on a pendant.
- Easier for EMS to find the injured
911 operators do not have the information that a medical alert care center has when you sign up. While they can tell the street address of the call, they may not be able to tell which apartment unit or wing of a building you’re in. This wastes precious time, and could be deadly if the injured person is unable to speak. When you sign up for a medical alert device, they ask for detailed instructions so they can communicate with EMS. Many units also have GPS technology in case you need to use the unit away from home.
- Works great in a power outage
Medical alert devices aren’t just used for medical situations. They can also be used to guide rescuers in natural disasters. Base units and pendants have battery backups which can last for a couple of days in the case of a power outage. The newer GPS medical alert pendants have two-way communication on them in case the loved one is away from their home.
- Peace of mind
Something that can eat at a caretaker’s mind is the guilt they feel if they need to take care of a personal matter. What happens if something goes wrong while they’re away? By having a medical alert device, you can go away for a while and know that your loved one can call for help if necessary. Also, many companies have a call list that they’ll contact after EMS has arrived to let them know something has gone wrong and where their loved one has been taken.
- Save Lives
Finally, we can’t forget that medical alert devices save lives. The chance of finding someone alive that has fallen and can’t move for more than three hours is 47%. If it’s less than an hour it is 92%. Speed is critical. If you’re a caretaker, make sure that your loved one wears their bracelet at all times, knows how to use it, and tests it once a month.
If you’re a caretaker, consider getting a medical alert device for your loved one. They have clear advantages over smart phones and give people peace of mind.
Charlie Kimball is a Chief Communications Officer at MedicalCareAlert.com, a Michigan-based company providing home care monitoring for family members who choose to stay at home despite medical challenges. She also blogs for her company.