Category Archives: Medical Alert Systems

Four Critical Elements To Consider When Selecting Your Medical Alarm Device

First Response Offers Consumers A Vital Checklist To Select The Right Medical Alert System For A Loved One

It would not be a bold statement to say that choosing the right type of personal emergency response system (PERS) today for a senior adult or individual with a chronic disability, has never been more challenging, confusing or daunting!  On the positive side, with the recent advancements in communications and software/hardware technologies, consumers are now faced with a wider and better selection of medical alarm devices than ever before- and this is only getting better!

Some quick history.  The medical alarm industry has been known to lag other related industries in adapting to new and emerging technologies that propel their products into the present day (future) to the benefit of their target customers. Now that our industry has wholeheartedly embraced new, proven technologies such as GPS (global positioning system) tracking, high-definition voice, cellular mobile application software, independent seniors are being presented with a customized selection of more reliable, high-performance products and monitoring services.

First Evaluate The User- Not The System and It’s Technology Features

To initiate the system selection “shopping” process, consumers must address the following four areas of concern, equally, as part of their user evaluation check list: Personal Lifestyle; Medical Need; Financial Budget; Technical Proficiency.

Personal Lifestyle

Define the user’s lifestyle.  For example, does the user spend the majority of their living at home. Or, do they need to travel locally for groceries; medical appointments and other related activities on a regular basis.  Also, does the user operate a motor vehicle.

Medical Need

Take into account whether the user has a chronic medical or physical disability such as falling.  Recent advancements in application device technology now offer seniors with fall detection and auto alarm in select devices to provide enhanced, maximum emergency monitoring and alarm protection.

Financial Budget

Identify the user’s financial budget.  Seniors are usually on fixed incomes.  In many cases, a concerned family member caregiver is subsidizing the cost of the system equipment and emergency monitoring service.  Most provider price plans are rental-based or offer an alternative option to purchase (equipment only). Note: we only recommend the purchase option if the user is of a younger age and plans to use the system for at least five to seven years or more.

Technical Proficiency of User

Evaluate the technical proficiency of the specific user.  For example, do they regularly use a cell phone or a computer.  Do they take on the daily task of re-charging these devices.

Match Our Evaluation Checklist To The Right Medical Alert System

Our next blog entry will delve in more detail to matching the appropriate medical alarm system to the criteria detailed above.  Suffice to say, if the user is more home bound in lifestyle, a traditional land line system would be proper and most affordable.  In the event a user is more independent and therefore inclined to be more mobile (outside the home and property), our GPS Mobile Care portable device would be most beneficial.  If the user is a recurring faller, new fall detection and auto alarm applications integrated into our First Response GPS device will serve to provide added and maximum monitoring and alarm protection.

If you would like more information on this subject, please visit our First Response web site at or call toll-free our Customer Service & Support Center at (866) 930-1130.


How To Choose The Right Medical Alert System

Choosing The Best Medical Alert System – Lifestyle Needs Versus Technology Features

With new and improved technologies and a wider selection of devices to choose from, selecting the best medical alert system for you or a loved one has never been more challenging or confusing.  We needed to say that right up front!  So having made this bold statement, this blog will help you find the right medical alarm system that conforms to the senior user’s specific lifestyle needs and budgetary concerns.

Too many consumers, particularly family member caregivers under the age of 50, are often swayed by flashy marketing campaigns that promise seniors a medical alert device able to perform a myriad of applications to address any type of emergency event or circumstance.  From live monitoring, alert and dispatch assistance, to auto detect and alert capability, and even to online access of medical information and resources- all possible at the touch of a remote button you can wear.

While this may be true in many modern-day devices, choosing or finding the ideal medical alert system for you or a loved one does not necessarily depend upon combining several or all of these contemporary features into one device.  We aren’t saying “buyer beware”, just strive to make an informed choice by pairing the primary needs of the user to the most effective technology solutions being offered.

Modern Day Technology Comes To the Medical Alarm Industry

Don’t worry.  The good news is ground-breaking communication technologies that have been available for the past decade in other related industries (i.e. automotive, transportation, communications, military, medicine, etc.) are finally coming to the medical alarm system industry- and fast.  Key examples include GPS location tracking, mobile internet, cellular networks, fall detection monitoring and the like.  What does this all mean?  Well, more good news.  Our industry is rolling out newer technologies for more broad-based applications while resulting in better product performance and service.  All being delivered across multiple platforms through traditional home-based and modern-day portable devices.

More Choices Than Ever Before- Good or Bad?

More and better choices is a good thing, right?  Yet, more selection yields to more information needed of the products and services in which to derive an informed decision.  We can only advise that you stay focused and keep things simple and to shop for a system that serves your specific lifestyle needs and budget.  In other words, don’t choose a system that is “take me anywhere I go” when you spend 80% of your time in and around the home.  Consider the following key points in selecting the proper emergency medical system:

User Lifestyle Is The Key Factor

1.  Home-based User:  The traditional “land line system” is perfect for those users who employ a land line phone line in the house.  The system equipment comprises of a panic help button (worn as a necklace or bracelet) and a monitoring base station console that connects to the land line phone jack or cable line modem and also includes a 2-way voice activated speaker system.

If there is no land line phone line (many households now just use cell phone service), you can add a third device to this system called a “cell dialer” that transmits the emergency medical alarm signal via a nearby cell phone tower to the providers’ national emergency monitoring center.  The land line system will cost around $22.00 to $30.00 per month which should include the system equipment and 24/7 emergency monitoring and dispatch services through a single (national) provider like First Response  Add $15.00 per month for the cell dialer box component.  There should be no allowance for an Activation Fee or Termination Fee, so be sure to ask your prospective provider company about this.

2.  Home-based and travel (near and/or far):  Many independent seniors who lead a home-based lifestyle, yet travel distances for regular medical appointments and other daily activities require a device that can be easily transported wherever they may be.  GPS location tracking devices designed specifically for the medical alarm industry are now recognized as a viable, reliable and cost-effective solution to monitor and dispatch emergency medical assistance wherever a senior user may be.

Unlike the land line system that is comprised of 2 devices (transmitter and receiver), the GPS system is an “all-in-one” device where the user can transmit and communicate with a live emergency medical operator all within the same wearable device.  For example, GPS MobileCare system by First Response can be rented for $49.95 per month with a one-time $50.00 Activation Fee only.

Other Key Factors for Consideration

Consider these additional factors critical to your selection:

  • Equipment/devices: easy-to press; functionality; comfort; waterproof versus water-resistant; back-up battery power; trouble and battery power indicators; charging capability; wearable button options; extended range signal of button; voice-activated speaker; false alarm clear capability.
  • Emergency Monitoring Services: 24/7/365 online availability; live certified response and dispatch operators; bi-lingual operators option; “silent” testing of system.
  • Pricing: wide selection of rental price plan options; purchase option for long-term use; no hidden fees; no long term commitment agreements.
  • Provider Company: business history; nationwide provider certification; 24/7 live customer service; client reviews; web site and phone/email accessibility.

For more detailed information on the features and benefits of the emergency medical alarm systems outlined in this article, please refer to the blog section of our First Response System website.