Medical alert systems get the elderly and disabled help when it’s needed most. Whether you’re looking for yourself or a loved one, choosing the right system can be an overwhelming process. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best medical alert systems in Milwaukee so you can better understand this life-saving technology.
Who benefits from a medical alert system in Milwaukee
A medical alert system instantly contacts caregivers or emergency services. If an elderly or disabled person lives alone or the home has many fall-risks, this increases the need for a medical alert system.
The elderly and disabled account for nearly 20 percent of Americans. Here in The Good Land, 13 percent of residents are 65 or older and 10 percent of residents under 65 have a disability. Milwaukee is also home to 46,833 veterans who may have disabilities and can benefit from these devices.
How to choose a medical alert system in Milwaukee
Consider your health and lifestyle to figure out the type of device you need. Understand the following before purchasing a medical alert system in Milwaukee:
Where will your system be located or worn? Some are home-based while others have an installation option for your car. Some devices can be worn as a necklace or bracelet. Some are waterproof.
What is the range of your medical alert system? Some require you to be within 300 feet of the base unit while others let you travel up to 1,000 feet or more.
Some systems include a smartphone app that connects with your medical alert system so that you’re always in range if your cell phone is nearby.
Some systems require a landline and others do not. Many are battery powered. Others plug into the wall. An option to connect through Wi-Fi may also be available.
Each company is different, so pay attention to what features are included or cost more. Popular extras are automatic fall detection, medication alerts and a lock box so first responders can access your home.
There are two options for monitoring and reporting:
Unmonitored systems can call emergency services if necessary, but will not monitor you continuously. These systems usually have a one-time fee rather than a monthly payment and are best for those who may not be at a high risk.
Monitored systems are safer as they monitor you at all times. They require a monthly payment with little to no upfront costs. These systems can range from a basic package to a more advanced system with many features.
With either system, you have the option for emergency services to be sent to the home immediately or to contact family or caregivers first.
Costs and discounts for medical alert systems in Milwaukee
Many companies offer no fees for installation and a 30-day free trial. Some have contracts that lock in your price while others do not. Pay attention to any cancellation costs.
Although Medicare Part B does not cover a medical alert system, some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) might help cover the cost. Here in Milwaukee, the disabled and elderly who qualify for Medicaid can also join a community waiver program like Family Care or IRIS to help pay for equipment that will keep them safe and independent in their own homes.
Medical Guardian offers in-home systems, on-the-go systems and a combination of both. The company also has a smartwatch device. Their systems have the option to attach a smartphone app for easy monitoring and access. The company gets mixed reviews, including complaints about customer service and extra charges for canceling.
Since 1976, LifeFone has been a leader in medical alert devices. The company offers both at-home and on-the-go systems that work on cellular or landline networks. The home base station has a range of 1,300 feet and battery life on all systems is 30 hours or more.
MobileHelp is an FDA-registered company that offers both in-home and on-the-go systems and automatic fall detection for a fee. They’re one of the few companies that does not have long-term contracts. MobileHelp partners with Rapid Response to offer the best and quickest monitoring and response services.
LifeStation is a medical alert system provider with an Underwriters Laboratories listed monitoring center. LifeStation offers in-home systems as well as wireless GPS systems. All of their systems are easy to set up and have a range of up to 500 feet. In a power outage, LifeStation systems have a backup battery that can last 32 hours.
MedicalAlert is a Connect America company providing nationwide support. MedicalAlert offers systems for in-home use with or without a landline, and on-the-go systems available as a watch or pendant. A fall detection feature is available for an additional fee. MedicalAlert can stay on the line with you until help arrives.
HomeSafe and GoSafe pedants and wristbands by Philips are water resistant and have automatic fall detection. Response associates, based in the U.S. and Canada, are available 24/7/365. The average answer time is 12 seconds and the average tenure of associates is seven years. Founded in 1974, Philips Lifeline was a pioneer of medical alert device technology and remains a leader today.