No doubt there are many medical alert system providers available and as with all services, some are clearly better than others. We have provided a list of questions you should ask when calling a medical alert company.
Q. Does your system require a landline?
A. Medical alert systems have come a long way in recent years. While connecting your system to a landline is clearly the most secure and reliable (you don’t need to rely on cell towers), companies also provide systems that use 3G service. In most cases, the system uses the providers Cellular service, not your own. Therefore, be sure to ask if the cellular service they are using is available (and strong) in your area.
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Q. Is there a contract?
A. Most companies should provide you with a service agreement that clearly states the terms and conditions of the service. This is different from a contract. Be sure to ask if there is a contract for service stating how long you must pay for the equipment once you subscribe. Some companies will provide a full refund for unused, prepaid service should you have to cancel while others provide no refund at all.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Companies generally offer several payment plans with cost savings when you pay for a longer period of time. As mentioned regarding the contract above, ask about refund policies in the event you need to cancel.
Q. How are you rated by the BBB?
A. Be sure to work with a company that has a strong rating with the BBB and verify what you are told. Legitimate companies do not make RoboCall’s, promising a free medical alert system. If you receive a RoboCall, report it to the BBB and do not give out any personal information.
Q. Do you automatically send an ambulance when I push the button or my fall detector sends an alarm?
A. This is important because many times, a subscriber does not need an ambulance. Perhaps a subscriber simply needs an assist in getting up and wants a family member or neighbor to come over and help. Determine the provider’s process and if the response plan can be customized.
Q. Do you have GPS Service & Fall Detection?
A. Some subscribers are home-bound and a traditional landline system is perfect in those situations.
Other subscribers are prone to falls and want the security of a fall detection system. Since no fall detection system detects 100% of falls, ask if the service also comes with a standard help button for added security.
Many subscribers are active and want protection when away from home. Ask if the service provides coverage when traveling about the community. Also ask if the system has to be charged in order to work and whether it can be used while on the charger. Some systems can’t be used when being charged leaving you unprotected for 8-12 hours.
Q. Is it easy to install?
A. Ask if you need an installer or if the unit comes pre-programmed. Many systems are extremely easy to install. Look at the provider’s website to see if they offer installation instructions and if there is a representative available if you have any questions.
Q. Is the pendant waterproof?
A. Determine if the pendant (or wrist band) is waterproof. You should subscribe to a service that protects you while in the bath or shower as well as while swimming.
Q. How far does the pendant work?
A. The range varies depending on the provider and the particular system. Ask about the range and listen carefully to what you are told. You are likely to hear different range capabilities but you should also ask whether the system works if you or your loved one are in the yard and how large a home the system is designed to protect. Regardless of what you are told, the actual range can vary depending on the configuration of your home and any obstacles between you and the unit itself.
Q. What happens if there is a power outage?
A. Determine if the system will work if the power goes out. Most systems have a battery back-up. Ask how long the system will work in the event you lose power but don’t be swayed simply because one system may provide more hours than another. Consider ALL features and benefits before making the final choice.