We live in a world of constant change. Technological advancements happen so rapidly that even the youngest generations are hard-pressed to keep up with new developments, let alone people born before the year 2000. However, as frustrating as being surrounded by overly smart gadgets can be, the perks they offer far outweigh the downsides that they come with.
One of the largest and most popular sections of the ‘smart’ industry is the every changing smartwatch market. And with good reason, these gadgets are incredibly useful, multifunctional, and very convenient. Is it any wonder then that medical alert companies have also started incorporating them into their services? Considering their place in a market whose primary focus is providing protection for independent seniors, medical alert smartwatches come in different shapes and forms, and it’s important to keep in mind that not all of these will necessarily fit every need.
Recommended Medical Alert Watches
Freedom Guardian by Medical Guardian
As a very simplistic and senior-friendly medical alarm watch, Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian is the perfect fit for elderly people that are not quite tech-savvy enough to be thrown in at the deep end when it comes to gadgetry. This medical alert watch for seniors gives users the chance to enjoy the perks of modern technology without them becoming overwhelming. While the functions might seem limited to someone that has ventured further down the technological rabbit hole than your average elderly person, this quality product is designed to serve the exact purposes its customers would generally use it for, without any unnecessary functions or apps to make the experience a hassle.
What the device does have, however, is a nifty text-to-speech function that’s easy to activate, a weather forecast app, event reminders, GPS, and – most importantly – a help button that enables customers with instant contact with Medical Guardian’s call center in an emergency, no matter where they are. The only downside that this simple-to-use equipment has is that, unlike a regular medical wristband, the button on the medical alert watch must be pressed for at least three seconds continuously to activate a call.
Representing the golden mean in this list, MobileHelp’s sleek-looking smartwatch allows users to experience the best of both worlds. Armed with both an external and in-app alert button that connects wearers to the company’s emergency call center with a simple push, MobileHelp Smart provides the excellent protection that the company is already known for, all the while sporting some useful apps as well.
Since the device is the result of MobileHelp’s collaboration with Samsung, the high quality of this product comes as little surprise, although it is missing a few handy features such as a complementary mobile app for caretakers or a messaging function. However, MobileHelp Smart has amazing activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, and other health apps that make the watch an attractive solution for people living a more active lifestyle.
As a bonus, the modern design makes it look nothing like a regular alert button, so more fashion-conscious people can wear it with confidence. All in all, while it isn’t the simplest device to operate, it still has an intuitive and user-friendly interface with features that make it an ideal choice for people wanting to experience the benefits that modern technology has to offer without sacrificing their safety.
Although not specifically designed as an emergency watch for the elderly – and should certainly not be treated as such – Apple’s product boasts all of the basic functions to place it in this list. One of its most distinguishing features that even the true medical alert wristwatches lack is the built-in fall detection. According to Apple, the accuracy of its detection is 100%, although that statement should likely be taken with a grain of salt. Apple uses the same technology as medical alert hardware manufacturers and providers should be careful not to make unrealistic claims.
What the Apple Watch lacks, however, is a subscription to a professional medical monitoring service. There is no 24/7 call center to help and represent you in an emergency, and though the device has a conveniently placed external alarm button, it can only connect to 911; if you have difficulties explaining yourself after an accident or can’t talk, the button will do little good. Also, while Apple’s products usually have clean, intuitive designs, this does not necessarily mean that they are easy to use for people less technologically fluent than your average senior.
How Does a Medical Alert Watch Work?
Trendy, multifunctional, and offering the wearer unobtrusive protection, medical alarm smartwatches are the future of today’s alert systems. Even though they do tend to come with a drawback or two, most areas in which these smartwatches are still lacking can be easily ironed out with time. What’s more, products can be chosen to fit your needs as well as your budget.
The most important feature any alert smartwatch should have is a simple way to call for help. Apple’s device is limited in the extent and type of assistance that it is able to summon unlike the Freedom Guardian or MobileHelp Smart, but it is not really marketed as alert equipment specifically so the fact that it has the option at all is a great bonus.
It is always wise to seek fall detection in a device, although currently only Apple Watch boasts this feature. All of these products have built-in GPS, however, so if an accident occurs, people on the wearer’s contact list, operators, or even paramedics will have an easy way of finding the location.
Other than regular apps such as a weather forecast function or a calendar with event reminders, the most senior-friendly smartwatch, the Freedom Guardian, has a useful text-to-speech tool that makes receiving text messages a breeze. For people with impaired vision this feature can be a lifesaver, especially considering that the technology works the other way around as well, allowing people to simply send texts by speaking them out loud.
MobileHelp’s slightly more advanced device does more than function as just an alarm watch, although it certainly performs admirably in that capacity as well. The real draw – besides its cool appearance – is the Samsung health apps that it comes with. Heart rate monitoring, step counting, and sleep cycle tracking are just a few of the awesome features this watch boasts, and they are definitely a clincher for people that like to keep fit.
The apps that can be downloaded on an Apple Watch are seemingly endless. Games, health, or news; you can have it all. The company also fit everything and anything a smartwatch user could ever ask for into this compact device, including ECG, text-to-speech functionality, and fall detection. With all these functions it is therefore likely that an elderly person would sooner stop using it because of frustration than enjoy the benefits it offers. Still, medical alert devices aren’t only meant for seniors, and Apple certainly recognizes this.
The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|
Who Is a Medical Alarm Smartwatch For?
Medical alert systems could save lives regardless of age, profession, or state of health, and with the introduction of smartwatches this market has become more inclusive than ever before. Until recently, many people refused to wear an alert device, and the biggest issue seemed to be the sense of stigmatization that accompanied having the help buttons on display. Such worries, however, are in the past. While a medical alert smartwatch has many drawbacks, it has just as many perks, and when it comes to people who would otherwise not wear an alert device, the watches are a better alternative than not having a help button at all.
Everyone can find a watch that suits them. A version that isn’t packed full of apps and is more focused on senior-friendly functionality would be a great solution for most elderly people or for younger children, but those that like their gadgets to pack more of a punch can find the right fit for themselves as well. A ‘smarter’ device could serve as a perfect safety net for someone recovering from an injury or for people suffering from conditions like epilepsy.
Medical Alert Watch vs Other Medical Alert Systems
The biggest difference between a regular on-the-go alert system and a smartwatch is that unlike most of the equipment that providers offer, the watches must be bought. This is reasonable, but it can make a person’s wallet significantly lighter, depending on which solution they opt for. Freedom Guardian is the cheapest at $99, followed by MobileHelp Smart at $349.95, while the cheapest Apple Watch costs $399.
While most mobile help buttons have built-in GPS for obvious reasons, many lack the two-way communication feature that smartwatches offer. MobileHelp, for example, does not have an all-in-one solution other than its smartwatch. Also, battery life differs a bit from a regular all-in-one button; Freedom Guardian can last up to 48 hours on a single charge while Active Guardian is good to go for five days. But despite this small shortcoming, if you are already using – or looking to purchase – a mobile button with two-way communication, a smartwatch is an upgrade that you shouldn’t miss out on. The drawbacks are similar, but smartwatches have numerous perks to make up for any negatives.