Medical alert systems have been around for a long time, and have been hugely successful in making sure that the elderly or patient can maintain as much independence as possible whilst ensuring that medical assistance is only a push of a button away. However, an obvious limitation of these systems is that the user is unable to signal the alert if he or she falls and is knocked unconscious. This is where fall detection technology-equipped systems come in the picture. As the name suggests, a fall detection equipped medical system is designed to activate automatically if the user falls. These systems have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and statistics suggest that they are effective in detecting up to 95% of falls.
Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection
|Editor's Choice 2019|
Fall Detection Technologies
There are three types of technology currently in use. An acoustic system uses microphones to detect vibrations that indicate a fall, a visual system is essentially a monitoring camera, and a sensory system uses a sensor that detects when the wearer of the device falls. As with all types of technology, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of system. Let's have a look at each of them in turn and weigh up the pros and cons.
Acoustic Fall Detection
The big plus of an acoustic system is that they are relatively non-intrusive for the end user. All that is required to setup this type of system is for microphones to be placed discreetly around the user's residence. The problem with an acoustic system is that it is the least effective at detecting falls compared to other technology. This presents an issue of lack of peace of mind, both for the user and any friends or family who are concerned for his or her welfare.
Video Camera Fall Detection
In this day and age, video cameras are pretty tiny and relatively easy to install, and a visual system has the great advantage that the user is being watched 24 hours a day meaning that a fall is unlikely to be missed. However, the big downside is that this type of system can feel like a huge invasion of privacy for the user. The whole idea of medical alert systems is to help maintain independence, and users often feel that this is being impeded by the very presence of this type of technology. The cameras can only detect falls that occur within its view, so any falls occurring just outside the house or in a room without cameras won’t be detected.
Fall Detection Sensors
Finally, let's have a look at sensory technology. The big advantage here is that the system is not intrusive like a visual system and is much more accurate than an acoustic system. The sensor device is like any other emergency button of a typical medical alert system, and can be worn as a wristband or a pendant around the neck. These devices are lightweight and waterproof, so they can be kept on when taking a bath. Just like other medical alert bracelets and necklaces they look like a piece of jewelry. The only downside is that these devices can be a little too sensitive and trigger false alarms. Better be safe than sorry, and erroneous alarms can easily be cancelled through the medical alert system.
Taking all the pros and cons of the different types of fall detection systems in consideration, it’s obvious that medical alert companies chose to adopt fall detection sensor technology. Medical Guardian and Alert1, two of the top providers in the space, are offering alert systems with fall detection and have gone with sensor technology for their devices.
Medical Guardian Fall Alert
Medical Guardian’s Fall Alert is a sensor-based system that is monitored around the clock by its in-house UL-certified control center. The company has put a lot of care in making sure the fall detection sensor only detects true falls, and has managed to make its system the most reliable fall detection system available. A neat option offered by Medical Guardian is their Cellular Base Station that doesn’t require you to have a phone of any type, and is effective to a range of up to 600ft. The pricing for this system is higher than Alert1, with a flat monthly rate of $44.95. That said, there is no commitment to a long-term contract required; you pay the monthly fee on a rolling basis for as long as you want the service. Full Medical Guardian review…
Alert1 is a company offering a medical alert system with automatic fall detection that is based on sensor technology. The user is required to wear a sensor, either around his or her neck, or alternatively, wrist. The wearer is monitored via a 24 hour a day, seven days a week contact center which is staffed by trained operators. A monthly pricing structure is used, and prices range from $25.95-$35.95 a month. All price plans include the same level of monitoring, with the cheaper plans requiring a longer-term commitment of up to a year. If you do go for the one-year plan, you’ll get the added bonus of receiving a lock box for free (usually a $39.95 cost). Full Alert1 review…
Last, but not least, we have the Philips Lifeline. Offering similar functionality to the other two systems we have already considered, the plus point of this system is that it is manufactured by Philips, one of the most well known and trusted electrical brand names in the world. If you want extra peace of mind about the quality of technology that you are using to monitor your loved one, this may well be the system for you. Prices start at $29.99, so don't automatically think that it will necessarily require a much larger investment to get a Philips system installed.
We all know that choosing equipment that will safeguard the health and well being of our elderly or infirm relatives can be emotional. However, you can see that there are some great products on the market, and, with a bit of research and consideration, we're sure that you'll find the system that is correct for you and your family. You can go through our reviews to discover further in-depth info on the fall detection features in medical alert systems, and our comparison chart easily lets you discover all companies offering systems with this technology.