Portability and the freedom of traveling are perks that many medical alert companies boast about. Indeed, mobile buttons or on-the-go stations are perfect for seniors who live an active lifestyle, as they can carry the device in their bag. If an accident happens, they simply push the button and expect the same quality of assistance in any of the 50 states.
But what about a trip to a foreign country, for instance? Does the safety net extend outside the borders of the U.S.? If not, what can elderly travelers do to stay protected while enjoying the culture of another country?
The Merits of a Mobile Button
One of the biggest steps that medical alert technology has taken over the last few decades is the implementation of cellular connectivity and GPS tracking into devices; suddenly aging residents were finally released from being homebound all the time, which has now led to an increase in their activity and confidence.
On one hand, the cellular reception allows medical alert systems to be truly cordless, something most users will appreciate. But it also provides a means for the carrier to request help from literally anywhere, not just within the close vicinity of the base station. The addition of GPS tracking technology quickly followed, remedying the problem that aging travelers faced when they couldn’t identify their surroundings. Now, the monitoring agents are able to pinpoint the user’s location thanks to a satellite connection, which can then be forwarded to the local 911 servicemen.
Foreign Countries Are Off-Bound
Even though theoretically the technology could enable mobile medical alert buttons to signal for help while the wearer is staying in a foreign country, this option isn’t a possibility at the moment. This is because U.S.-based medical alert companies are unable to dispatch local police forces or EMS responders. Even though the language barrier could be removed via a third-party translation agency, the monitoring agents cannot guarantee seamless cooperation with another nation’s dispatchers, therefore unable to match the otherwise lightning-fast reaction of a medical alert service.
In short, seniors can take their mobile buttons with them to a trip in Europe, but they cannot use it. So what other alternatives are there? Well, there is the option for a temporary medical alert service provided by the country being visited, however doing so has its own challenges. First of all, it won’t be known whether the country actually has any providers at all, and even if they do the equipment currently being used by the seniors is surely incompatible with those being offered at the destination country. Furthermore, acquiring, activating and then returning the products is major hassle that could sour the brief vacation time.
Is There Any Hope for the Future?
The current situation is a bit restrictive in terms of traveling options, but over time things might improve. Canada and Puerto Rico are two countries already covered by medical alert companies such as Medical Guardian, meaning that the same quality service is available there as well. As such, Medical Guardian users are able to visit these countries and contact the local monitoring headquarters for help should it be needed.
We believe that word will eventually spread about the useful nature of the personal emergency response units and sooner or later there will be better cooperation between services across different countries. From there it will only take a few steps before companies like Medical Guardian can establish a foothold within foreign locations, or at least strike a partnership with local companies to offer reliable monitoring for American tourists.
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