Life Alert, Medical Alert or...

ntt_houMay 18, 2013

I've been seeing these commercials. When they first began, their monthly fee was high. I noticed that there are more competitions now and the price has gone down. I even saw one company offering for $14.99/mth. but I can't seem to remember that company.

Anyway, do any of you use one of these services? If so, how much are you paying monthly?

I'm thinking of either getting one of these services for my mom or get a monitor camera. She lives in an independent community home but still, she's alone when she's inside her apartment. They do have a string that you can pull in case of emergency but what if she can't get to it. That's my main concern.

Even if you don't have one, if you have any other thoughts, please feel free to voice out.


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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

We had one for mom when she was living alone, she didn't always wear it around her neck which defeated the purpose, but it was definitely worth it. I know of several of my elderly neighbors have them and have used them when they have fallen.
A few times I have fallen I wished I could yell for help to someone.

My mom was paranoid that they could listen in on her when ever they wanted to, because they do contact you through it on a regular basis to make sure it's working properly. We explained to her they don't do that but one of her friends had her convinced, he wouldn't wear his either and fell one night and no one knew till the next day when my mom made my sister go check on him because she had not heard from him all day.

If I was alone I would like to have it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:13AM
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I think they're out of date.
A minimum cost, pay as you go cell phone, gives family, close contacts the ability to call in to check, besides having outbound 911 service. All phones today have GPS.

A few years ago, I was alone and was blacking out in my car in a parking lot. I reached for my cell phone, and called 911 - but was so out of it , I could not give my location - just that I was in a Burger King parking lot.
They tracked my location from GPS, and an ambulance arrived just in time - had to give me CPR.

A cell phone works from anywhere.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Yes but many people don't have a cell phone with them all of the time. We share a cell phone and it probably gets used a dozen times a year.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:53AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

a cell phone will likely cost more also for the plan and the phone and many elderly just can not use them, mom could not use one.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:52AM
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We had one for my FIL before he entered assisted living. He was prone to falls so the life alert we had detected a fall within 30 seconds WITHOUT him having to push a button. The new devices are great. We paid $40 per month and well worth it.

In my FIL's case a cell phone would have been useless as he often forgot how to use one or misplaced it. He always wore the life alert. At the assisted living facility he is residing a medical alert comes standard issue for each resident and is monitored at the nurses station.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:29PM
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My mom carries her cell phone when she leaves the apartment. She can carry it in her purse. However, when she's home, it's not convenience for her to have a cell phone next to her with every step she walks. If she falls, a cell phone is worthless unless it's right next to her.

I'm in a wheelchair and I do have a little cell phone pocket next to me, in this case, it is appropriate. But my mom would need something better.

Raven, how much was the monthly fee for your mom's and/or neighbors service?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Forgot to add Monica, I sure am glad the cell phone helped save your life. What an experience you had!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 4:14PM
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I live in an Independent Retirement Community, meaning we are capable of living alone and taking care of our selves . . . no Alerts of any kind to management or the main office.

Several residents here have gotten the Alerts they wear around their neck. They soon learned that those alerts only work for a certain distance from their door . My friend learned that when she fell going to the mail/newspaper box, just a few steps from her door. I would hope there are better ones available now.

So far I don't feel the need for one, but when/if I do, it will be a bracelet like another friend has. I couldn't stand that thing dangling around my neck all the time. Don't know about the price.

On our campus we also have Assisted Living and Alzheimer units. There they have constant monitoring
, and, I believe call bells.


Edited to change the wording.

This post was edited by Sue-va on Sun, May 19, 13 at 9:40

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Around here, the Phillips Lifeline is installed by the local hospital volunteer guild and is the choice for many locals. My 89-yr-old friend used her button last week, and all worked well. (She's fine.)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:02AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Mom had home health care that would come and check on her and take her blood etc, the alert was I believe through that and I believe that medicare paid for it. We did not have to pay for it, I checked with my sisters to see if anyone of them paid for it they said no it was covered through something she had. I don't know any particulars on the type or brand unfortunately, this is in Louisiana.

I looked on google for any info on that and found this info at the link below.
Will Medicaid pay for my medical alert system?

This post was edited by ravencajun on Sun, May 19, 13 at 14:18

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Medicaid may pay for them, but basic Medicare doesn't.
If someone has a Medicare supplemental plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan - they may pay some or all.

Don't confuse the two government plans. Medicare is for seniors, Medicaid is for people of any age who are below an income level.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:14PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

oops got it right in the link but typed it wrong in the post, or my tablet decided to auto correct me and I missed it, which happens too often. Thanks for pointing that out. I do think that some of the additional plans might cover parts under special circumstances. I think hers was directly associated with the home health care aspect, but could not swear to it. She did actually fall and broke her hip and had to have replacement.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:15PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Interesting that I just now saw an ad on TV for the 5 star system, sold through Walmart with no contact and it looks like $15 a month. This one is different it even works away from home through GPS tracking! looks good.

Here is a link that might be useful: 5star

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:00PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

at this Walmart link are many questions that are answered, and there is a $10 discount available mentioned in this link. It mentioned it utilizes the Verizon cellular towers but you don't have to pay Verizon it is included in the monthly fee. that link has the discount.

Here is a link that might be useful: answers

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:17PM
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Thanks for all the info. Raven. I'll look into them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Here yet again, no one system is a one-size-fits-all. And my cell phone costs $5-$7/month so it would be cheaper, especially if it's a situation used for emergency or low use. However either system comes down to the question, will the person use it? If they won't carry the phone, which can go around the neck, in the pocket, on a holster or whatever, will they carry the alert thing? Some have already given examples of people who won't use it. My dad was one who would probably die before he would push a help button. He'd have had to admit that he needed help! He would however likely call someone and casually mention something was wrong. It's the way he was.

And both have the disadvantage that under certain circumstances or certain injuries they couldn't be used. Also, cells do *not* work everywhere. Some phones are worse than others too. You can't make blanket statements on things like this. Research is required. There's so many variables.

Let us know what you find. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:53AM
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The way they make their money is the billing charge and there is a scam going around where they call and tell you that the alarm that you wear has been bought and paid for by a friend or relative and they need a delivery address... Yeah ...right! unless you know this to be a can bet you are being scammed....and they are going to deliver it and start billing you...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 8:49AM
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We have the Life Alert for my Mom. It cost 29.99 a month. She has a bracelet and a necklace so she can choose which is more comfortable. She has had to use it one time and everything worked just fine. She still lives alone and we had no worries about that other than what if she fell or got injured and couldn't get to the phone. We have also told her that it can be used for any emergency, say a fire or if someone tried to break in. The peace of mind for all of us is worth the price.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:32PM
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If you do decide to go with one of the services, the big question is, will your mom use it? I've heard from a couple of friends that their relatives "didn't want to bother anyone" and thought their episode didn't warrant pushing the button. Frustrating! So be sure she knows she can and should push it for any reason she thinks help would be a good idea.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:17PM
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havn't a clue what fil pays for the service but it really doesn't matter if you don't wear or use the device!

he's so frustrating! just last week fell in the garage, which he had no reason to be in...(he had a garage sale last fall) so only the car and the new ramp (in boxes dh is going this week to install) are in there...thanks be he was ok this make sure mom will use it!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:20PM
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My 88 year old MIL has one (the necklace type) that came with her home security system. I have no idea how much she pays for it. She did NOT use the necklace until after she had a stroke last year and laid on the floor for about 8 hours (until one of her kids came to check on her). Now she wears it all the time.

I'm not sure she would have pressed the button even after she had had the stroke because she was convinced that the emergency workers would break down her door. Her community has a 911 program where a key can be put in a lock box on the front door.. the code to open the box is given to a 911 worker and kept on file, a sticker is put on the person's front door... if there is a call to the home emt's can open the box, get the key out and open the door. I think she feels secure now because she is taking part in this program and would now use the medical alert button if she needed to.

And like someone else mentioned, these only work so far from the base. It will work in the yard and throughout the house, but not if she is off somewhere in a car.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Of course my mom will use it. My time is precious and so is yours. This thread would be redundant if there is even a small possibility that my mom wouldn't use it. After all, it involves money.

CurlySue, thanks for much for your information. This is exactly the sort of information I was looking for. Many thanks again.

Again, I'm looking for a service for my mom to use within the apartment. She won't need it when she leaves the apartment because she has her cell in her purse at an easy reached distance. Plus, she'd be with somene since she can't drive.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:36PM
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lydia1959 has described the type of alert necklace that I have been looking into. I live in Canada - our home security company does not offer this service. You have to take it out yourself - cost being monthly about mid $30 range plus taxes. You can pay extra and get a lockbox to hold a key so that first responders can enter your premises. And I would want one that if you don't move for X amount of time you would be called. That was always a problem, you could be doing everything right but be unconscious and not able to press the help button. Actually, my doctor recommends that anyone who lives alone have such an alert system - regardless of their age. Just think of the accidents that can happen at home regardless of age. When my husband is away I am terrified I will have some sort of accident/health issue - and we have a dog - and no family - it is the dog I am worried about, not me. Since I am no longer working and we do not have family, no one would be looking for me. I do not have a cell phone - besides if I were unconscious it wouldn't help anyway. My husband calls every day when he is away, but time could well be of the essence.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Just be very sure, as you research, WHERE the operators who will be entrusted with the task of helping your loved one in an emergency are seated. Years ago, one of the well-advertised companies, had their call center a few miles from my house. Now? Many are using people in 3rd world countries to handle the calls and alert emergency personnel. I don't know about you, but I do NOT want to pay money to have someone halfway round the world, who may not speak English as their first language, have life and death power over my relatives.
It's something important to check now, and then to check up on periodically in the future

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 6:51PM
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We got one of those for my MIL about 5 or 6 years ago. She started talking about them after my SIL had a stroke and laid on the floor for 8 hours until her DH came home from work. As a result of that stroke she has been in a nursing home and cannot move the right side of her body. Now if she had one of these maybe things would be different, but, she was only in her sixties and in good health didn't think she needed one.

So, we got it for my MIL as a birthday gift (it sure makes it easy every year as to what we are going to get her besides sending her flowers) and she just loves it. She and we have piece of mind. We live a little more than hour away so it will take time for us to react in an emergency. It not only works in the house, but, we went outside in the yard and it worked as far as across the street into her neighbors drive way. So this way if she is outside near the house all she has to do is push the button if she needs help.

The company is US and their operators are all US based. We did everything online with them including paying them every year. I would highly recommend them.

The name of the company is Alert One

Here is a link that might be useful: Alert One

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 9:29PM
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