As a savvy consumer, you wouldn’t buy a house or rent an apartment without asking questions about the property first. You also wouldn’t buy the first car you see without learning about its features. And just as you would seek buying advice and do extensive research before making these and other purchases, choosing a medical alert device company for your loved one is no different.
Once you’ve noticed signs that your parent needs a medical alert system, the next step is doing some research to make sure you are getting the best deal from the best company for your needs. After all, your parent’s life may literally depend on it someday.
But how do you begin the research process? In the age of internet, we all seem to have information overload, making it difficult to know what to look for and which websites to trust. To help you navigate through this overwhelming process, be sure to find answers to these five important questions:
Are there any contracts or hidden fees?
This is one of the most important pieces of buying advice when it comes to senior alert systems: be wary of any company that requires you to sign a contract. Often times, there are hidden clauses deep within the contract that force you to commit to service for a specific amount of time and that allow the company to charge you unnecessary fees, like activation and equipment fees.
To save money in the long run, ask about the company’s billing and refund policies. Most don’t offer a price-lock guarantee, unlike Medical Guardian, meaning the company can -- and will -- raise your rates as they see fit. You should also confirm that the company will provide full, pro-rated refunds on long-term payments in the event you decide to cancel the service.
How does my parent receive help in an emergency, and will I be notified of the situation?
Especially if your parent is experiencing cognitive decline or suffers from a condition like Alzheimer’s disease, it’s imperative that their medical alert device is complication-free and easy to use. Take Medical Guardian’s senior alert systems, for example: in an emergency, all your parent has to do is push a button, and they will be instantly connected to our 24/7 monitoring center.
But it’s just as important for you to have the same peace of mind in an emergency as your loved one. That’s why after dispatching help, our operators will immediately notify you and your parent’s other listed emergency contacts of the situation, so you are always in-the-know when it comes to their well-being.
Where is the monitoring center located?
In an effort to cut costs, some companies have their monitoring center outside of the U.S., but a language barrier can be the difference between an immediate response and an emergency becoming even worse. To ensure that your parent will be able to clearly communicate with the operator, confirm that the company’s monitoring center is located within the U.S.
Another question to ask is whether or not the monitoring center can send emergency services, like EMTs, fire or police, and non-emergency services, like a family member, friend or neighbor. With this option, your parent can rest assured knowing that an ambulance won’t automatically be sent every time they use their medical alert device and that they will receive the type of help they need.
Is there a warranty on the equipment?
When it comes to senior alert systems, the quality of the equipment is essential to your loved one’s safety, and you should be wary of any company that does not include a warranty on their products. Without a warranty, you could be responsible for paying up to $350 if the equipment is ever lost, stolen or damaged.
It’s also important to know if the medical alert device company you choose will charge you a fee should the equipment need a new battery or is defective. Many senior alert systems come with a backup battery in case of emergency, such as a power outage in inclement weather, and can often be the only line they have to help should an accident occur.
What add-ons are available?
In addition to the standard equipment, many companies also offer add-ons that are designed to enhance your parent’s protection. One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to add-ons is a Lock Box, which safely stores a key outside of the home so that emergency responders don’t have to break down the door if your loved one is unresponsive or unable to get up. Not only could it help save your parent’s life, but it could also save them hundreds of dollars in damage to the door.
Fall detection is another popular add-on. Perfect for those who suffer from conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, a fall detection-equipped medical alert device will automatically call for help should your parent fall. Luckily, whether they want an extra layer of protection in the home or a mobile fall detection-equipped device, Medical Guardian has the product that best fits their lifestyle.
For even more buying advice, including what to do after the research phase is complete, click on the banner above to download our free Buyer’s Guide. The Medical Guardian Buyer’s Guide will provide you with an even more in-depth look into essential questions you need to ask a medical alert company, along with additional topics to consider like customer service, installation and third-party reviews.