Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) Provide All the Help You Need

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You’re driving to a place you’ve never been, and you turn left instead of right. No problem—it happens to everybody sometimes. But the next intersection says, “No U-Turn,” and before you know it, you’re two miles from where you wanted to be, the road is full of aggressive drivers, the neighborhood is turning sketchy, and you’re starting to feel uncomfortable. What do you do?

It’s 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night and you see a flash of light outside as you’re getting ready for bed. Probably nothing. At 10:10, you think you see it again. Is it just kids taking selfies? Somebody with a flashlight looking for a lost set of keys? Somebody in your yard, doing something worse? What do you do?

You’ve just exited the mega-mall from a different door than the one you came in through. Now everything looks like a sea of cars. Where did you park, again? The sun is setting soon. Twenty minutes later, still looking for your car, you’re starting to feel not only anxious but also hot, tired and a bit dizzy. What do you do?

Personal Emergency Response Systems are so Much More Than Help When You’ve Fallen

With advances in global positioning (GPS) technology, cellular communications, call center operations and more, you may be surprised to learn these situations can be resolved with the push of a single button, such as the 5 Star Urgent Response button on a medical alert device or a cell phone for seniors from GreatCall.

The first generations of personal emergency response systems (PERS) were tied to homes and landlines. They offered independence and peace-of-mind, for both users and families, by dispatching assistance if something unexpected happened near their base unit. But once subscribers stepped outside, all bets were off, and the emergency response device no longer worked.

But modern, mobile personal emergency response devices can go everywhere and do everything. As flexible and active as the people who choose them, these alert systems offer both convenience and expert help in a wide range of form factors. Whether the medical alert device is embedded within a wearable device, a smartphone or a flip-phone, the latest generation of single-touch emergency assistance technology goes where you go, placing highly trained, instantly accessible help at your fingertips wherever there’s cellular coverage.

4 Critical Considerations When Choosing a Medical Alert Device

If you’re considering a personal emergency response device like the Lively Mobile or a phone with integrated single-touch emergency alert response, here are some of the issues you should consider.

1. Wear or carry?

Some people are quite happy to have their emergency help button integrated into their phones, and if you already have a Jitterbug Flip or Jitterbug Smart from GreatCall, 5Star Urgent Response can be added to your service plan with a single call. Others will decide they want the added assurance of a separate, wearable medical alert device that’s with them all day and night, around their neck, on their wrist, in a pocket, or clipped on their waistband.

2. Neck or wrist?

If you want a medical alert system with fall detection, it’s important to understand the device’s accuracy depends on wearing the device around your neck. It can even tell the difference between a person falling and just dropping the wearable on the floor! On the other hand (no pun intended), waterproof wrist-worn medical alert devices can go in the shower or bathtub with you (just like a neck-worn model). They also integrate with your smartphone to track your steps.

3. Who’s on the other end of the call?

When it comes to medical alert systems and devices, not all are created equal. Does the company have its own staff, or does it outsource? What’s the average emergency response time? In an emergency (medical, mall-related, or otherwise) you want somebody to pick up in seconds, not minutes. Are there doctors and nurses available for questions about medications or sudden symptoms? Are the people who answer calls certified emergency response operators? Who will they notify of an emergency when you press the button on your end?

4. What’s it going to cost?

As with many things we purchase today, the devil is in the details. When you are comparison shopping, make sure you understand all the costs. Are there long-term contracts? Is emergency service call usage unlimited? Do you own the device? (You don’t want to hesitate in a borderline situation because you’re worried about dollars and cents, after all.)

Choosing a Personal Emergency Response System

Shopping for a personal emergency response device is a lot like shopping for a car. In the end, no matter how many different options you consider along the way, you will find a solution that’s right for you. And it will bring empowering technology into your day-to-day life, helping you keep doing all the things you love independently—at your own pace, in your own home, on your own terms. A medical alert device can help you or your loved one feel safe, stay connected, and independent.

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Tagged with: active aging, aging, aging in place, alzheimers, caregiver, caregivers, caregiving, elderly, family caregiving, independent living, lively mobile, mPERS, PERS, personal emergency response device, resources, safety, seniors, technology

1 thought on “Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) Provide All the Help You Need

  1. Jessica M.
    June 9, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I really appreciated the information about cost. I was so surprised to see that medical alert devices are recurring and high-cost investments. I’ve been doing some cost-comparison (, however, and there are affordable options out there! They may just be slightly harder to find.

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