And just to clarify, life alert and medical alert are both terms that are used to describe devices that can call for help if you can’t reach the phone.
Do you remember the TV ads? “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Young people like to laugh at this, but for elderly people or those with serious medical conditions, knowing that someone can come and help you is a big source of security.
My grandmother fell and broke her hip at age 95. It was late at night. She was walking down the stairs when she tripped. Since she like to be independent, she was in the house alone. She broke her hip and had to spend the night on the landing of the staircase. She couldn’t get downstairs to the phone and had to wait until the following afternoon, when someone came to visit, until she was able to get medical help.
You don’t want that to happen to you.
A life alert or medical alert system is really pretty easy to set up. In fact, many vendors of these services will come to your home and do it for you. (Just be aware that these providers will probably end up being more expensive than the ones who don’t do this.)
The system consists of two parts. The first is a base station that you plug into your phone and into an electrical outlet. Make sure you get a unit with good battery backup, of course, and check the batteries every few months. Some base stations are automatically set up to dial a particular monitoring center, and you’ll pay monthly for the monitoring service and peace of mind this provides. Other systems can be programmed to dial any number you choose in advance. Most of these types will dial up to 4 or 5 numbers in case the people you’re trying to reach aren’t home.
The other part of the system is a button that you wear or carry around. This button has to be set up to communicate with the base station (and not with your neighbor’s!). This should be an easy process. Then you’ll want to check the range of the button to make sure it works from everywhere you’ll be.
Make sure to test the system every few months. The unit will have instructions for doing this. You don’t want to get caught with a dead battery at the time you need it most!