Best Types of Medical Alert Systems for Active Seniors
Active seniors will benefit from the freedom that mobile medical alert systems offer. These systems are not all created equal, though. There are several types, catering to different budgets and activity levels.
Two-piece systems come in, you guessed it, two pieces! The portable base station and wearable help button should be kept with you at all times. The base station can be clipped to your waist, thrown in a purse, or hidden in a pocket. The wearable help button is worn around the neck or wrist.
When the help button is pressed, the base station calls the emergency monitoring center. This only works if you’re within range. For example, you can’t go on a hike wearing your help button and leave the base station in your car; you’ll need to bring both pieces with you. Seniors who don’t want to wear a bulky system and would like a lightweight help button may prefer a two-piece system.
Convenience is a big selling point for all-in-one systems. The unit has a built-in two-way speaker, GPS location technology, and a help button. It has everything you need to stay protected in a single piece of tech that you wear on your belt or around your neck. The drawback? With all of those features packed in, these pieces can be a bit bulky and heavy. We’d recommend an all-in-one system for seniors who like to travel, go on long walks, or garden.
Similar to an all-in-one system, a smartwatch medical alert system features a speaker, GPS technology, and a help button. About 17 percent of Americans over the age of 50 wear a smartwatch or fitness tracker, so it makes sense for medical alert systems to follow suit. If you’re a fitness enthusiast who would enjoy tracking your activity and heart rate, a smartwatch medical alert system is a great option. Even if you’re not fitness-obsessed, it is a discreet way to gain medical alert protection. It just looks like a fancy smartwatch!
Tips for Choosing a Medical Alert System for Your Lifestyle
Still not sure which type of on-the-go system is right for you? Check out our recommendations based on your favorite activities.
- The jogger: A daily brisk walk or jog is a great way to get the heart rate up and increase blood flow to the brain. Kudos to you! A smartwatch system that you wear around your wrist would be best when you’re on a run. If walking is more your style, an all-in-one pendant may be comfortable too.
- The golfer: If you’re out on the golf course most of the day, you don’t want anything interfering with your swing! A smartwatch medical alert system would be ideal, since you wear it on the wrist. Plus, if you skip the golf cart, you can get some cardio in and use the smartwatch to track your steps on the course.
- The yogi: A neck pendant simply won’t work for older adults who get on their mat for a regular Downward-Facing Dog pose. For yoga, try a two-piece system with the base station near your mat and the help button on your wrist, or a smartwatch system.
- The artist: Whether you paint, sculpt, draw, or play music, a two-piece or all-in-one system with a neck pendant would work well. That way, nothing is on your wrist while you’re creating with your hands.
Fall Detection for Active Seniors
If you’re set on purchasing a medical alert system, your next question may be, “Do I need fall detection?” Adding fall detection usually costs an extra $5 to $10 per month, so it’s a question worth asking. If you have experienced a fall in the past, have noticed a decline in your cognition, or have hearing loss, you may be at higher risk of falling.3 If you can afford the extra cost every month, fall detection does boost the protection your system offers.
Keep in mind that fall detection is not available on smartwatches or other mobile systems worn around the wrist. Fall detection pendants typically need to be worn around the neck for the most accuracy. For more information, check out our list of the best medical alert systems with fall detection.