Price – Medical alert companies charge a monthly fee for monitoring services. Compare pricing, features and servicing of each system. Also, ask if the price will increase. Some companies raise the monitoring fee every year.
"Our fee is $29.95 per month, for as long as the senior has the system. The price never goes up, so the senior and caregiver, many of whom are on tight budgets, don't have to worry about the cost going up unexpectedly."
Hidden Costs – There should be no up-front costs. Seniors should not have to pay for the transmitter or monitoring console. The systems should be included as part of the monthly fee.
Contracts – Don't sign a long-term contract. Caregivers and their aging parents should be able to cancel at any time. Read the agreement carefully before signing.
Experience – How long has the company been in business? Portability – Can the system be used when the elder is away from home – i.e., is it portable? Some companies offer a small base unit that is the size of an answering machine. "The senior can take the system with them when they travel, and it will work in all 50 states. It's great for snowbirds," Gross says.
Ease of Use –Try out the system and make sure it is easy to use. Is the emergency button large and easy for the senior to see and press? Are there any complicated instructions, buttons on the console or other features that might be troublesome for the elder to operate?
Waterproof – "Most accidents happen in the bathroom," Gross points out. Make sure the emergency button can be worn in the bath or shower.
Trained Operators – Find out what kind of training the monitoring center staff receives. It's all about the service. In the case of an emergency, when every second counts, you will want qualified care specialists to assist you and your parent.
Hours – Make sure the monitoring center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for both emergency monitoring and customer service. What happens if you are having difficulty using the system? Or perhaps you have questions about your service? Make sure to ask if the medical alert company has a 24/7-customer support line available in addition to monitoring service.
Testing – Your emergency response company should test the system on a regular basis to make sure it is functioning properly. Ask what procedures the center uses to test systems in your home. And how often are tests conducted? "Medical Alert receives a silent signal from the home on a weekly basis, to ensure that the customer's medical alert system is connected and functioning," Gross explains.
Repairs – Make sure your system includes repair and replacement service. Obtaining the right medical alert system is crucial for your security and peace of mind.
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