Medical emergencies can happen at any moment, even when seniors are home alone. Faster response times from emergency personnel mean faster recovery times, but getting help quickly means someone needs to call 9-1-1. Medical alert systems provide a quick and easy solution to sudden medical problems, letting seniors instantly get in touch with assistance. Voice-activated medical alert devices take a basic system even further, allowing two-way communication, and some devices respond solely to voice commands. For seniors who may have trouble adapting to new technology, a simple, intuitive device that responds to a conversation is a great way to get help when needed.
Learn more about the best voice-activated medical alert devices, how these systems work and the costs associated with monitoring these devices.
Bay Alarm Medical offers a variety of medical alert systems designed to keep seniors safe and in touch with emergency services. The GetSafe medical alert system provides true voice activation. Both the base unit and small wall buttons activate by saying, “call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1.” For seniors who don’t like wearing a device, GetSafe is a great option for around the home. These devices don’t require a landline, and small wall buttons can be installed near the stairs, bathroom, kitchen or other areas where a senior might be at risk for a fall. For seniors who don’t mind wearables, a traditional pendant is available, and it comes with a five-year battery.
Equipment costs can be substantial when setting up a GetSafe system, but monitoring is affordable at just $24.95 per month. The company offers guidance to help consumers decide which system to purchase based on the size of the home that needs monitoring. For a small one-bedroom apartment, initial setup costs are estimated at $99. For larger four- or five-bedroom homes, standard packages start at $359.
Like GetSmart by Bay Alarm Medical, Medical Guardian offers a truly voice-activated medical alert device. Seniors get a touch-activated wearable to use while moving around the house and a wall-mounted button that responds to voice commands. To connect with the 24-hour monitored command center, seniors can simply say, “call Medical Guardian, call Medical Guardian” to get immediate assistance.
Currently, the voice-activated system is only available with the Classic Guardian or Family Guardian plans. Classic Guardian is for in-home use only and starts at $29.95 per month. It requires a landline connection and has a 1,300 square foot range. The Family Guardian system, which includes motion sensors to provide activity tracking to caregivers, starts at $79.95 per month and uses a cellular connection. Both systems offer Fall Detection for an additional $10 per month.
Freedom Guardian is another plan that has some voice capability. Instead of direct voice commands, it uses voice-to-text to send messages to a caregiver. At $44.95 per month, it’s slightly more expensive than a basic in-home plan, but the smart watch-style device offers connectivity anywhere with cell phone reception. This device isn’t compatible with voice-activated wall-mounted buttons.
Medical Care Alert offers several units with two-way voice communication, although they don’t respond to voice commands. After a button push to activate the communication option, seniors can talk normally with medical alert command center operators, family members and other caregivers, all hands-free. Medical Care Alert provides two plans with wearable devices with an onboard speaker and microphone: Home & Yard and Home & Away Elite.
The Home & Yard system lets seniors move around the house and a garden or patio area while still maintaining communication with the central base. Monitoring starts at $34.95 per month, and wearable devices have a 600-foot range from the base. Larger homes might need more units to ensure complete coverage of both the interior and the exterior. The voice pendant isn’t included in the basic package and has a one-time fee of $60.
The Home & Away Elite option starts at $39.95 per month and is a mobile solution to medical alert monitoring. The wearable device includes two-way voice communication and stays connected using the AT&T cell network. GPS tracking is also included to guide first responders to a senior’s location if they can’t communicate verbally. Fall detection is an available option at $10 per month, so if seniors can’t reach the button to activate emergency services, a notification can still be sent.
All Alert1 medical alert devices have two-way communication capabilities, including mobile pendants. For seniors who only need monitoring around the home, the Home Fall Detection package is available for $36.95 per month. The system runs on both landline and cellular systems, keeping seniors connected to the call center at all times. The 24-hour battery backup even allows for emergency notifications when the power is off.
For more active seniors who spend time traveling or out and about in their communities, the On-the-Go + Home Fall Detection system might be a better option. At $58.95 per month, this program includes home monitoring, mobile monitoring and fall detection, making it an affordable medical alert system. The wearable mobile device makes voice communication available at the press of a button, so seniors can always get in touch with the call center. It also uses GPS tracking to find seniors and direct emergency services to their location, even when they can’t respond to spoken information requests.
A medical alert system is not a substitute for a caregiver, but it can offer added peace of mind. When seniors are alone or taking care of personal needs, a fall can have serious consequences. Waiting for help can be scary, but voice-activated medical alert devices relieve a lot of the fear by giving seniors someone to talk to while waiting for an ambulance. Seniors know an ambulance is on the way, which is a relief all by itself.
For seniors with mobility challenges or for someone incapacitated by a fall or illness, a voice-activated device is a big plus. Instead of rushing to a wall-mounted unit, seniors can call out for help. Whether the response is via a wearable device or a wall-mounted unit, being able to verbally request assistance regardless of location is a benefit of using medical alert devices.
Currently, the only true voice-activated systems are available for in-home installation only. For those who want a device that doesn’t require the push of a button or a wearable device, totally voice-controlled wall-mounted units are probably the best choice. There are only a couple of options for voice-activated medical alert devices, but that may change as smart home features become more common.
For mobile assistance, many companies offer two-way communications at the touch of a button. If a senior is unable to reach the button, fall detection might automatically trigger a response. Seniors in public places may get help triggering an alert if they have a wearable on hand. When shopping for voice-activated medical alert devices, remember to consider the frequency and duration of out-of- home activities.