Walmart does sell medical alert systems. Many seniors are already familiar with their local store and the big-box giant’s website is easy to use for those who prefer to shop online. However, there are pros and cons to buying a medical alert system from Walmart. While the store often has great deals on medical alert systems and similar products, many lack important features available with systems purchased directly through the manufacturer.
Walmart offers pendants and bracelets that assist seniors who need emergency aid. At the press of a button, these medical alert systems place a call to 9-1-1 or a caregiver. Seniors can talk to the designated contact and explain their situation. Depending on the model, it is possible to leave a recorded message as well.
Some systems work off a cell phone network. These portable medical alert systems cover seniors wherever they go, even if seniors have no cell phone service. Other units work through the landline within a certain distance of the monitor. Users can test the unit to determine how far the signal reaches in their homes.
Walmart sells both monitored and unmonitored medical alert systems. While monitored systems cost more because a monthly service fee is added on to cover the cost of 24/7 monitoring. Unmonitored units sold at Walmart don’t go through a call center, so there’s no monthly service fee. These units do still call 9-1-1 or the local emergency response number as well as a caregiver, which makes them attractive to low-income older adults.
Seniors or their loved ones can buy a medical alert system at Walmart and immediately take it home, or order online and receive it in about one week. Additionally, these systems are designed for easy setup.
The top medical alert systems have consultants on hand to talk about each type of unit they sell and help users figure out which one is best for them. When buying a unit at Walmart, seniors will have to do their own research and hope they make the best decision for their needs.
Inexpensive price points could lure seniors into choosing a product that doesn’t suit their needs. For instance, many seniors and caregivers want a reliable device with safety features that cost more than the basic medical alert unit. For seniors with medical conditions that include a high fall risk, optional fall detection can be a lifesaver. However, due to the allure of Walmart’s low prices, seniors may choose a system that doesn’t have the features they really need, putting themselves at risk of injury.
Some of the systems that Walmart sells don’t have upgrade options. Buyer’s remorse could set in after a senior is using a newly purchased medical alert system that doesn’t have the features they really need to be safe and feel secure. Unfortunately, with an inexpensive, base model sold at Walmart, upgrading safety features isn’t an option. That means older adults who run their own errands, hike or bike may have to do without that alert button that travels with them to the store or local park. Caregivers who decide after the purchase that they need location tracking for vulnerable loved ones as well as an inactivity alert won’t be able to add-on these features after purchase. While additional features may not seem important at the time of purchase, they may become necessary over time as seniors age and experience unexpected health issues.
Generally, medical alert systems sold at Walmart don’t have all the available features that more expensive medical alert systems have—and that may be imperative as seniors age and develop complications with their health. Getting a great deal on an alert system at Walmart is beneficial for seniors who don’t have worrisome medical challenges and those who can’t afford more expensive options but still want the peace of mind knowing they can access 9-1-1 or a loved one in case of an emergency.