Risks of Medical Alert Systems That You Should Know Before You Buy

A good medical alert system gives you the additional peace of mind that comes with knowing that should your elderly loved one be in an emergency or need help, assistance is just the press of a button away. However, as with any type of technology, even medical alert systems have their limits. For example, a sad case in Connecticut involved a lady losing her life after pressing her medical alert call button, but being unable to get transferred through to the call center because her phone was off the hook. So even the most advanced and reliable of medical alert systems are not without their flaws. If you’re considering getting a medical alert system for an elderly loved one, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Risks and Limits:

Generally, medical alert systems are highly useful devices for their wearers and their families. However, there are some risks and limits that could arise, that it’s useful to be aware of before you invest in a system for your relative. For example, the system could become disconnected from the phone line, or the phone could be off the hook, leaving it impossible to get through. Pendants can also be taken off or left behind, and the unit may not work if your loved one finds themselves in trouble outside of the base unit range. System malfunctions, power outages, and a run-down battery can also lead to further risks.

Combatting Risks:

The good news is that there are several things that you can do when purchasing a medical alert system in order to keep all risks down to a minimum. For example, if you are worried about your loved one being unable to contact help because the phone is off the hook, you could consider a cellular option, which works through the wearer’s mobile phone network and eliminates the risk of disconnection. Check the range of the system before you buy too – the base unit range can go from 600ft all the way up to 1500ft, so consider which is going to be more suitable for your loved one’s needs. And, think of their preferences when choosing a pendant or a bracelet. Finally, be prepared to regularly test the unit to ensure that everything is working correctly.


When choosing a medical alert system, there are a few essential features to have in order to keep risks to a minimum and get the most out of the device for your loved one. Choose an alert system that comes with fall detection; this will ensure that if your loved one is confused, unconscious, in pain or otherwise unable to press the button themselves, the alert system will still send a notification that they need help. You should also look for a system with a long back-up battery life; the last thing that you want is for them to be unable to contact help if they are left with no power. Check news and reviews before you buy; you may have to find an alternative if these features aren’t offered.

Medical alert systems can be a great solution for keeping an elderly loved one safe and connected, but it’s important to be aware of the risks and how to keep them low.