Mary wrote to ask this question:
I’m 65 yrs of age, I live alone and my nearest relative, my daughter, lives about 20 minutes away from me. I got a little dizzy about 8 months ago, and I drove myself to the emergency room. The doctor read me the riot act, and told me never to do that again. I live in a not so decent area of Prince Georges County Maryland, and I really don’t trust my neighbors. That sounds horrible but its the truth. I need to have access to someone who will respond quickly when needed. I use my cell phone at home. I have no land line service and I am looking for a company that caters to cell phone users.
Thanks for your questions. (And thank you for being specific — I’ve had a few people write me just a couple of words, and it really doesn’t give me enough to go on!)
The cellular based products are evolving rapidly. Just last week I spent an hour on the phone with a startup company that wants to design a really top-notch cellular medical alert. They asked all the right questions about what people really need, and I’m confident when it comes out it’s going to be great, but they are still a LONG way from having a product for sale.
That said, there are several companies that offer cellular versions of the “classic” medical alert systems. These are the ones with the base station speakerphone that only work well if you’re inside your home and it’s not noisy.
For example, https://www.alertresponse.com/products/cellular-pers/ and http://www.neers.com/products_cell_pers.php. But don’t click yet! One of them doesn’t say what the cost is, and the other quotes $47 a month, which seems really high.
For a much more affordable solution, take a look at the 5Star Responder from GreatCall. While I haven’t ever actually held one of these in my hands, I’ve talked to the company and read their materials closely. For about $15 a month you get a simple device that can get help for you anywhere you have a cell signal. It works two ways. First, if you press the button you get connected to the response center. They can call your daughter if that’s all you need, or call the ambulance for you if it’s an emergency. The unit has GPS so the response center knows where you are. The second way you can use it is to hold down the button for 5 seconds, which makes the unit call 911 directly. This can save time in a true life-threatening emergency.
On their website they encourage people to use the system not just for emergencies, but also if you’re alone in a dark parking garage and just need the comfort of having someone on the other end of the phone, etc.
Here’s the link to more information on my website: https://findtherightalert.com/the-5star-responder-personal-gps-device
(Full disclosure: If you click a link or ad on that page and purchase the device online, Great Call will give me a small commission. That’s what ends up paying for my time to maintain the website and respond to questions. If you complete the transaction by phone or go straight to greatcall.com, there’s no commission. Either way, your cost is exactly the same. I appreciate when people use my affiliate link, but it’s not required!)
Since your neighbors aren’t that trustworthy, please consider getting a lockbox for your house key and giving the code number to your daughter and to whatever service you end up choosing. That way emergency responders can get into the house without damaging anything if you’re unable to answer the door. They’re available on Amazon for around $20.
I hope this all helps. Let me know if you have more questions! And happy holidays to you and your family.