It used to be that all medical alarms were for home-bound people.
Now there are dozens of systems on the market that work anywhere you go. These mobile medical alarms use cellular signals to communicate with the base station.
So if you have a good cell signal at your home, you can be covered there. And if there’s a good signal in the places you go, you’re covered there, too. (There isn’t good cell signal where I live, so these systems wouldn’t work for me.)
Mobile medical alarms are great for active people who want the reassurance of having a panic button they can press if they have an emergency.
But it’s tough for some people to choose between home-based and mobile medical alarms.
Given the choice between a bad mobile medical alarm and a good home-based medical alert with two-way communication through the pendant, I would choose the home-based system every time.
That’s because what you’re trying to protect yourself from is a fall or emergency that happens when you are alone.
Percentage-wise, this is a lot more likely to happen at home.
Sure, you can imagine a situation in which you’re out in public and no one notices you’re having an emergency, but it’s less likely. Most of the time there will be bystanders, and most people are helpful.
But if you’re comparing a great mobile medical alarm against a great home-based system, the choice is different.
There are two tradeoffs.
First is price. You’re going to pay a little bit more per month for a mobile system, so you need to make sure that’s a worthwhile investment.
Second is battery life. Mobile medical alarms need to be recharged from time to time while home-based medical alerts can go many months between battery changes.
How often? Most require recharging every 24 to 48 hours, though one system goes as long as 30 days between charges.
If you forget to recharge your pendant, it won’t work. So that’s kind of a big deal.
For those of us with smartphones, it’s a habit to plug the thing in every night. But if you’re buying a unit for someone who has never owned a phone, this will be a new pattern for them. And it could be tough.
The recharging habit also requires a pretty good level of cognitive functioning.
Modern mobile medical alarms like the Libris even include automatic fall detection. So they’re competitive with well known brands of home-based medical alarms like the Phillips LifeLine.
What other questions do you have about how to choose between these two different styles of medical alerts? Ask them in the comments.