This article was originally published in 2011 and was updated in 2015.
Melanie Payne has written an article for the Ft Myers News-Press about one woman’s struggle to choose between a regular monitored medical alert and a mobile medical alert.
The article is about Bernice Upin, a mentally and physically active woman who is close to 90.
She already has a medical alert system called Lifeline, but she has been looking into a mobile system named MobileHelp because the Lifeline device only works if you’re within 600 feet of the receiver. That means that if you are active like Upin and you are outside walking around or in your car somewhere when you feel dizzy or get chest pains, you can’t use Lifeline to call for help.
MobileHelp, on the other hand, works with cellular and global positioning satellite technology. So when you press the button it not only makes the call, it transmits your location.
MobileHelp works with the AT&T network. They also have access to your medical records when you call, so if paramedics respond, they can be advised of your medical conditions, medications and allergies.
So why not just switch? Payne writes, “Mary Briggs, spokeswoman for Lee Memorial Health System, said the Lifeline system offers some advantages over other devices such as the one offered by MobileHelp.
“One feature that Lifeline has that MobileHelp doesn’t is a fall detector, Briggs said. This feature, which costs extra, senses when you have fallen and automatically contacts the system operator. You don’t have to be conscious and aware enough to press the button on your own.”
That’s a pretty good feature, if it works properly.
The hospital system that provides the Lifeline unit has looked into the MobileHelp device but was concerned about whether it would be reliable and whether the batteries would last long enough.
There are always concerns like this when a new technology is introduced. In my opinion, mobile medical alert devices will be the preferred devices in the future, but it may take a few years to work out all the bugs.
Update 2015: Medical Guardian now has a mobile medical alert with fall detection (aff).