Medical alert systems provide seniors with an invaluable connection to the outside world that can help them retain their independence and remain in their own homes for as long as possible.
Seniors who are living with a visual impairment may find medical alert systems particularly useful because these devices make help available with the push of a button. Features like fall detection are important for any adult, but the risk of falling is more than doubled for those who are visually impaired.
The most popular medical alert systems are all designed to be reliable and easy to use. In this short list, we’ll look at some of the best products for blind seniors based on their usability and key features.
Medical Alert Systems to Consider for Visually Impaired Seniors
LifeFone - At-Home and On-The-Go: Best For Free Spouse Monitoring
LifeFone has been providing emergency monitoring systems since 1976, which makes it one of the oldest surviving providers of medical alert systems. It uses U.S.-based contact centers and has a good reputation for developing high-quality equipment.
LifeFone offers free spousal monitoring on its in-home systems. All systems come with an extra button as standard that can be used as a backup or by a second member of the household. There’s a nominal fee to add an extra fall detection pendant, but even with this fee, LifeFone can still be a good deal for two-person households.
The company provides a variety of wearables to suit most seniors. Options range from simple pendants with a single push button that’s easy for visually impaired persons to operate to vanity pendants that look more like jewelry. The help buttons offer two-way communication with clear, loud speakers, so users should find communicating with the contact center quite easy.
Philips Lifeline - GoSafe 2: Best For Ease of Use
Philips Lifeline is another long-standing brand in the medical alert industry. The company was originally called Lifeline Systems and began offering medical alert devices to consumers in the 1980s. Its reputation grew, and Philips acquired the brand in 2006.
Philips Lifeline offers four medical alert systems for the mainstream market. The GoSafe 2 is an on-the-go system that’s easy to use and features a wearable with a large, raised button that visually impaired persons should find easy to activate.
Besides the help button, there are several useful extras, including a medication dispenser with an audible alarm that’s ideal for helping seniors keep track of their day-to-day prescriptions. Philips Lifeline includes fall detection as a standard feature with the GoSafe 2, and the device uses cellular, GPS and Wi-Fi for improved location tracking.
The battery life on the GoSafe 2 is up to three days, and the wearable is waterproof, which allows seniors to keep it with them in the shower. The monthly fee is higher than some rivals, but the reliability and ease of use make it an appealing option.
Medical Guardian - Freedom Guardian: Best For: Long Battery Life
Founded in 2005, Medical Guardian is a relatively new contender in the marketplace. The company has a reputation for excellent customer service and is highly regarded for its policy of never upselling a product that a person doesn’t need.
Medical Guardian’s products stand out for the company’s fast shipping, the wide range of devices they offer, the availability of a caregiver app and the motion sensors that are included in some packages. These features give loved ones peace of mind knowing that if something happens to the senior they care for, they’ll be alerted promptly.
Another noteworthy feature of Medical Guardian’s devices is that they have a long battery life. This is important for those with visual impairments because they may fail to notice cues to charge other devices. By choosing a pendant with a multiday battery life, they’re more likely to be able to keep up with the device’s charging requirements.
Medical Guardian offers monthly, quarterly and annual pricing. There are discounts for users who sign up for longer subscription plans. If someone needs to cancel a prepaid subscription, they can request a prorated refund.
Which System is Best?
The above medical alert systems each have a lot to offer. However, the ultimate choice comes down to personal preference.
Philips Lifeline’s added extras, which include a medication dispenser, may be useful for those who have additional needs. The spouse monitoring offer from LifeFone makes it a good choice for couples who both require a monitoring device. Medical Guardian’s caregiver app might be the deciding feature for someone who lives alone and wants their children to check in remotely.
It’s worth contacting a few of the best medical alert system providers and asking about trying the device for a few days. Many providers offer a no-obligation trial to give seniors the opportunity to test the device and make sure it works for them. Not all companies do this however. Some may charge a restocking or cancellation fee, so it’s important to check first before ordering a device just to try it out.