GPS or In-Home Medical Alert System: Which is Right for You?

AARP Lady lighthouse 1200x800

Equipping yourself with a medical alert system offers great protection against falls or other mishaps. It’s up to you to choose which one works best for you and how you live.

GPS versus In-Home System

The Medical Alert’s GPS-enabled mobile system is a heavyweight in protection but delivered in a lightweight package as a wearable pendant or bracelet. Yet with this super-light item, disguised as an accessory, you can be tracked wherever you go and have a comfortable sense of safety trailing you.

For instance, if you fall in the parking lot of the gym (did someone say Murphy’s law?), emergency services can find you with a simple push of your medical alert button.

With a standard medical alert device, you need to be at home to enjoy the security benefits. Whether you purchase the Medical Alert device that is tied to your landline or the version tied to a wireless base unit, your system will call an emergency response team for help at the press of a button. Whether landline or wireless unit, both in-home systems call the emergency medical technician with the same speed when a mishap occurs and you need emergency help. Once you push the button, someone will stay on the line until help arrives.

In terms of aesthetics, the in-home bracelet and pendant are similar in style to the GPS medical alert device. The lightweight appeal of the pendant is especially nice; people tend not to notice wearing it. Plus, the pendant can be tucked into a shirt, if you’d prefer that. The bracelet looks similar to the wearable fitness trackers so popular these days and feels much like wearing a watch.

When making the decision between a GPS or an in-home medical alert system, you’ll probably think about your lifestyle, and you’re right to do so. Did you know that falls are more likely to occur outdoors than indoors for active older adults? That’s why choosing the add-on fall detection system with your medical alert device is a smart move. Accidents often happen when you’re doing everyday activities such as walking the dog, taking the trash to the curb, and getting mail, so that extra fall protection will give you peace of mind when out and about.

Here are some points to consider when choosing the medical alert system that’s right for you and your lifestyle:

  • One in four adults fall each year.
  • Falls occurred outdoors more often than indoors for adults ages 45 and older, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.
  • People with more leisure time activities have a higher risk of outdoor falls.
  • Walking was the most common fall-related activity.
  • People in poorer health have a higher risk of indoor falls.
  • Most outdoor falls are precipitated by environmental factors, such as uneven surfaces and tripping or slipping on objects.

Most falls involved sidewalks, curbs, and streets.

You can take a few other preventive measures to lessen your risk for falls outdoors or indoors, say experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ask your doctor for assessments of:

  • Your gait. How well do you walk?
  • Your feet. Do you need to go to the podiatrist and have been neglecting that?
  • Your medications. Are you on any medications that cause side-effects that contribute to falls? According to the CDC, a whopping 3 in 4 adults are on such a medication. See if another prescription or over-the-counter medication would be a better alternative.

Prevention is the key to protection. A medical alert system can be both protective and preventive of disaster. Just knowing you can get help instantly when you need it instills confidence in the wearer.