When medical alert services were first introduced more than 40 years ago, they were revolutionary for some seniors. They allowed seniors to remain independent longer and continue living in their own homes. In the early 1970s, though, these systems consisted of little more than a bulky help button device and a speakerphone.
As technology has progressed, so, too, has the sophistication of help button devices and medical alert systems. Today, your medical alert service offers even more freedom and more protection than it could have just a few years ago, and the devices are lightweight, sleek, and waterproof. Here are some of the ways these once-simplistic devices have become high-tech gadgets.
The Addition of Voice Extenders
It goes without saying that speakerphone systems have come a long way since the early ’70s. There are better microphones available, so when a call is made, it’s easier for you and the call center attendant to hear one another. Louder speakers can also be built into smaller base units, meaning the call can be heard throughout the average home.
If the unit still isn’t loud enough, voice extenders are available today that weren’t around four decades ago. These wireless units are like a smaller version of the base unit and can extend the reach of the system at least 800 more feet. This is great for larger homes or if you need extra coverage in your yard or garage.
The Availability of Mobile Systems With GPS
In the past, your medical alert system could primarily only be used in or around your house. If you wanted to go farther than your mailbox, you would have to rely on a mobile phone for assistance. Today, though, mobile personal emergency response systems allow you to take your device with you on the go.
With GPS — as well as other locating technologies — systems like Philips Lifeline GoSafe allow seniors to remain active and continue enjoying the activities they’ve always enjoyed. This medical alert service uses cellular networks to contact the call center when needed, and uses satellite navigation technology, cell phone triangulation, and a number of other technologies to locate the exact place where a call is made.
One of the most common injuries seniors suffer from a fall is a head injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even a minor bump on the head can leave you dazed or confused for a moment. This is why some medical alert systems now feature fall detection technology built into the pendants, which will promptly place a call when a fall is suspected. There are still limitations to this technology, however, such as not detecting certain types of falls. Even so, the Philips Lifeline system has a reported 95 percent rate of accuracy.
Medical alert system designers have embraced new technology and have used it to provide their customers with better solutions than were available just a few years ago. From fall detection to mobile units, these systems can help seniors remain active and independent far longer than previously possible. As technology continues to advance, there will be even more upgrades and improvements to these systems.