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How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Our Caregiving Expert, Amy Goyer, recently wrote an article on how to choose the best medial alert system for your loved one. If your loved one uses one, which one is it and what do you like or dislike about it? 

 

You can read the article HERE

 

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AARPJen
Caregiving Concierge
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I want to make your readers aware of a medical alert company that is taking advantage of the elderly via aggressive telemarketing practices and extremely high cancellation fees: Stay Safe Alert Inc of Logan, Utah.  My 84 year old mother, who is hard of hearing and suffering slight dementia, gave into one of their telemarketers without our knowledge and ordered their system. It came with a lengthy contract with cancellation terms of a $75 fee if cancelled within 3 years. We recently moved my Mother into assisted living where they have their own system. When we cancelled with Stay Safe Alert, they informed us of their policy. The people we spoke to were rude and had no remorse about taking advantage of their customers. If you’re going to charge such an exorbitant fee, be upfront about it before you ask someone to sign a contract. $75 is a lot of money for people on a fixed income. 

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AARP Expert

@RobertR30102 Thank you for letting people know about your mother's experience. As I say in my article (referenced in the first post of this thread), no one should accept a contract with any cancellation fees! It's just so frustrating when the telemarketers target older adults who are vulnerable and unprepared to make decisions about this sort of thing. I agree - $75 is a lot of money! Anyone who needs a medical alert system could be facing a move some day - whether to live with a family member or in a facility etc. So any system/plan should have ability to be cancelled at any point in time - no fees! 

 

Thanks again for reminding people to look at the fine print - and urge loved ones to talk with you before they sign any contracts too.

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

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Sad to say, Robert, that many of these companies use the same tactics. My father and his second wife got an alert system from Life Alert; after she died we moved Dad in with my sister, who is providing full-time care. Obviously he didn't need the alert any more, but they refused to cancel the contract without full payment for the year and a half remaining on the contract. I think there should be exceptions made for this type of situations, but obviously for these companies it remains profit over compassion. 

AARP Expert

@j984701s I agree! 

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@PhillL907976 Hi Phil! I'm glad you found my column helpful! It can seem an overwhelming task to choose a medical alert.

 

That's a long list you found! It's too many to contact all of them, so if I were you I'd choose about 5 to contact (maybe a mix of the more well known companies and a few of the smaller, newer ones) and make notes about all of the issues I outlined in my column. Then compare. Be sure to remember the #1 thing - you should not have to get locked into a long-term contract; you should be able to stop the service at any time with no penalty. (This is important if you or your loved ones don't need it anymore, or if you choose one and are dissatisfied and want to change.)

 

I believe it's a good idea to look at reviews as long as you keep them in perspective. Are the reviews from verified users of the product? Are they paid reviews? Do the negative reviews far outweigh the positive or are there just a few? How recent are the negative reviews? 

 

You may be able to elimnate some of them, and if so you could contact a  few more.

 

I hope this is helpful! Please let me know if I can be of more help, and let us know how you did! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

 

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I get so many questions from caregivers about which medical alert system (or PERS) to choose - hope this article I wrote is helpful! I'd love to hear from you which features you look for and what you like best. Are they simple to use or complicated? Has a medical alert system saved the life of someone you know? 

 

Thanks!
Amy 

Regular Contributor

I read your article and found it to be very helpful.  It makes it easier to understand and plan.

Tom Higgins
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AARP Expert

@oldmandigital Thank you Tom! I'm so glad you found it helpful. Good luck in your planning and choosing a medical alert. Let me know if I can be of any further help!

 

Take care,
Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert
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