There is probably no one in America who hasn’t seen a variation of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial. It is effective because it’s memorable, but also because you never want your loved one to be in an emergency and not to be able to reach a phone or get the help they need. 

If you have someone in your life who needs an emergency monitoring system for one reason or another, it isn’t just a convenience; their life is likely depending on it. Finding the right one, literally, can make the difference between life and death.

The good news is that thanks to new technological advances, the options for emergency monitoring systems and accessories have multiplied. That does not mean that not all monitoring devices are created equal, or that they are equally good for everyone who needs one. 

Before you invest in a monitoring system or trust that your loved one is safe when they are wearing it, it is important to ask yourself these three questions. Choose the right emergency monitoring system that will keep your loved one safe.

1. Do you want a system that is mobile or home-based?

When medical alert systems first came out, they only had one option and were made to monitor an entire home area. The reality is that a person can fall or need assistance anywhere, not just when they are in their house. 

If you have someone who is homebound, investing in a personal monitoring accessory to wear around the house might be a good option. But, if you have someone who is medically fragile and might need emergency services when they are outside of the house, you don’t want to limit them with something that doesn’t have a large range.

Some systems that monitor an individual while at home can now be streamed over a mobile network. That way, people can be out and about and still press a button to get emergency services when they need them. 

Mobile systems use GPS technology to not only call for help, but also locate the person if they are unable to give an address or are incapacitated. You never have to worry that they won't be found. With the mobile versions, all you have to do is press a button, and a service will not only know you need help, but will also be able to find you no matter where you are.

2. Is a fall-detection feature necessary?

If you have a loved one who lives on their own and falls, will they be conscious or able to press the button on their emergency alert? 

Manufacturers now make emergency monitoring systems that have a built-in fall-detection system that will automatically alert emergency personnel if someone falls over or trips and falls. Although not completely refined just yet, these new systems are already proving to be very useful.

It is not unusual for someone who needs a personal emergency monitoring system to lose their balance and fall. If this person should become unconscious, then you will want the security of knowing that they won’t be out of luck if they are unable to press a button. 

If you have someone who isn’t steady on their feet, it might be best to get a device that has a fall-detection feature to help determine if they have had an accident.

3. Does the system need to be monitored?

Some personal monitoring systems are monitored around the clock day in and day out. They are excellent for someone who is trying to maintain their independence without being completely able to.

Making sure that there is someone live to talk to or to watch out and monitor your loved one is a huge relief when you can't be there. 

There are also systems that have an emergency alert to call friends and family members if something happens. These options are slightly less expensive because they don’t always require a high monthly fee. These devices don’t typically insist that you sign a contract for use. If you don’t need monitoring around the clock and are just looking for a little bit of security for your loved one who is getting a bit older, a non-monitored system might be good enough and save you a few pennies.

Personal monitoring systems are a great way to allow someone who might not be completely safe living alone to maintain their independence. These devices and accessories also give family members a little bit of security by letting them know that help is available should need it. 

To choose the best option, think about your specific circumstances and how much assistance your loved one will need.