Alerting devices tell a caregiver that you might be in danger or need help. Reasons to consider carrying an alert device include being at risk of falling or getting lost.
Remember that you should always use other methods of prevention in addition to an alert device. Make environmental changes to decrease the likelihood of an incident occurring, and practice safety skills to lessen the impact of a fall or wandering event.
What kinds of alert devices are there?
Alert systems without a monthly fee include in-home pager systems (such as nurse call buttons) and 911 call buttons. These can be mounted on a wall or carried in your pocket. They operate through radio signals or telephone lines, rather than cellular data. Learn more from companies like DayTech and LogicMark.
Monitored Medical Alerts
Companies like Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical have live operators that will speak to you when you press your alert button. You pay a monthly fee for this service. This allows you to choose who gets notified when you need help. Sometimes you might prefer to get help from a family member or neighbor, rather than dispatching 911. The monitoring agency makes this possible.
Alert devices come in many designs, including pendant necklaces and watches. Pick one that you are likely to wear and use! Some of these devices come with fall detection. This feature automatically sends for help if you are unresponsive after a fall. Also consider whether you want a landline or wifi connection (in the home) or a device with cellular coverage (can be used outside the home). For more information on the different features and brands available, visit the Medical Alert Buyers Guide.
Tracking devices differ slightly from the other alert tools because they do not rely on the wearer to initiate a help request. Instead, they often use a technique called geofencing to automatically notify a caregiver when the wearer has left a designated area. Examples of these products include devices like Theoracare and Jiobit.
When choosing a GPS device, consider whether you are comfortable with constant live tracking or if you only need tracking capabilities available to be activated during an emergency. A less-intrusive option might be something like Project Lifesaver’s locating tools.
For more information on location devices, visit the Pathfinders for Autism safety resources page.
Generic Smart Technology
Some people may benefit from using their existing technology to call for help. If you are already in the habit of wearing an Apple Watch, for example, you can use that device to detect falls! Smart home hubs like Amazon Echo or Google Nest can also be used to place voice-activated calls. Personal alert networks like Alexa Care Hub or the “Ask My Buddy” skill help facilitate the use of this generic technology for safety.
Finally, some devices like Silent Beacon use your smartphone to offer alert services. This could be a good option for someone who already pays for a data plan on their phone and doesn’t want to subscribe to a separate monthly fee for their alert device. Safety wearables that pair with your smartphone include Flare bracelets and invisaWear necklaces.