Personal emergency response system elderly medical supplies

Personal emergency response systems (PERS) are a type of elderly medical supplies such as the Guardian Alert 911, which help shorten the time it takes for emergency personnel to reach a person who lives alone in case the family caregiver is away. The characteristics of a PERS device include the following:

·         Is lightweight.

·         Is battery-powered.

·         Is connected to console.

·         Can be worn as a neck pendant or wristband, hung from a belt, or kept in a pocket.   

It works thus:

·         The person with the PERS unit pushes a button when there is an emergency.

·         The button connects to the console.

·         The console dials 911, a call center, or any other predetermined emergency phone number.

·         If it is call center, a staff member will ask the person what happened. If the person can talk, they will answer through a speakerphone in the console or on the pendant.

·         The call center will then contact the appropriate person or service, for instance the fire department or an ambulance.

·         Variations on these elderly medical supplies include a pull cord alarms and pull string monitors

Caregivers should talk with their loved ones about using such a device. The person may want to wear it only some of the time – or none of the time. Even worse, they may agree to wear it all the time but take it off as soon as the caregiver turns around. Before purchasing a PERS system, caregivers should ask themselves these questions:


·         What will the system cost?

·         Will you rent or lease a PERS?

·         What are the initial costs for equipment and installation?

·         Can you get a refund if you try the system and your family member doesn’t like it?

·         Is there a cancellation fee?


·         What services and features are included?

·         Does the device require a landline phone, or will it work with a mobile phone?

·         What is the range of the PERS?

·         Can the PERS be worn in the shower or bathtub?

·         Is it possible to install “help buttons” on the floor near where your family member is most likely to fall, such as on the wall near the bathtub?

·         What about false alarms?


  • Is there backup power in case of a power outage?
  • What happens when the battery needs to be replaced?
  • What is the company’s repair policy?
  • Will the company replace a broken device?


  • What hours is the call center open? Is it 24/7 (all day, every day)?
  • Where is the call center?
  • Is the call center certified?
  • What training do staff members get?
  • What is the average response time?
  • Can you use the same system if your family member moves?
  • What happens if you cancel the contract?
  • What happens if the device is activated but the monitoring service cannot reach or talk with your family member?


If your loved one is adamant about not wearing PERS elderly medical supplies but you still want to implement some form of surveillance, you might what to consider a home monitoring system. A home monitoring system employs installed around the house – as opposed to on the person – to track activities like going to the bathroom, opening and closing the refrigerator, cooking, eating, and leaving the house. The system does not enable calling for help but may send an alert signal when it detects a fall, illness, or lack of movement. For the elderly individual, the compromise basically boils down to whether they are willing to sacrifice a degree of privacy in order to gain a degree of independence. Once again, the caregiver should ponder certain questions, such as:

·         How much does it cost?

·         Is the system dependable?

·         What kind of security protections are in place?

·         Can certain features of the system be turned off?

·         How do can you reduce the number of false alarms?

·         What is the backup plan in case of a power outage or natural disaster?

Related: Guard Alert 911 is not a joke