COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.

If you’re thinking about getting a medical alert system for yourself or a loved one, you already know how these devices can be invaluable in an emergency. At a press of a button, users are instantly connected with a 24/7 call monitoring center staffed by emergency response specialists who can dispatch assistance as needed.

Unfortunately, many people miss out on the added reassurance and security medical alert systems provide simply because they mistakenly believe that medical alerts are only for long-term use. A common misconception is that consumers need to sign a lengthy service contract in order to get a personal emergency response system, and that’s simply not true.

In fact, most monitored medical alert companies offer month-to-month billing, making it easy to sign up for just a few months.

Is a Short-Term Medical Alert Device Right for You?

If any of the following applies to you or your loved one, a medical alert system may be well worth getting, even if your situation is likely to change in the near future:

  • You’ve recently experienced a medical emergency such as a fall, heart attack, stroke, choking or other situation where you’ve needed to call for help
  • You have lost your spouse or your children have moved out, and you’re feeling uneasy about living alone
  • You are recovering from an accident, serious illness or surgery
  • You’re a senior awaiting placement in an assisted living facility, nursing home or care center
  • You’re a new parent
  • Your personal safety is at risk due to domestic violence
  • You’re undergoing chemotherapy or other medical treatments that make you feel weak or ill
  • You are a student taking classes late at night or attending school far from home
  • You’ve taken a temporary job working by yourself, and you’d like to take steps to improve your safety while on the job
  • You’ve recently developed balance problems or started taking medications that increase your risk of suffering from a fall
  • You’ve been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or another condition that could affect your day-to-day functioning

Remember, while medical alert devices are typically targeted toward older adults, these systems can be used by anyone who might benefit from having a wireless, always-on device that’s connected to a 24/7 monitoring center. New parents, teenagers, home care workers and athletes can all enjoy added security by carrying a small, discreet medical alert button.


What should I look for in a short-term medical alert system?

If you think you’ll only need a medical alert system for a few months, be sure to sign up with a provider that offers month-to-month billing. Avoid prepaying for service as getting a prorated refund on any unused service can be difficult.

Look for companies that don’t require contracts for their medical alert services, and be sure to ask about any cancellation fees. Also check whether or not you’ll be responsible for the cost of returning the medical alert equipment to the company when the system is no longer needed.

I already have a cell phone — why would I need a medical alert device too?

Cellular phones make it possible to call for help from most places in the United States; however, these devices simply don’t offer the same user-friendly features and options as medical alert systems.

Unlike mobile phones, lightweight personal emergency help buttons are designed to be worn or carried around-the-clock, and most medical alert buttons are safe to wear in the shower and other wet environments. And because medical alert users can call for help by pressing a single button, there’s no numbers to dial, passwords to remember or complicated menus to navigate.

Many medical alert companies also offer systems with enhanced features that aren’t available on a cell phone, such as automatic fall detection, GPS location tracking and a caregiver app. Users can usually set up a personalized list of emergency contacts who will be called when the help button is pressed, which is ideal for those who have a neighbor, caregiver or family member nearby.

Should I get a medical alert device to use while traveling?

There are a number of medical alert devices that connect directly to nationwide cellular networks, making these help buttons a great option for anyone who is planning an extended road trip or vacation.

Mobile medical alert systems can help loved ones track your location using GPS technology, and these devices can be used to call for help if your vehicle breaks down, you’re involved in an accident or you need any kind of assistance while away from home.