Medical alert systems and medical alarms provide an effective emergency monitoring system for people with health conditions or seniors living on their own. This type of technology is also referred to as Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) or medical alert. A medical alert system sends a signal to a monitoring center indicating that the user needs immediate help from emergency medical personnel.

Medical alarms usually can be worn as a pendant or bracelet. The key feature on these compact devices is a panic or emergency button that provides a quick and easy way to call for help. Users who experience an emergency don’t have to worry about reaching a landline phone or fumbling a cellphone out of a pocket to call for help – all they have to do is press a button on the medical alarm.

How do medical alert systems work?

The different parts of a medical alert system usually consist of:


  • A waterproof, wireless transmitter – Either worn on the wrist or around the neck, sometimes called a medical alert pendant



  • A base station – The central console, often featuring a speaker and microphone



  • Optional features – Medical alarms may offer additional accessories such as medication, treatment and appointment reminders, fall sensors, inactivity movement sensors and more.


Pushing the panic button on the medical alarm pendant sends a signal to the console, which in turn signals the company that provides service and monitoring. (Sometimes it’s a home security provider like ADT that also offers medical alert monitoring.) In some systems, the console itself will feature its own panic button.

Once an alert signal is transmitted to a monitoring center, a dispatch operator can send emergency responders to the customer’s home and notify the customer’s family.

A medical alarm system may be accessible through an application on your smartphone depending on the provider you have.

Different types of medical alarms

In addition to medical alert systems that customers can purchase through home security systems providers, there are other types of medical alarm providers. These include:


  • Full-service companies: These companies usually install the medical alert system and provide ongoing assistance, education and may even periodically test the medical alarm.



  • Hospital programs: Medical alert systems that are found in hospitals are usually run by the medical staff or sometimes volunteers.


Benefits of medical alarms

Having a medical alert system can help ensure that users have easy access to emergency assistance as they continue to live an independent lifestyle.

If you have a senior family member who wants to live independently but always feel safe, a medical alarm may offer a practical solution. Medical alert systems are also recommended for people who have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, chronic heart failure or epilepsy.

If you are alone in your home and experience a personal emergency, help could be only a click away.