Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Medical alert systems

Medical alert systems are 24-hours- a-day/seven-days-a-week monitoring services for frail elders and people with disabilities. The system typically hooks into a person's phone system. Installation costs vary from company to company, as do monthly monitoring fees. When considering a personal emergency response system, it may be useful to ask system representatives the following questions:

  • What is the installation fee?  What is the monthly monitoring fee?
  • Do I have to prepay?
  • Is there a minimum length of time I must use the service?
  • Is there a penalty for discontinuing the service?
  •  Is there an option to rent or buy the equipment?
  •  What is the equipment like (e.g., neck medallion, wrist band, etc.)?
  • Is on-going support available from the office? Who will be monitoring the emergency signal?
  • If the equipment breaks down, do I have to pay for repairs?
  • Is monitoring available 24-hours- a day, seven-days-a-week?
  • What is the procedure for emergency response (e.g., ambulance or fire department service)?

In the BC Capital Region, the Seniors’ Services Directory and the Family Caregivers’ Network provide a listing of and contact information for medical alert systems. As well, your regional health authority (Community Health Programs) may maintain and be able to provide you with a listing of these services.