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PERS vendor/product comparisons sought from non-vendors

Following the post I did on the Philips call center, one anonymous comment was quite critical of the service, particularly in terms of response time. I assume this was written by a departed Lifeline employee who has joined another company, which is the reason for it being anonymous.  Okay, fine. And as you may know, I also believe that for seniors on the go, a cell phone is better.  Also beside the point.

But the comment about response time raises a larger and vexing question. I find this particularly worrisome in the context of a product that is supposed to help keep the elderly safe! For a product category that has been around for decades, where can anyone locate a comparison of PERS devices and services -- particularly the response time, but also the battery life, distance from the home, two-way voice, form factor, abiltiy to upgrade to other products, quality of call center staff training?

So I started looking around for useful online comparisons of PERS offerings in the market. Some folks have told me that PERS is an obsolete product category, that it will be replaced by passive monitors which detect patterns and notify without a button being pressed. This is a good idea -- early in its evolution, compared to the classic PERS product, but a good idea. In the meantime, let's help find all of the accurate information on comparitive features of PERS products.

This one from caring.com is helpful, but no vendor information:


Nor is Consumer Reports up to it (they actually threw up their hands and gave up):


More shopping advice, but no comparisons:


These all tell the buyer to do the research carefully. I am sure that seniors and their adult children would love to do that.  Okay, anyone out there (NOT A VENDOR) who would like to post a blog entry on this site who has done some research in the past year comparing two or more vendors/services? Those who don't want to post on the site can also e-mail laurie@ageinplacetech.com.





RescueAlert comparison site, provided by SelfHelp Community Services in NYC -- provided video from Scott Code, Aging Services Technology Administrator.

Comparison websites:

RescueAlert -- which favors the RescueAlert offering, not surprisingly.


And another -- not vendor affiliated:


Hi Laurie,
Thanks for mentioning LawServer's reviews of medical alert systems here. We tried to review all of the major competitors, and touch on all the major considerations. As you say, we are not associated with any of these vendors.

As for whether PERS products are obsolete, we have noticed an increased number of towns looking at financial penalties on homeowners who generate false alarms from medical alert systems. The cost of sending a team of first responders can be very steep, especially for a small town, and I wonder if passive systems would help this problem or make it even worse. Low-cost medical alert providers have little incentive to avoid false alarms and big liability incentives to provide hair-trigger alarms. Also, seniors may prefer the feeling of control that the classic PERS offers.

Steve Daily
President, LawServer.com

I think mobile PERS-the born of a joint venture of Hughes Telematics, Inc. (HTI), Qualcomm and American Medical Alert Corporation will really be boon for the Medical alert system . The added features like GPS tracking of the patient,recording and sending the patient condition will really be helpful for medical alert systems. Hope this system will get good market. And thanks to Hughes Telematics, Inc. (HTI), Qualcomm and American Medical Alert Corporation for this type of helpful technology.