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MailTribune.com
  • Cost, range vary among signals that aid seniors

  • Could you please tell me if there are any significant differences between Life Line and Life Alert?
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  • Could you please tell me if there are any significant differences between Life Line and Life Alert?
    — Curious, Medford
    We applaud you for trying to assess the differences between these products, especially when your curiosity could end up saving your life.
    Both of the devices can be worn around the neck of an older adult wanting access to 24-hour emergency care with the pressing of a button.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 falls each year, though only half of those falls are reported to health care providers.
    However, the differences between these two devices, and a dozen other emergency buttons out there, are complicated, as most of the companies are not forthcoming about the costs unless you call each business individually to inquire.
    That said, the website medicalalertadvice.com has reviewed more than a dozen of these devices.
    According to the site, Life Line and Life Alert do have several differences in terms of costs and features.
    Purchasing the Philips Life Line, including installation, enrollment and shipping charges, will add up to just under $150. After that, the monthly service costs $41.
    The device is advertised as having an 800-foot range, which would be sufficient for the size of an average family home.
    The reported response time after pressing the alert button is 20 seconds, and the included battery should last for five years.
    Users online have reported Life Alert as costing anywhere from $95 to $295 in startup fees, depending on the package you receive. After that, monthly charges range from $30 to $60 a month.
    The product is advertised as having a 150-foot range, which the Life Alert website said should be adequate in a home of 3,000 square feet.
    The reported response time once the button is pressed is between 30 and 50 seconds and the device includes a three-year battery.
    'They're both really great products," said Carrie Governor, the owner of Medford's 24-hour Caregivers, which provides in-home or live-in caregivers for seniors in the Rogue Valley.
    Governor said while she couldn't recommend one device over the other, she said it was important to test any device monthly to ensure they work when needed.
    "No one wants their parents lying on the floor for two days," said Governor, whose mother owns one of the devices.
    Governor said to hit the Internet and start reading reviews to determine which device is most suitable for a particular person.
    The CDC recommends that to avoid falling, older adults should exercise regularly, have their eyes checked at least once per year and make helpful home improvements, such adding grab bars inside bathtubs and showers and adding railings for stairs.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.
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