Pros and Cons of a Medical Alert System from Wal-Mart11 minute read

11 minute read

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Updated for January, 2019

When you’re looking for a medical alert system, you want to make sure that you get one you can rely on. Fall detection, panic buttons, and reliability are required for an emergency response. No one wants to put all their trust in something, especially something you’re going to use for emergency alerts, only to find out that it doesn’t work when you really need it. That’s why it’s important to look at the pros and cons of any system that you buy. When it comes to buying a system from Walmart, on top of the potential monthly fees, as a senior, you probably start to wonder about the benefits and risks, right? After all, it’s a retail store and not a medical supply company. But Walmart does provide you with quite a few options when it comes to systems.

Medical Alert Systems at Walmart

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Table of Contents

There are always going to be positive factors when it comes to purchasing a system at a retail store and we’ll try to focus on some of those so you can understand just why a lot of seniors are turning to these systems instead of ones they have to call and order or wait for installation on. In fact, not having to wait is one of the benefits we’ll discuss, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much. There are several different things that you should consider before you make a decision either way.

Easy to Find

For one thing, systems that are available at Walmart are, by nature, easy to find. You are able to simply walk into the store and find the system that you want without having to spend a lot of additional time and effort on the search. You can get direction from an employee to the right section and there you are, looking at the options available without having to do anything else at all, which can definitely make it easier on someone who doesn’t want a lot of research.

There’s no down time where you want the system but don’t have it available to you and have to worry about an emergency while you wait.

Get Started Now

When you order a system online you have to wait for it to arrive before you can start using it. That means even though you’ve decided that you need a medical alert system you’re not going to have it for at least a few days and up to a couple weeks. When you buy a system at Walmart you don’t have to worry about that because you pick up the system and get it all ready to go right in the same day. That’s great because you can go from wanting the system to having it in just a short amount of time. There’s no down time where you want the system but just don’t have it available to you and have to worry about an emergency while you wait.

Medical Alert System Walmart Shelves

Check it Out – Hands On

When you do research with most medical alert systems, you have to do it all online. That means you’re reading a bunch of information and you’re looking at other people’s reviews all online without getting to actually see the unit you’re buying. When you go to a Walmart or even any other retail store to purchase a unit you’re going to have the opportunity to pick up the box and look it all over. You can see the ports, the buttons and everything else that goes along with it, and you’ll be able to see everything you want for yourself instead of second-hand or just from pictures, which can help you feel more comfortable with your decision.

Own It

When you buy a unit from Walmart you own it. That means you don’t ever have to send it back to the company (unless it’s for a warranty claim) and you don’t have to worry about if it breaks or what if you lose it. You don’t owe the company anything. It’s yours and when you’re done with it you can just put it away somewhere or sell it off. You don’t have to worry about sending it back when you decide to cancel your service. That’s definitely going to make it a lot more convenient for you, no matter what you decide to do with the unit while you own it.

No Fees/Added Costs

This isn’t true for all of the systems you can find at Walmart, but there are plenty of options that you can get which include absolutely no fees once you purchase the unit. That’s because it doesn’t actually use agents or a call center at all. Instead, you set up the system with a list of numbers that you want it to call in case of an emergency. If you push the button on your pendant those people (family members, neighbors, friends, local doctor, etc.) get a call, similar to a speed dial button on your regular phone for peace of mind. Because there’s no agent or team at the other end, there are no monthly fees, no cancellation costs, and no setup charges.

With some great features and a few drawbacks to consider as well, it’s important to consider what’s most important to you, rather than just the features available.

Of course, when you’re considering a system that’s sold at a retail establishment it’s important to look at all of the aspects. That means you want to look at just how big of a negative these things are to you personally before you decide to pick a system that’s available at Walmart or anywhere else over one you can order from a medical supply company.

No Dedicated Agents

One of the drawbacks that you’re going to get with this type of system is that you’re not going to have dedicated agents in most cases. You can purchase some of the more well-known systems which do have agents and teams on the other end through Walmart and other retail stores, but most of the systems do not have this option. That means you can get a system that will call your friends and family or one that will call direct to 911 (or both) but there is no intermediary in case you need assistance or you want someone to answer your questions.

No Professional Installation

With these systems you’re going to need to install them yourself. This can be a drawback for some people who want to have a little assistance. In most cases, however, the system you get from a retail store is going to be very simple to install and will not require a lot of steps. In other words, it’s a plug-and-play system, or one that you can just connect to the wall and you’re ready to go. You won’t have the option to get someone to install it for you, however, except for a friend or family member when you buy from a store.

No Upgrade Options

What you see is what you get. With a system you’ll find at a store you’re not going to have the upgrade options that you might want. You may be able to get additional pendants or wristbands to add on to the system, but you’re not going to have added features that you can upgrade to like fall detection (if it’s not already included) or landline vs. cell phone tower connection. What you see on the package is going to be all you can do with the system, which may not be the ideal option for everyone. Some people like the option of upgrading their system to better reflect their lifestyle, even as that lifestyle may start to change.

No Help in Choosing

While you may find a employee who is able to talk to you a little about the different options of medical alert systems and what each of the ones they have can provide you, most employees aren’t going to have the in-depth knowledge that you may need. That means you’ll likely have to do some more extensive research online before you decide to head into the store. You could end up with a little difficulty finding just the right one if you don’t, which definitely isn’t a benefit. When you buy from a medical supply company, on the other hand, they can usually talk to you about benefits and drawbacks to their system, but you’ll have to call each company individually to get that help, so this is going to only be a little different from buying other ways, but still not good.

Overall, it’s going to be up to you to decide whether the system you can get at Walmart is really the best one for you or if you’d rather go with something else. With some great features and a few drawbacks to consider as well, it’s important to consider what’s most important to you, rather than just the features available.