Clock and Emergency display on the Freedom Guardian medical alert smartwatch
As I waited on the arrival of my Freedom Guardian medical alert smartwatch from Medical Guardian, I found myself thinking about all the ways it would NOT work. Many times, a device that claims to be geared toward the elderly does not take into account failing eyesight or arthritic hands. Another issue to consider is appearance. Yes, the elderly is just as concerned about their appearance as everyone else. So, the device must not only work well, it must look stylish. No one wants to wear an object that screams “I’m helpless”. Pendants have that stigma attached to them. That is the reason why many elderly will not wear pendants, even though they potentially save lives.
Not Just Another Emergency Device
The Freedom Guardian tackles those concerns and goes the extra mile. The primary purpose is to provide a means of calling emergency services. Another feature with the Freedom Guardian Plus allows a family member to contact the smartwatch wearer through text. The wearer has the choice to either read the message or hear the message via the text to speech function. This provides a quick and easy way to check in on your loved one when you may not have time for a conversation on the phone. Calendar reminders such as doctor appointments are an added feature to help simplify your life.
Quick and Simple Access to Help
In many cases, the person who falls typically will only need assistance getting up. In those instances, an ambulance feels like overkill. With the Freedom Guardian, you can request both emergency and non-emergency assistance. To request help, the wearer simply swipes the face of the watch to the brightly colored “HELP” display. They can either hold down the “HELP” display or hold the red button down for 3 seconds (easy to do with arthritic hands). An emergency call center operator from Medical Guardian’s monitoring center will communicate with you directly through the watch asking you what type of help you need. You can tell the call center to contact a loved one listed on your call list (care circle) or to dispatch an ambulance. You can list anyone you want to be on the care circle list and the call center will notify them for you (in the order you prefer). If unable to respond, the operator will assume an emergency is taking place and proceed accordingly. I gave this feature a spin to see how well it worked.
When I pressed the “HELP” button, a caring voice came through the watch to ask if I was ok and if I had an injury. She had my care contact list and was prepared to call anyone on that list I wanted, or an ambulance if I chose. I liked the option to determine how I wanted the situation managed and who I wanted notified. Allowing me to decide what type of help I needed proves that the watch functions are tailored to the needs of the wearer. No one wants a “one size fits all” device.
My Survey Said:
Just to see what others would say about the watch, I demonstrated it to a few elderly friends. Some were in their 70s and one couple was in their late 80s. This was an informal survey but still provided interesting feedback. They all said that they would wear the watch over the pendant. They liked how the functions were easy to use. Some of them were familiar with the Apple watch and said “The Freedom Guardian is a step in the right direction”. Some of them lived in senior living communities where they were given pendants by the housing development to call emergency services. The problem with that was the pendants did not work outside the development. Unlike the pendants, the Freedom Guardian works most anywhere since it operates by GPS signal. An important detail that could get lost in the list of benefits is how easy the battery charger attaches to the watch. The Freedom Guardian has a magnetic base. It connects seamlessly, without the need to insert into a tiny port. Even those with the worst arthritis or poor eyesight can attach the charger.
But Wait, There’s More!
After attending a conference about financial abuse of the elderly, it occurred to me that the Freedom Guardian Plus has a feature that is ideal to prevent this major problem. In an article by Forbes it is estimated that over 37 billion is stolen from the elderly every year. Much of that can be traced back to elder isolation and loneliness, which then leads to scammers calling who pretend to be a friend. Of course, they want the elderly’s money. If a loved one contacted the elderly wearer of the Freedom Guardian Plus daily through the text function, that would help prevent an intruder from entering the elderly’s life. All it takes is a simple question you can text: “Has a stranger called you today?” or “Has anyone asked you for money?” The wearer can answer from the simple “yes/no” display. Depending on the answer, you would know whether to do more investigating or not. Don’t wait until you get a call from your parent’s bank saying “Your mother is withdrawing thousands of dollars. We thought you should know”. The Freedom Guardian Plus can help prevent a financial meltdown for your parent and save you a ton of headaches.
What’s Not to Like?
For the elderly who want the security of having an emergency response device that offers extra features than just a help button, the Freedom Guardian will more than exceed their needs. The Freedom Guardian Plus is ideal for family members who need a fast, secure way to stay in touch with a parent or grandparent. The smartwatch lives up to its’ name by giving the wearer the freedom to choose how they want help in the event of an emergency. This feature in particular I liked. For its ease of use, clear display and best of all, choices in contacting help, I highly recommend the Freedom Guardian watch.
For more information about this first-of-its-kind medical alert smartwatch visit www.medicalguardian.com/freedom
Photos provided by Medical Guardian