Falls are the leading cause of injury among Canadian seniors—and the risk of falling increases proportionately with age. At 80 years old, over half of seniors can expect to experience a fall. It follows that falls cause 85% of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations and can result in chronic pain, reduced mobility and loss of independence. Getting help as quickly as possible can help reduce the implications of a fall—but living on your own increases your risk of not being found quickly.
For anyone, especially seniors, who need peace of mind, self-confidence, and independence, medical alert systems can be of immeasurable value. With these systems, people have access to real-time assistance in the case of a fall or other medical emergency.
There are a number of medical alert systems providers in Canada, each promising to deliver peace of mind, independence and security. However, the quality of equipment, reliability and service delivery differ among them. One of the providers available to Canadians today is Caretrak, which promises to give you access to care when you need it, both inside and outside your home. But does it live up to its promise? Let’s take a look.
Like most other medical alert systems, Caretrak relies on a wearable pendant that gives you a direct connection to your care contact or its 24/7 emergency monitoring center. You wear this pendant around your neck or carry it in a pouch. So, when an emergency arises, you’ll be able to speak to your care contact when you press the SOS button. As an additional option, fall detection is also available.
A unique feature of Caretrak is that it offers two response options. The first, Emergency Response, provides you with a medical alert service by a certified emergency response centre, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With this option, when an emergency arises, you’ll be put into contact with the response centre and your GPS location data will be sent to them. In addition, emergency services and responders will be contacted. The response centre will notify the caregovers registered on a separate emergency response profile by phone.
The second option, Family Response, connects you to family in the case of emergencies—but it is a tool that can be used for less urgent concerns, too. Also, as is the case with the Emergency Response option, your GPS location will be sent to your primary caregiver through text or email and other contacts will also be informed. This option also gives your contacts the ability to check in with you by calling the unit at any time.
What We Like
From the above, it’s easy to see that Caretrak provides you with everything necessary to give you the peace of mind that you’ll get the help you need when an emergency arises. There are, however, some specific features of the Caretrak that we like:
- Design. The wearable pendant has a sleek, lightweight design that’s easily worn around your neck. The pendant also features low battery and power on-off alerts, which ensure that the device is always in proper working order.
- Mobility. The GPS feature ensures that the response centre or caregiver always knows where you are in the case of an emergency, even when you’re unable to communicate or out of your home.
- Water resistance. The pendant is water-resistant, which means that you can easily wear it in the bath or shower where falls are more likely to happen.
- Cellular enabled. The system works both indoors and outdoors and doesn’t need a landline to work.
- Coast to coast. It works perfectly across Canada and also comes with a USA Travel Service.
- Try before you buy. All plans include a 15-day free trial.
What We Dislike
Unfortunately, there are also some aspects of Caretrak that we dislike. For one, although the pendant comes fitted with a two-way speaker as standard, the audio may be difficult to hear in some environments, especially if you have some hearing loss. Landline based systems tend to be easier for seniors since the sound quality is crisper, and for those who struggle with hearing loss.
- High start-up costs. It’s nice that Caretrak offers four plan types, but the price to get the system up and running is a little steep. The cost of the system isn’t especially higher, but there isn’t much flexibility in pricing, and all but one of its plans require an activation fee.
With Caretrak, you may select from four different pricing plans based on the two response options. All plans include Canada-wide wireless, GPS services, and text/email alerts. Average monthly fees and total cost of ownership are slightly higher when compared with other similar offerings.
Pricing for the Standard Family Response option is $44 per month on the monthly plan, and you’ll have to pay $49 once-off for the device. A one-year plan is also available at $425.20. With this plan, the device is included and there’s no once-off device cost. The Standard Family Response option includes 40 voice calling minutes per month and the check-in calling feature.
Pricing for the Standard Emergency Response option is $54 per month on the monthly plan, and you’ll pay $49 once-off for the device. Like with the Family Response plan, a one-year plan is also available at $533.20, which includes the device. The Standard Emergency Response option includes 24/7 access to a CSAA Five Diamond certified monitoring center.
The Family Response with fall detection option is priced at $54 per month on the monthly plan and the device comes with a once-off cost of $99. When you opt for the one-year plan, you’ll pay $648 for the subscription and $49 for the device
Lastly, the Emergency Response with fall detection option is priced at $64 per month on the monthly plan and you’ll pay a once-off fee of $99 for the device. When you choose the one-year plan, you’ll pay $768 for the subscription and $49 for the device.
Caretrak is operated by Evolution Wireless Inc., a Canadian-based company that specializes in the distribution of mobile personal emergency response solutions throughout Canada. Its stated mission is to provide Canadians with the solutions and technology that enable them to live independently, which, in turn, enhances their qualify of life and wellbeing.
Summary and Recommendation
So, is Caretrak the right option? In simple terms, it provides you with all the features you need in a medical alert system. In addition, it also offers some unique features that few other medical alert systems offer. For one, it gives you two response options based on your specific needs and requirements. So, you can choose the appropriate option depending on the level of assistance you need.
Another benefit of the system is that, unlike many other medical alert systems, it gives you instant access to assistance outside of your home, no matter where you are in Canada. Ultimately, it’s an excellent tool, and if you’re willing to pay its higher prices, it’s definitely worth a look.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, this review helped illustrate the features, pros, and cons of the Caretrak medical alert system. There are, however, some other questions that customers often have, so we’ll look at some frequently asked questions.
Is there a contract or any hidden fees?
With the monthly plan, there is no long-term contract. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to subscribe for a minimum of 6 months. So, if you cancel after the initial 6-month period, you won’t be liable for any cancellation fees.
If, however, you terminate the service before the 6 months expire, you’ll be charged for the remaining monthly service up to 6 months. With the one-year service plan, you can cancel the service at any time after the initial 12-month period.
Do I need a phone line to use the system?
No. Because the device operates on a separate wireless line, you don’t need a landline. It’s also this feature that allows you to use the device both inside and outside your home.
Who installs the system?
The device is shipped ready to use and its setup is easy, so no installation is required.
Under the banner Tech For Seniors, WirelessWizard is pleased to share innovations for older adults—with a focus on deferring as much as possible the time when getting older gets in the way of living life independently. Check out all of tech-for-seniors content here.