Life Alert! For The Elderly, Considered Together With Government.



Life Alert advertises on prime time TV; have you ever thought about it? I don’t mean for yourself or for an elderly relative; I mean consideration of what those ads are truly saying. I bet, not.

You’ve seen the ads: It’s a little gadget for old and infirm folk to wear as a necklace; if they fall or are injured, they can press a button and be (allegedly) instantly connected to a helping voice who will ascertain their problem and summon help. It’s a little radio connected to the telephone, apparently. The TV commercials show a little old lady who has fallen and just pushes the button for a soothing voice to instantly ask how it can help.  Then, cut to announcer and sales pitch. Good idea, right?

Well, after thinking about it, some questions remain that no Life Alert! salesman (If they have such) is likely tp answer. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the government’s emergency response service 911. So one wonders, what is the average response time for Life Alert? A private company has to avoid paying too many folk to man those lines, unlike government. What is the longest response time? That one might be even more important. Then, recalling those 911 horrors again, does the Life Alert! responder stay with the caller or just notify the local 911 and go on to the next call? What happens if the caller pushes the button and passes out? If one stops to imagine one’s own self lying on the floor pushing that button, even more questions may pop up.

Then, there’s that link in the chain of help called 911. How reliable is your local 911 service? How good are its operators? Where I live, the local news has fun reporting the stupidities and derelictions of the 911 service on a regular basis. And then, there’s the response time of the local ambulance service to think about, too. Or the firefolk or whoever one will end depending upon. As the Life Alert TV announcer closes, you are left feeling, if you just buy into the necklace, a warm security. But after further consideration, not so much. Which is not the worst of it, either.

Life Alert! essentially consists of calling someone who will (probably) call 911 for you. For this service plus their little necklace radio, you pay a (reasonable) monthly fee. So, my last question is, if they are simply going to call 911 for you, why should you need to pay a middleman for that, when your taxes already pay for 911 service? Shouldn’t the government that provides the 911 service also provide the little radios for the elderly and disabled? Cutting out an unnecessary middleman should save both money and critical time in emergencies, should it not?

Or maybe I’m missing something here, it’s easy to overlook things… voters seem to do it all the time. If I’ve missed something important here, please let me know. If there are no good responses, I’m likely to just assume that Life Alert! is just more evidence of the inadequacy of government services…

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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5 Responses to Life Alert! For The Elderly, Considered Together With Government.

  1. Pete says:

    Living in the wilderness I can’t comment with any knowledge on this one… because my ‘life alert’ is crawling to the door and firing off three rounds and hoping my neighbors hear them.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      And one supposes ‘neighbors’ takes on a looser meaning, too. Both farther away, and more likely to be helpful at need. We’re a funny species–the closer we live together, the more we ignore each other…

  2. NEO says:

    I don’t have much of an answer either. Except to remind you that you pay for 911 twice, in taxes, of course, but there’s a fee on phone bill, landline, Cel, even voip, to pay for it, it’s not optional either.

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