Most helpful critical review
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Great idea that needs better execution
on January 9, 2012
We've had the device for around 20 months. We purchased through a local alarm company, and that has made a big difference in satisfaction because the unit has needed a lot of service. There are significant strengths to the product, but be aware of limiting issues. Many alert bracelets/pendents are only a call switch that activates a speakerphone on a base station.The reasons to consider the Medipendent is if you have somebody in a multi-room house or with a yard where the person in need can't be in earshot of a base-station with a 2-way speakerphone. This pendent is like a portable speakerphone, so that the person requesting assistance can talk with the alarm monitoring staff anywhere the pendent is within it's active area. This was a critical need for our use, and we find that the pendent has excellent distance performance from the base station. That is why we purchased the unit in the first place, and why we would do so again barring any other products that have that capability. There are a lot of shortcomings and frustrations though. But to interpret some of the other comments, please be aware that buyers must consider 3 different issues in such a purchase. One is the cost, design, and quality of the hardware. A second is the cost, quality of the support for the hardware should there be any malfunction. And the third is the cost/quality of the alarm monitoring service itself- can provided by a different company on contract to the hardware vendor or by contract direct to the consumer.
As for the pendent, because it has a lot more functionality than the button-only pendents/wristbands, it is bigger. The next issue about the design is that they stupidly require the removal of 4 very small (size 0 I think) Phillips screws to change the battery. This means that any person who is vision impaired, has a tremor, or is just clumsy will have a challenge changing the batteries. In terms of performance, we have been astonished how quickly the batteries wear out. Our Medipendent uses a camera battery that is available at most grocery stores for around $10. These have never lasted more than 3 months, and typically die by around 10 weeks. Although the pendent offers a battery check routine, where pushing a button provides a verbal 'Battery is ok' announcement, this turns out to be near useless. I have never had it tell me that the battery is low. It only says 'Battery is ok' or else it's just dead. So there is no warning that the battery is weakening, which we have found can leave somebody at risk of having a dead unit at the time they need it. This happened recently to us, so I've decided to commit changing batteries on a 4-5 week schedule rather than waiting for it to die. We have also had hardware reliability problems. The base station has failed twice in 20 months and has had to be replaced. Fortunately, we purchased through a very reliable local alarm company which cheerfully had people come to the home to troubleshoot and replace as needed, at no additional cost to us. We do periodically test the connection to the alarm monitoring operators and that appears to work fine. All in all, the Medipendent hardware offers strengths compared to competing alarm products that could be important depending on the situation of the person being monitored. I think that the routine products should be fine for somebody confined to a smaller apartment. But for people mobile in large homes, or who go outside the home, the Medipendant may be a better solution. The larger size than those other products is not a problem for our use. But they have a poor design for the battery replacement, it needs a way to warn about weakening battery, and the hardware reliability has been poor.