There are currently around 1.5 million Americans who have invested in a medical alert device, but there are an estimated 8.5 million people who could potentially benefit from a medical alarm system. According to a study performed by the AARP Public Policy Institute, 89 percent of people aged 50 and beyond “would prefer to remain in their home indefinitely as they age.” Citing social connections with friends and neighbors, a familiarity with their surroundings and a comfort with services and doctors as the primary reasons for aging in place.

Personal emergency response systems (PERS) allow seniors to remain in their homes and communities for longer periods of time before potentially needing to be relocated to a medical facility. They are also much more affordable than both assisted living and nursing home living. On average, assisted living facilities run about $3131/month and a private nursing home room clocks in at about $200/day. A medical alert device, on the other hand, only costs a fraction of these options—about $1/day. A medical alert system can save your life and your bank account.

According to Harvard Medical School’s December 2013 Harvard Health Letter, medical alert devices are widely underused. “Many older adults agree to use a device only after a medical emergency when they’ve been traumatized by the experience of being stuck in a bathtub, lying on the floor, or suffering from a cardiac or neurological event,” said Barbara Moscowitz, a Geriatric Social Worker at Massachusetts General Hospital.

It’s important to become proactive about your own health or the health of a loved one rather than being reactive after a fall has occurred. Statistics have shown that every hour a senior lies on the floor after an accident translates into roughly one week of rehabilitation after initial treatment.

No one can prevent a fall from happening, but a personal emergency response system will ensure that when it does, you or your loved one will have immediate access to help and will never have to be alone in an emergency.