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A beginners guide to medical alert devices

Whatever type of medical alert device you chose, make sure it offers every safety feature you need.

Bay Alarm Medical
(Image: © Future)

While a full scale medical alert system is always best for complete protection in a medical emergency, other medical alert devices give you options. 

Wearable medical alert devices such as medical alert smartwatches, medical alert bracelets and neck pendants allow you to carry on with your daily routine with minimal interruption. They're also less cumbersome than a full in-home medical alert package, saving you space and the need to carry around heavier devices.  

Why is considering the different types of medical alert devices important? A recent study found "Worldwide, falls are a leading cause of unintentional injuries in adults older than 65 years old, with 37.3 million falls requiring medical attention and 646,000 resulting in deaths annually."

Fall risk increasing with age is simply a fact of life. Many community based organizations implement a fall prevention program. They offer training in elderly fall prevention. While medical alert devices won’t stop falls in the elderly, they'll certainly speed up the emergency process and give family and caregivers peace of mind.

Choose a medical device that suits your needs from the list below.

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In-Home medical alert systems

What is an in-home medical alert system? 

These medical alert devices have a base station and work depending on how far they are from that base range. Most in-home medical alert systems have a two-way speaker and a microphone at minimum. We list some industry favourites below.

Senior couple work out their finances for aging in place succesfully

(Image credit: moodboard via Getty Images)

mobile help logo

An FDA-approved customer favourite for good reason

Reasons to buy
+FDA approved+Excellent speaker quality+Reassuring and friendly responders+Choice to make savings by paying annually instead of monthly
Reasons to avoid
-Response time is below average-The range on the pendant alarm could be limiting

Medical Alert logo

(Image credit: Medical Alert)

An ideal medical alert system starter choice

Reasons to buy
+30-day free trial+Voice-enabled two way communication means you can shout for help+Make savings with annual and monthly payment options+Portable for home and outdoor use
Reasons to avoid
-If you want extra equipment you’ll have to pay more-Pricing is determined by the size of your home

On-the-go medical alert systems

Heartbeat shown on smartwatch

(Image credit: Future)

What is an on-the-go medical alert system? 

Read next 💡

Senior citizen uses medical call button


Looking for medical alert devices to assist you with aging in place? Choose from our pick of the best medical alert systems with GPS tracking.

The clear benefit to these type of medical alert systems is their portability. Beyond this, on-the-go medical alert systems are particularly useful if you want to age-in-place gracefully but maintain an active lifestyle of seeing friends, family, or attending hobby classes often.

Depending on the provider, they can be just as discreet at medical alert jewellery and allow you carry out daily duties with confidence you'll be attended to in the event of a fall.

ADT Health's medical alert systems are a fantastic example of these types of mobile medical alert devices. Their On-the-Go mobile GPS medical alert system provided excellent audio in calls with emergency operators. 

Other examples include industry giant Aloe Care with a fully comprehensive mobile life alert option and Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical logo

(Image credit: Bay Alarm Medical )

Fantastic in-home landline or cellular and on-the-go mobile device

Reasons to buy
+Unique in-car system calls for help automatically in accident+Wearable mobile devices+Shower proof+Easy to install
Reasons to avoid
-Tiny reset button -Customer service response time can be below average

Aloe Care Health logo

(Image credit: Aloe Care Health)

Aloe Care health

A leading provider in medical alert devices across categories

Reasons to buy
+Watch or pendant device+Vibration alarm for those with sight or hearing problems+Long battery life+Fall detection –  While preventing falls in the home or outside, isn’t possible, this alarm allows the person to call for help immediately. It’s available as an add-on health care app
Reasons to avoid
-Top of the range pricing-Upfront equipment purchase required

Medical alert smartwatches and jewellery 

Neck pendant

(Image credit: Future)

A medical alert watch for seniors is a practical wearable emergency device. An alternative growing in popularity is medical alert jewellery, medical alert bracelets sometimes called wrist alarms, medical alert necklaces, and medical alert activity bands to wear during fitness. 

A sleek and stylish wristwatch that doubles up a medical alert device

Reasons to buy
+Fall detection+Emergency SOS+Use of all other Apple features
Reasons to avoid
-No monitoring service – Direct call to 911-More expensive than other wrist alarms for seniors-Must have an iPad or iPhone to use medical ID

medical guardian logo

A gorgeous pendant that protects your personal safety

Reasons to buy
+Stunning design +Discreet - No one will know it is an alarm+One-press activation
Reasons to avoid
-Jewellery isn’t waterproof-No two-way speaker. You need a phone to communicate of you’re away from home-No fall detection

LifeFone logo

(Image credit: LifeFone)

Medical alert pendant from LifeFone

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and water resistant+Medical alert vanity pendant, or necklace (jewellery), also available+Smart design, with battery life lasting up to 30 days
Reasons to avoid
-Only works in US-Requires a stable internet connection

Specialist types of medical alert systems

Man holds medical assistance dog in wheelchair

(Image credit: Future)

Fall Alarms

Fall alarms are either included or are optional in many medical alert device packages. But you can buy dedicated Fall alert alarms which are worn with a button pendant.


If you are looking after a person with dementia you can use a medical alert system with live GPS. Many medical alert systems have an in-built GPS tracker, like this one from Mindme.

Hearing impaired

There are no dedicated systems for elderly people with hearing impairments, but most companies are trained to deal with a caller who doesn’t respond or who is listed as ‘hearing impaired’. 

In this case the responder will call the emergency services immediately. Look out for reviews on speaker quality too when shopping for a medical alert system, and be sure to test the speaker during a trial. 

Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs can be trained to press the button on a medical emergency device. Assistive Technology Services (ATS) also have a system with extra large buttons to make it easy for a dog to use.

The most popular medical alert device providers are listed below. You can quickly compare prices and the most important features.

Bay Alarm Medical

Mobile Help

Medical Alert

Aloe Health Care

Medical Guardian


Monthly Plans

Equipment Type

Home Go Watch ButtonHome Go ButtonHome Go Button Pendant AppHome Go Watch Button AppHome Go Watch ButtonHome Go Watch Button Pendant

Free Activation

Trial Period

GPS Tracking

Fall AlertOptionalOptional


On Essentials Plus and Total CareApart from Medical Alert WatchOptional

Find the best medical alert system for your needs today

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Julia Cameron

Freelance Healthcare Copywriter at Bluebean Copywriting