Best medical alert systems of 2018

Ambulances

With life expectancy increasing, the geriatric population in the US is projected to more than double by the year 2060 to over 98 million. However, many of today’s seniors have a desire to live at home as long as they can, and thereby preserving their independence.

Rather than going into a nursing home, the elderly are increasingly seeking technology to safely remain in their dwellings. Challenges remain though, as simple falls are too commonplace in this population, with research showing that 35% of seniors of the age of 65 years old having experienced a fall in the last year, and in the even more vulnerable older 75 year old and up group, the proportion of falls is even higher, which increases to 50%.

Medical alert systems can provide the elderly, particularly those that live alone such as the so-called orphan elders, a virtual electronic safety net, along with some reassurance that professional help for a medical emergency is literally as close as a simple push button away.  

Medical Guardian

1. Medical Guardian

The always-on-call, personal emergency response system

Waterproof devices for bathroom use
Automatic fall assist
US-based monitoring centers
Multiple plans can make it difficult to choose

Medical Guardian offers a comprehensive suite of services that form an “always-on-call, personal emergency response system.” This starts with personalization options, and the system can be configured for cord cutters without a landline, and for coverage of outdoor areas via a simple setup process. The account gets accessed via the MyGuardian Customer Care portal for payment options and additional resources. Monitoring is provided via multiple 100% US based monitoring centers.

As falls frequently occur in bathrooms, it is reassuring to know that Medical Guardian includes waterproof communication options. For those times that a fall victim may have gone unresponsive, often due to another medical condition (for example stroke, seizure or cardiac arrhythmia) being the cause of the fall, as opposed to slipping on a rug, there is an integrated Automatic Fall Alert to assist.

Also, there are options to cover additional family members so they can benefit from the system, and get assistance as well if needed. Their website features an online risk assessment score to quantitate the risk of a fall.

They offer a range of products, including options to use at home, and others for on the go. At the low end is the Classic Guardian system, that features a base station that connects to a landline, with a watch style device that maintains a connection to the base station across over 1300 square feet away, and starts at $29.95 (£23) monthly.

Another option is their Mobile Guardian, which is a wearable medical alert watch, which communicates over AT&T’s 3G network, and includes GPS location data so you can be found in an emergency. The watch is also useful for everyday use as additional features include weather forecasts, and SMS communications. The Mobile Guardian starts at $44.95 (£35) monthly after an equipment fee of $99 (£76).  

Great Call Lively Mobile

2. Great Call Lively Mobile

The mobile medical alert service

Basic Plan is affordable
Fast agent response time
Mobile hardware doesn't require connection to base station
Basic plan does not include fall detection

Looking for a medical alert service for an active senior on the go, without a bulky base station? Then the Lively Mobile Medical Alert, from Great Call has you covered.

The heart of this service is the pendant, suitable to wear on the neck or clip to a pocket, and features GPS technology to determine location, a fall detector that automatically calls for help for a fall event, and is waterproof. Backing up the service are certified agents who are “trained in emergency procedures,” and have the fastest agent response time as determined by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

The pendant costs $49.99 (£38), plus an activation fee for the hardware. There is also a monthly fee that starts at $24.99 (£19) monthly for the Basic Plan, and goes up to $39.99 (£30) per month for the Ultimate Plan that includes device replacement and fall detection.

ADT Health

3. ADT Health

The home security company covers medical alert as well

Basic device is simple for use
Mobile system is relatively affordable
Basic device and plan lacks features
Limited range of basic device

ADT is a household name for home security equipment, and they also offer a variety of medical alert systems to suit a variety of needs via their ADT Health brand.

At the bottom end is their basic device, that connects to a landline. It features a simple base station, and a simple waterproof button on a watch band to press for help, but it only has a 300 foot range. There is no activation charge, and a monthly $27.99 (£21) fee for the service.

They also have a mobile medical alert system that they call ‘On-The-Go.’ This one is a portable device, without a base station, with optional fall detection, and GPS to track the location. There is a wireless connection, with two-way talk. The monthly fee is $37.99 (£29) for the service.

Lifestation Medical Alert

4. Lifestation Medical Alert

A budget-friendly basic solution

Option for additional users
Nicely priced
Landline required
Not a mobile device

The Lifestation Medical Alert is a budget-friendly basic medical alert system. It has a base station that connects to a landline, and a distinguishing feature is that an additional user with a second device can be added for $3.99 (£20) /month.

Also, additional bathroom and hallway buttons can be added for additional access for $2.49 (£2) /month. The cost of the basic service, before the extras, is $25.95 (£20) per month, paid annually.

OneCall Medical Alert

5. OneCall Medical Alert

A range of medical alert plans to suit a variety of needs

Affordable prices
Highest rating from the BBB
No frills and less features than rivals

OneCall Medical Alert features a family of products to suit different needs and price points. Their starter system is landline based, and uses a simple push button on a watch band to a base station, and starts at $24.95 (£19) /month.

They also offer a higher tier home device, that does not need a landline, but rather uses a base station with a cellular connection and has a sleeker button device, with a monthly service fee of $34.95 (£27) /month. Their top offering, which is a completely mobile solution and dispenses with the base station, the ResCube Pro Mobile can be had for $39.92 (£30) /month.

All plans feature US based trained professionals, and there is an option to have a previously created action plan to notify first responders, family and friends should an incident occur. OneCall Medical Alert also has a A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.