Medical alert systems mean that gone are the days when becoming older means losing your independence. The modern generation of seniors expects to be able to continue to live normal lives, and that means being able to go out and about.
However, while the risk of injury from falls increases with ages, this doesn't mean to say people have to live restricted lifestyles. Especially when technology exists to make it easy to contact someone for help should you happen to need it.
While wearable technology has become increasingly common, from smartwatches to fitbits, and often has a strong element of health monitoring, there has long been development in medical alert systems, and these have become much better over time in both allowing seniors their freedom, while providing reassurance to any relatives who may be worried about their health.
Here we'll feature the best overall medical alert systems, but we also have additional features for the best medical alert smartwatches, and best medical alerts with GPS, as well as best fall detectors and even best medication dispensers.
All of this means being senior doesn't have to mean sedentary, and medical alert systems help offer both independence and peace of those when it comes to continuing to live an active life, especially if in the event of an incident you can be treated a medical professional with access to you medical records.
So whether you simply want to walk the dog, do the gardening, or take the grandkids out, these medical alert systems have you covered.
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Best medical alert systems - at a glance
The best medical alert system
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. The website features an online risk assessment score to gauge the risk of a fall.
The company offers a range of products, including options to use at home, and others for on the move. 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.
Another option is 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 good for everyday use, and additional features include weather forecasts, and SMS communications.
The affordable medical alert system
Looking for a medical alert service for an active senior on the go, without a bulky base station? Then Lively Mobile Plus 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, which features GPS technology to determine location, a fall detector that automatically calls for help in 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, plus a monthly fee that starts at $24.99 monthly for the Basic Plan, and goes up to $34.99 per month for the Ultimate Plan that includes device replacement and fall detection.
The simple medical alert system
ADT is a household name for home security equipment, but also offers a variety of medical alert systems to suit a variety of needs via its ADT Health brand.
At the bottom end is the basic device that connects to a landline. It features a simple base station, and a 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 $29.99 fee for the service.
The firm’s mid-range plan is Medical Alert Plus, which has an extended in-home range that grants independence to those who love to garden or relax in the yard. It requires no landline, has a fall detection option, and costs $35.99 a month.
There is also a mobile medical alert system called ‘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 $39.99 for the service.
One of the most popular medical alert systems
MobileHelp offers some of the most popular medical alert systems, with their products generally either home-based medical alert systems, on-the-go systems, or a mix of the two.
The home-based ones are centered around a base station made by MobileHelp themselves rather than a third party, and this comes with a mobile help button to call for assistance if needed. The base station runs on a celullar network rather than a landline, which offers the advantage of still being on even in the event of a power failure.
There's also a suite of online tools provided, which can be used to register and monitor both the service and its use. It can also include medication reminders as well as track user activity when required. The suite is mobile friendly, so can be access on a computer or smartphone.
On-the-go services tend to be based on either a pendant or a smartwatch, so that it's with the person who needs it at all times, while still easy for them to access and use.
There are no upfront fees with any MobileHelp service, so all hardware is included in the prices and there are no activation fees. The MobileHelp Classic basestation comes in at $19.95 per month, but the mobile options tend to be relatively expense at over $40 a month each, though there are discounts for paying annually that make the service much more competitive.
Among the service features of note is that the speakerphone is especially clear, more so than some rival service providers. And while MobileHelp openly state that they don't provide their own call centers, they do use Rapid Response, which is an award-winning service for customer care.
Other medical alert systems to consider
While we've covered some of the best medical alert systems, there are other good contenders that are worth checking out. This is especially as different people may have different wants and needs, different budgets, and different flexibility requirements. Here therefore are some of those that nearly made our best medical alert systems list:
LifeFone works with its own cellular phone network to offer a mobile emergency pendant or wristband with a built-in help button. LifeFone has in-home monitoring and mobile solutions, and is recognized as a leading service by hospitals, caregivers, and consumer groups. Prices start from $24.95 per month.
While GetSafe offers traditional medical alert systems similar to other providers, not least a home hub and neck pendant, it differs in also offering voice-activated consoles as a main product. This means setting up alert boxes around the home, but the senior doesn't have to wear or press anything – they can literally just call for help when needed, and describe what sort of help they require. Both landline and cellular options are available. Pricing for the service is $24.95 monthly.
QMedic focuses on a mobile wearable bracelet or pendant, which not only has an alert/help button, but also allows two-way communication so that you can do more than just ask for help – you can also clearly state what help you need and whether you require medical assistance. As well as being waterproof it is also proactive and can flag unusual user behavior patterns. QMedic was awarded ‘Best Medical Alert System for Compliance and Activity Monitoring 2019’ by Caring.com.