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The 12 Best Medical Alert Systems in 2022

Apr 14, 2022

By Jenny Wisniewski
Medically Reviewed by Liam Fry, MD, FACP, CMD
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director for NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Affiliate Disclosure
This content and its featured products and services were independently reviewed by a third-party, credentialed Reviews Team. If you make a purchase using the links included, our partners may earn a commission. NCOA, however, does not receive a commission for purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • The top medical alert systems provide fast, reliable access to medical assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • You can choose from a range of features and prices when shopping for a medical alert system.
  • Medical alert systems generally cost between $20–$30 per month, and some brands charge one-time equipment or activation fees. It’s important to determine upfront what your unique needs are, such as fall detection, and your budget for a medical alert system.

If you live alone or care for someone who has a medical condition, you may be interested in learning about what medical alert systems have to offer. Medical alert systems provide added peace of mind for older adults who are aging in place, as well as their loved ones and caregivers. 

The best medical alert systems can provide vital support for older adults, but features and prices vary. It’s important to find a system that meets your unique needs and budget.

Our Reviews Team researched and tested the top medical alert systems on the market to help you make an informed decision for yourself or your loved one. Let’s take a look at our Reviews Team’s picks for the best medical alert systems in 2022.

Top 12 Best Medical Alert Systems in 2022

Why you can trust our Reviews Team’s expert reviews

2,500+
Hours of Research
1
Surveys Deployed
13
Brands Tested
9
Experts Consulted

Our Reviews Team spent more than 2,500 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. During our process, we:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Consulted with licensed adult caregivers and doctors who specialize in caring for older adults
  • Mystery shopped 13 medical alert system brands
  • Surveyed medical alert system users
  • Tested various medical alert systems
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot

Read more about our medical alert system review methodology.

Medical alert systems comparison

Table 1 below allows you to easily compare prices and features of the top medical alert systems of 2022. When making a comparison of medical alert systems, pay special attention to connection type, device range, and battery life. 

Not all medical alerts systems have the same connection type—some only connect to landlines, while others use Wi-Fi or cellular connections (such as AT&T or Verizon cellular, which is the same technology your smartphone uses). Be aware that you don’t need to be an AT&T or Verizon customer to use the medical alert systems on this list—you just need to live within range of their networks. Both companies’ networks cover a vast majority of the U.S., so you shouldn’t have a problem, but if you want to double check, use the Verizon Coverage Map and AT&T Coverage Map tools to verify that you’re covered.

All at-home systems (as opposed to on-the-go systems) have a device range. At-home systems come with a base unit that syncs to wall buttons or wearable devices, like a necklace or wristband. If you’re outside of the base unit’s range, pressing the button on your wearable device will not trigger an alert. 

If you’re interested in an on-the-go system, which works outside of your home, lengthy battery life will be important. On-the-go devices typically have no device range, so you’re free to travel with your medical alert device, as long as the connection (Wi-Fi or cellular) and battery life are strong enough.

When you activate your device (whether it’s an at-home or on-the-go device), it connects to the company’s monitoring center. Monitoring center operators are the people who respond when you push your device’s help button, and they alert emergency services if you need assistance.

Table 1 Medical alert systems comparison chart

Provider

Starting monthly fee

Range

(at-home systems)

Connection type

Battery life (on-the-go systems)

Fall detection

Warranty for normal wear and tear

Medical Guardian

$30

1,300–1,400

feet

Landline,

AT&T or Verizon cellular

5 days

$10

per month

No

MobileHelp

$20

600–1,400

feet

Landline,

AT&T cellular

3 days

$10

per month

No

Bay Alarm Medical

$20

1,000

feet

Landline,

AT&T cellular

6–18 hours

(smartwatch)

$10

per month

No

Medical Alert

$20

800

feet

Landline,

AT&T cellular

5 days

$10

per month

No

LifeFone

$30

1,300

feet

Landline,

AT&T or Verizon

30 days

$5

per month for most systems

Yes

HandsFree Health

$30

Several yards (voice activation)

T-Mobile cellular

24 hours

No

Yes

Lively

$20

No

at-home system

Verizon cellular

Up to

4 months

(Lively wearable)

Free with Wearable2/

$25 with Mobile Plus

Yes

ADT Health

$30

300–600

feet

Landline, 

AT&T cellular

24 hours

$10

per month

Yes

LifeStation

$33

500–600

feet

Landline,

AT&T cellular

5 days

$5

per month

Yes

Medical Care Alert

$30

600–1,000

feet

Landline, 

AT&T or Verizon cellular

3 days

$10

per month

Yes

Aloe Care Health

$30

200

feet

AT&T cellular

5 days

Included in 2 of the 4 packages

No

GetSafe

$25

Several yards (voice activation)

AT&T cellular

5 years

$10

per month

No

Best medical alert system reviews

Best Premium Features: Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian Medical Alert System

Starting monthly fee: $30 for at-home systems and $40 for on-the-go systems
Device range: 1,300–1,400 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month

Pros

  • Price transparency
  • A variety of sleek on-the-go devices
  • One of the longest device ranges in the industry
  • Five-day battery life on some devices
  • Location tracking with some devices
  • No hidden fees

Cons

  • No warranty (protection plan costs extra)
  • No free trial period
  • Prices slightly higher than other brands

Medical Guardian offers a selection of optional, premium add-ons to its systems. Its wide assortment of extra features to customize your device led our Reviews Team to name Medical Guardian “Best Premium Features.” Very few other medical alert companies offer so many extras to tailor your system to your specific needs. This may be why a majority (43%) of the Reviews Team’s survey respondents use Medical Guardian for their medical alert system—the second most popular system is Bay Alarm Medical with 26%.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Classic Guardian: For $30 per month and no equipment fee, the base unit of the Classic Guardian connects to a landline and has a range of 1,300 feet.
  • Home 2.0: Working from a cellular connection, this system includes a base unit and help button with a 1,400-foot range. The equipment costs $125, and the monthly fee is $35.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Mobile 2.0: This system comes with a help button that has a 500-foot range from the base unit, advanced location detection, and a three-day battery. The equipment fee is $125, and the monthly fee is $40.
  • Mini Guardian: This device, which has a five-day battery, weighs 1.3 ounces and comes in three colors: white, black, and silver. The Mini Guardian also comes with a magnetic lanyard and belt clip. The cost is $125 for the equipment and $40 for the monthly fee.
  • Active Guardian: This system features advanced location detection and a battery that lasts for seven days. It costs $45 per month with no equipment fee.

Extra fees and services

Medical Guardian offers an assortment of add-on products and services—most with an additional monthly cost. These include: 

  • An app for caregivers (free)
  • Real-time text and email caregiver notifications when the help button has been pressed ($2.99 per month)
  • Fall detection ($10 per month)
  • A protection plan ($6.99 per month)
  • A lockbox (a box attached to your front door that stores your keys to allow emergency services to enter your home for $2.99 per month)
  • Standard and voice-activated wall buttons ($2.99 per month for standard and $4.99 per month for voice-activated)

Keep in mind Medical Guardian charges higher monthly fees than some competitors. Any add-ons will push your monthly costs even higher. But you won’t have to worry about hidden processing fees, and equipment fees only apply to certain systems.

Regardless of the model you choose, the Medical Guardian at-home systems match the industry high of 1,300–1,400 feet of range. The company’s on-the-go systems also have a longer-than-average battery life (five days) and advanced location detection.

For more information, check out our Reviews Team’s Medical Guardian brand review.

Medical Guardian customer reviews

Be aware that Medical Guardian has low customer ratings on its BBB page—the company has a verified customer review score of 1.17 out of 5 based on 66 reviews. The majority of complaints express difficulties canceling the service and obtaining refunds. Despite the negative reviews, Medical Guardian is still accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best All-Around System: MobileHelp

MobileHelp Medical Alert System

Starting monthly fee: $20 for at-home systems and $34 for on-the-go systems
Device range: 600–1,400 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month

Pros

  • Free trial period
  • Referral program offered
  • Medication reminders available
  • Variety of systems to choose from
  • Several options for multi-person households

Cons

  • Processing fee included with some systems, like the Touch Classic and Touch Duo
  • No fall detection with the Micro

Whether you are a single person who likes to stay at home or an active older adult, MobileHelp offers a range of options. Its impressive device variety, as well as its extra features, low prices, and fast response time, earned MobileHelp the title “Best All-Around System” by our Reviews Team.

When the Reviews Team tested medical alert devices, MobileHelp had one of the fastest response times at 1–15 seconds, compared to the average of 15–20 seconds. This is an important point for many customers: The majority of respondents to the Reviews Team’s survey of 1,000 medical alert systems users said a fast response time was their most important consideration when choosing a medical alert system. 

MobileHelp also has competitive pricing. In each product category (at-home, on-the-go, and bundled), the Reviews Team found at least one device with a lower price than competitors. For example, the MobileHelp Micro costs $30 per month, a full $10 less than many other on-the-go systems on the market. And two people in the same household can get a pair of mobile devices for $45 per month, which is just a few dollars more than what many providers charge for one.

At-home medical alert systems

  • MobileHelp Classic: One of the highlights of this at-home system is an industry-high 1,400-foot range. This system’s monthly fee is $20. 
  • Touch Classic: For $55 per month, this touchscreen tablet offers games that may be good for your brain health such as Sudoku, a photo gallery, optional activity tracking (the ability to monitor the user’s health activity such as how many steps they walked), and medication reminders. 
  • The Wired Home: This system uses a landline connection and costs $25 per month.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • MobileHelp Solo: This system includes a mobile base unit for use in the home and on the go, as well as a waterproof help button. It costs $38 per month. 
  • MobileHelp Micro: This lightweight and discreet device has advanced location detection  (the ability to locate the device user) and costs $34 per month. It’s about half the size of the Solo and weighs a little more than two AA batteries.

Bundled packages

These bundled packages may be a good option for households with more than one person:

  • Duo: A combination of an at-home and on-the-go system for $42 per month 
  • Mobile Duo: Two on-the-go devices for $45 per month
  • Touch Duo: A touchscreen tablet and on-the-go device for $55 per month

Extra fees and services

You won’t need to worry about equipment fees for six of the eight MobileHelp products, and if you take advantage of the referral program, you’ll get a $200 discount. The company does have one hidden fee to watch out for: The Touch Classic and Touch Duo come with a $100 processing fee if you choose the monthly payment plan. By using a quarterly, semiannual, or annual payment plan, you can avoid the fee and save on the monthly rate.

A few notable services also make MobileHelp worthwhile. MDLive is a telehealth service (meaning a service that offers health care remotely) that allows you to virtually visit a board-certified doctor through a video call without an appointment. You can use this service to treat non-emergency conditions such as the flu, a fever, or sore throat. You can also get new prescriptions or refills for certain common medications. MDLive does accept insurance, and the company says more than 60 million people have MDLive as part of their health insurance benefit. It’s a potentially useful way to supplement your primary medical care. 

In addition to MDLive, the company offers another service called MobileHelp Connect. With this service, you have access to an online portal and app that provides features like location detection, activity tracking, and medication reminders.

MobileHelp does have a few small drawbacks—mainly that some devices, such as the Touch Classic and Touch Duo, come with extra processing fees. Be sure to inquire about any extra fees before purchasing.

MobileHelp customer reviews

MobileHelp has positive customer ratings on its BBB page—it has a verified customer review score of 4.5 out of 5 based on 32 reviews. The majority of reviews express satisfaction with friendly customer service and quick response times. MobileHelp is accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best for the Price: Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical Medical Alert System

Starting monthly fee: $20 for the at-home system and $30 for on-the-go systems
Device range: 1,000 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month

Pros

  • Price lock guarantee
  • Selection of charms available to beautify your necklace device
  • Smartwatch option
  • No hidden fees
  • Location tracking
  • Risk-free trial period

Cons

  • Fewer device choices than some competitors
  • No warranty

Bay Alarm Medical is one of the most affordable medical alert systems on the market. The company’s offerings may be more limited than competitors, but the overall value of its industry-leading price combined with its fast response time (15 seconds on average) and quality devices led the Reviews Team to award it “Best for the Price.”

While most on-the-go systems have starting monthly costs between $35–$4, the on-the-go systems from Bay Alarm Medical have starting monthly costs between $30–$40 (monthly costs increase based on the system you choose). You can save $120 annually thanks to its lower fees. Its at-home system starts at $20 monthly, which ties with three other companies on this list as the lowest starting monthly fee.

At-home medical alert system

  • In-Home Medical Alert: For those with a landline connection, the starting monthly fee is $20. The price goes up to $30 per month for a system with a cellular connection.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • GPS Help Button: This simple, lightweight help button includes location tracking. It costs $30 per month with a one-time $79 equipment fee. GPS stands for “Global Positioning System,” which uses satellites to pinpoint a user’s location.
  • Smartwatch: Also $30 per month, the sleek smartwatch, called the SOS, includes a step tracker in addition to security functions. It has a $179 upfront equipment fee.

Bundled system

Bay Alarm Medical’s bundled system includes the GPS help button and an at-home cellular system. The starting price is $52 per month, and the company often advertises a sale price of $42 per month. At this lower price, you get two systems for a little more than what many providers charge for one. This is a great deal for households with multiple people or for those who live alone and want one system for home and one for going out. 

You can try a Bay Alarm Medical alert system risk-free for 30 days. If you like it, the company will lock in your price (even the sale price) and never increase it. There are no hidden fees.

While Bay Alarm Medical is one of the most affordable medical alert systems on this list, it does lack advanced features found in other systems, like medication reminders or voice-activated wall buttons. But if price is your number-one concern, Bay Alarm Medical may be a good choice.

Bay Alarm Medical customer reviews

Bay Alarm Medical has high customer ratings on its BBB page—it has a verified customer review score of 4.28 out of 5 based on 137 reviews. The majority of reviews express satisfaction with helpful customer service and easy device setup. Bay Alarm Medical is accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best All-in-One Device: Medical Alert

Medical Alert Medical Alert System

Starting monthly fee: $20 for the at-home system and $43 for the on-the-go system
Device range: 800 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month

Pros

  • Risk-free trial period
  • Advanced location tracking
  • Caregiver can call the monitoring center directly from the Connect Mobile App
  • Alert sent to caregiver if user presses the help button or requests help through the speaker
  • Lightweight mobile device

Cons

  • Very few add-ons
  • Only two product choices: one at-home option and one on-the-go option

For older adults interested in a traditional on-the-go device that can be worn around the neck or attached to a belt, Medical Alert offers a great all-in-one system. Because one device performs all the functions, you won’t have to wear an additional necklace (like with other companies on this list). That’s why our Reviews Team named Medical Alert “Best All-in-One Device.” 

Medical Alert designed its device to help reduce the risk of losing or forgetting one of the pieces. While many companies offer fall protection through a separate device worn on a necklace, Medical Alert gives the option of directly programming fall detection into the on-the-go device. This is a great choice for someone who doesn’t want to wear two devices. 

At-home medical alert system

  • Home System: Both the system with a landline connection ($20 per month) and the system with a cellular connection ($33 per month) have a help button, optional fall detection, and an 800-foot range.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • Mobile System: With a price of $43 per month, this mobile device comes with a lightweight help button that connects you to a monitoring center 24 hours a day. The mobile system also offers GPS location tracking and two-way talk, which lets you speak back and forth with a monitoring center operator directly from the device itself. 

Extra fees and services

At $43 per month, the mobile device starts at a higher price point than some other systems on the market. But it does include a complimentary app that allows caregivers to directly contact the monitoring center, track a user’s location, and receive notifications if the user presses the emergency button. Fall detection costs an additional $10 per month, which is a common added fee for medical alert systems.

If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator, it’s safer to attach the mobile device to a belt and wear the fall detection necklace around your neck. Medical Alert provides this option as well.

And, if you’re curious about the difference between prices of Medical Alert and Medical Guardian, visit our Reviews Team’s Medical Guardian vs. Medical Alert review.

Medical Alert customer reviews

Be aware that Medical Alert has low customer ratings on its BBB page (where Medical Alert is grouped together with its parent company, Connect America). The company has a verified customer review score of 1.1 out of 5 based on 20 reviews. The majority of complaints express frustration with the company’s policy that users must return the equipment in order to cancel the service, though this is common practice when you are renting medical alert system equipment from a brand. Despite the negative reviews, Medical Alert is still accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best Customer-Friendly Policies: LifeFone

LifeFone Medical Alert System

Starting monthly fee: $30 for at-home systems and $44 for on-the-go systems  
Device range: 1,300 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular
Fall detection: Additional $5 per month for most systems

Pros

  • 30-day trial period
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Optional daily check-in available
  • Referral program
  • Low-priced hybrid option
  • Free coverage for a partner with most packages
  • Vanity necklaces to encase help buttons

Cons

  • No fall detection option for at-home systems and On-the-Go VIP
  • Add-ons can get pricey

When it comes to added perks, LifeFone’s price structure and policies stand out from many other brands. The company offers a 30-day risk-free trial period, a price lock guarantee, and a lifetime warranty for manufacturer defects (the longest warranty on this list), making LIfeFone the Reviews Team’s pick for “Best Customer-Friendly Policies.”

At-home medical alert systems

  • At-Home Landline: At $30 per month, this system comes with a help button and has a 1,300-foot range and room temperature sensor. The sensor sounds an alarm and sends an alert to your contacts if room temperature goes above or below your settings, which can help detect fires early or warn that your heat isn’t working.
  • At-Home Cellular: The cellular system’s features include a help button, 1,300-foot range, room temperature sensor, and medication reminders (programmed through the app). The monthly fee is $35.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • At-Home & On-the-Go VIP: Lightweight and small, the VIP features an industry-high, 30-day battery life and has a $44 monthly fee.
  • At-Home & On-the-Go VIPx: The VIPx has the same features as the VIP with the addition of advanced location detection, optional fall detection for an extra $5 per month, a caregiver app, and three color options. It does have a shorter battery life at 16 days. It costs $46 per month.
  • At-Home & On-the-Go: LifeFone’s bundled system includes a base unit with either a cellular or landline connection, a help button with your choice of necklace or wristband, and a standard mobile device. This comprehensive system costs $40 per month.

Ways to save

With LifeFone’s referral program, you can receive a free month of service for every new customer you refer. Coverage for a partner is another way to save. With both at-home systems and the bundled system, basic service is free for partners. LifeFone also charges just $5 per month for fall detection—most other providers charge $10 per month.

Extra services and fees

Both the VIP and VIPx systems support AT&T and Verizon cellular coverage, which is a step above other providers on this list that just offer connectivity through one service. In addition, LifeFone leads the industry when it comes to battery life. The VIP has a battery that will last up to 30 days, and the VIPx’s battery lasts up to 16 days.

The LifeFone monthly fees will cost you a bit more than some of the other systems, but keep in mind you will not be charged for the LifeFone equipment, which is well-designed and filled with functions. You won’t have activation or processing fees either.

LifeFone customer reviews

LifeFone has below-average customer ratings on its BBB page—it has a verified customer review score of 2 out of 5 based on one review. The review expresses dissatisfaction with the company’s return policy, but because the company’s rating is based on only one review, it’s easily skewed. Despite the one negative review, LifeFone is accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best Technologically Advanced System: HandsFree Health

Handsfree health medical alert system

Starting monthly fee: Starts at $30 for on-the-go systems (at-home system has no monthly fee)
Device range: System operates on voice activation (up to several yards away)
Connection type: T-Mobile cellular
Fall detection: Not available

Pros

  • High-tech, Bluetooth-enabled devices (allows you to wirelessly connect your device to other smart devices such as your smartphone)
  • Smart speaker with a health-focused database 
  • Smartwatch equipped with a pedometer and heart rate monitor
  • Reminders for appointments, medications, and prescription refills
  • Affordable bundling cost
  • Option of a unique 8-inch touchscreen tablet

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey equipment fees
  • No option for fall detection

HandsFree Health is not your typical medical alert system. The system operates using two pieces of equipment that can be purchased separately or together: a smart speaker (like a smartphone but in the form of a small, hand-held speaker), and a smartwatch. It’s the advanced smart speaker, in particular, with its voice activation and hands-free calling (your contacts can call you directly through the speaker) that made HandsFree Health our Reviews Team’s pick for “Best Technologically Advanced System.” 

At-home medical alert system

  • WellBe Smart Speaker: This voice-activated smart speaker, similar to Alexa or Siri, reminds you of upcoming medical appointments and when to take your medication after entering information through the app. It includes a health database tailored to your specific health profile, so you can ask specific questions about vaccinations or various conditions. The smart speaker also calls the monitoring center in the event of an emergency. HandsFree Health charges $189 for the equipment, plus an additional $10 per month for monitoring (although the monitoring feature is optional).

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • WellBe Smartwatch: The smartwatch provides a heart monitor and pedometer, and it’s equipped with medical alert functions such as a help button, two-way talk, and GPS location detection. It can also answer health questions from WellBe’s database. With a monthly fee of $45, the smartwatch is actually on the cheaper side for on-the-go systems. The equipment fee is $120.
  • WellBe Medical Alert PLUS: Includes both the speaker and watch for $55 per month, plus a $160 equipment fee.

If you’re like the majority of the Reviews Team survey participants who said they’d prefer to wear a smartwatch over a necklace or bracelet, this brand may appeal to you. HandsFree Health only offers a smart speaker or smartwatch.

A complimentary app comes with the system, allowing caregivers to manage health information from anywhere. One thing HandsFree Health does not offer is fall detection, so a necklace with fall detection may be a better fit for older adults who may be at high risk of falling. HandsFree Health is best for people who are comfortable using smart technology.

If you’re interested in more smartwatches, read the top medical alert watches from our Reviews Team.

HandsFree Health customer reviews

HandsFree Health doesn’t have a BBB page, but its Amazon page has an average verified customer review score of 3.5 out of 5 based on 80 reviews. The majority of reviews express satisfaction with the medication reminders and how easy it is to use the smart speaker.

Best Health Services: Lively

Lively medical alert system

Starting monthly fee: Starting at $20 for on-the-go systems  
Device range: N/A (on-the-go devices only)
Connection type: Verizon cellular (operates on the Verizon cellular network—no need to purchase a Verizon plan)
Fall detection: Free with Wearable2 and additional $25 per month with Mobile Plus

Pros

  • Easy to use, with large buttons and fonts
  • Built-in cameras on mobile devices
  • Referral program
  • Personal operator can schedule appointments or rides with Lyft (Lively’s rideshare partner company)
  • A variety of accessories to choose from

Cons

  • Activation fees
  • Fall detection only available in the most expensive package; no add-on option

Lively stands apart for providing extra services for individuals with one or more health conditions. The company offers health check-ins, access to virtual urgent care, and a caregiver app for added security. These premium features make Lively our Reviews Team’s pick for “Best Health Services.”

Offering the choice of a smartphone or flip phone with built-in cameras, video chat, and games, Lively appeals to customers who are active and tech-savvy. And its devices also feature large buttons and fonts, making them easy to use. This is a strong selling point, as respondents to the Reviews Team’s survey ranked “ease of setup and use” as the second most important factor in a medical alert system, behind only “fast response time.” Be aware that Lively devices are more advanced than the typical medical alert system, and some Lively customers have reported difficulty setting up their device (see below). Lively is likely best for users who feel confident using technology. 

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Jitterbug Smart3: This smartphone has a 6.2-inch screen, a camera, games, video chat, and voice typing. The standard price for equipment is $150 (although the company frequently offers sale prices as low as $75), and the monthly fee starts at $20.
  • Jitterbug Flip2: Lively’s flip phone has a backlit keypad, camera, magnifier, flashlight, and Amazon Alexa (a virtual assistant technology activated by voice). Its standard price is $100, and the monthly fee starts at $20.
  • Lively Mobile Plus: At $25 per month with a $50 equipment cost, the wearable Mobile Plus is waterproof (compared to just water-resistant). 
  • Lively Wearable2: The Lively watch includes a four-month battery along with a step tracker and daily health tips. The fees start at $25 per month, plus a one-time $50 equipment fee.

All Lively products come in a basic, preferred, or ultimate package, which provide different combinations of services at various prices, so you only pay for what you need. Keep in mind Lively does have equipment fees, and you will be required to purchase an additional talk and text package.

Extra services 

Lively offers four add-ons to its smartphone, flip phone, all-in-one wearable device, and smartwatch: 

  • Urgent Care: For $15 per month, the Lively telehealth service called Urgent Care offers older adults the benefit of around-the-clock access to board-certified doctors and nurses who will answer questions and refill prescriptions of certain common medications. It’s a potentially helpful supplementary service to any older adult’s primary health care provider. 
  • Caregiver app: A free service, Lively provides an app that complements each Lively product and enables caregivers to track your location and changes in daily activity.
  • Personal operator: For $15 per month, you have access to a Lively personal operator to help manage daily tasks. Personal operators can help find a physician’s phone number, provide directions if you are on the road and having difficulty navigating, or schedule rides to an appointment. In fact, Lively partners with Lyft, a ride-sharing company, and by pressing 0 on any Lively phone, an older adult can quickly reach a personal operator to schedule a ride.
  • Fall detection: For $25 per month, Lively offers fall detection. Because being older or having a chronic condition such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) comes with an increased risk of falling, customers often want automatic fall detection in their medical alert system. Although two of the Lively products are phones, each can be paired with Lively Wearable2, which will detect falls and automatically call for help.

Lively customer reviews

Lively has low customer ratings on its BBB page—the company has a verified customer review score of 1.1 out of 5 based on 100 reviews. The majority of complaints express frustration with nonresponsive customer service and difficulties with device setup. Despite the negative reviews, Lively is still accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning that the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best Basic System: ADT Health

ADT health medical alert system

Starting monthly fee: Starting at $30 for at-home systems and $40 for the on-the-go system  
Device range: 300–600 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month 

Pros

  • Three basic system options
  • Free next-day shipping
  • Easy and free returns process
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Free battery replacements
  • Discounted prices if bundling with ADT Home Security

Cons

  • Small range with at-home system
  • No free trial period
  • No cancellation feature for emergency calls

ADT Health products are straightforward and simple. The at-home landline system is as basic as they come with just a base unit and a help button. It has a 300-foot range, which is notably small, and it does not feature optional fall detection. For some, this may be too bare bones. But for others looking for a simple system with a lower price point, ADT Health may be a good option, which is why our Reviews Team named it “Best Basic System.” 

The at-home cellular system steps up the range to 600 feet and offers optional fall detection. Both base units include home temperature monitoring. The on-the-go system also provides two-way talk, GPS location detection, and optional fall detection through a separate necklace.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Medical Alert Basic System: This at-home system uses a landline connection and costs $30 per month. The base unit has a 300-foot range and includes a home temperature monitor. It also comes with a complimentary help button.
  • Medical Alert Plus System: Using a cellular connection, the Medical Alert Plus has a 600-foot range and includes a home temperature monitor and optional fall detection (a complimentary help button is also included). The monthly fee for this system is $36.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • On-the-Go System: At $40 per month, ADT’s on-the-go system comes with a cradle to charge your device and a help button.

Extra services and fees

ADT Health offers the following:

  • An extra help button in the form of a wristband or necklace (one-time charge of $14.99)
  • A fall detection button ($10 per month)
  • An ADT lockbox (one-time charge of $29.99)
  • A leather carrying case for the on-the-go device (one-time charge of $10)
  • A waterproof wall-mount button ($2.49 per month)

While your options are somewhat limited with this company, the devices are simple and straightforward. Fees for at-home systems start at $30 per month—similar to competitors—and there are no hidden costs. This means no activation fees, shipping fees, and processing fees if you decide to return the system. ADT even sends a prepaid shipping label for returns. It also offers a price lock guarantee and free replacement batteries.  

It’s important to note that if you already own an ADT home security system, you can receive a discount on your medical alert system. Call customer service at 800-716-3640 to get details.

Best Mobile Medical Alert System: LifeStation

LifeStation Medical Alert System

Starting monthly fee: Starts at $33 for the at-home system and $38 for on-the-go systems
Device range: 500–600 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Additional $5 per month

Pros

  • Free trial period
  • Inexpensive monitoring for a second person in the same household
  • Lightweight mobile device available
  • Smartwatch available

Cons

  • No online ordering or prices available on the website
  • Inconsistent information from customer service

LifeStation has one of the most advanced on-the-go system offerings, earning it “Best Mobile Medical Alert System” by our Reviews Team. The company has two on-the-go products. The first device, the Sidekick, is small and easy to put in a pocket or wear around your neck when going shopping or meeting friends for lunch. The second device, the Sidekick Smart, has a higher monthly fee than other smartwatches with medical alert capabilities on the market, but it includes a variety of premium features. And you’re not required to pay an upfront equipment fee as you would with other providers.

At-home medical alert systems

  • LifeStation At-Home Medical Alert System: The LifeStation medical alert system with a cellular connection costs $33 per month and has a 600-foot range.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Sidekick: An all-in-one device that weighs only 1.4 ounces, the Sidekick includes advanced location detection for $38 per month with no equipment fee.
  • Sidekick Smart: This black smartwatch costs $44 per month and comes with advanced location detection, two-way talk, a pedometer, daily weather forecasts, and a heart monitor.

Extra features

Both on-the-go products come with several additional safeguards to help older adults feel confident and secure while out and about. The monitoring center will alert registered family members when a loved one makes an emergency call. Caregivers can also track the user either through the company’s “Find My Loved One” feature or by connecting their device with Amazon Alexa.

Our Reviews Team received inconsistent information from LifeStation’s customer service. Although currently advertised on the company’s website, LifeStation no longer partners with Uber Health to help get customers to their doctor appointments. When calling to confirm the availability of the service, the Reviews Team received several conflicting answers from different customer service members.

LifeStation customer reviews

LifeStation has above-average customer ratings on its BBB page—the company has a verified customer review score of 3.28 out of 5 based on 36 reviews. Reviews express satisfaction with fast response times and the automatic alerts sent to contacts when users press the help button. Other reviews express frustration with the returns process and long telephone wait times to speak with customer service. LifeStation is accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning that the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best Monitoring Center: Medical Care Alert

Medical care alert medical alert system

Starting monthly fee: Starts at $30 for the at-home system and $37 for on-the-go systems
Device range: 600–1,000 feet
Connection type: Landline, AT&T or Verizon cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month

Pros

  • 14-day risk-free trial period
  • Free lockbox with most orders
  • Decorative help button available with at-home systems
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Free partner monitoring for at-home systems and a 10% discount for a second on-the-go system
  • Text messages sent to caregiver contacts when user presses help button
  • Lightweight on-the-go device
  • Caregiver’s app

Cons

  • Monthly payment plan not available
  • $50 fee if you don’t test the system before returning it during trial period

Medical Care Alert has one of the best medical alert monitoring systems (also known as monitoring centers) in the industry, which is why our Reviews Team named it “Best Monitoring Center.” The company has two independent monitoring centers, each equipped with two diesel generators and two uninterrupted power supply units, which are ready to provide power and continue operating during natural disasters and other emergencies.

Medical Care Alert owns and runs centers in New York and California, unlike some of the other best medical alert companies that outsource to overseas contact centers. User calls are directed to one of these two facilities no matter where they live. Even more impressive are its highly trained agents, all of whom are certified emergency medical technicians or emergency medical dispatchers, have completed at least two years of post-secondary education or military service, and have undergone a six-week training session certified by the Security Industry Association1. A Spanish-speaking agent is always available, as well, and the company provides support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

At-home medical alert systems

  • Home System: Priced at $30 per month for a landline connection and $35 for a cellular connection, this system comes with a help button that extends as far as 1,000 feet from the base unit. Optional fall detection is available.
  • Home & Yard System: The Home & Yard includes a base unit and a necklace with two-way talk that extends up to 600 feet from the base unit. It comes with a belt clip, clip with a velcro strap, and a lanyard. The cost is $35 per month.

On-the-go medical alert systems

  • Home & Away Ultra: Medical Care Alert’s all-in-one device has a three-day battery and advanced location detection. It will connect to either AT&T or Verizon cellular. The monthly fee is $40.
  • Home & Away Duo: This system includes the Duo GPS device with a three-day battery, advanced location detection, and a wearable help button with a 400-foot range. Extra buttons can be purchased for use by another household member. The monthly fee is $40.

In addition to U.S.-based monitoring centers, Medical Care Alert has a great app. Its Remote Care 24/7 app comes with the Home & Away Duo system and enables caregivers to track a user’s location and schedule medication and appointment reminders.

One thing to note about Medical Care Alert: The prices on the website are a bit confusing. While there are monthly payment plans available, you’ll save money by paying quarterly, semiannually, or annually.

Medical Care Alert customer reviews

Medical Care Alert has high customer ratings on its BBB page—the company has a verified customer review score of 4.33 out of 5 based on six reviews. Reviews express satisfaction with receiving free replacement devices and patient, respectful customer service. But since there are only six reviews, the score is easily skewed. Medical Care Alert is accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating, meaning that the company works to respond to and resolve every customer complaint.

Best for Caregivers: Aloe Care Health

Aloe Care Health medical alert system

Starting monthly fee: Starts at $30 for the at-home system and $25 for on-the-go systems
Device range: 200 feet
Connection type: AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Included with two of the four packages

Pros

  • Caregiver’s app works with other smart medical and home devices
  • Wall-mounted fall sensor
  • Advanced caregiver communication
  • Location detection that caregivers can access
  • Air quality, temperature, and motion sensors

Cons

  • No risk-free trial period 
  • Limited four- to six-hour backup battery 
  • Expensive equipment

Aloe Care Health enhances communication between a caregiver or group of caregivers and the medical alert user. It all centers on the base unit, called the Smart Hub. Think of it like a small, hand-held speaker that rests on your table. With voice activation, older adults can ask the Hub to call a family member, caregiver, or the monitoring center. This feature is especially helpful for those with mobility or vision challenges. The ability of caregivers to call users directly through the Smart Hub device and to track users’ health information is why our Reviews Team named Aloe Care Health “Best for Caregivers.”

At-home medical alert systems

  • Essentials: This basic package includes the Hub and one help button. The equipment cost is $150, and the monthly fee is $30.
  • Essentials Plus: Essentials Plus is a bundled package. It includes the Hub, the Mobile Companion (see below), and one help button. It costs $250 for the equipment and $40 for the monthly fee.
  • Total Care: Total Care includes everything in the Essentials Plus package, plus two motion sensors and a wall-mounted fall detection sensor for the bathroom. This premium package costs $350 for equipment and $50 per month.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • Mobile Companion: The Aloe Care on-the-go device costs $25 per month with a one-time equipment fee of $150 (often on sale for $100). This price includes advanced location detection, fall detection, and multi-sensory feedback.

By using the complimentary app, a caregiver can call the user directly through the Hub or send a message to other caregivers. The caregiver can also check on the temperature and air quality inside a user’s home. Sensors on the Hub record this information. The Hub has motion sensors as well, helping the caregiver note the most recent movements within a user’s home—a type of long-distance check-in.

Another feature that stands out about Aloe Care Health is that two of its four systems include fall detection, which survey respondents ranked as the most important special feature when shopping for a medical alert system.

Fees

Aloe Care offers advanced features that aid in accurate communication between the user and caregiver, but the help button has a short range of 200 feet, and pricey equipment fees run between $150 and $350. The monthly fees are in the same range as other providers.

Best At-Home System: GetSafe

GetSafe medical alert system

Starting monthly fee: $25
Device range: System operates on voice activation (up to several yards away)
Connection type: Landline, AT&T cellular
Fall detection: Additional $10 per month

Pros

  • Risk-free trial period
  • Mobile device offered as add-on
  • Location tracking offered as an add-on
  • Low monitoring fees

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey equipment fees
  • Limited product choices

GetSafe may be a good solution for anyone who frequently forgets to put on alert necklaces and wristbands or who finds them uncomfortable. Instead of a wearable device, you place different types of alert devices around your home. Since GetSafe offers no wearable devices and instead uses help buttons you activate by pulling a cord, pushing the button, or saying “Call 911,” our Reviews Team named it “Best At-Home System.” With no devices to wear and help buttons around your home in strategic places, your medical alert system is always active whether you’re wearing a device or not.

GetSafe systems include a base unit that should be in a central location, standard wall buttons you place in various spots, and voice-activated wall buttons in other rooms. GetSafe does include a simple personal help button with every plan in case users want to wear it, but it is not necessary for the voice-activated system to work.

Of all the systems the Reviews Team tested, GetSafe had the slowest response time at 25–35 seconds. This is worth noting, because the Reviews Team survey respondents ranked a fast response time as the most important factor in a medical alert system.

At-home medical alert system packages

  • Starter: Designed for small condos and apartments, the Starter kit includes the base unit, a voice-activated wall button, and a wearable button. It costs $79 for the equipment and has a $25 monthly fee.
  • Standard: This mid-range system is for homes with two to three bedrooms and includes a base unit, two wall-mounted buttons, and a wearable help button. It costs $149 for the equipment and has a monthly fee of $25.
  • Select: GetSafe recommends this deluxe package for older adults who live in multi-level homes with four to five bedrooms. It includes a base unit, three wall-mounted buttons, two standard wall buttons, and a wearable help button. It costs $229 for the equipment and also has a $25 monthly fee.

On-the-go medical alert system

  • Optional wearable devices: The Mobile GPS Help Button can be used anywhere and has a one-time fee of $79.

Extra fees

Each GetSafe package has an upfront equipment fee of $79–$229. The company is one of the few providers that charges an equipment fee for both at-home and on-the-go equipment. Most providers only charge equipment fees for on-the-go equipment. The trade-off is the low monthly fee of $25 per month for all three systems. Add-ons include fall detection and location tracking.

What is a medical alert system?

A medical alert system is a device or collection of devices that provide an added level of protection for older adults or those with health conditions and/or physical and sensory disabilities that can impact mobility while they’re at home or away. “Medical alert services can help reduce the risk of living alone—increasing independence for older adults and providing peace of mind for their caregivers,” said Liron Sinvani, MD, director of the geriatric hospitalist service at Northwell Health in the New York City area. “In the event of a fall or medical emergency, an alert system makes help available at the push of a button.”

At-home systems typically have a base unit that communicates with trained staff at a monitoring center and a help button that connects to the base unit. You plug the base unit into an outlet, somewhere near the middle of your home. With the help button, you can move around the house or yard and still be able to call for help by pressing the button. Most systems let you choose between a landline or cellular connection.

An on-the-go system uses a mobile device with a cellular connection, enabling you to call for help when you’re away from home. Some systems also use a lightweight help button that communicates with the mobile device. You can carry the device in your purse or on your belt while wearing the help button around your neck or wrist.

For more information, check out our how do medical alert systems work article.

What to consider in a medical alert system

Type of connection, range, and battery life

Three important factors to consider in choosing the best medical alert system are connection type, device range, and battery life. The right device for you will depend on your lifestyle.

When it comes to device range and battery life, think about how often you’re at home and how often you like to get out of the house. Do you live in a large house or spend a lot of time outside on your property? Then a longer range device may be best for you.

If you’re often away from home, a lengthy battery life is important. Do you find yourself regularly away from home for hours at a time? Then an on-the-go device with a longer battery life may be important.

Device special features comparisons

What sort of special features do you want in your medical alert system? Do you need automatic fall detection or a water-resistant device? Maybe the ability to pair the system with smart home devices (such as Alexa or Siri) is important to you.

Monthly prices and other fees

Cost is an important factor when choosing between medical alert systems, especially if you’re on a fixed income. While all of the medical alert brands the Reviews Team examined charge a monthly fee, some also tack on extra activation or equipment fees. Equipment fees are upfront, but by paying the fee, you own the equipment. Some companies that don’t charge equipment fees have you lease the equipment, meaning once you’re finished with the service, you must return the equipment.

You can opt for a medical alert system with no monthly fee (also called unmonitored medical alert systems) that doesn’t connect to a monitoring center but instead connects directly to 911 or your personal contacts in the event of an emergency. The Reviews Team doesn’t recommend these systems. They call 911 directly, which may not be necessary in all situations, and in some cases could be dangerous to the user if police arrive without proper context about the reason for the alert—for example, if the user has dementia and can’t accurately follow directions from officers at the scene. If your system is designed to connect to a personal contact, you run the risk of your contact being unavailable.

What do the top medical alert systems cost?

Starting monthly fees generally range from $20–$30. That doesn’t include one-time equipment fees, which can range from $50–$350, and activation fees of up to $100. 

The cost of medical alert systems, also known as personal emergency response systems (PERS), depends on several different variables. For example, some providers require you to purchase equipment upfront, while others rent their equipment (all providers on this list have upfront purchasing). 

Some systems come with the option to add extra products or services, which can mean added costs, while others might include a few freebies. One thing all of the systems in this article have in common is the use of a monitoring center. This means all devices will include a monthly fee. Take a look at the four major cost categories below.

Monthly fees

The type of system you select will determine its cost. In general, at-home systems tend to be the least expensive. Most monthly prices for these run between $20–$30. With on-the-go systems, you will often find monthly prices in the $37–$40 range. A few outliers do cost $50 or more. Bundled systems, which combine both at-home and on-the-go devices, are the most expensive. Most will cost more than $40 per month. 

Equipment fees

Medical alert companies either rent or sell their equipment. If you rent the equipment, the cost will be included in your monthly fee, and you’ll need to return the equipment upon ending your subscription. If you buy the equipment, you’ll pay an upfront equipment fee. Often (but not always) it is the high-tech devices that cost extra. This might include a smartwatch, tablet, or smartphone. When ending your subscription, the equipment is yours to keep.

Add-ons

Nearly every provider offers optional add-ons that come with a one-time cost. Add-on services will likely have a monthly fee in the $3–$10 range. Because one in three older adults falls every year, according to the National Institute on Aging,2 one of the more popular and beneficial add-ons is fall detection. Certain companies include fall detection in their monthly cost, but the majority of providers charge an additional $10 per month for this service. In general, all on-the-go systems include optional fall detection. Check out NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp to determine your risk for falls and what actions you can take to prevent them.

Hidden fees

Hidden fees refer to activation, initiation, processing, and membership fees. Most top providers will not add in these fees. Still, it is best to ask a customer service representative to be sure.

How can I save money on a medical alert system? Annual vs. monthly subscriptions

Medical alert systems can be costly, but there is one way you can save money on them: Select an annual subscription rather than a monthly fee. 

Depending on the brand you choose, paying annually rather than monthly can save you up to $180 each year. See Table 2 for a breakdown of savings by provider.

Table 2 Medical alert system subscription fees

Provider

Monthly fee

Annual subscription fee

Total savings

Mobile Help

$20–$55

$360–$600

$60–$120 annually

Medical Guardian

$30–$67

$330–$879

$31–$75 annually

Bay Alarm Medical

$22–$40

$239–$439

$25–$41 annually

Medical Alert

$20–$30

$181–$321

$20–$35 annually

LifeFone

$30–$50

$299–$504

$36–$61 annually

HandsFree Health

$45–$50

N/A

N/A

Lively

$20–$50

N/A

N/A

ADT Health

$30–$40

$312–$432

$48 annually

LifeStation

$23–$44

$239

$37 annually

Medical Care Alert

$30

$327

$180 annually

Aloe Care Health

$30–$50

N/A

N/A

GetSafe

$25

N/A

N/A

If you’re living on a low to moderate income, you may be eligible for money-saving benefits programs to help you pay for daily expenses. Visit NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp to learn more.

Special features to look for in a top medical alert device

While some special features are self-explanatory, others deserve a little extra attention. Learn more about five common medical alert system features.

  • Range: This is the longest distance an at-home base unit can connect with your help button. Device ranges are typically between 300–1,400 feet. Range is not a factor you need to consider with on-the-go systems.
  • Location detection: This feature only applies to on-the-go systems. Using GPS, monitoring center agents can quickly determine the location of a user during a personal emergency. 
  • Fall detection: Using sensors such as accelerometers, which detect motion, fall detection devices are designed to identify a fall and then send an alert to the provider’s monitoring center. Nearly every provider includes a disclaimer on its website stating that no device is 100% accurate. Be aware that false positives can occur (when the machine mistakenly detects a fall that hasn’t happened) from things like dropping your device or the device falling off a table. In the event of a false positive, the company will reach out and verify whether you need assistance. If fall detection is a feature you’re interested in, see our Reviews Team’s best medical alert systems with fall detection article.
  • Help buttons: You will likely receive a help button with your system that can be worn as a necklace or wristband. The help button is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and connects to the monitoring center so you have 24/7 coverage.
  • Battery life: Since at-home systems are plugged into an outlet, the devices use batteries that typically last 30 to 32 hours as a backup in the event of a power outage. On-the-go systems come with chargers and typically last one to five days on a single charge. 

How do I choose the best medical alert system for my needs?

The best medical alert system for you will depend on your situation and lifestyle. Thinking about your budget and the factors that are most important to you in a device can help you narrow down the options. Refer back to Table 1 to compare features and costs of the top medical device brands.  

If you’re buying a medical alert system for yourself, you may want a device that’s easy to operate and install. In that situation, the Reviews Team recommends ADT Health, which earned the designation of “Best Basic System” for its straightforward, easy-to-use devices. 

If you are a caregiver helping someone else a choose a medical alert system, the Reviews Team recommends Aloe Care Health, which earned the “Best for Caregivers” title for its voice-activated Smart Hub device that helps the user and caregiver communicate, as well as the integrative caregiver app, which allows caregivers to check on temperature and air quality inside the home and monitor the user’s movements.

If you are searching for the best medical alert system for your parent who may be on a fixed income, the Reviews Team recommends Bay Alarm Medical, named “Best for the Price” for its combination of low prices and device variety. 

Keep reading for more tips on how to choose the best medical alert system for you.

  • Evaluate your needs: This will help you determine if you need an at-home system, an on-the-go system, or a bundled system. Choose a device that will make your life easier.
  • Evaluate the providers: Start by looking at a company’s website since many include a chat feature, which is great for answering quick questions. Then give customer service a call to test the company’s responsiveness, and don’t forget to check medical alert systems reviews on verified third-party websites such as the BBB and Trustpilot.
  • Evaluate the products: If a company offers a risk-free trial period, which usually lasts 30 days, take advantage of it. This way you can make sure you’re comfortable with a device before committing to it.

Who should use a medical alert system?

The short answer: All adults 65 and older could benefit from a medical alert system. The best time to invest in a medical alert system is before a medical emergency occurs. 

If you are a healthy, active older adult who enjoys being on the go, you likely don’t have the same needs as someone who is homebound or living with multiple chronic diseases and/or a disability. This is why companies generally don’t offer a one-size-fits-all product. A smartwatch, such as the Apple Watch, or cell phone might fit your lifestyle best and offer some extra health and entertainment features. Or maybe you would prefer a simple, inexpensive system for “just in case” situations.

Many older adults do have chronic diseases and/or physical or sensory disabilities that make a medical alert system a necessity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,3 85% of adults 65 and older in the U.S. live with one chronic disease, and 56% live with two or more.

A medical alert system with fall detection is a good match for anyone living with a condition putting them at high risk for falls, like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, COPD, and impaired vision or hearing, according to Dr. Sinvani. For those with a known heart condition, some medical alert devices are specifically designed for people with pacemakers or defibrillators.

Those living with dementia can also benefit from using a medical alert system. Some companies manufacture products that are Bluetooth-enabled and can be integrated with smart home devices, like window and door sensors. These products can then alert a caregiver through their smartphone if a loved one wanders away from home.

Speaking of caregivers, nearly one in five (53 million) adults serve as caregivers for older adults or disabled individuals in the U.S., according to the National Alliance on Caregiving.4 Many of these individuals work full- or part-time jobs and are part of the Sandwich Generation, raising kids while simultaneously caring for an older adult. Medical alerts can help lighten their load. 

Most companies offer a caregiver’s app, which often includes helpful features like location tracking, an instant call button to the monitoring center, motion detection, and more. Medical alerts provide peace of mind, especially for long-distance caregivers or those with a loved one living alone. 

The bottom line

Medical alerts are not one-size-fits-all systems. Older adults have different needs, preferences, lifestyles, and budgets. The good news is customers have a wide variety of products to choose from when it comes to medical alert systems.

A few companies, such as Medical Guardian and MobileHelp, offer a variety of options and advanced features for people who like to customize. Others, like GetSafe, specialize in one area, appealing to those who prefer not to use wearable devices, or Aloe Care Health, which caters to caregivers. 

Many older adults may live on a fixed income, and some providers, like Bay Alarm Medical, keep monthly fees low for this reason. Other providers, like LifeFone and LifeStation, extend cost savings by offering products with no equipment costs.

With so many systems on the market, you can feel confident that a bit of research will lead you to the right medical alert system for you or your loved one.

Frequently asked questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at reviewsteam@ncoa.org.

Sources

  1. Security Industry Association, “Information. Insight. Influence.” Found on the internet at https://www.securityindustry.org/
  2. National Institute on Aging, “Prevent Falls and Fractures.” Found on the internet at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Percent of U.S. Adults 55 and Over with Chronic Conditions” Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/health_policy/adult_chronic_conditions.htm
  4. National Alliance on Caregiving, “2020 Report” Found on the internet at https://www.caregiving.org/caregiving-in-the-us-2020/
  5. Administration for Community Living, “What is Long-term Care Insurance?” Found on the internet at https://acl.gov/ltc/costs-and-who-pays/what-is-long-term-care-insurance
  6. Medicare.gov, “What Part A Covers” Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/what-part-a-covers
  7. Medicare.gov, “What Part B Covers” Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/what-part-b-covers
  8. Medicare.gov, “How do Medicare Advantage Plans work?” Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/types-of-medicare-health-plans/medicare-advantage-plans/how-do-medicare-advantage-plans-work

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