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LifeStation Medical Alert System Review 2023: Basic Equipment With Impressive Location Tracking

We recommend an on-the-go system for simple location tracking—no app or logins required.
Aug 09, 2023
Written by:
Medically Reviewer: MSN, APRN, APHN-BC, GNP-BC
Fact Checked
  • 30-day trial period
  • No contract
  • Fall detection available

Key Takeaways

  • LifeStation offers at-home, mobile, and smartwatch medical alert systems that connect to a 24/7 monitoring center.
  • Monthly prices range from $32.95–$44.95, depending on the package you choose.
  • Fall detection is an optional add-on for the at-home and mobile systems, but it isn’t available for the smartwatch.

Using a medical alert system is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about safely aging at home. You’re likely considering enjoying your favorite activities and hobbies in your home, neighborhood, and community.

Research shows using a medical alert system like LifeStation can help you safely enjoy activities with a greater sense of security and independence knowing help is only a button push away. [1] Stokke, Randi. The Personal Emergency Response System as a Technology Innovation in Primary Health Care Services: An Integrative Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research. July 2016. Found on the internet at

LifeStation has been in business for more than 40 years: It was founded in 1977 and is based in Union, New Jersey. The brand’s medical alert systems connect to 24/7 monitoring centers that are Five-Diamond certified by the Monitoring Association.

Some users may like that LifeStation medical alert systems work without many premium features. Others may want a different system with more advanced features like voice recognition, a caregiver app, or medication reminders.

We tested all three LifeStation systems to help you choose the best option for you—read on to learn the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Why you can trust our expert review

Hours of Research
Surveys Deployed
Brands Tested
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, doctors, and nurse practitioners who specialize in older adult care
  • Mystery shopped 13 medical alert system brands
  • Surveyed 1,000 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 systems review methodology.

Why LifeStation is one of our Review Team’s top picks

We tested the at-home, mobile system, and smartwatch medical alert systems during our medical alert system testing summit. LifeStation is one of our best medical alert systems picks, with a 3.4 out of 5 rating.

Help button bracelet on gray scale weighing 1.1 oz

A member of our Reviews Team weighing the LifeStation help button bracelet during our medical alert system testing summit.

Some of our favorite LifeStation medical alert system features include:

  • At-home, mobile, and smartwatch options
  • Fall detection built into the mobile system (no extra necklace)
  • Successful fall detection testing
  • “Find My Loved One” text-to-locate service

We also found a few drawbacks with the brand, such as:

  • Unclear setup instructions
  • Higher than average monitoring center response time (more than 50 seconds)
  • No app or online portal for caregivers

Pros and cons of LifeStation

Pros 30-day trial period At-home, mobile system, and smartwatch option Location tracking available
Cons $99.95 activation fee for mobile system and smartwatch No caregiver app Fall detection is almost $15 per month and must be bundled with protection plan

Table 1 Comparing LifeStation medical alert systems, as of August 2023

In-HomeSidekickSidekick Smart
Starting monthly cost$32.95$37.95$44.95
Equipment fee$0$0$0
Activation fee$0$99.95$99.95
Device typeAt-homeOn-the-goSmartwatch
Device range600 feetUnlimitedUnlimited
Connect typeAT&T cellularAT&T cellularAT&T cellular
Battery life32 hours5 days24 hours
Location trackingNoYesYes
Fall detectionYesYesNo
Water resistantWaterproof (help button)YesYes
Caregiver appNoNoNo

LifeStation review

In-Home Medical Alert System

In-home medical alert system, help button bracelet, and wall button against blue background

Pros No activation fee Fall detection available Waterproof help button
Cons 600-foot range No landline option

  • Starting monthly fee: $32.95
  • Device type: At-home
  • Device range: 600 feet
  • Device dimensions:
    • Base station: 6 inches x 6 x 2.8 inches (length x width)
  • Device weight:
    • Base station: 1.2 pounds (lbs)
    • Help button: 0.6 ounces (oz)
  • Connection type: AT&T cellular
  • Battery life:
    • Base station: 32 hours (backup)
    • Help button: Three years

The In-Home Medical Alert System includes a base station and your choice of a help button necklace or bracelet. The base station connects to the monitoring center using AT&T cellular service (there is no landline option available). It has a built-in speaker and microphone so you can speak with a monitoring center staff member during an emergency or test call.

The waterproof ⓘA waterproof device can be fully submerged in water for a long period of time and still work properly. help button connects to the base station up to 600 feet—about the length of two city blocks—from the base station. This is a short range compared to many at-home medical alert systems that offer more than 1,000 feet between the base station and help button. If you have a larger home or property, this range may not offer adequate coverage.

When testing our at-home system, we had to choose between a help button bracelet or necklace even though the website states you can switch between the two designs.

You can add a fall detection necklace ⓘA fall detection necklace has a built-in sensor that detects downward motion. It automatically contacts the monitoring center if it detects a fall, even if the user didn’t press the help button. to your package, but it’s bundled with a protection plan, which adds $14.95 to your monthly fee ($46.95 total per month). See our cost section to learn more about package pricing.

We also ordered a wall-mounted button that connects to the monitoring center. The wall button doesn’t have a microphone and speaker, so you must be near the base station to speak with the monitoring center staff member.

Wall buttons can add extra coverage to your home, especially if you need to reach the monitoring center without a help button. Unfortunately, the wall button we ordered had no setup instructions or guide explaining how it works.

We recommend the In-Home Medical Alert if you live in a smaller home and are accompanied by a caregiver when you leave your home.


Sidekick mobile system against blue background

Pros Water-resistant Weighs less than 2 oz Text-to-locate feature
Cons Small buttons may be difficult to use

  • Starting monthly fee: $37.95
  • Device type: On-the-go
  • Device range: Anywhere with AT&T cellular service
  • Device dimensions: 2.6″ L x 1.7″ W 0.6″ H
  • Device weight: 1.65 oz
  • Connection type: AT&T cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi
  • Battery life: Five days

The Sidekick is designed for constant connection to the monitoring center, even when you’re not home. As long as the device is connected to AT&T cellular service, you can reach the monitoring center with a button or by triggering fall detection, no matter where you are.

We like the new model’s smaller, more compact design than the older, bulkier Sidekick model we tested. The new Sidekick is lighter than half a stick of butter, making it comfortable to wear around your neck or to slip into your purse or pocket.

Sidekick mobile shown on

The Sidekick mobile system has been updated since we tested it. This is the previous model.

While the new Sidekick is more portable than the previous model, the smaller central help button may be more difficult to press for those with arthritis or limited dexterity. A test button on the side of the device is even smaller than the help button, which may also be a challenge to use.

The company recommends using the test button once a month to test the mobile system’s connection to the monitoring center. If the small test button is too difficult to press, we recommend pressing the main help button to test your connection to the monitoring center. Once you connect with a monitoring staff member, tell them you were testing your system—you’ll never be penalized for a test or accidental call to the monitoring center.

Even though LifeStation doesn’t offer a caregiver app, we like that you can track your care recipient’s location with the Find My Loved One feature. Caregivers can check on the user’s location on Google Maps by texting “Find [care recipient’s name]” to a designated phone number.

If the user is wearing the mobile system or has it with them, caregivers can see their exact location on Google Maps. We were very impressed with this feature—we received our mobile system’s correct location in less than a minute when testing it. Find My Loved One is included with the Sidekick and Sidekick Smart at no extra cost.

Monitoring center staff members can also view your location using GPS ⓘGPS technology uses satellites to provide users with positioning, navigation, and timing services. technology when you connect to the monitoring center. Even if you’re unsure of the nearest address or are unresponsive during an emergency, the monitoring center can still dispatch emergency services to your location.

You can also add fall detection to the Sidekick, and you don’t have to worry about wearing a designated fall detection necklace—it’s built into the device.

This water-resistant ⓘA water-resistant device can get splashed with water and still work properly, but it should not be submerged in water., lightweight mobile system is fit for someone who enjoys independent activities like driving, visiting loved ones, and running errands but may have certain health conditions making them more susceptible to falls.

Sidekick Smart

Sidekick smartwatch plugged into charger against blue background

Pros Includes heart rate monitor, step tracker, and weather forecast Text-to-locate feature Water-resistant
Cons $99.95 activation fee Touchscreen may be difficult to navigate No caregiver communication options

  • Starting monthly fee: $44.95
  • Device type: Smartwatch
  • Device range: Anywhere with AT&T cellular service
  • Device dimensions:
    • Watch face: 1.875″ diameter
    • Watchband: 10″ L x 0.875″ W
  • Device weight: 2.2 oz
  • Connection type: AT&T cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 24 hours

The Sidekick Smart is a medical alert watch that connects to the monitoring center wherever there is AT&T cellular service. The two-way speaker and microphone allow you to speak directly with a staff member when you contact the monitoring center.

If you want a more discreet device that doesn’t look like a traditional medical alert system, consider the Sidekick Smart.

LifeStation Sidekick Smart on wrist displaying step tracker icon.

You can track your daily steps with the LifeStation Sidekick Smart.

The watch includes a step tracker, heart rate monitor, and weather forecast, but it doesn’t support fall detection.

While some medical alert brands offer medical alert watches with optional fall detection, most medical alert systems with fall detection are necklaces. Recent research cautions that the quick, jerky movement of arms and hands does not represent the body’s mobility and may be more likely to set off false fall detection alarms. [2] González-Cañete, Francisco Javier and Casilari, Eduardo. A Feasibility Study of the Use of Smartwatches in Wearable Fall Detection Systems. Sensors. March 2021. Found on the internet at

We like that the Find My Loved One location feature is also available for the Sidekick Smart. Unfortunately, like the Sidekick mobile system, we received no instructions for using this feature in the setup guide and had to call customer service to set it up.

When testing the smartwatch, we received two cues to indicate our battery was low:

  • A verbal announcement
  • The battery level icon on the home screen turned red

The setup guide says the watch should be charged every night and takes about three hours to charge fully. We suggest charging your Sidekick Smart on your bedside table so it’s close by in case of an emergency at night.

Sidekick Smartwatch on wrist with time, date, battery level, and connection strength displayed on the screen.

The battery level icon is at the top center of the Sidekick Smartwatch face. The watch is fully charged here.

Keep in mind that the watch face is a touchscreen, which may be difficult for older adults to navigate. We’ve discussed this issue in previous reviews with Christopher Norman, a geriatric nurse practitioner based in New York state.

“As we age, our skin changes. The collagen (a protein) under our skin thins out, and we don’t provide as much oil or sweat,” Norman told us previously. “This accounts not only for wrinkles, but it results in skin that is more dry. If you’ve ever tried to use a touch screen with very dry skin, it doesn’t work as easily.”

We recommend the Sidekick Smart for more active, independent users who are hesitant to try a traditional medical alert system. Use the 30-day trial period to try out the smartwatch’s touchscreen and features.

How much does a LifeStation medical alert system cost?

Table 2 Comparing LifeStation package prices

ModelStandard package (per month)Select package (per month)Supreme package (per month)Activation feeShipping fee*
Sidekick Smart$44.95N/AN/A$99.95$12.50

*Free shipping with quarterly or annual payment plan

The starting $32.95 monthly fee is a little higher compared to typical medical alert system costs. The In-Home and Sidekick medical alert systems are available in the following packages:

  • Standard: Monthly monitoring
  • Select: Monthly monitoring and protection plan
  • Supreme: Monthly monitoring, protection plan, and fall detection

You won’t choose from the Standard, Select, or Premium packages when you order the Sidekick Smart. Unlike the other two systems, the smartwatch doesn’t offer fall detection and automatically includes a protection plan.

One way to save money on your LifeStation medical alert system is to choose a quarterly payment plan (every three months) or an annual payment plan instead of paying month by month. The following perks are available with the two plans:

  • Quarterly: Free shipping
  • Annual: Free shipping and free month of service

When ordering your system online, select your payment plan while filling out shipping and payment details at checkout.

Remember that you’ll pay more upfront with the quarterly or annual plan, but you can still cancel your subscription within the first 30 days and receive a refund.

Consider other options available to help pay for LifeStation costs:

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C): Traditional Medicare (Part A and B) does not cover medical alert systems, but Medicare Advantage may cover all or part of your medical alert system fees. Medicare Advantage coverage varies by state and plan, so check your coverage details with your insurance provider.
  • Flexible spending account (FSA): An FSA can help you pay for health care expenses, such as medical alert systems. Typically, you can’t use FSA funds once you’ve retired. Your FSA funds are tied to your employer and must be used by the end of the calendar year. Some employee policies may allow rollover into the next year.
  • Health savings account (HSA): You may be able to cover partial or all medical alert system costs with your HSA. You can still access HSA funds once you’ve retired, but you can’t contribute to them when enrolled in Medicare.
Use NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp tool to see potential cost-saving resources and programs in your area.

How to purchase a LifeStation medical alert system

You can purchase your LifeStation medical alert system online or over the phone by calling (855) 730-1658. We purchased our medical alert system packages online, and the process was straightforward.

While some medical alert companies start your trial window on the date you receive your equipment, your 30-day trial period with LifeStation begins the day you order your equipment. You must return your medical alert system within this trial period to receive a refund.

To return your equipment, you’ll call LifeStation to confirm you’re canceling your account. You’re responsible for any shipping costs to return your equipment.

LifeStation will automatically close your account once it receives your equipment.

Does LifeStation offer a protection plan?

Many medical alert system brands offer protection plans that guarantee the company will fix or replace equipment if something happens to it. The level of protection usually varies by company.

Some medical alert system companies will replace equipment if it’s lost, damaged, or stolen. LifeStation will only replace your equipment “if it stops working due to a hardware and/or technical problem,” according to its website.

The LifeStation protection plan is included with the Select package for the In-Home and Sidekick mobile systems. If you purchase the Sidekick Smart, the protection plan is automatically included with your order.

Does LifeStation offer fall detection?

Health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, dementia, thyroid or blood vessel issues, and even taking certain medications can increase the likelihood of falling, according to the National Institute on Aging. [3] Falls and Fractures in Older Adults. National Institute on Aging. Found on the internet at

While fall detection can’t prevent falls, getting assistance immediately after a fall can decrease the chance of injuries from a “long lie”ⓘA long lie occurs when a person falls and is unable to get up from the floor for an hour or more. Long lies have been associated with several types of long-term health complications..

Fall detection is available for the In-Home Medical Alert System and Sidekick. If you add fall detection to your at-home system, you’ll receive a designated necklace with built-in fall detection. This necklace is designed to detect falls, while the standard help button necklace and bracelet can’t.

We included fall detection when we ordered the In-Home Medical Alert System and Sidekick systems. Both devices connected to the monitoring center every time we dropped them when testing fall detection.

LifeStation optional features and add-ons

LifeStation offers the following services and accessories that you can add to your package:

  • Amazon Alexa integration: You can connect any LifeStation medical alert system to an Amazon Alexa smartspeaker to test your device (“Alexa, test my system”) and to track the user’s location (Sidekick and Sidekick Smart only).

We didn’t receive any instructions to activate this feature when testing LifeStation, so we suggest calling customer service if you’d like to integrate your medical alert system with Amazon Alexa.

  • Find My Love One: The location tracker is included with the Sidekick and Sidekick Smart for no extra fee. When caregivers text “Find [care recipient’s name]” from their phone to a designated phone number, they’ll receive the device location on Google Maps. You’ll set up this feature by calling customer service.
  • LifeStation Luxury: This stylish necklace disguises a help button lanyard as a beautiful jewelry piece. It works within 200 feet of the Sidekick mobile system and is $43.95 per month.
  • Lockbox: You can add a lockbox ⓘTypically attached to the outside of your home, a medical alert lockbox is a common add-on accessory that stores a house key, giving emergency responders access to the home. to any package for $2.95 per month.
  • Wall buttons: Wall buttons are available to add to your at-home system for $2.45 per month. The button connects to the monitoring center through the base station.

LifeStation customer service and satisfaction

You can reach LifeStation customer service by phone at (800) 998-2400. Online chat and email communication options are not available.

  • Customer service phone availability: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

Before ordering our medical alert systems, we called customer service to learn more about LifeStation packages. Our customer service representative was very personable, knowledgeable, and empathetic. They answered all our questions and asked thoughtful questions to learn why we were shopping for a medical alert system. Our conversation never felt sales-y or intrusive.

After receiving our medical alert systems, we contacted customer service to learn how to set up the equipment. The representative created our emergency contact list, set up the Find My Loved One feature, and explained additional features.

It was helpful that the representative set up these features for us, but we wish our instructions had told us that this was part of the setup process—we only called customer service because we didn’t receive clear instructions with our packages and weren’t sure what to do next.

Table 3 Comparing LifeStation to other top medical alert systems, as of August 2023

BrandLifeStationMedical GuardianMobile HelpADTBay Alarm Medical
Starting monthly cost$32.95$29.95$19.95$29.99$24.95
Connection typeAT&T cellularLandline, AT&T or Verizon cellularLandline, AT&T cellularLandline, AT&T cellularLandline, AT&T or Verizon cellular
Device range (feet)6001,300–1,400600–1,400300–6001,000
Fall detection (per month)$14 (bundled with protection plan)$10$11$11$10
On-the-go optionsYesYesYesYesYes
Maximum on-the-go battery life5 days5 days3 days40 hours6 days
Average response time (seconds)50+1–2525–5050+1–25
Location trackingYesYesYesYesYes

LifeStation customer reviews

LifeStation has 1.5 out of 5 stars on Better Business Bureau (BBB), but this rating is only based on 10 customer reviews as of writing. The company is accredited by the BBB and has an A-plus rating, meaning it actively responds to and resolves customer complaints.

LifeStation has a 3.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot and a “Great” rating based on almost 1,000 reviews. Many positive LifeStation ratings point out:

  • The quick monitoring center response
  • Easy setup
  • Peace of mind when using LifeStation
  • Excellent customer service
  • Reliable fall detection

“My new medical alert smart watch is very nice and makes me feel much safer, now that I live alone. My husband passed away 5 months ago. Every time I’ve called the toll free number at LifeStation, I’ve had my questions answered and their customer service is wonderful…I’m so happy my new insurance coverage with Devoted Health Plans covers this for its members.”


“Excellent service. System worked flawlessly and as described. My mother had a “soft slow fall”. So she needed to push the console button. Operator spoke with her and then called me to decide how to proceed. System did exactly what it was advertised to do.”


Some negative reviews mention:

  • Bulky, heavy necklaces and bracelets
  • Poor customer service
  • Difficulty replacing broken equipment
  • Loud battery charging notifications
  • Insufficient battery life

“Poor Customer service. Operators, who are supposed to be well trained to communicate clearly and legibly with a person in need, are unable to do so! No multi-lingual operators as promised when signed up. When I requested to discontinue service, they failed to issue refund for payment. Do not recommend LifeStation! If you care about your loved ones take your business somewhere else.”


“The device will only provide only 10-12 hours of use before loudly declaring your battery is low, please recharge soon. This is very startling in the middle of the night. I haven’t had an occasion to have to use the call for help function. The heart rate and step monitor function works OK for the amount of time that I do wear this device.”


Bottom line

LifeStation is a standard medical alert system offering an at-home system, mobile system, and smartwatch. The higher starting monthly fee for the In-Home Medical Alert ($32.95) is hard to justify for a base station range of only 600 feet and no premium features, especially compared to lower-cost at-home options from Bay Alarm Medical and MobileHelp with lower starting prices and longer ranges.

Fall detection is available for the at-home and Sidekick mobile systems but not for the smartwatch. This feature was reliable throughout our testing, but we don’t like that it costs almost $15 more per month since it’s bundled with the protection plan. This monthly cost is higher than typical medical alert systems with fall detection.

Our favorite feature is the Find My Loved One included with the Sidekick and Sidekick Smart. This location tracking feature allows you to always see the user’s location by texting a designated phone number and receiving a Google Maps location link—no app required.

LifeStation may be right for you if you’re looking for a simple medical alert system without the bells and whistles of a caregiver app or other premium features.

Frequently asked questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at


  1. Stokke, R. The Personal Emergency Response System as a Technology Innovation in Primary Health Care Services: An Integrative Review. July 2016. Found on the internet at
  2. González-Cañete, Francisco Javier and Casilari, Eduardo. A Feasibility Study of the Use of Smartwatches in Wearable Fall Detection Systems. Sensors. March 2021. Found on the internet at
  3. Falls and Fractures in Older Adults. National Institute on Aging. Found on the internet at
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