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The Best Medical Alert Systems

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Arming yourself or your loved one with the best medical alert system is a simple and practical way to enhance senior safety. Accidents and other frightening events can occur unexpectedly and when we are advanced in years, accidents have more serious consequences. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one out of five falls in those 65 and older causes serious injuries.

A medical alert system can give an elderly person instant contact to emergency services if an accident was to happen. This is a valuable resource which gives you or your loved one safety while maintaining independence and reducing the risk of danger. I've compiled a set of medical alert reviews in order to help you make an informed decision.

The Best Medical Alert Systems: Our Top Picks

In this comparison of medical alert systems I looked at the technology, service, and reputation of the leaders in the industry, in order to establish a list of excellent companies:

Medical Guardian Alert Review

  • Pros
  • Additional person added for free
  • Free check-in service
  • Supports 200 languages
  • Helpful add-ons
  • No cancellation or activation fees
  • Cons
  • Requires initial three-month contract

Medical Guardian sets the standard in the industry, providing outstanding service options for which other companies charge added fees, such as adding additional members to your plan. They employ cutting-edge technology and offer more than 200 languages in their service.

They offer four service levels at a range of popular prices. While their landline-based system boasts the furthest range, the top two tiers of service track your exact location via GPS-enabled mobile device. The pendant may be worn as a medical alert bracelet, necklace, or on a belt. There is a risk assessment tool at their website to aid in determining if you are a good candidate for the service. There are no long-term contracts or activation fees.

Bay Alarm Medical Review

  • Pros
  • Additional person goes on plan for free
  • Free check-in service
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke monitoring
  • Supports over 100 languages
  • Long signal range from base station
  • Cons
  • No free shipping

Bay Alarm provides high-quality medical monitoring, additional alert buttons at no extra cost, periodic check-in service and smoke and gas detection. You can choose from well-priced medical alert packages utilizing landline, cellular or mobile GPS equipped button technology. You do pay equipment shipping fees, but overall I found Bay Alarm to be a well-rounded provider worth considering.

ADT Medical Alert Review

  • Pros
  • Discounts for members of AARP
  • No activation fee
  • Good customer service
  • Home monitoring options
  • Cons
  • More expensive than other providers
  • No discount for paying quarterly or annually

The ADT medical alert system is a product of the well-known home security provider. They offer a traditional medical alert system for the home, along with multiple options for seniors. Choose from landline, wireless and mobile-based systems at competitive rates. I found that ADT is one of the few medical alert companies that offer home temperature monitoring (except on their mobile plan). Shipping is free if you opt to pay on a quarterly or annual basis In addition, their medical alert service is offered on a month-to-month basis without any long-term contract.

Who Needs a Medical Alert System?

You may be unsure if a medical alert pendant is the right choice for you or your family member. I've compiled a list of questions which can help you determine if this device is appropriate for your situation:

  • Do you live on your own, but need help with some tasks?
  • Do you feel dizzy on occasion, and/or take medications which cause this effect?
  • Do you use a cane, walker, or wheelchair?
  • Have you fallen in the past?
  • Do you have a chronic condition such as arthritis or osteoporosis?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you would likely benefit from a medical alert system. Your doctor can also help you determine whether this device would be a good option for you or your loved one.

Key Considerations When Getting a Medical Alert System

A medical alert system is a monitoring service that sends medical assistance to you during emergencies. Most come with a device that is worn around the neck or on a wristband (also known as a medic alert bracelet) that can be activated if assistance is needed. The portable device is wirelessly connected to a base station that is connected to your phone.

A medical alert system provides you and your family with peace of mind. If an accident were to leave you incapacitated, help would be on its way with the simple push of a button. This means that you and your loved ones can feel confident that you are safe when you are going about the day on your own.

There are several providers of medical alert systems available. Each one offers similar services, however there are a few differences among them.

A device that can detect falls can save lives in a situation where the user is unconscious, or unable to respond for any reason.

When you are looking for the best medical alert system, be sure to consider the following factors:

1. Pendant Device Technology

Consider the distance range of wireless pendants or wearable devices. Ask providers what distance their device covers, the length of battery life and if you can answer incoming calls via the pendant. The latest cutting edge landline-based models are effective up to about 1300 feet, or nearly a quarter mile. Other wearable devices are mobile-based GPS devices. While their range is a bit less, they do identify the exact location of the wearer.

Does the pendant come in variations, such as a necklace or wristband, belt or pocket models, and is it waterproof? Some providers also include mounted help buttons throughout the house to supplement pendants or other worn devices. This feature can be particularly useful in bathrooms or bedrooms.

Another key issue is whether the device detects if the wearer falls, sensing an impact. Such a device automatically alerts an emergency dispatcher. They are able to check in with the wearer to assess the situation and connect to emergency services if needed. A device that can detect falls can save lives in a situation where the user is unconscious, or unable to respond for any reason.

2. Connection Choices

Medical alert systems tap into landline, cellular or mobile GPS-enabled devices to connect with emergency help centers. Service providers are given to touting their technology as superior. Keep practical concerns in mind; for example, in the case of a power failure, does the system have a backup battery?

Some providers, such as Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm medical, offer a variety of service packages based on any connection technology you prefer. This includes the choice of landline, wireless or mobile GPS connections, with each package offering its own distinct features. Landline packages tend to offer the longest distance range of protection while being the least expensive in terms of monthly fee. The highest level of service technology typically includes a mobile wearable GPS-enabled transmitter that includes fall detection.

Take a careful look at fees for service activation or cancellation from each company you consider, and whether they require a long-term contract.

The console from the provider Lifestation is very easy to set up and begin using, even though you are limited to a landline connection. Plug the system into a phone jack and power outlet and you are ready to go. Automatic weekly tests ensure that the system is working properly.

Medical alert system reviews by independent consumers are a good information source on the comparative technical aspects when you're ready to compare medical alert systems. Conduct some due diligence searching of user reviews prior to the purchase of a medical alert system, and you will see what customers report about the equipment from medical alert companies, free of marketing messages.

3. Service Features

The best medical alert system companies allow you to add another person such as a spouse or relative to your service package with no extra fee. Other important features to look for include periodic check-in service to confirm that all is well, and monitoring for carbon monoxide, smoke and gas. The top medic alert companies tend to offer all these service features as part of their system, but some charge extra fees for these items. Some companies only offer basic services, without gas and smoke protection or check-in options.

4. Service Languages

One of the top medical alert companies, Medical Guardian, sets the standard by offering more than 200 languages in their service. Most companies offer a range of languages, although some offer service in English only. Be sure to check that a provider has service in the language you need before purchasing.

5. Customer Support and Fees

Take a careful look at fees for service activation or cancellation from each company you consider, and whether they require a long-term contract. The top companies do not charge for activation or cancellation. They charge a monthly service fee. Fees for equipment (purchase or lease) vary from company to company. Some providers charge shipping on equipment while others cover this cost.

Monthly fees for medical alert service start around twenty-five dollars per month for basic landline-based service. Wireless, cellular and GPS-enabled mobile device service climbs into the mid-thirty-dollar range, with full high-end service with all the bells and whistles from top providers capped at just under fifty dollars per month.

In terms of customer service, look for 24/7 phone access, live-chat and email. Are service workers empowered to order an ambulance direct to your home? Do they have contact information for your doctors, family and trusted friends?

One downside of shopping for the best medical alert system is that you may be subject to high-pressure follow-up sales calls from the marketing departments of these firms.

Benefits of a Medical Alert Device

Nearly thirty percent of all individuals 65+ years old will fall each year according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accidental falls aren't the only fear to guard against, however. Nearly 60 percent of senior citizens make errors in taking their medicines. When you contemplate all the 'what-ifs' that could happen over the course of a day, it's reassuring to know that aid is available at the push of a button.

Are you still on the fence, even after reading the above medical alert system reviews? There are so many reasons to use this handy tool that it really doesn't make sense not to have one. Benefits of medic alert systems include:

1. Peace of Mind

Older Americans and those with mental or physical disabilities don't always have a relative or caretaker by their side 24/7. The top rated medical alert systems have trained staff monitoring their lines day and night. Within moments, medical alert personnel can notify an ambulance, the police and even family members of an emergency.

This peace of mind isn't limited to relatives or caretakers. Research shows that senior citizens are not only afraid of falling, but that this fear itself can actually increase the risk of a fall happening. Carrying a medical monitoring device gives you a sense of security which can keep this fear from interfering with your quality of life.

2. Simple to Use

There are a range of styles and types of medical alert devices to suit any need. Some systems are programmed to contact emergency responders directly while others first notify a response center which then takes the appropriate course of action. In some scenarios you may not require an ambulance or police, rather just assistance from a family or friend. Many people wonder what the difference is between this sort of system and a phone. While a phone is capable of providing communication, it is often unreachable if an individual has injured themselves in another room.

3. Cost-Effective Alternative

Medical alert systems are not only effective devices, they're also affordable. Many individuals purchase cellular phones for their aging parents to contact paramedics in the event of an emergency but cell phones can cost hundreds of dollars a month. Medical alert systems are much less expensive.

4. Medic Alert Systems Can Save Lives

My analysis of medical alert systems for seniors left little doubt in my mind that this technology plays a pivotal role in keeping these valuable citizens safe and allowing them to live independently, longer. But did you know that aside from sending help for falls, a medic alert bracelet or pendant can literally save a life?

Heart disease is the foremost cause of death for both men and women in America, according to the CDC. Fortunately, there are apparent signs leading up to a heart attack, which if caught early, can save a life. Signs include tightness in the jaw and/or chest, neck and upper shoulders as well as nausea and shortness of breath. If an individual uses their medical alert system at the first sign of an emergency like this, there's a strong chance their life can be saved.

Medic Alert Systems Save Money

Life expectancy in the United States continues to grow. According to Social Security, a man who reaches the age of 65 today can expect to live on average to 84.3 and a woman who reaches the age of 65 today can expect to live to 86.6. This is great news for those of us who want to live long, happy lives or don't want to lose our loved ones too soon. With age, however, come increased healthcare costs.

Healthcare costs alone nearly double between the ages of 75 and 85. In addition to these expenses, you also need to consider the costs of living alone versus in an assisted living facility or hiring live-in help. According to AARP the average annual cost of a nursing home can top $50,000. These costs will quickly consume social security benefits and are not covered by Medicare. Long-term care expenses may be covered by Medicaid, however, the government can seize your assets, such as your home, in order to recoup some of the money.

Having a safety device can delay the need for this expensive care. For as little as $20 a month, you or your loved one can gain access to a medical alert bracelet or pendant that will provide monitoring at home, and even outside of the home. In addition, a number of medical alert systems offer additional monitoring like carbon dioxide levels or falls that render you unable to call your accident in.

There are certainly downsides to this plan, especially if you or your loved one has a difficult time remembering things and you are not adept at using the system. As long as the user is of sound mind, however, medical alert systems make it very easy to reach their main call-in center. Many providers even offer assistance in hundreds of languages which is a benefit that you are not guaranteed with other facilities. Even if you do have someone helping out at home, it makes sense to employ the medical alert system as a backup plan just in case there is a need and your provider is unable to assist.

A medical alert system offers tremendous value to the individual carrying it as well as their loved ones. The peace of mind and assurance that accompanies these devices far outweighs their cost.

Tips & Advice

Prior to making a decision on a medical alert system, take the time to explore our advice guides to get up to speed on medical alert systems. You'll find answers to your questions and information that is useful in choosing a medical alert system provider.

One of the main purposes of a medical alert system is the ability to live in confidence that help is quickly available if you need it. Elderly people, their families and care providers gain peace of mind knowing that help is just the push of a button away. When shopping for a system, keep in mind the specific condition and needs of you or your loved one. Look at system features with a critical eye to ensure that a particular medical alert company will instill confidence.


Sales of med-alert services are growing as the baby boom generation ages. This technology-based service delivers peace of mind to independent elders, their families, and caregivers. Of course, it also literally delivers emergency help rapidly in case of a crisis or medical emergency.

As you check through these reviews of top providers, compare their services and fees, including the terms and length of their contracts. Above all consider which company offers the features that work for you or your loved one's situation.

This is a very competitive industry, so you may be able to take advantage of a discount or special offers, such as free equipment, shipping or activation. This is also a great opportunity to check out the best home security systems and the best identity theft protection, in order to maximize overall safety and security in the home.

Medical Alert Systems FAQs

QHow much does it cost for Life Alert?


There is a monthly charge for the Life Alert medical alert system, and a one-time installation cost. The basic monthly system runs $29.95. Additional options are available for smoke, fire and CO monitoring. They can raise the price to $49.95 per month. The initial installation runs from $95 to $115.

QHow much is a Life Alert subscription?


Life Alert medical alert system subscriptions start at $29.95 per month for the basic service. You can add fire, smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring options for between $20 to $30 per month. You also pay a one-time installation fee of $95 - $115.00.

QWhat is discharge planning in social work?


Discharge planning is the process of a patient getting help developing a healthcare plan upon discharge from the hospital. The plan is part of social work case management services. Discharge planning insures that patients receive ongoing health maintenance treatment after a hospital stay.

QWhat is a discharge plan?


A Discharge Plan is designed to insure that patients leaving the hospital receive the proper care as they recuperate. A discharge planner oversees the details of creating the plan. A key element is choosing the proper environment, whether it's the patient's home, or a different location for further recovery and rehabilitation.

QDo I actually need a Medical Alert System?


A medical alert system is a good idea for anyone who needs a little extra security and monitoring. Seniors and people with disabilities commonly use them so that they can maintain independence while also having someone who can quickly respond during emergencies. As adults age, the severity of things like trips and falls become more serious. What once would have meant a bruise can be a broken bone.

If you are thinking about whether or not you need a medical alert system consider the following?

  • Do you live on your own? What would you do during an emergency if you couldn't reach a phone?
  • Have you had a serious fall in the past? Have you been dizzy or close to falling recently?
  • Do you have any medical conditions that can cause sudden or unexpected pain or incapacitation?
  • How is your mobility? If you need to get up or leave your home quickly would you be able to?
  • Do you have chronic diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis or arthritis that might require assistance?

If any of these questions worry you, a medical alert system might be valuable. Not only can it be incredibly valuable during an emergency, a medical alert system can give you and your family peace of mind.

QDo I need to test my medical alert system?


Medical alert systems, like smoke detectors should be checked periodically. Even the base station's battery is important for when you the power unexpectedly goes out. However, many of the top services run tests on the system for you. They will call in to check on your status and make sure that you are doing well. In doing so, they can also test your devises to make sure that the connection is good and the batteries are working.

Many companies offer this service for free while others offer it at an additional cost. If you have a provider that does not have a check-in service, be sure to test your battery backups every once and a while. Also, when you are choosing a medical alert system look for a provider with a long battery life, so you can rest assured that your system is ready when you need it most.

QHow exactly does a medical alert system work?


When the button on the pendant is pressed it begins connecting you with an operator from a care center in seconds. Once you are connected you can speak to them and tell them whatever it is you need. Whether it is the police, medical attention, or just for the operator to call a family member for you, they are there ready to help.

QCan the pendant be worn in the shower?


The medical alert pendant is completely waterproof and can be worn in the shower.

QWhat would happen if my loved one or myself were unable to communicate with the operator?


No worries! If there is zero communication between the operator and the person who has requested the operator local paramedics will be sent out to the person's home immediately.

QHow durable is the medical alert system?


The medical alert system is designed to go through your everyday routine with you so it is pretty durable. If it is dropped or you feel it was damaged in any way then it is important to perform the procedure to assure it is still working. If your medical alert system isn't working a new one will be given to you for free.

QWhat will happen to the medical alert system if the electricity goes out?


Have no fear; power outage will not negatively affect your device. If your electricity goes out a backup battery will assure device function for up to five days after power issues. Once your power is back on the backup battery will automatically recharge and be ready for any other unexpected surprises.

QWhat happens if I move to a new address?


Moving to a new home is a stressful experience, however with your medical alert device, it doesn't have to be. All that is required from you is a written notice with new address and phone number, at least, twenty-four hours prior to the move. Once you are moved in you will need to perform a test procedure to assure the system is working with the correct address.

QWill my device work even if I am outside?


You don't have to be confined to the inside of your home because of your device. Your device is meant to help you and make your life better, not stop you from enjoying it. Medical alert systems absolutely work outdoors! Depending on the company your system could work anywhere from three hundred to fifteen hundred feet from your home. So whether you're getting the mail or tending to your garden in the yard, if something happens and you need to use your device it will work.

QWhat is the size of the medical alert system and pendant?


The medical alarm system is a small system that comes with a necklace with a small button on it.

QHow long is a medical alert system agreement?


Your medical alert system agreement will last for one year unless there are special circumstances.

QDoes the medical alert system unit need to be tested?


Staying on top of your system is important. Be sure to help the system that wants to help you! Your system should be tested monthly.

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