Medical Alert Systems: Everything You Need To Know

QMedic2 300x231 Medical Alert Systems: Everything You Need To KnowWe’re asked all the time to make recommendations on medical alert systems, and to provide best practices on what to look out for when shopping for one of these little devices. The best advice is not to rush into this purchase decision without doing a little due diligence. There are some nafarious providers out there, hoping you’ll sign a long-term contract that you can’t get out of… We’ve even heard from consumers that have been stuck in a bad contract for (dare we say) 3 years!

So you can probably tell that one of the things we hate are long-term agreements with no out-clauses. There are other things to watch out for as well, so let’s get into the heart of the matter! First things first… Don’t start looking at medical alert systems without knowing the Top 10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Medical Alert System.

Top Questions to Ask When Buying a Medical Alert System

  1. Does this medical alert system work with VOIP phones?
  2. What is the range of the pendant from the base unit?
  3. Who installs and tests the device in my home?
  4. Do I need a land-line in my home to use this alert system?
  5. Tell me about your call centers. Where are they located? What are response times? Are they trained?
  6. Does the medical alert system come with other services like medication reminders?
  7. What if something goes wrong with my equipment?
  8. Is automatic fall detection included?
  9. Do I own this device, or am I leasing the equipment?
  10. What is my total yearly cost?
  11. (Bonus Question) What do I do when I no longer need the service? (Get this in writing.)

Bay Alarm Pendant Medical Alert Systems: Everything You Need To Know5 Features of Modern Medical Alert Systems

  1. The pendant should be small, discrete and waterproof.
  2. The contract should be easy to opt out of.
  3. Pendant should be comfortable and lightweight.
  4. The fall detection technology should work well.
  5. Should have connectivity options to call your family, a call center, or 911.

Medical Alert System SCAM

Did you know there is a medical alert scam that is being perpetrated on the American public right now?  These frauds are targeting seniors with an offer of a personal medical alert system at no cost to you. The call goes on to say “Since you’ve already been referred by a medical professional, your package is ready to be shipped”. State and federal authorities are aware of the scam which has been going on for over a year now.  What you can do:  Make your friends and family aware of the scam, and make sure they never give personal information to anyone that calls them out of the blue (ever)!

SureResponse lanyard Medical Alert Systems: Everything You Need To Know

Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Medical Alert System Buyers Guide

If you want more help or more information, poke around The Senior List a little bit.  You can use our search bar on the front page to help guide your search for medical alert system information.  We’ve conducted many reviews of specific devices, and browsing these reviews is a great way to educate yourself on the medical alert space.  If you would like specific recommendations on medical alert systems, we have a Medical Alert System Buyers Guide that can walk you through some of our favorite medical alert system choices.  These are alert systems that we recommend to friends and family, and they meet many of the criteria that we look for in a medical alert system provider.

Medical Alert Buyers Guide Medical Alert Systems: Everything You Need To Know

Philips Lifeline Review

Lifeline pendants Philips Lifeline Review

The Philips Lifeline family of medical alert systems now offers 4 options under their Philips Lifeline umbrella.   They offer the traditional home based medical alert system without fall detection, the Lifeline alert system with fall detection, a mobile (cellular) option, and a smartphone app.  We like options, and Philips Lifeline has built a nice business model based on consistent service over a long period of time.  This is one of the reasons we tend to recommend Philips Lifeline when folks ask us for medical alert system recommendations.

Product Info: Philips Lifeline

  • Name:  Philips LifeLine
  • Website Info: www.lifelinesys.comPhilips Lifeline w Auto Alert Philips Lifeline Review
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  Optional
  • Cellular Option: Yes
  • Equipment Cost:  $0 for traditional medical alert system, $149 if you want mobile (cellular) option
  • Monthly Cost Starts At: $29.95 for in-home (no fall detection), $49.95 (with fall detection), $54.95 (cellular option/AT&T), $13.95 for Medical Alert Smartphone App.
  • All Lifeline Alert Systems Feature:  A waterproof (wireless) Pendant or Bracelet, In-Home Base Unit, 24/7 US Based Response Center.

Philips Lifeline Review

We originally published our first Philips Lifeline Review back in 2011.  The Philips Lifeline family of medical alert systems is now the number 1 provider of medical alert systems in the US with over 7 million served.  Founded in 1972, Philips Lifeline continues to provide top notch (US based) service to those that choose to patronize the Lifeline family of products.  Philips Lifeline is a premium brand which means you’ll pay a little more than the industry average for their services.  In exchange, you’ll receive US based response centers staffed with trained operators, ready to assist in case of emergency.  Here at The Senior List we can attest to our own high degree of customer satisfaction, as a family member has worn a Lifeline device for almost a decade.

Lifeline offers a number of options depending on the needs of the user today.  The base model is called their HomeSafe Standard option.  This is what we would refer to as a traditional in-home medical alert system.  It offers push button technology from a pendant, and is perfect for most users who want a traditional medical alert system.

If you’re worried about falls, Philips Lifeline offers a fall detection option called “HomeSafe Auto Alert”.  Philips boasts a “high detection rate of true falls”, but you should know that fall detection technology isn’t without it’s detractors/critics.  Those critics cite false fall alarms, as well as non-detected-falls.  Fall detection is a nice safety blanket to have, but you have to understand fall detection technology isn’t perfect (on any device).  You also pay quite a premium for fall detection.  It will run you $240 more per year than a traditional medical alert system.  IF on-board fall detection thwarts a critical medical emergency however… It’s worth it every time (and twice on Sundays).

For the user on the go, Philips offers a mobile (cellular) medical alert option.  This system utilizes a pendant that’s connected to AT&T’s wireless network.  You’ll need to purchase the cellular based pendant (a one time expense of $149) and pay a premium monthly payment to Philips that starts at $54.95.  We like the cellular based medical alert systems, and the monthly fees will ratchet down once there are more options in the marketplace.

The Bottom Line: Philips Lifeline

We like Philips Lifeline and we recommend them.  They are a premium player in the medical alert system space, and they’ve grown into the largest provider of medical alert systems in the US.  We’ve had family members use Lifeline for extended periods of time, and can attest to the fact that the Lifeline call center staff is both understanding and patient.  At times, confused adults can get into a pattern of repeated button pushing (we certainly ran into this).  Each time our family member depressed their pendant alert button, they were treated with respect and understanding (or we would have switched providers).  This is the kind of thing that goes a long way for families in crisis.  We’ll continue to recommend Philips Lifeline as one of only a few Medical Alert System providers that The Senior List will endorse.

If you’ve used the Philips Lifeline Medical Alert Systems or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

5 Common Mistakes: Medical Alert Systems

The most common mistakes people make when purchasing a medical alert system are easily remedied with a little research.  Here are the top 5 mistakes we have identified, based on the feedback from our visitors who share their woes.

Buyer Beware: Do your research

5CommonMistakesMedicalAlertSystems 5 Common Mistakes: Medical Alert Systems

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Just5 Cell Phone Reviews

If you’ve been searching for Just5 cell phone reviews, you’ve come to the right place.  We originally reviewed the Just5 cell phone For seniors back in 2011, and it looks like it’s changed a bit for the better.  We liked this cell phone for a lot of reasons, namely because it was simple, had big buttons and seemed to work quite well.  We were sent a model to play with, and subsequently gave it away to a lucky TSL community member during an on-site promotion.

Product Info: Just5 Cell Phone

  • Name:  Just5 (model CP09)
  • Offered By:
  • Price:  $33 (EUR)
  • Carrier:  AT&T & T-Mobile
  • Monthly Rates:   AT&T or T-Mobile standard rates
  • Colors:  Orange, Red & White
  • Contracts or Cancellation Fees: None for phone.  Fees possible depending on carrier
  • Features:  Emergency call button, built-in flashlight, integrated fm radio, large buttons, loud speakerphone, easy to use.

Product Review: Just5 Cell Phone

The Just5 cell phone for seniors is a simple, easy to use phone with few frills.  It has huge buttons that are easy to read, has a built in flashlight (making it
useful when reading restaurants menus), has a small form factor, and works on common carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile.  We never saw the utility of having an fm radio on board, but maybe they have customers that like this feature. As we noted in our earlier review of the Just5, this phone could make good sense for a young person as well.

If a cell phone (with an SOS button) is all you’re looking for, the Just5 would make good sense. When the SOS or medical alert button is depressed, it sends a text message to 5 preset numbers that the user inputs at set-up.  It then begins dialing the user’s emergency contacts until someone answers.  The phone is automatically placed in speakerphone mode after the SOS button is depressed.

The Just5 phone probably doesn’t make much sense for the user who wants to take, and share pictures.  You’d have a hard time taking pictures given there is no camera!  There isn’t enough real estate on the viewing area to see anything but a simple text, so it’s a moot point anyway.  What this phone does well is that it makes and receives phone calls, and operates as a remote medical alert system.

The Bottom Line:

This phone is for someone that wants a basic phone with a medical alert option.  For those purposes, this phone is a great option.  Everywhere we looked recently was out of stock on the Just5 model CP09, so you’ll have to look around to purchase it. Normally you can purchase this phone directly from or any number of retail outlets like Best Buy, etc.  If you can’t find a Just5 phone, we have a similar suggestion for you.  A close cousin of the Just5 is the Snapfon ezTWO3G Senior Cell Phone, SIMPLE and Easy to Use, SOS Button, Hearing Aid Compatible, UNLOCKED GSM Just5 Cell Phone Reviews.

This post may contain affiliate links. We only consider affiliate relationships on products that we would absolutely recommend to friends and family.

Samsung Jitterbug 5 Review

Jitterbug 5 red Samsung Jitterbug 5 ReviewThe Samsung Jitterbug line has been around a long time, and we know this phone well.  The Senior List originally reviewed the Samsung Jitterbug J model back in 2010!  We’re happy to report that this phone has evolved and today it’s better than ever.  The Jitterbug line has been one of the most popular senior friendly phones on the market.  There was a famous slogan penned by an ad agency back in 1968, we think fits pretty well with our Samsung Jitterbug 5 Review… Jitterbug 5 – You’ve come a long way baby!

Product Info: Jitterbug 5

  • Name:  Jitterbug 5 Phone for Seniors
  • Offered by:  GreatCall
  • Price:  $99 MSRP
  • Monthly Rates: Start at $24.99 (includes 5Star Service)
  • Colors:  Red, White or Blue
  • Carrier:  Verizon
  • Contracts or Cancellation Fees: None
  • Features:  Simple clam shell design, big, easy-to-see buttons, powerful speakerphone, 5Star service button, long lasting battery, Big Red (Verizon Network)

Product Review: GreatCall’s Jitterbug 5

j5 white magenta e1416697285902 Samsung Jitterbug 5 ReviewThe Samsung Jitterbug 5 from GreatCall is one of the most recognizable senior friendly phones today.   Nicole Lee at Cnet said of the Samsung Jitterbug 5’s early cousins “The Samsung Jitterbug J is incredibly easy to use.  It has a bright display, large font size, a roomy keypad with big buttons, and even a dial tone to make it similar to a landline telephone“.  We love the large buttons, and the fact that it’s easy to recognize the emergency button (in red) which alerts GreatCall operators to an inquiry or an emergency.

Staff here at The Senior List have personally tested out “5Star” services at GreatCall’s call center.  These services include dispatching emergency services, connecting the user to a registered nurse, and even conferencing in an emergency contact like a son or daughter.  The operators are trained, and they’re some of the most professional we’ve dealt with.  Another thing that we love is their contract… You know why? There isn’t one!  If you’ve followed our medical alert system reviews, you probably know we don’t like the idea of folks entering into long-term service contracts that they are locked into.  If you’re ever in doubt, make sure you get this assurance in writing.  With GreatCall’s Jitterbug you don’t have to.

How Does 5Star Service Work?

5Star Service from GreatCall Samsung Jitterbug 5 Review

The Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a senior friendly cell phone the Samsung Jitterbug 5 from GreatCall is a can’t miss.  This isn’t just a cell phone though, it’s a cross between a phone and a medical alert system.  For this reason, The Senior List highly recommends this product.  The Jitterbug 5 remains our top choice in mobile phones for seniors because of it’s versatility, it’s value for money, and for top shelf service from GreatCall staff.

If you’ve used the Jitterbug 5 or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

This post may contain affiliate links. We only consider affiliate relationships on products that we would absolutely recommend to friends and family.

QMedic Review: A smart medical alert system

QMedic1 QMedic Review: A smart medical alert systemThe QMedic Medical Alert System

QMedic offers a traditional PERS bracelet or pendant with a button to push when help is needed.  In addition to these features, QMedic also has some very smart sensing technology that we love.  The QMedic medical alert system will send text alerts to  loved ones/caregivers if the user is not wearing the device, fails to get out of bed or is inactive for an extended period of time.  Monthly Wellness Reports are also available to monitor activity, sleep, and  safety in the home.

What We Like: Waterproof, Smart sensing technology, inactivity alerts.  Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee. Affordable, no hidden fees, no contract. 800-1,000 ft range. Will notify users preferences in case of an emergency (911 or family/ friends). Monthly wellness reports.

What We Would Change: No GPS features, tethered to home land-line.

Recommend?: Absolutely.  We love that it’s waterproof and think the sensing technology is a huge step above traditional personal emergency response systems.  We would love to see a GPS enabled version of QMedic.

Where to Purchase: Currently, purchases must be made through the QMedic website.

Cost: $30 per month. No long term contract. No equipment purchase. Free Shipping, 30-day money back guarantee.

Excellent Service

We found the staff at QMedic very easy to work with.  This started in their marketing department and spread to the folks at the call center who wanted to make sure I was okay when I pushed the button (many times).

Great Speaker Range on the QMedic

What really impressed me was the range of the speaker on the base station throughout my home.  The call center and I played “can you hear me now?” on both levels of my home and we could still hear each other the whole time.  The base station speaker is really loud if you are in the same room, but perfect if a user needs help a distance away from the base station.

We will be adding QMedic to our “Favorites List”, if you have used QMedic and have any feedback about your experience, we would love to hear about it below!

Is Consumer Reports Rating Medical Alert Systems?

Bay Alarm Pendant Is Consumer Reports Rating Medical Alert Systems?If you’ll look at some of our articles on Medical Alert Systems you’ll see that our robust user community is all about helping each other find the best products and services for boomers and seniors.  One of the areas that’s always been hot on The Senior List has been the Medical Alert System arena.  The reason it’s such a hot sector is because these little devices solve a problem for aging adults that are staying in the home longer.  The obvious problem they address is; What happens if there’s a medical emergency?  The solution is to press an alarm button that will summons help if no one else is in the home.  This trend toward staying in one’s home vs. moving into a nursing home or assisted living is called “Aging in Place“.

Is Consumer Reports Rating Medical Alert Systems?

One of the questions we get quite often is the following; Is consumer reports rating medical alert systems? The answer is no, they aren’t ratings specific medical alert systems but in July, Consumer Reports provided a brief review titled “What to look for in a Medical Alert System“.   They also provide a few reviews for 6 popular medical alert providers.  The article lacks some detail, but does provide some useful information such as “who needs a medical alert system”, and “what the best medical alert systems have”.

cr logo home 300x31 Is Consumer Reports Rating Medical Alert Systems?

There are a number of resources that provide ratings for medical alert systems.  Since you’re already on The Senior List, you probably know that we provide ratings and recommendations for medical alert systems.  If you see a recommendation for a medical alert system here, you can be sure we’d make the same recommendation to our own family members, giving you peace of mind when making these difficult choices.  We even put together a Medical Alert System Buyers Guide to help you make the best choice for your specific situation.



Tablet Stand Product Review: Bamboosa Lap Log

AGreen600x500px large 300x250 Tablet Stand Product Review: Bamboosa Lap Log When it comes to finding a tablet stand, they are a dime-a-dozen and can be found on a variety of retails sites.  When the hunt is on to find a  stylish and comfortable tablet stand that works well for seniors and are made in the USA, they are hard to find!  I am excited to add the Bamboosa Lap Log to the list of products that I love, and that I can highly recommend to my readers.  I personally love the Lap Log, and the company that makes them is pretty special too.  Bamboosa also makes men’s, women’s and baby apparel, blankets, and bedding to name a few.

Why I love the Lap Log Tablet Stand

The Lap Log is a perfect hands-free solution for tablets and eReaders alike.  I have noticed that my grandmother has difficulty holding her 10-inch tablet and trying to use it at the same time.   I tested the Lap Log with both an iPad and the smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.  It held both tablets in my lap comfortably, and was easy to move around and adjust.  The tablets stayed put and didn’t fall over.  I especially like the way the tablet stand worked for me while I was sitting up in bed as it freed up my hands to use the tablet.  This eco-friendly product is made from soft 100% Organic Cotton Twill, and is filled with natural buckwheat hulls.  The wooden inserts that hold the tablet in place come in a variety of sizes depending on the size of your tablet or eReader.  The wooden insert is easily removed for washing the Lap Log.  Once the insert is removed, you could also use this as a pillow- the perfect travel companion!  The Lap Log comes in many different patterns and solid colors.  They even have cute kids-themed fabrics.  These would make a perfect holiday gifts for loved ones, young and aged alike!

We are giving away two Lap Logs, visit our Facebook page to see how you can win one!

5 Emergency Situations When Medical Alert Systems are Life Saving

canstockphoto16013381 300x225 5 Emergency Situations When Medical Alert Systems are Life SavingMedical alert systems are powerful tools which allow your loved ones to keep living independently. A medical alert pendant or bracelet acts as a safety net, allowing your loved one to have access to emergency personnel 24 hours a day. They aren’t just for medical emergencies though. Having a medical alert system in place delivers many benefits in a wide range of situations.


If a fire is breaking out in your home, one of the best things that you or your loved ones can do is press the button on your medical alert system. Your loved one may be too panicked to find their phone and call 911. The call center will be able to immediately contact the closest fire department for immediate dispatch.


If someone breaks into the home, a simple push of a button can notify authorities. The voice of a call center operator echoing in the house may be enough to scare away a burglary in progress. Every once in a while, you’ll read a story in the news about how a person’s emergency alert bracelet helped catch a criminal.

Gas Leaks

Gas can be an especially worrisome problem. It’s very easy for an elderly person to suffocate from a gas leak, or worse, cause an accidental explosion. Some medical alert systems come with integrated gas leak detectors. If there is a leak, the sensor will immediately call the fire department for help whenever it happens.


A fall isn’t always because of a medical problem, but it can certainly lead to one. Falling and not being able to get up from the ground is a very real situation that happens to people.  The consequences of falling are exacerbated when the person is alone or prone to confusion and fear about the situation.  By having a medical alert bracelet, a fall doesn’t have to be nearly as scary. Plus, if the fall does cause a medical emergency the EMTs will be able to assess the situation upon arrival.


Sometimes a loved one or a home caretaker will keep a spare pendant on them so they can contact emergency services if their loved one goes missing. For those who have loved ones who are prone to wandering, using the emergency alert system might come in handy.  On the GPS enabled medical alert systems, your loved one can be located through its use and just pressing the button.

The operators who are on the other end of the medical alert system’s lines are trained and capable of handling all kinds of emergencies and situations.  They will provide the best solutions, contacting the right people for the situation. If your loved one is having trouble using a phone, prone to wandering, or is otherwise unable to take care of themselves if an emergency happens, it may be time to talk with them about getting a medical alert system. The extra insurance is worth it.

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LifeStation Medical Alert System Reviews

We’ve been looking at LifeStation Medical Alert Systems for some time now.  A recent anonymous call to their customer service center revealed a professional sounding gentleman (despite calling on a lovely Sunday morning).  These “secret shopper” calls can reveal a lot about the business practices of senior service providers (and any other providers for that matter).

LifeStation has options for both traditional in-home medical alert systems as well as a mobile cellular options.  There are a number of LifeStation Medical Alert system reviews online, and the biggest complaint we’ve noticed is a coverage issue throughout then entire home.  This is a common complaint for a lot of traditional in-home medical alert systems, as each home is a different set up.  Some homes have many walls, some are small and some are big.  Each of these factors will affect the ability of the emergency response pendant to communicate with the base station.  Always do your due diligence when buying a medical alert system for yourself or a family member.  Here’s a list of questions to ask before buying a medical alert system.

The LifeStation Medical Alert System

  • Name:  LifeStation Medical Alert SystemLifeAlert Medical Alert LifeStation Medical Alert System Reviews
  • Website Info:
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  no
  • Equipment Cost:  $0
  • Monthly Cost:  $27.95 per month (based on quarterly billing)
  • Cancellation Policy: No Fees, Cancel at Anytime
  • Features:  Waterproof Pendant, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring, 32 hour back-up battery for base station (in case of power failure), up to 500 feet range (pendant to base station).

Product Review: LifeStation Medical Alert System

LifeStation LifeStation Medical Alert System ReviewsThe LifeStation Medical Alert System is an excellent option if you’re looking for a traditional medical alert system. LifeStation has options for both in-home pendant style buttons, as well as a mobile help button that operates on a cellular network.  LifeStations touts their pendant as being waterproof which is one of the items we like about modern medical alert pendants.

LifeStation owns and operates it’s own UL listed monitoring center, and provides 6 weeks of training before each of their operator specialists are certified.  The equipment is easy to set up, and the price is in-line with industry averages.  They send the equipment out with no installation costs, or shipping (if ground is acceptable).  Everything is included in the monthly costs associate with The LifeStation medical alert system.

The Bottom Line: LifeStation Medical Alert Systems

Senior List Approved LifeStation Medical Alert System ReviewsWe’re recommending LifeStation Medical Alert Systems because they satisfy many of our top criteria for medical alert system providers.  They offer short-term agreements, there is no equipment to buy, the pendant is waterproof, and installation is easy. If another family member in the same household requires monitoring as well, for just $3.99 per month, they’ll provide an additional pendant and include monitoring. We’re putting LifeStation on our recommended list of medical alert system providers.

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

If you’ve used The LifeStation Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!


This post may contain affiliate links. We only consider affiliate relationships on products that we recommend to friends and family.