What Is A Medical Alert System?

What is a Medical Alert System?We do so many articles, posts, and reviews of the latest medical alert systems that we thought we’d take a step backwards and cover the basics.  Many people don’t even understand what a medical alert system is, or what they’re designed for.  So let’s cover this in a brief Q&A session.

What Is A Medical Alert System?

A medical alert system is a combination of hardware and software (usually in the form of a pendant button) that sends a signal to emergency personnel when attention is required.  Medical alert systems, also known as personal emergency response systems (PERS) are most commonly worn by the elderly or disabled individuals who may need to summon emergency personnel following a fall or other life threatening occurrence

What Do Medical Alert Systems Look Like?

What is a medical alert systemHere’s a typical combination of a pendant button (usually worn around the neck) and a corresponding base station (which communicates with the pendant).  After the pendant button is pushed it sends a signal to the base station.  When the base station receives the emergency signal from the pendant, it calls a pre-programmed number (usually a call-center) where emergency responders/operators are standing by to assess the situation.  After receiving an emergency call, the operators in the call center usually call-out to the person in distress over the base station’s loud speaker. The base station also has a microphone inside that detects a response from within the home (if the person in distress can speak).  The call center operator then sends emergency personnel if required, or calls a family member, or a neighbor depending on the situation.

Are There Different Shapes & Sizes?

Yes, medical alert systems come in all shapes and sizes.  There are traditional pendant style medical alert systems, speakerphone medical alert systems, cellular medical alert systems (for the more mobile), activity tracker type systems, and combination phone/medical alert systems (like the Jitterbug).  See above for a few of the different types out there.

How Do I Buy A Medical Alert?

For many, it’s hard to know where to start.  We’ve published a lot of helpful articles here on The Senior List® to help guide you along the way. Here are 3 good rules to follow as you go down this path.  First, after doing some research based on your individual needs, narrow down your choices to a top 3 list.  Second, don’t make these mistakes when purchasing a medical alert system, we see these a lot.  Third, make sure you ask these questions when speaking to each of your top 3 medical alert providers.

Finally, if you didn’t jump to any of the aforementioned posts, remember this: Do not sign a long-term contract that doesn’t allow you to exit the agreement with little or no penalty.  You must understand the termination provisions explicitly (if nothing else) so you’re not stuck paying a monthly bill when you no longer need the service, or if you’ve chosen the wrong medical alert provider.  If you want to short list, here is a recent recommended list of medical alert providers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow all of the rules I mentioned above.

Do you have any advice for somebody that’s just getting started? Let us know in the comment below!

Finding The Right Medical Alert System

medical alert systemsFinding the right medical alert system can be tough.  It requires time, patience and a good deal of research.  Many of you come to The Senior List® to find answers to your medical alert system questions, and we LOVE being a part of that experience.  Many times we’re asked to recommend a “one size fits all” medical alert system, but we really try to shy away from that practice.

We prefer to offer several quality medical alert providers that we know can do the job.  By giving the consumer a short-list, they can then begin to research the right fit AND form for themselves (or their loved one).  It would be easy to tell you that we love GreatCall, Philips, Bay Alarm Medical, and anything from Costco (and we do) but the right medical alert system for one may NOT be the right medical alert system for another!

Here’s a common question from one of our community members here at TheSeniorList.com.  The question (a good one) from Russ is:

“Which ones do you recommend I look at? I know Life Alert has a 36 month (3 year) contract which surprises me. Why does it require that? Questionable. Expensive also at $70 a month for the mobile plan. But is it the best one (forget pricing)?”

Finding the right Medical Alert System

The answer is not an easy one with limited information, but here’s my attempt:

Russ, It really depends on your needs which is hard to determine in a quick comment but I’ll try. If all you need is a functioning medical alert system (small pendant) for in-home use we like both Philips Lifeline and Bay Alarm. If you don’t care about size of the wearable look at Costco’s MediPendant or the GreatCall Splash. If you need a mobile alert system (cellular) there are some other interesting options and newer alert systems to look at.

Why don’t you try our Medical Alert System Buyers Guide? – Hope that helps, there are a lot of really great choices out there. We always recommend that you DO NOT sign a long-term agreement. If you do, make sure you have an out clause that allows you to leave without penalty (or minimal penalty). The reason we offer a variety of recommended options for consumers is that we want people to do their homework on these items. Each persons needs are unique, so you need to ask medical alert providers good questions to narrow down the options that are right for you. – Amie, The Senior List

Bay Alarm Medical Alert ReviewsWe’ll continue to review the latest medical alert systems, and provide practical information to make your decisions easier (and more informed).  Remember after narrowing down your choices (find 3 you’re comfortable with), it’s time to really dig-in.  Look around The Senior List and other sites for ratings and/or reviews.  Speak to the customer service representatives at each provider and as a few good questions, if they’re no good on the phone you might want reconsider them as a top choice.

What recommendations do you have for somebody researching medical alert systems for the first time? Tell us in the comments below!

Medical Alert Systems At Costco

You may or may not be aware that Costco carries medical alert systems.  Costco used to carry just one – The MediPendant, which is an adequate (traditional) medical alert system that offered good value (due to the Costco offering).  Well flash forward to today, and you’ll notice that Costco now carries 2 medical alert brands; The MediPendant and the Connect America MobileAlert.costco logo

Connect America is a company that has been working hard to build back it’s reputation in the medical alert arena.  In the past, you didn’t have to look far to find a rash of critical reviews of their medical alert products/services.  Even on our site, we noticed quite a few less-than-satisfied-customers of Connect America.

Recently however, the company assigned a customer service representative to monitor complaints on The Senior List so they could rectify them.  You can see the interaction here.  This means a lot to us, and we’re happy to be a change agent whereby consumers can feel good about the service providers they trust to take care of them (long-term).  If we continue to see Connect America “connect” with customers to provide exemplary service, they might make our list of recommended medical alert providers in the future!

Here are the medical alert systems at Costco today

The Costco MediPendant Alert System

Costco MediPendant ReviewsThe Costco MediPendant Alert System (cost is $109.99) also includes 6 months of service (call center monitoring) which saves the user around $120-$150 depending on contract term.  Here’s what you can expect in the box when it arrives at your door:Medical Alert Systems at Costco

  • Voice speakerphone pendant
  • Small base station (to hold the pendant when you are not wearing it
  • Easy to follow 10-step set-up guide/instrucciones en espanol
  • 1 battery installed (lasts 2 years)
  • Belt, neck, and arm band attachments
  • 1 phone connection kit
  • 1 power supply
  • Lifetime replacement warranty for the pendant to the original user
  • Additional ‘spare’ battery for the pendant
  • Battery replacement tool
  • Lockbox – so medical personnel/family/friends can enter your home if you cannot get to the door

The MobileAlert from Connect America

Costco sells Medical Alert SystemsThe MobileAlert from Connect America (cost is $139.99) provides 2 options.  One is the traditional medical alert system (like the MediPendant above) and the other is the MobileAlert with fall detection (cost is $129.99 with $20 off coupon).  The medical alert with fall detection will alert when a person has fallen, and cannot depress the pendant button.  Both products include 6 months of service, which can provide some savings over the life of the service contract.  Here’s what you can expect in the box when the traditional unit arrives at your door:MobileAlert Medical Alert Systems at Costco

  • Speakerphone Unit
  • Neck Pendant
  • Wrist Pendant
  • Charging Cradle
  • Emergency Lockbox

It goes beyond saying that you should do your research before taking the plunge into the medical alert world.  Here are some things you should know BEFORE buying a medical alert system, and here are some of our recommended suppliers.  We’re always looking for new blood in this arena, with a keen eye out for high-quality service and innovative products that make a difference.

A few tips for the first-time buyer:

  1. Make sure you take the time to make a good decision – don’t rush it.
  2. Make sure you understand the “fine print”.
  3. Don’t sign long-term agreements that you cannot cancel at any time.

Finally make sure you read: Top 10 questions to ask before buying a medical alert system.

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

I've fallen and I can't get UpWe decided to activate The Senior List Time Machine today, and bring you the very first commercial where the iconic term “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” was uttered.  It occurred back in 1989 for a medical alert company called LifeCall.  The commercial was so campy it was a bit alarming (pun intended).  After “Mrs. Fletcher” falls, she yells those magic words to the dispatcher (reaching her through the base station) cementing LifeCall’s place in history.

The “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” ad had the double misfortune of being unintentionally campy and appearing often on cable and daytime television. The fact that the commercial was a dramatization (as clearly stated in the beginning of the commercial) using bad acting also contributed to the humor. The combination made “I’ve fallen… and I can’t get up!” a recognized, universal punchline that applied to many comedic situations. All of these factors made the ad memorable, ensuring the line’s place in pop culture history. — Wikipedia

Original Video: I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

We write a great deal about the best medical alert providers out there, and offer advice on how to shop for medical alert systems.  Today seemed like a good day to reflect back on the start of the medical alert revolution.  An industry that exploded with 7 simple words… “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.  Thanks Mrs Fletcher, for putting this industry on the map. Oh, and we’re sending help immediately! :)

Product Review: The Alert 1 Medical Alert

The Alert1 Medical Alert System is a good option for a traditional in-home medical alert system.  They boast 20 years of Alert1 Medical Alertservice and over 250,000 customers to date.

Product Info: Alert 1 Medical Alert System

  • Name:  Alert 1 Medical Alert System
  • Website Info: http://www.alert-1.com
  • Auto Fall Detection?:  yes
  • Mobile (Cellular) Option?: yes
  • Equipment Cost:  $0 for traditional alert, Fall Detection and Cellular Option have one-time set up fees (see details below).
  • Monthly Cost:  $25.95-$35.95 (depending on monthly, quarterly, or annual plan)
  • Features:  Waterproof Pendant and Wristband Alert Buttons, 2-way communication on mobile option, Wireless, 24/7 Monitoring, Easy Termination Process, US Based (contracted) Care Center, 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

Review: The Alert 1 Medical Alert For Seniors

Alert 1 (formally known as AlertOne) provides an economical choice for traditional Medical Alert Systems.  With over 250,000 families having used the Alert 1 to date, it would seem that they have a lot of experience to draw from.  Alert 1 offers pendant necklace and wristband alert button (options) as well as extra room and hallway buttons.   In addition to the traditional medical alert system offered by Alert 1, they have added a Fall Detection and Cellular option to the list of products to choose from.

Alert 1 Fall Detection

Alert1 Fall Detection Pendant

Photo Credit- Alert1

The fall detection option from Alert 1 is a small comfortable pendant that boasts a two-year battery life span and is 100% waterproof.  The pendant works up to 600 feet from the base unit, so make sure to place the base unit in a central area that reaches all bathrooms and other high fall-risk areas.  A one-time activation fee of $35, monthly plans start at $30.95.

 

Alert 1 Mobile (Cellular) Option

Alert1 Mobile Cellular Alert

Photo Credit: Alert1

The cellular option from Alert 1 is called the Kelsi; a mobile medical alarm that gets help with the push of a button anywhere in the U.S.  So, for those who are not home-bound, this discreet option requires no base station.  It also has a microphone and speaker to enable two-way communication and is waterproof.    The battery works for up to 2 months on a single charge, which is longer than other mobile options we have seen.  No equipment to purchase, the Kelsi has a one-time activation fee of $50 and monthly plans start at $35.95.

The Bottom Line: Alert 1

A good choice for traditional, fall detection, and cellular medical alert technology.  No equipment to purchase and no long-term contracts make this well established company someone to look at when making the choice of medical alert systems.

If you’ve used the Alert 1 Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

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

How To Buy Medical Alert Systems – Top Questions To Ask

Lively Safety WatchesWe’ve written extensively about purchasing medical alert systems, and offered tips for consumers to get the best value when doing so.  This is not an easy industry to navigate.  There are really good providers out there, and some not so good.  Many medical alert providers even try locking consumers into long-term contracts so they can hold you hostage – regardless of your satisfaction levels.  A word of warning… There are still medical alert providers that practice this long-term-contract policy… None of those providers are recommended by The Senior List.

Years ago, we offered up a top 10 list of questions to ask, when buying a medical alert system.  We wanted to offer a blanket of protection in the form of a checklist so you didn’t get taken by providers that didn’t have your best interest at heart. Conversely, we’re very happy to advocate for those medical alert providers that we believe offer the best services.  These are the same providers that we recommend to our friends and family, and we send them business all the time!  That’s the back-bone of The Senior List… Enabling consumers to make quality choices among the best providers in the market.  We do the research ahead of time, so you can focus on your loved one and their care needs.

Since our old top 10 list is a bit dated, (and geared toward traditional in-home medical alert systems) I thought I’d offer up these general questions to get you started on the right foot:

Top 10 Questions to Consider When Buying Medical Alert Systems

1.  Do I need a traditional in-home medical alert system or a cellular based medical alert system?  Click here for more on this –> Traditional vs Cellular Medical Alert System 

2.  Am I comfortable trying out one of the newer medical alert systems on the market, like the Lively Safety Watch or the QMedic Smart Medical Alert?  They may not have the history of some of the traditional providers, but these guys are legit.

3.  Does someone install this for me or do I install it myself?  Is there help available to guide me through the process?

4. Who staffs the call center, where are they located, and what are the average response times?  How are they trained?

5.  Do I need automatic fall detection?  The auto fall detection feature is available on many models of medical alert systems, but not all. It automatically notifies the call center if it thinks the user has fallen.  There are limitations to fall detection technology, and this “fall detection” feature has both strong advocates and strong detractors.

6.  Does the medical alert system come with other services like medication reminders, or anything else?  Do those additional services cost extra?

7.  Is this device mine to keep, or am I required to return it when I’m finished with it?  Am purchasing the device hardware?  You’ll want to ask this question to be clear.

8.  Can I cancel my contract at any time?  Don’t get locked into long-term contracts with no out clauses.  You’ll find that the provider has no incentive to provide quality service if they’ve got you shackled for a year or more.  (Yes we’ve heard horror stories of 3 year contracts…)  You need to know if there are penalties of any kind for canceling my service agreement?

9.  What is my total monthly cost?  Is there an incentive for pre-payment?  Do you return pre-payments if I cancel my service?

10.  Is the medical alert system covered under a warranty?  What happens if something goes wrong with the equipment?

medical alert systemsIf you’d like more help and/or additional resources to help you purchase medical alert systems, browse around The Senior List, we have a compendium of articles to help you through this process.  Also, visit our Medical Alert System Buyers Guide as it has a lot of great information as well.

Have any other tips to add?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Why We Recommend Medical Alert System Providers

Recommended Medical Alert SystemsWe’ve had a number of medical alert system providers inquire lately as to why we have a recommended list of medical alert providers, and what they can do to “make the list”.  First let me tell you about “why” we recommend certain providers, and then we’ll tackle the “how”.  Let’s start out with why we do it…

Why we recommend medical alert system providers

Having followed this industry for many years, we’ve come to know the reputable companies, and also the ones to avoid.  If you take a look back in The Senior List archives, you’ll see a number of resources that we’ve published to help consumers understand what to look for in a quality provider.  Our post The Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Medical Alert System is still one of our most valuable posts for caregivers looking for advice.

If you read through the Top 10 Questions, you’ll see that we don’t like long-term (locked-in) contracts.  This is one of the biggest mistakes consumers make in this space.  I can’t tell you how many horror stories we’ve heard about people failing to understand the fine print before signing a contract.  Don’t fall into this trap!

These are great little devices that allow our friends and family to stay in their homes longer, and guard against any unforeseen emergencies.  There are so many providers of medical alert systems on the market, most people don’t know where to turn.  When they realize they need a medical alert system, they’re usually in crisis mode, and they just don’t have the time or knowledge to do the right research.  We’ve seen this first-hand, and decided a long time ago to attempt to make this process easier for all.  (*Note, it’s our intention to provide the same kind of feedback in other areas like walk-in-tubs, hearing aids, Apps, scooters, and more).

The recommendations we make are rooted in experience, our knowledge of the industry, and from direct consumer feedback from sites like ours.  We also look for companies that are responsive to us when we reach out to them.  We figure if they’re not responsive to a publisher like The Senior List, they’re probably not going to be responsive to you the consumer (if you have an issue to take care of).  The companies we recommend on TSL are the same medical alert companies that we recommend to friends and family when we’re asked where to turn. We love matching people up to great providers!

Tempo medical alert from CarePredict

How we recommend medical alert system providers

We have certain criteria that medical alert companies must meet before we even consider recommending them.  Here are a few of those criteria:

  1. Online Reviews:  We check online reviews to obtain a sense of their overall service, and performance on a macro level.  Having tracked this industry for many years, we’re well aware that nobody’s perfect.  Our expectation isn’t that every review is going to be positive…  BUT if we see medical alert companies being proactive, and responsive to customer inquiries – that’s a good sign the alert provider cares about their customers (and ultimately their reputation).
  2. Senior List Community Feedback:  If you poke around The Senior List, you’ll see that we have reviewed many of the major medical alert system providers.  When we do, we also receive a lot of really great feedback from our readers on product performance, customer service, and overall satisfaction.  One medical alert provider recently inquired as to how to be included in our “Senior List Recommended List“.  They had been reviewed a number of years ago by Senior List staff.  The customer feedback (via comments) wasn’t good at all, and yet nobody from the organization seemed to care whatsoever.  We pointed this out to the organization and they are new reviewing how they handle feedback from community members like ours.  *Note: We’re also happy to give companies a second chance.
  3. No Long Term Contracts:  If you’re a provider with long-term contracts (and no “out” clauses) you’re not going to be recommended by The Senior List.  There are too many quality providers out there that allow consumers to exit their agreements when their loved one no longer requires the service.
  4. Easy to Work With:  The companies we recommend are typically very responsive if we reach out with questions or concerns.  Occasionally we’ll get involved on our reader’s behalf to try to rectify customer service issues if/when they come up.  Some companies are great to work with, some are not.  We won’t recommend companies that aren’t responsive to us (or consumers).
  5. Quality Products:  Most of the medical alert systems on the market are adequate, but some are better than others (form factors, household reach, intuitive set-up, etc.)  Simply put, we try to avoid crappy hardware :)

Bay Alarm Medical Alert Reviews

Those are just a few of the criteria that we use when we’re recommending medical alert system providers.  To our community supporters, we thank you for all of the great feedback you’ve given us over the years.  Your voice gives us the opportunity to be influential in this growing space.  To the medical alert system providers that we recommend – Please continue your great customer focus, and we’ll continue to sing your praises.

If you’re a provider that’s not on the list (and think you should be) drop us a line.  We’re happy when consumers are happy!  If you’re looking for a handy tool to help you narrow down your medical alert choices, see our medical alert buyers guide – It will walk you through the various choices available today.

The Tempo Medical Alert From CarePredict

Tempo medical alert from CarePredictWe’re watching an interesting start-up company in the medical alert space.  The company is called CarePredict and they have a very interesting in-home medical alert device called “Tempo” (which is not yet commercially available).  The Tempo device is different than a traditional medical alert system in that it’s a “wearable” that tracks activity and patterns through sophisticated algorithms.  Sensors placed around the home pick-up the activity (or lack thereof) in various rooms like the kitchen for example.  The technology looks for changes in behaviors that could predict an emergency before it occurs.

Tempo Medical Alert from CarePredict

CarePredict was founded by Satish Movva who decided he needed a better way to be in touch with his parents, and with their health. He teamed up with Dr. Krishna Vedala (co-founder) to develop a new device that tracks user patterns throughout the home. In the realm of aging in place technology the Tempo could set itself apart from other in-home medical alert systems.

Tempo medical alert from CarePredict

The CarePredict “Tempo” learns the normal activities of your loved one and then records those patterns in a “rhythm journal”.  If there’s ever a change, you get an alert notifying you of a potential medical issue before it occurs. The predictive nature of this medical alert is what sets it apart of the reactive pendant style medical alert systems (think I’ve fallen and I can’t get up).  Traditional medical alert systems notify family members or call centers during a medical emergency.

CarePredict™ Tempo™ is wrist-worn sensor with sophisticated software. It has a band that switches out for different looks. The sensor detects motion – walking, running, sitting, standing, or lying down – and location; and the software figures out the activities. It transmits data and charges wirelessly so there are no cords or plugs. – CarePredict.com

We’re going to keep our eyes on CarePredict and hope to get our hands on a unit for an evaluation. If you have any thoughts about this new technology or CarePredict’s new approach to medical alerts – let us know in the comments below!

Photo credit: CarePredict.com

Best Medical Alert System

Best Medical Alert SystemMany people are choosing to “age in place” these days, and live as independently as they can (for as long as they can).  Doing so can require downsizing to an environment more accommodating for diminished mobility, and/or a home that’s generally easier to maintain.  Another important aspect of aging-in-place is being able to identify products that make independent living safer for the resident.  Medical emergencies can and do happen, you just want your loved one to be prepared if help is needed.

Medical alert systems have come a long way since “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads caught our attention decades ago.  Now, some of the best medical alert options offer GPS tracking, fall detection, speakerphones, speak through pendants, inactivity monitors and more!  Understanding just which features your loved one needs is hard enough, then you have to go about finding an alert system provider you can trust!

Best Medical Alert System Today

At The Senior List, we aim to make that easier for consumers, because we’ve been tracking this sector for quite some time.  If you search for medical alert systems on The Senior List, you’ll find a bevy of review articles and information that will be useful to you before you buy a medical alert system.  If you’re looking for a short-list of the best medical alert providers (in our opinion), you’re in luck.  In no particular order, we like:

Now this short-list doesn’t mean they’re the only medical alert providers we like, but they rank the highest for us right now.  As things change in this market, we re-rank to stay current.  We’re all about helping consumers make the best choices today.  If you’d like to see a more comprehensive list of medical alert providers, click over to this list of recommended medical alert providers.

If you’re looking for a great deal on a speakerphone type medical alert system, the Costco MediPendant is hard to beat. The downside is that is is very big and bulky, something you’ll note by reading our product review.  As we always warn when talking about the best medical alert providers, make sure you do your research, and understand your contract terms.  We do not recommend entering into any long-term contracts that you can’t opt out of.

If you want help identifying just the right medical alert system, click here to visit our Medical Alert System Buyers Guide.

5 Common Mistakes: Medical Alert Systems

The Senior List is here for you.  These decisions aren’t easy, so we’re here to help you find the best deal from the best providers.  Some of the providers mentioned above have an affiliate relationship with The Senior List, and we’re proud of those relationships. We only work with providers that pass our own stringent criteria, and these are the same providers that we refer our friends and family to.

2015 Recommended Medical Alert Systems

medical alert systemsTwo years ago we published a very popular post that included a list of traditional (in-home) medical alert systems.  In addition to the list, we provided reviews of those medical alert systems so readers could compare and contrast.  Since that time, the medical alert arena has changed.  Companies have come and gone, and thankfully we have new medical alert options like mobile devices, and even smartphone apps to consider.

Given the modernization changes to medical alert systems offered today, we thought we’d refresh our list.  Let’s also give a special nod to those providers (and devices) that we’re currently recommending.  Based on feedback from our community members, we may opt to add providers to the recommended list OR delete someone from the list.  If you want to understand what criteria we look for in a quality device you’ll want to read this Medical Alert System Overview.

*Special Note:  If The Senior List® is recommending a specific provider, we will note it with a “Senior List Checkmark of Approval”.
Senior List Approved Medical Alert Systems

Checkmark = Senior List Approved

2015 List of Medical Alert Systems

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsAlert 1: The Alert1 medical alert system has come along way since we first reviewed the Alert1 back in 2011.  Alert 1 has a number of new medical alert systems to choose from. They have a traditional basic pendant-style device, they have a pendant with fall detection, and they have small mobile (cellular based) emergency response button called the “Kelsi”.  Alert 1 has a US based emergency response center, and prices start at $25.95 per month. No termination fee, but you will forfeit pre-paid services if you cancel.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsBay Alarm Medical:  Bay Alarm Medical is offering traditional in-home medical alert systems (with or without a home telephone line), and a mobile GPS device for those that don’t wish to be tethered to a mobile base station.  Bay Alarm has a lot of positive reviews and customer testimonials out there, and we understand them to offer great support.  See our own review of Bay Alarm Medical here.  Bay Alarm Medical offers good value with a quarterly plan starting at $25.95 per month. No long-term contracts.

Connect America:  Connect America claims to be the fastest growing medical alert company out there.  They are a no frills provider that offers traditional in-home medical alert monitoring.  Prices start at $29.95 per month and there are no long-term contracts (following your first 3 months of service).

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsCostco MediPendant:  The Costco MediPendant is a great consideration for a speakerphone type medical alert system.  Click here to read The Senior List review of the MediPendant.  This device boasts a great battery life, and the Costco deal actually provides an extra battery within the packaging.  All in all we like this device but you should understand that it’s bulky, and uncomfortable for most to wear around the neck.  Costco provides 6 month free service initially, and month-to-month rates start at $26.95 (IF you pay of-front for an annual plan you can get your rate down to $19.95).  No long-term contracts.

Freedom Alert:  The Freedom Alert is a 2-way voice emergency pendant (think tiny speakerphone) that allows the user to call up to 4 pre-programmed telephone numbers (plus (911).  Once you purchase the equipment ($259.95) there are no monthly expenses to maintain.  It is literally a tiny speakerphone that fits in the palm of your hand or on a lanyard.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsGreatCall Splash:  The GreatCall Splash medical alert system is a handy little device that we just love.  This is the same company that sells the (very senior friendly) Jitterbug 5 cell phone.  We’ve personally used the GreatCall 5Star which is the prior model to the Splash.  This mobile (GPS) medical alert system operates on a cellular network (always) so you can take it wherever you wish. The GreatCall Splash is waterproof, and monthly plans start at just $14.99 per month ($19.95/mo. if you want access to medical personnel like nurses and/or doctors). No long-term contracts.

Life Alert:  Yup you know Life Alert from their iconic “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials.  They’ve been serving the public for 3 decades, and offer traditional in-home medical alert services. Prices start at $29.95.  Beware of long-term contracts.

LifeFone:  LifeFone has a complete suite of medical alert systems from traditional land-line based systems to cellular options.  LifeFone also offers a pendant with fall detection.  Prices start at $24.95 per month, and there is no long-term contracts.

Life Guardian:  The Life Guardian family of medical alert systems is now called Safe Guardian (catchy).  Safe Guardian sells a 911 emergency device, a traditional medical alert system, a mobile medical alert system, and a speakerphone device.  Plans start at $19 per month (if paid annually) for land-line system (analogue not VOIP) and there are no long-term contracts.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsLifeStation: LifeStation offers traditional medical alert system options as well as a new mobile (cellular) emergency button which calls 911 in case of an emergency. Pricing starts at $25.95 per month and there are no long-term contracts (just provide 30 days notice to cancel).  Set-up is simple and call center staff are certified. Read our LifeStation Reviews.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsLively: Lively is a safety watch that is functional and modern.  The safety watch offers a medical alert button, fall detection (coming soon), activity monitoring (comes with four sensors for the home), is waterproof and has a long battery life.  Pricing starts at $27.95 per month with contract options.  Easy set up and family alerts are customizable.  Read our Lively Review.

Medical Guardian: The Medical Guardian is a nice option to consider when shopping for medical alert systems.  Medical Guardian offers in-home medical alert systems, a cellular option, and a fall detection option.  Prices start at $29.95 per month and there is no equipment to purchase. No long-term contracts.

MobileHelp:  MobileHelp offers both a traditional in-home medical alert system as well as a mobile (cellular) option.  MobileHelp also has a pendant with fall detection which is compatible with their base station.  Prices start at $25.78 per month with an annual plan ($34.95 month-to-month). They claim they will refund pre-paid funds upon cancellation.  We always recommend you get this in writing if you go with a long-term price plan.Here is our original review of MobileHelp.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsPhilips Lifeline:  Philips Lifeline offers a family of medical alert system options including traditional medical alert systems over your home telephone line, a GPS mobile option (called GoSafe) and a smartphone app called “Response App”.  Philips is a little more expensive than some of the other providers (starting at $29.95) but they’re well regarded, and have a history of service. Call centers are located in the USA. Read our Philips Lifeline review here. No long-term contracts.

Senior List Approved Medical Alert SystemsQMedic: QMedic claims to be the “world’s smartest medical alert service”. This smart little unit can alert when a user is not wearing the device, when they fail to get out of bed, and when they are inactive for extended periods of time.  The Senior List® reviewed the QMedic and gave it a test drive in our home lab.  It worked exceptionally well, and the staff was professional and accommodating (a great sign for a new company). $30 per month and no long-term contracts.

ResponseLINK:  ResponseLINK offer products with the same form factors and functions as Alert1.  Prices start at $25.95.

Verizon SureResponse:  The Verizon SureResponse had the potential to be a great addition to the medical alert system market but it’s launch fell flat. The trouble started with a clunky form factor, support that was non-existent, and performance issues as reported by customers.  Simply put, it appears Big Red wasn’t ready for this device (or the market).  The Senior List even reached out to Verizon Wireless to see if we could help their team (but… we were ignored).  See our SureResponse review here.  Our readers didn’t have many good things to say about this device, but we’re hoping that Verizon focuses on this space at some point.  They could be a player here.  Rates follow their cellular phone model which means there’s equipment to buy, and a long-term agreement to adhere to. (sigh)

VRI: The VRI medical alert system is a nice, easy to use option when considering medical alert systems. We originally reviewed VRI  back in 2011.  It’s easy to set up and is a generally considered a no-frills machine.  There are 2 options for using VRI in your home.  There is a purchase option in which the client purchases the equipment ($175) and then pays $19.95 per month for monitoring, and there is the rental option which starts at $29.95 per month.

The Senior List is here for you.  These decisions aren’t easy, so we’re here to help you find the best deal from the best providers.  Some of the providers mentioned above have an affiliate relationship with The Senior List, and we’re proud of those relationships. We only work with providers that pass our own stringent criteria, and these are the same providers that we refer our friends and family to.

Step-By-Step: Medical Alert Buyers Guide

Give us your feedback on any of the medical alert systems you have experience with, particularly if they are on this list. We would love to hear the positive experiences as well as the challenges you’ve had.  Often times our expectation of quality service precludes us from expressing appreciation for good service, so let’s make sure we hear about positive experiences too.  Here’s your chance to sound off!  We look forward to your feedback.