Two 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”.
Checkmark = Senior List Approved
2015 List of Medical Alert Systems
Alert 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.
Bay 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).
Costco 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. GreatCall 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.
LifeStation: 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. LifeStation has been removed from our list of recommended alert systems. Read our LifeStation Reviews. Lively: 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. Philips 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. QMedic: 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.
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.