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 monthly plan starting at $21.95. 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.

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.

Medical Alert Systems: Everything You Need To Know

qmedic medical alert system braceletWe’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.)

Medical Alert Buyers Guide5 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)!

Cellular Medical Alert System

Common Mistakes to Avoid

5 Common Mistakes: Medical Alert Systems

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 system buyers guide

Philips Lifeline Review

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 Reviews
  • 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!

Exciting New Senior Care Companies Emerge

new senior care companies are excitingWe live in a very exciting time for senior care.  The combination of a quickly aging population, robust purchasing power, innovative technology and venture capitalists wanting in on the action is a recipe for some incredibly useful tools for older adults and caregivers alike.  A plethora of emerging companies have been welcomed by Aging2.0, a program designed to nurture and accelerate a select group of startups, and have our senses tingling with anticipation as well.  These companies have all been selected for the highly competitive Aging2.0 Academy where they will receive support, mentorship, and introductions to investors and customers to help them accomplish their goals.  Some of these companies are up and running, others are still in beta.  The future of senior care is here and we will be watching these emerging companies very closely.  Here are some of our favorites.

Caregiving/ Caremanagement

Care Monster is a caregiving app that supports family communication and encourages engagement when it comes to the care of a loved one.

CareMerge is a care coordination platform that forges meaningful connections between providers, payers, families and seniors to improve communication in today’s complex healthcare environment.

GeriJoy provides 24/7 companionship, supervision, and care management support through senior care avatars; improving quality of care, increasing safety, and lowering cost.

Roobrik is an online decision tool that helps family caregivers make difficult health and care choices with clarity and confidence.

Fall Detection/ Prevention

Active Protective produces smart garments that reduce hip fractures in the elderly by deploying micro-airbags to protect the hip in the event of a fall.

WalkJoy is a wearable device which reduces falls for patients with peripheral neuropathy by restoring the sensory feedback loop. The WalkingHealth software provides objective gait analysis, fall risk prediction and functional outcome data to therapists.

Tablets and Phones

Breezie is a simplified, personalized tablet interface designed for seniors and those less familiar with technology.

Gociety creates software that simplifies the smart phones interface for older adults. Their products, GoLivePhone® and GoLiveAssist®, are easily accessible and highly affordable.

Senior Care Planning

Everplans is the first comprehensive digital planning platform that allows families to create, store and share essential end-of-life wishes and emergency plans.

Vynca is a digital health company that provides cloud-based software for Advance Care Planning.

Communication Devices

Smartstones is the world’s first wearable, sensorial communication device, which connects family members and friends through simple gesture-based messages. *As a mom and a family caregiver, I can’t wait for this one to go to market.*

We will be following these companies and will continue to provide updates on the products and services they offer.  In the meantime, if you have experience with any of these services or products, please let us know in the comments below.

For a complete list of companies selected for the Aging2.0 Academy, visit the Aging2.0 website.

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: Just5.com
  • 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 Just5.com 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.

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

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping For Medical Alert Systems

Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way… If you browse at the medical alert systems that we’ve reviewed here on The Senior List, you’ll see a great many comments from folks that made mistakes purchasing a medical alert system for family or for friends.  Either they bought a bad one, bought the wrong type, or got into the wrong agreement. We’re trying to help you avoid the pitfalls that others have fallen into by sharing the 5 mistakes to avoid when shopping for medical alert systems!

avoid these mistakes when buying medical alert systemsMistake #1.  You bought the wrong type medical alert system

Did you know there were different types of medical alert systems?  There are traditional in-home medical alert systems, and their are cellular (mobile) medical alert systems.  If that wasn’t hard enough… There are also 2 different types of in-home medical alert systems; The traditional pendant (1 button) type medical alert system AND the speakerphone (talk-thru) type medical alert system.  Do your research so you know exactly what you’re looking for.  Then choose the best of that breed.  Our medical alert system buyers guide can educate you, and walk you through the process.

Mistake #2.  You signed a long-term agreement

This is a big issue for consumers and there a lot of unhappy community members here on The Senior List that have signed multi-year agreements only to find out they have no out clause for any reason.  You must read the Terms and Conditions document that all providers must supply you with.  Don’t be lazy with this one, it’s very important.  We recommend never signing for a term over a year.  Even if you stick with our 1 year max rule-of-thumb, make sure you have an out clause and that you can cancel at any time.  Any medical alert providers that we recommend will offer a cancellation provision (or we won’t recommend them).

Mistake #3.  Your alert system doesn’t have adequate coverage

Different alert systems have different coverage areas (usually between 400-800 square foot radius from the base unit).  Make sure the alert system you choose can cover the spaces your loved one is most active in.  Sometimes you have to move the base unit around a bit to find just the right (central) location. Remember, for traditional in-home medical alert systems, the base unit will need to be plugged into your home phone wall jack.

Mistake #4.  You waited too long to purchase

For a lot of folks, it takes a crisis to occur before they realize they need a PERS (personal emergency response system) device for their loved one.  By this time, there’s been a fall, or an acute event and someone’s been hurt.  Don’t put it off too long, if you’re considering the need for a medical alert system, it’s probably time to take action.  It’s good piece of mind for $25 per month.

Mistake #5.  The alert system you bought is too hard to set up

Some of these systems are tough to set up, and there is little or no support.  We like providers that offer quality packaging, intuitive set-up instructions, and help or support when you need it.  Keep in mind if the support isn’t adequate during set-up… Imagine how bad it might be down the road after you’ve been a customer a while!

These are just a few of the top mistakes to avoid when making a medical alert system purchase.  If you do your research ahead of time (and read the fine print) you should end up a satisfied customer.

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

Bay Alarm Medical Alert System Reviews

Bay Alarm Medical has been family owned and operated since 1946.  We’ve had our eye on them for some time, and have appreciated our interaction with Bay Alarm’s staff over the past few years (answering questions, etc.).  Bay Alarm Medical has options for both traditional in-home medical alert systems as well as the more mobile cellular options.  You can find many Bay Alarm Medical Alert System Reviews by visiting their web page, or by searching them out yourself.  Always do your due diligence when buying a medical alert system for yourself or a family member.

The Bay Alarm Medical Alert System

  • Name:  Bay Alarm Medical Alert SystemMedical Alert Buyers Guide
  • Website Info: www.bayalarmmedical.com
  • Auto Fall Detection? :  no
  • Equipment Cost:  $0
  • Monthly Cost:  $24.95 per month (based on 3 month 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 1,000 feet range (pendant to base station).

Product Review: Bay Alarm Medical Alert System

Bay Alarm Medical Alert Reviews

The Bay Alarm Medical Alert System is a great option if you’re looking for a traditional medical alert protection. Bay Alarm has been in business since 1946, and so far we’ve been impressed with staff’s responsiveness to questions and the like.  Since customer service is a big deal to The Senior List team, this speaks volumes.  Bay Alarm offers in-home medical alert system options as well as cellular mobile options.  The in-home medical alert system is offered for use with a traditional land line, OR a cellular style base station option (if you don’t have a land line in the home).  Bay Alarm also has a mobile hand held alert system with GPS for those that wish to leave the home environment.

If the pendant battery should start to run out, the pendant will send a signal to the base station.  This will prompt the base station to contact the call center, and a new pendant will be sent out immediately (free of charge).  The pendant battery is rated at 5 years, so this is an infrequent occurrence.

The Bottom Line: Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical AlertWe’re recommending the Bay Alarm Medical Alert System because it satisfies many of our top criteria for medical alert system providers.  They offer short-term agreements, there is no equipment to buy, their staff is attentive, the pendant is waterproof, the in-home range is as good as it gets, it’s easy to install, and if that wasn’t enough they offer free monitoring for a second pendant purchase (for spouse or roommate).  We also like the fact that there are a number of positive Bay Alarm Medical Alert System Reviews available which gives us confidence in recommending them strongly.

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

Would You Like a Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

 

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

Is The Apple Watch Ready For Prime Time?

Apple Watch vs Google GlassWe had a great question from one of our community members that spurred some additional dialog about the the future of medical alert systems, and whether the Apple Watch might be in that future.

Susan asks resident tech expert TimOnTech: I was thinking along the same lines, Tim, but you expressed it much better than I….I don’t even know what an accelerormeter is. I used to joke if Tiffany made an alert pendant necklace, older women would love wearing it. The Apple watch looks cool.

I was thinking it probably also has a gps built in. (Do you know?) If so, help could be on the way very quickly even if the person couldn’t speak.

Thanks for the information and forward-thinking. possibilities.

Why is the Apple Watch receiving criticism in it’s first week of existence?

Unfortunately the Apple Watch needs some time to grow. Here are a list of why we don’t think its ready for seniors (or most consumers for that matter).

1. It’s not waterproof (no not even the sports edition). It is not even recommended to be worn in the shower.  This (to me) translates into “this Apple Watch isn’t even water resistant yet”.  This is a deal breaker for most of the sports nuts out there that expect to wear their watch wherever they go (including the pool).

2. It’s tethered to the iPhone. Hopefully it will have it’s own communication ability down the road so you don’t have to take your phone with you all the time. So now you have 2 devices that do largely the same thing.  One small… The other one SUPER SMALL.  As soon as we can take one or the other (or both) at our discretion, Apple will have a complete game changer.  For now it’s just a game changer. (Which isn’t so bad is it?)

3. Battery life of the Apple Watch is being called into question. They say you get a day’s worth of charge, but I suppose that the real numbers will become evident when they start shipping the Apple Watch (next year some time).  Again, let’s get to the point where we only need to plug these wearable gadgets in a couple times a week.  I know the brilliant engineers out there can do this!

4. The watch face is awfully small. Now my eyes are pretty good, but I don’t like reading on my iPhone 5S let alone a tiny watch… My iPad is about as small as I like to read on… So for the most rudimentary of tasks (like depressing an emergency call button) this might be just fine.  Replying to a text with a smiley face?  Probably fine too… but doing much more on the watch itself is going to be a struggle for most aging adults.

To read Susan’s original question and comment string click here on our article entitled; “The Next Best Medical Alert System”

Apple Watch

Apple Watch like Google Glass nice to have… Not need to have (yet)

So in summary, for now it’s probably a nice to have… Down the road (a couple years down the road) it may turn into a need to have. One nice wearable comparable is the Google Glass product. Even thought it’s not widely available, it’s been met with only mild enthusiasm. It’s a nice wearable comparable because it’s also an extension of one’s cell phone except plastered to ones face.

What’s your take on these exciting new wearable devices? Are they ready for prime-time? Are they following the typical evolutionary path to legendary gadget status?  Let us know your thoughts below!

The Next Best Medical Alert System

The next best medical alert systemIf you tuned into the Apple Live event yesterday you heard a lot about the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as Apple’s much anticipated wearable technology called the Apple Watch (nope it’s not called the iWatch).  The iPhones continue on their spectacular run of innovation including getting thinner, faster, stronger, and packed with new features like Apple Pay (think iWallet) and integrated health apps.  As you were watching the presentation I bet you weren’t thinking about the next best medical alert system! Well for good reason we were, and here are some thoughts on the future of this growing marketplace.

 

The Future of The Medical Alert System

As someone that follows the medical alert system industry closely, I can’t help but think that we might be seeing the future of medical alert systems before our very eyes.  The first thing I thought about when I saw the Apple Watch was that this is the first big innovation in medical alert systems we’ve seen in a long, long time.  How you ask?  Consider this: The Apple Watch already has build in sensors to tell you temperature, heart rate and a variety of other health related information.  There are already built in health apps that track daily activity which will be useful for family members to track how often their loved one’s are getting around.

Apple Health App - The next best medical alert system

This is the first big innovation in medical alert systems we’ve seen in a long, long time.

The Apple Watch has an internal gyroscope and an accelerometer which could lend itself to any myriad of inactivity or fall detections too.  Built in messaging could serve as useful reminders notifying the user when it’s time to take their medications, and how they should take them (with food, or not).  The possibilities are endless.

Right now the Apple Watch solution isn’t optimal  for a variety of reasons.  It’s new, it’s complex, it’s tethered to an iPhone, it may not be waterproof yet, etc.  The biggest reason this technology won’t be replacing the traditional medical alert system is that there aren’t many medical alert system replacement apps that are ready for prime time on the Apple Watch.  Here’s one industry observer that’s betting on a new simple medical alert application to be integrated into the Apple Watch for seniors.  In short order this could become the next best medical alert system on the market.  I think that in 5 years you’ll see some very useful apps come to market to address health needs that we haven’t yet dreamed of.  Should be a fun ride!

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide

 

Costco MediPendant Reviews

Costco MediPendant ReviewsOur readers alerted us to the fact that the Costco MediPendant Medical Alert System is gaining in popularity, and asked us to look into this medical alert device for seniors.  The Costco MediPendant is a medical alert system that works best with a traditional telephone line.  This unit is water resistant, and although the promotional material maintains it can be worn in the shower or bath, we’d refrain from wearing it in the bath tub.

Costco MediPendant Battery Life

One interesting feature of the Costco MediPendant is the battery life.  The MediPendant comes with an internal battery that last 1-3 years on a single charge (so says the company representative I spoke with today).  The Costco package actually provides an additional battery, so theoretically you or your loved one should be set for 2-6 years on battery life.  We always error on the conservative side so count on 1 year of battery life… But hey, since they give you an extra – 2 years isn’t all bad!

Costco MediPendant Reviews

Costco MediPendant Reviews are actually quite good across the spectrum.  Here is a solid breakdown.

Costco MediPendant Reviews From Costco.com:     As of 9/3/14 there are 28 reviews with a total of 4.5 out of 5 stars

Costco MediPendant Reviews by Amazon.comFrom Amazon.com:  As of 9/3/14 there are 6 reviews with a total of 4 out of 5 stars

The Senior List® likes the MediPendant Medical Alert System from Costco. The only challenges at this point are that the MediPendant is water resistant (vs waterproof) and the size of the device is a bit large. We understand that for the speakerphone type medical alert pendants, they’re all big and bulky. Keep your eye on this market. With nano technology and nano coatings becoming more prevalent in so many market spaces, we expect that medical devices like medical alert systems and hearing aids will continue to get smaller, less intrusive, and more intuitive.  If you like the speakerphone type medical alert systems, this looks like a good bargain.  We were also impressed with their customer service representatives.  We spoke to them extensively prior to writing this review.

Costco MediPendant Monthly Fee

The MediPendant from Costco comes with 6 months of free service.  That means 6 months worth of access to the call center operators (they answer the phone when you press the emergency button, and dispatch help).  This savings equates to around $162 dollars (assuming an average call center rate of $27 per month).  The representatives at MediPendant gave me their rate breakdown today, and told me there are NO long-term contracts that lock consumers into paying for the service when not in use.  There are however, rates that are based on service terms.  The MediPendant representative assured me that no matter what term a consumer chose, they could opt out at any time and receive a prorated rebate.  Here are their rates and terms:

  • Month to Month (must be requested) – $26.95 per month
  • 3 Month Service Plan – $24.95 per month
  • 6 Month Service Plan – $22.95 per month
  • 12 Month Service Plan – $19.95 per month

We recommend that you get the opt-out language (with rebate information) in writing before committing.  If you do, we see no reason not to go for the 12 month service plan.  It should be explicit in their Terms and Conditions documentation though.  If it’s not, request this information in writing.  If you’re new to the medical alert system industry, you’ll want to read our top 10 questions you should ask before buying a medical alert system.  It will save you some hassles down the road.

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Medical Alert Buyers Guide