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Budgeting is something we all think about at any age. Our budgets can become particularly tight as we get older, so it is only natural that we want to get the most out of every buck.
One thing I recommend every senior invest in, if they can, is a medical alert system. Seniors are at a greater risk than young people of falls and needing medical attention, and a medical alert system ensures help is only a button press away.
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For us to recommend a medical alert company, we need to be confident that it provides excellent customer service and that its equipment works as it should. We rated each company’s most affordable systems on the following:
Bay Alarm Medical has been around for over 70 years. I’ve always been very impressed with its quality products and dedication to customer service. All its systems come with a 30-day, risk-free trial, so you can try it out and return it for a full refund (minus shipping) with no questions asked.
Bay Alarm prices start at $21.95 per month for their in-home system, which includes a base station and a help button (on either a wristband or a lanyard). The cellular version costs an extra $10 per month, but there is no more affordable option for those with a landline connection in their home.
In addition to its stellar monitoring center, which routinely answered our test calls in about 10 seconds, Bay Alarm’s in-home system boasts some impressive specs. The base station has a backup battery that lasts 32 hours — hopefully enough to keep you protected through a power outage. Its help buttons are also waterproof, so you can remain protected in the shower, tub, or pool.
Another way Bay Alarm Medical helps you save is through its free spouse monitoring. Many companies require an additional subscription fee to add another person to your system, but Bay Alarm charges only a one-time $35 fee for an additional help button.
When it comes to affordable medical alert systems, there’s hardly a better option than Bay Alarm Medical. For more information on this company and its other systems, check out my full review of Bay Alarm Medical.
Lively is an interesting company. Rather than offering a traditional in-home system, it has a range of wearables and phones with emergency features. Its range is designed to be practical, sleek, and usable for even the most active and style-conscious senior.
The Lively Mobile Plus is one of the best mobile medical alert systems. Unlike an in-home system with a standard help button and base station, the Lively Mobile Plus combines both devices into one unit that can be either worn or carried. Its cellular connection also means you can take it just about anywhere, both in and out of your home. The Lively Mobile Plus starts at just $24.99 per month (with a one-time $49.99 device fee) — far cheaper than the average mobile system.
The Lively Mobile Plus has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means it can be fully submerged in water and still function. It also has a standby battery life of 82 hours. In my tests, the rechargeable battery lasted just over two days, an impressive length considering how much I used it. Lively’s monitoring center answered each of my calls promptly, with an average response time of just over 12 seconds.
This mobile system also has optional fall detection, access to nurses and board-certified doctors, and a helpful caregiver app. These features, however, cost extra on top of the standard $24.99 per month. For more information on this system, check out my Lively Mobile Plus review. Also, check out my rundown of Lively medical alerts.
LifeStation doesn’t reinvent the wheel with its medical alert systems, but it offers solutions for both in and out of the home with astoundingly responsive call centers. In my tests, LifeStation had a response time of about nine seconds, the speediest of any medical alert company.
The basic in-home medical alert system for LifeStation costs just $21.95 per month when used with a landline connection. For $31.95 per month, you can upgrade to its supreme package, which includes fall detection and a protection plan, which offers free repairs and replacements of your device.
A LifeStation in-home system includes a base station and help button, which can be worn as either a pendant or wristband. You also have the option of purchasing a lockbox or additional wall help buttons, both of which cost an additional $2.95 per month. This system has an in-home range of 500 feet — more than enough for most homes — and its help buttons are fully waterproof. The backup battery on LifeStation’s system lasted 32 hours in our tests.
LifeStation also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its in-home and mobile systems. If you want to learn more, then take a look at my full review of LifeStation.
With so many medical alert systems on the market, choosing one can be daunting. Here are the factors we think are vital:
I recommend seniors find space in their monthly budget for a medical alert system, if at all possible. It may be more than worth the cost to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing help is always close at hand. These three medical alert companies offer different products — from the most basic in-home systems to a very modern mobile system — which means you should be able to find something in your price range no matter your needs.
Also, if budget is not a concern, then be sure to check out my list of the best medical alert systems for 2021.