Amie has 20 years of experience in various senior care roles at skilled nursing facilities in Oregon and later as Senior Housing Advisor she helped seniors and their families find the best housing and care options.
In that role, Amie helped a client who was at risk of a fall related injury by recommending a medical alert system. From there she began hand-testing medical alert systems and writing reviews for them. Over the past 10 years as Editor of TheSeniorList, Amie’s writing has helped over 800,000 seniors and their families choose the right medical alert system.
20 years experience in various senior care roles at skilled nursing facilities
10 years experience hand-testing medical alert systems
Through her writing, she’s helped over 800,000 seniors and their families choose a medical alert system
Peace of mind doesn’t have to break the bank. Let our experts guide you in finding an affordable medical alert system for you or your loved one.
#1Bay Alarm Medical
Their affordable medical alert systems:
Bay Alarm Medical offers one of the most affordable medical alert plans in the industry starting at $19.95 per month.
Most Affordable Medical Alert Safety Devices for Seniors
Budgeting is something we all think about, at any age. However, as we get older budgets can become particularly tight, so naturally, we want to be sure we’re making the most of every buck.
One thing we recommend every senior invest in, if they can, is a medical alert system. Seniors are at a greater risk than younger people of slips and falls or needing medical attention. A medical alert system ensures help is only a button press away.
Having a medical alert means that help is always on hand
A medical alert system provides peace of mind like nothing else can. Seniors and their caregivers can rest much easier knowing that if something happens, help can be on the way in minutes. There are a number of benefits to having a medical alert:
No delay in getting medical attention if a senior falls or gets ill and has no one nearby to help them.
Seniors who are still active feel more confident going out and about if they have a medical alert.
Wearing a medical alert protects seniors in areas with high fall risk, such at the bath, shower, or kitchen.
Caregivers know that their loved ones have a way to get help, and in most cases can be listed as an emergency contact for if the button is pressed.
Seniors get help faster after falls or medical events, which may cut down the length of hospital stays.
Seniors feel less alone knowing they can press their button 24/7 and talk to call center staff.
Get Help At Home Or Out And About
Most medical alert companies these days offer options for both in-home systems and mobile systems. That means that no matter how active or not a senior is, there’s sure to be a medical alert system out there that meets their needs.
Seniors who rarely leave their home might find that an in-home system is more than adequate for their needs. Most in-home systems offer enough coverage to keep seniors safe even when out on the porch, yard or checking the mail.
No landline? No problem. Most medical alert companies offer cellular in-home medical alert systems that work on a cellular network. That way, even seniors who don’t have a landline can stay safe at home.
Seniors who are more active will likely prefer a mobile system. These GPS and cellular-based systems work wherever there is mobile phone coverage. They provide instant access to the call center even when the wearer is out and about, running errands, meeting up with friends, or visiting family.
Affordable Medical Alert Options For Every Lifestyle
We’re always impressed with the ever-growing range of medical alert system options available today. Some systems are very straightforward, just a button and a base unit. Others offer portals for caregivers, daily check-ins, or even access to live phone calls with a registered doctor or nurse.
You can also find a range of accessories for some systems, such as lockboxes in case EMTs need to access the property, wall buttons for extra protection if the pendant is removed, or car chargers for mobile devices.
Most systems also offer optional fall detection, that sends out an automatic signal to the call center if it detects a fall. Although no fall detection system is 100% accurate, we think the risk of false alarms is more than worth it to make sure seniors can get help even if they should fall and be knocked unconscious, or unable to press their button.
We recommend comparing different systems to see which one best suits the needs of you and your family.
What To Look For in an Affordable Medical Alert System
With so many medical systems on the market, choosing can seem daunting. Here are the pieces we think are vital when choosing a medical alert system:
Upfront pricing. You should know at a glance how much you’ll be paying every month, and what is included in that fee.
Comfortable equipment. Most providers offer a pendant or wrist button option. Some companies offer more modern looking and lightweight options than others – it really all comes down to what the wearer is comfortable with. Be particularly mindful of this when choosing a mobile GPS device, as they can be a little bulky.
Water resistant (or even better, waterproof) buttons. The bathroom is a particularly dangerous place for slips, so it’s vital that the button can be worn when bathing or showering.
No long term contracts. We’ve heard terrible stories of people being locked into long term contracts, which is why we only recommend companies that make it easy to cancel.
Twenty four hour call centers with fast response times, so seniors can talk to a live person in moments.
A good range from the base station. You want to be sure you or your loved one can get help even if they’re in another part of the house from the base station.
Decent backup battery life. This is important because it gives you peace of mind that the unit will still work in the event of a power outage.
Good training for call center staff – you can often get a feel for what the center is like by reading reviews online, but don’t be afraid to get in touch with a company and ask them about their staff training.
Questions To Ask Before Purchasing a Medical Alert System
Before deciding on a medical alert system, we suggest asking:
Do I have to pay an equipment or setup fee?
Can I cancel my contract at any time?
How easy is it to cancel?
Will I be penalized for canceling early?
What is my monthly cost?
What happens if the system stops working?
What is the typical response time for a call?
How much do I have to pay to add fall detection?
How We Chose the Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems
In order for us to recommend a medical alert company, we need to be confident that they give excellent customer service and that their equipment works as it should. Medical alerts are all about peace of mind, which is why every company we mention needs to have:
Equipment that works exactly as they say it does – seniors need to know that when their medical alert arrives, it will do what the website or advert said.
No long term contracts, ever – it must be easy and painless to cancel the service at any time.
Clear pricing – no one likes hidden fees or unpleasant surprises, which is why we only select companies who make their pricing clear upfront.
Excellent customer service – from testing the system, to calling for help in the event of an emergency, seniors need to know they’ll find a friendly voice and the help they need.
We know that budget is a concern for many seniors, so we’ve chosen our favorite medical alert companies that offer excellent value for money, without compromising one inch on quality.
Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems
#1. Bay Alarm Medical
Bay Alarm Medical has been around for over 70 years. We’ve always been very impressed with Bay Alarm Medical’s quality products and dedication to customer service. It’s easy to get a hold of someone if you have questions before purchase. Plus, all their systems come with a 30-day risk-free trial, so you can try it out for yourself and return for a full refund (minus shipping), no questions asked.
Systems offered: In The Home, which is available as a traditional landline or cellular. On The Go GPS system for use outside the home. 360 Protection which includes both a base station and a GPS button, for coverage inside and outside the home. And finally, something we haven’t seen from other companies – a vehicle-specific medical alert system that pairs a help button with a smartphone app to keep seniors safe when driving. What’s included: In The Home comes with a base station and a button. On The Go includes the device, charging cradle, lanyard and carrying case with belt clip. 360 Protection includes a base station, button, plus mobile device and accessories. Button type: Choose from pendant or wrist button. Water-resistant: Yes, Bay Alarm Medical buttons are completely waterproof. Add-on features: Customers can also get wall buttons, a lockbox, or extra system protection in case of damage. Customers with On The Go can add access to a caregiver tracking portal for $4.95 monthly, too. Fall detection: Yes, on in-home or mobile systems. Fall detection is an extra $10 monthly. Range: Up to 1000 ft. the in-home systems. Battery: 32-hour backup battery for In The Home. On The Go lasts for up to 72 hours on a single charge, which is quite frankly amazing! Cost: In The Home starts at $19.95 monthly, On The Go starts at $29.95 monthly, In Car starts at $19.95 monthly, and 360 Protection starts at $59.95 monthly. Contracts: No long term contracts. Equipment / set up fee: None. What customers are saying: “I would recommend Bay Alarm before any other alert company. The price is very reasonable. We’ve had Bay Alarm for quite a few years and never had a problem.” “I appreciate the peace of mind Bay Alarm Medical has given to me and my family. Although I never had an emergency in the two years with the company I experienced immediate responses every time I accidentally activated or tested the device. I highly recommend Bay Alarm Medical.” “Exceptional Technical Support and subscriber assistance with initial installation and set up. Extremely professional, cordial, and patient. Representative made the entire process simple and stress-free. Devices worked perfectly in all locations and provide immense peace of mind and safety.” Pros: We love the fact that if a Bay Alarm in-home button develops a fault, it sends a signal to the call center so a replacement can be issued right away at no charge, so seniors never need to worry about it. Every button is also 100% waterproof – many on the market are water-resistant, but not many can claim to be completely waterproof. We also appreciate that monitoring for a spouse is included free. The most impressive thing though is the quality of equipment and service at a reasonable price. Cons: It’s hard to find anything to dislike about Bay Alarm Medical. The only thing we can think of is that fall detection has to be worn as a separate button, which some users might find cumbersome. The verdict: Bay Alarm Medical is truly dedicated to providing excellent service that seniors can rely on. Their range of equipment is great, the customer service is second to none, and their pricing is very reasonable, too.
GreatCall is an interesting company – they don’t offer a traditional base station and button option, but instead, have a range of wearables and phones with emergency features. Their range is designed to be practical, sleek, and useable for even the most active and style-conscious senior.
Systems offered: As this article is focused on budget-friendly medical alerts, we’re going to focus on GreatCall Lively, a mobile device that we think you might love. They also offer phones and a watch wearable, but these are a little pricier (though still good value for the high quality they provide.) What’s included: You get your GreatCall Lively mobile medical alert, plus a charging cradle, an accessory clip so you can wear it on your belt, and a magnetic lanyard to make it easy to wear around your neck. Button type: Everything is integrated into one small unit, which you can wear on your wrist, around your neck, clipped to your belt, or in your purse. Water-resistant: Completely waterproof. Add-on features: Customers can choose to add three great features. Urgent Care lets seniors talk live with a doctor or nurse at any time for help and peace of mind. GreatCall Link is an app just for caregivers that lets them log on and view health and activity information at any time. And then there’s their replacement service, that ensures the device against loss, theft or damage. Fall detection: Fall detection is included in some packages (see cost section below.) Range: Runs on the Verizon network, so it works anywhere you can get Verizon service. Battery: GreatCall recommends charging daily for the best performance. Cost: GreatCall Basic includes the device and call center connection only, starting at $19.99 monthly. GreatCall Preferred includes Urgent Care and GreatCall Link, starting at $24.99 monthly. GreatCall Ultimate includes all of the above plus Fall Detection and product replacement, starting at $34.99 monthly. Contracts: No long term contracts Equipment / set up fee: One-time fee of $37.49 to buy the device. What customers are saying: “In the middle of the night, when you fall, you need somebody. It makes me feel good knowing I have my Lively Mobile. I wear it just like a necklace. It’s excellent and if a friend asks about it, I would say it would be a good thing to get. I wouldn’t go without it.” “The young lady who answered the phone stayed on the line with me the whole time until the EMS got there. Everything went smoothly and it was very professionally done. I’m very pleased with Lively Mobile and I’ve also recommended it to a number of friends.” “Lively Mobile is a good product and cheaper than others. I’ve had it for a couple of years and I feel pretty good about it. I’ve had some falls and the response has been good. I pushed the button and the help came right out.” Pros: We love that the device is all in one, with no need to wear a separate button or even a separate fall detection pendant. It’s more affordable than many other mobile solutions of similar quality, which makes it great for seniors on a budget who still want a reliable and sleek mobile device. Cons: We’d like to see a bit more flexibility in the packages, so customers could add fall detection without having to purchase an entire package. A longer battery life would be great too, as many mobile devices can do two or even three days per charge. The verdict: GreatCall is a great option for active seniors. It offers all the functionality of more expensive all-in-one mobile devices but at significantly less cost.
LifeStation offers traditional medical alert systems that are designed to be reliable, affordable, and offer peace of mind.
Systems offered: Customers can choose from an in-home landline system, an in-home cellular system if they don’t have a landline or a GPS-based mobile system for going out and about. What’s included: A base station and button for the in-home systems. Button type: Wrist or pendant. Water-resistant: Yes Add-on features: Customers can also purchase a lockbox or a wall-mounted button. An extra user can be added to the account for $3.99 monthly. Fall detection: Fall detection can be added for $7/mo extra Range: 500ft range for an in-home system Battery: Backup battery lasts up to 32 hours. Cost: Starts at $29.95 monthly. Contracts: No long term contracts. Equipment / set up fee: No. What customers are saying: “Customer Service is very good and when an item is needed or instructions for the operation and syncing of the button with the system they are very easy to understand and happy to help. I would recommend this system as it is answered promptly when tested and loud enough to hear from one end of the house to the other.” “I can’t express the relief I have experienced knowing my parent’s health and safety are in such good hands. We live several hours away so we needed a service to monitor their activities and get help fast if needed. LifeStation is a great service and value.” “Great service! I test the system monthly and the team is always there for me. Very helpful, courteous, and professional. I hope we never need their services, but I feel much better about my mother living on her own knowing LifeStation is there.” Pros: LifeStation offers no-nonsense medical alerts you can rely on. We like that there’s an in-home cellular option for those who don’t have a landline. Being able to add a second person for such a small fee is great too. Cons: Not much in the way of added extras such as caregiver tracking. No online support – everything is done by phone only. The website could have more information on it. The verdict: If you’re looking for a straightforward system that does exactly what you need it to do with no fuss, LifeStation could be the one for you.
If at all possible, we recommend seniors find space in their monthly budget for a medical alert. It’s 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 no matter what your needs you should be able to find something in your budget range.
Best Overall Medical Alert System
4.8 / 5
Medical Guardian sets the standard in the medical alert industry for not only providing best-in-class equipment but also for offering the highest level of customer service. Call to hear current Medical Guardian offers and pricing
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here