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Best Medical Alert Systems For Blind Seniors

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, 6.5 million people over the age of 65 have a severe visual impairment. Seniors who are blind or visually impaired face unique challenges in their daily lives. This extends to their needs when it comes to medical alerts.

An older adult with a visual impairment might struggle to find their alert button or to press it, even while wearing it. The same is true of the base station – getting to it could prove challenging, as could finding the button to press.

There’s no doubt that a medical alert button is an excellent idea for seniors with vision impairment. In the event that there is a fall or the user is injured or becomes ill, being able to get help quickly is a must.

Having a medical alert gives caregivers additional peace of mind, too. They know that their loved one can get help easily if something happens.

But for seniors who are blind or visually impaired, getting help easily can prove more challenging than for other seniors. What should caregivers look for when helping the older adult in their life choose a medical alert system?

Look For Easy-To-Find Buttons

Check the base unit on the system you’re considering – are the buttons over-sized? Do they have a distinct texture, or bright color (for those seniors with low vision)?

If in doubt, we recommend giving the medical alert company a call and asking some questions. Any good medical alert service will be delighted to help, and you’ll get a taste of their customer service too.

Think carefully about wearable buttons. The wearable button is vital because it ensures seniors can summon help even when they’re not near the base station. Make sure the button is large enough to find and press easily.

If you’re choosing an all-in-one GPS system, check the button size and texture.

For seniors who are blind or low vision, there are several specific things to look for in a medical alert system.

Choose Integrated Fall Detection

Fall detection is a common add-on for many medical alert services. Although fall detection isn’t perfect and false alarms do happen, we still recommend it as it helps more often than it hinders, and medical alert providers are used to the occasional false alarm.

For seniors with visual impairment, trying to distinguish between which is their medical alert and which is the fall detection pendant could lead to a delay in pressing the button to get help.

For some companies, fall detection comes as a separate pendant that must be worn alongside the existing alert button. For seniors who have a visual impairment, we recommend looking for an integrated fall detection option.

This means the existing medical alert button has fall detection capabilities that can be activated for a fee, with no need to wear a second pendant.

Consider A GPS Pendant With Two-Way Voice Built In

GPS medical alerts work outside the home, using a cellular network. These are ideal for seniors who are still active in their local community, or when running errands or visiting with friends.

Some GPS alerts feature the mobile device itself, plus a separate button to wear to summon help. The user and operator then talk via the two-way speaker in the mobile device.

With two-way voice integrated pendants, everything is in one unit. In the event of an emergency, seniors simply press their button and then talk to the call center via the same device.

GPS voice-in pendants are ideal for active seniors with visual impairment. However, in some cases, they are appropriate for less active seniors, too. The two-way speaker function means they can carry it with them wherever they go in the home or garden, safe in the knowledge that they can always talk to someone without the need to be in the range of a base station.

Important Features When Purchasing A Medical Alert For Blind Or Visually Impaired Seniors

With so many medical alerts to choose from, it’s important to know what makes a good system. We’ve found the following are a must when signing up for a medical alert service.

  • Upfront pricing. You should know at once what you’ll get for your money, with no hidden extras.
  • Comfort. No one likes to be uncomfortable – look for devices that are comfortable enough.
  • Water-resistant. It’s important that seniors keep their medical alerts on in the bath or shower, as the bathroom is a prime risk for slips and falls.
  • No long term contracts, ever. Make sure that if you want to cancel you can, without paying any penalty.
  • Backup battery. A power outage can happen at any time. Make sure that even if the power stops working, your medical alert doesn’t.
  • Easy to use buttons. Visually impaired seniors need buttons that are simple enough to find and press.

Questions To Ask Before Buying A Medical Alert For A Visually Impaired Senior

When deciding on a medical alert, we recommend 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?
  • How long is the battery life?
  • 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 Providers On This List

We take care to recommend companies who offer a reliable service, backed by strong customer support. For the medical alert companies on this list, we looked for the following:

  • Equipment that does exactly what it’s supposed to do
  • No long term contracts and easy to cancel if needed
  • Clear pricing with no nasty surprises
  • Good customer service

We also looked for features or design choices that we thought would be particularly useful for visually impaired seniors.

#1. QMedic

Smartest Medical Alert System
QMedic goes beyond the basics with their 24/7 proactive data alerts for caregivers. When you’re setting up your QMedic system, you can choose to have caregivers or family members alerted when your mobility or sleep patterns deviate from your normal range. Call to hear current QMedic offers and pricing.

QMedic was designed with blind or disabled seniors in mind, and it shows. Everything about it is built around ease of use. QMedic also offers impressive tracking functions, which give caregivers additional peace of mind.

QMedic offers a range of systems – traditional base station and wearable alert button units that work either on a landline or cellular, plus a mobile unit for use out of the house. The lack of a mobile unit was the only thing we really could fault about QMedic, so we’re delighted to see they’ve added it to their range. See our full review of QMedic here.

What’s included: Both in-home systems come with a base station and a button. The mobile system comes with the mobile unit and a charging cradle.
Button type: Pendant or wrist button for in-home, pendant only for GPS.
Water-resistant: Yes. In fact, the in-home buttons are totally waterproof, so they can be worn in the bath or while washing dishes with no worries.
Add-on features: Rather than offering a huge amount of add on features at different price tiers, QMedic includes the same powerful tracking features with every plan. Caregivers have access to a portal, where they can see 24/7 device usage monitoring and call history. Caregivers can be alerted when the device is not being worn. QMedic also monitors sleep and activity, and if something seems wrong, they initiate a wellness call.
Fall detection: No – QMedic prefers not to offer fall detection because of the risk of false alarms.
Range: Up to 1000 ft from the base station for both in-home systems.
Battery: 24-hour backup battery in case of power outages. The mobile device has a battery life of two weeks between charges, which is longer than most!
Cost: $30 monthly for in-home systems. $45 monthly for GPS.
Long term contracts: No.
Equipment / set up fee: No.
What customers are saying:

“QMedic has impressed me by being responsive to any inquiry. Our entire family feels less anxious now that my mother-in-law is using QMedic.”
“The level of customer support is way better than I would have expected.“

Pros: We love how careful QMedic is about monitoring – both seniors and caregivers can feel more at ease knowing QMedic have their back. We appreciate the straightforward pricing too and the incredible mobile battery life.
Cons: It’s honestly hard to find anything we don’t like about QMedic – our one previous complaint was the lack of a mobile option, and they now have a mobile option.
The Verdict: QMedic is reliable, easy to use, and ideal for seniors with a visual impairment thanks to its waterproof buttons and fantastic base station range.

#2. MobileHelp

Best Overall Medical Alert System
MobileHelp sets the standard in the medical alert industry for not only producing best-in-class equipment but also for providing the highest level of customer service. Call to hear current MobileHelp offers and pricing.

MobileHelp is a popular and our overall top pick medical alert company that offers a range of medical alerts, with both in-home and mobile options.

MobileHelp Solo is an in-home and on-the-go cellular alert that seniors can carry on them wherever they go. For visually impaired seniors, that means help is always at hand. Read our full MobileHelp review here.

What’s included: The MobileHelp Solo device, a wearable button, and a charging cradle.
Button type: Wrist or button.
Water-resistant: Yes.
Add-on features: All Solo packages include access to MobileHelp connect, an online caregiver portal where caregivers can track device use, stats, alerts and location.
Fall detection: Yes, for $10 monthly – this is a separate button.
Range: Goes wherever you go.
Battery: 24 hours between charges.
Cost: $37.95
Long term contracts: No
Equipment / set up fee: No
What customers are saying:

“I have had MobileHelp for many years and have recommended to friends. Hopefully, you may never have to use it but when you do, it's comforting to know how quickly they respond.”
“Helps keep my father safe both in his house and around town. He can always feel he can get help if he needs it. He used it when feeling ill and the response was as expected. My sister and I are calmer knowing he has a contact in an emergency.”
“They were fast, thorough and kind. The MobileHelp operator contacted others in the family so all were apprised of my condition.”

Pros: We love the caregiver portal features and the fact that this is a slightly more affordable option.
Cons: Having fall detection as a separate button isn’t ideal for visually impaired seniors, though depending on the senior’s individual needs it could work, and the other features do balance it out.
The Verdict: A good option when it comes to caregiver tracking, and a reliable way for seniors to stay safe at home and while out.

#3. Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian is another popular medical alert company with a range of in-home and cellular systems for seniors.

We think their Active Guardian is a particularly good choice for visually impaired seniors. This lightweight little device works on both GPS and WiFi networks, offering a full range of protection at home and on the go. Read our full review of Medical Guardian here.

What’s included: The Active Guardian unit, plus a charging cradle.
Button type: Pendant.
Water-resistant: Yes – shower and bath safe which is worth noting as not every GPS system is watertight enough for bathing.
Add-on features: A lockbox and a protection plan in case the device is lost or stolen.
Fall detection: Yes, $10 monthly
Range: Travels wherever you do.
Battery: Up to five days, which is both convenient and impressive!
Cost: $49.95 monthly.
Long term contracts: No
Equipment / set up fee: No.
What customers are saying:

“I'm very satisfied with it. I'm very thankful that I have it. I feel safe at home and in my car. And I know that if I need help, I'll get it.”
“I've had a very pleasant experience with Medical Guardian. Everyone has been polite, informative, and professional. I would recommend them to my friends.”
“My mom is so thankful. She feels more confident knowing that assistance is just a push-button away. Thanks for providing such a great service!”

Pros: Being shower and bath safe, and running on both GPS and WiFi, means this system has seniors covered everywhere. We also notice that the button is textured, making it easier for visually impaired seniors to find.
Cons: The cost – absolutely worth it for the quality of equipment, but might still be a little steep for some seniors. We’d also like to see more in the way of caregiver tracking.
The Verdict: If you’re looking for a go-anywhere-do-anything pendant that always has your back, Active Guardian is it.

#4. LifeFone

LifeFone offers a wide range of in-home and mobile options to suit every need. We think their “At-Home and On-The-Go” pendant is particularly suitable for visually impaired seniors.

It’s an all-in-one solution that seniors can wear wherever they go. The necklace also serves as a two-way communication device so they can always talk to the service center. Read our full review of LifeFone here.

What’s included: The mobile device and a charging cradle, plus belt clip.
Button type: Pendant, though it can also be worn on a belt clip.
Water-resistant: Yes
Add-on features: Customers can opt for a daily check-in call for $19 monthly, or a location service to help caregivers keep track of them for $9 monthly. There are also several accessories on offer: A lanyard, a lockbox, and a protection plan in case the device is lost or stolen.
Fall detection: Yes, for $5 monthly (the cheapest we’ve seen.)
Range: Travels wherever you do.
Battery: 36 hours per charge.
Cost: $42.95 monthly.
Long term contracts: No
Equipment / set up fee: No
What customers are saying:

“I've had LifeFone for a long time and my experience with it has been good. I have no problem with it. I'm a little older and by myself and LifeFone makes me feel more secure.”
“My family has more peace of mind and they're happy with it and so I'm certainly happy with it as well.”
“I live alone and I’m fearful that I wouldn’t get help if I needed it. I'm glad I have LifeFone. I rely on it and it gives me a sense of security. I've used it a few times and it has been a lifesaver.”

Pros: We love how easy it is to wear and carry indoors or out, and the $5 fall detection fee is fantastic.
Cons: The fall detection might be cheap, but the rest isn’t. LifeFone offers good quality but the $42.95 monthly price tag could be a bit much for some seniors.
The Verdict: This is ideal for seniors who are still active and want to stay safe no matter where they are.

Best Overall Medical Alert System

Editor's Rating:

4.9 / 5
MobileHelp sets the standard in the medical alert industry for not only producing best-in-class equipment but also for providing the highest level of customer service. Call to hear current MobileHelp offers and pricing.