Best Medical Alert Systems With Fall Detection in 2021
Fall detection is an important feature of any medical alert system. If you can't press your help button after a fall or during a medical emergency, automatic fall detection ensures that help is still on the way.
October 21, 2021Author: Amie Clark|October 21, 2021
Ever since Life Alert’s commercials featured the famous line, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” medical alerts have been associated with getting help after a fall. It’s common knowledge that falling is a serious risk for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult suffers a fall in the U.S. every second, making falls the leading cause of injury or death among people ages 65 and up.
It’s important that medical alert devices include automatic fall detection. People are often unable to press their help button after a fall, but automatic fall detection can sense when they’ve fallen and immediately contact the monitoring center for assistance.
Pro Tip: Preventing falls is one of the best ways to keep yourself and loved ones safe, especially during the holiday season. Read my article, Fall Prevention for Seniors, for tips to avoid falls.
The Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection
Fall detection works the same way as airbag deployment in a car. Through a combination of accelerometers, sensors, and algorithms, an equipped help button senses when you fall down. It’s also the same accelerometer technology that allows your smartphone to adjust the picture accordingly when you rotate the screen.
Once the unit detects a fall, it sends an automatic signal to the call center. This is of paramount importance. Even if you’re unconscious, injured, or too confused to press the button, help is still contacted.
How We Chose the Best Medical Alerts With Fall Detection
Hours of research
Hours of product testing
To choose the best medical alert with fall detection, we tested and evaluated companies on multiple criteria.
Fall-detection accuracy: False alarms are almost inevitable, but not all systems are created equally. We ran a series of simulated falls for each device and checked for accurate reporting.
Pricing: Fall detection typically costs an extra $10 per month, so we looked for providers that charge no more. Several charge less or even include fall detection in their basic subscription packages.
All-in-one devices: Some companies build fall detection into their help buttons, while others require a separate button specifically for fall detection. Neither of these solutions is necessarily better than the other, but you’ll have to decide if you want the extra devices.
No long-term contracts: I take a strong stand against long-term contracts, and we recommend checking the terms and conditions for canceling your service before signing anything. The providers listed here don’t require lengthy agreements with added cancellation fees.
Comfortable help buttons: If you don’t feel comfortable wearing your medical alert, you’re more likely not to wear it. As a result, this removes a key source of immediate help, so we looked for better devices that are lightweight and unobtrusive.
Water resistance: The bathroom is a prime risk for common slips and falls, so we made sure all these fall-detection buttons have some level of water resistance.
Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection
1. MobileHelp - Best Add-on Fall Detection Pendant
Select MobileHelp devices have an option to add fall detection pendants to an existing system for $10 a month. If you add MobileHelp’s fall detection button, it’ll automatically send an alarm in the event of a fall and you are not able to push a button. Currently, the systems that are compatible with MobileHelp Fall Button are MobileHelp Classic, MobileHelp Solo (On-the-Go system), and MobileHelp Duo.
Integrated pendant: The fall detection pendant can be added on to select MobileHelp devices for an additional $10 per month.
Cost: For the In-Home systems, MobileHelp Classic is $19.95 per month, MobileHelp Wired Home is $24.95 per month, and MobileHelp Touch Classic is $54.95 per month. For the On-The-Go systems, MobileHelp Solo is $37.95 per month, MobileHelp Micro is $29.95 per month. You can also opt for complete protection with bundle packages that start at $41.95 per month.
Cost to add fall detection: MobileHelp has an optional fall detection pendant for $10 per month and additional help buttons for $2.
Contracts: You can pay for MobileHelp devices on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annual basis. No long-term contracts are required.
Equipment or setup fees: There are no up-front costs for MobileHelp devices.
Duo is one of the only two-in-one systems available
Flexible pricing plans
No landline required for in-home systems
Stylish smartwatch option, great for men
Two pendants included with every system
No long-term contracts
Simple, easy to understand pricing
High quality equipment
Free lockbox with all orders
Fall detection and cellular are two separate units
Initial set-up fee for in-home unit (monthly plan only)
Bay Alarm Medical alert systems are among our favorites overall, and their fall detection performed exceptionally well in our tests. It was the only fall-detection pendant not to trigger a false alarm from crouching or dropping the device.
Integrated pendant: Bay Alarm Medical requires an additional button to enable fall-detection functionality.
Cost: The in-home landline system starts at $21.95 monthly, and the cellular system starts at $29.95 monthly. The On-the-Go systems include two device options, which start at $29.95 per month. These options include 24/7 mobile protection in the form of a GPS Help Button or SOS Smartwatch. You can also bundle packages to save more.
Our verdict: Bay Alarm Medical has long been one of my favorite medical alert providers. With a combination of accurate fall detection and affordable yet advanced equipment, Bay Alarm Medical is your best choice for fall-detection devices and great in-the home medical alert systems with responsive and clear 2-way communication and extended battery life.
Medical Guardian features one of the widest varieties of at-home and mobile alert systems. No matter your needs, there is a Medical Guardian option to suit them. For fall detection, we were most impressed by the Active Guardian, a mobile, GPS medical alert that has built-in fall detection that can be activated for a small fee.
Integrated pendant: Yes, for the Active Guardian and Mini Guardian. All other mobile and at-home options are worn as a separate unit.
Cost: Medical Guardian costs are relatively affordable. The Classic Guardian System starts at $29.95 per month, and the Home 2.0 starts at $34.95 per month. For on-the-go options, Mobile 2.0 starts at $39.95 per month, Active Guardian starts at $44.95 per month, and Mini Guardian starts at $39.95 per month.
Cost to add fall detection: $10 a month on any device
Contracts: Month to month, quarterly, or annual
Equipment or setup fees: None for most systems; $124.95 for Mini Guardian
LifeFone has a long history of providing quality medical alerts backed by top-notch customer service. The company offers a wide range of options for any lifestyle, including an at-home landline option that travels with you wherever you go. Simply take it with you and plug it into the landline at your new location, whether you’re on vacation, visiting family, or moving to a new home. You can choose from the in-home landline or cellular options, the on-the-go mobile device with a wristband or pendant, or a voice-in mobile device that has everything in one pendant.
Integrated pendant: The voice-in mobile option is integrated, but the on-the-go mobile option and both at-home options come with a separate fall-detection pendant.
Cost: The in-home landline system starts at $29.95 per month and cellular starts at $34.95 monthly. Their basic on-the-go system starts at $39.95 monthly, their At-Home & On-the-Go, VIP voice-in pendant starts at $43.95 per month, and their smallest voice-in pendant, the At-Home & On-the-Go, VIPx with optional fall detection starts at $45.95 per month.
Cost to add fall detection: LifeFone prices its fall detection at $5 per month, the most affordable we’ve seen.
Contracts: Month to month
Equipment or setup fees: None
Landline and cellular options
One-time fee for extra help buttons
Price-Lock Lifetime Guarantee
Most Affordable Fall Detection
1,300 ft Range for In-Home Systems
No Long-Term Contracts
In-House Monitoring Center
Occasional risk of false alarms with fall detection
Our verdict: LifeFone provides reliable, high-quality equipment with lots of options, good customer service, and competitive pricing. Whatever you need from your fall-detection medical alert system, LifeFone has one for you.
Aloe Care Health devices take a different approach to fall detection. In addition to its Mobile Companion, which features built-in fall detection, it offers a fall-detection button that can be mounted to your bathroom wall. By digitally mapping your bathroom’s layout, it can accurately detect when you fall. The system can also use voice commands in the event of a false alarm.
Integrated pendant: Mobile Companion has integrated fall detection, but the other systems require the wall-mounted fall-detection feature, which operated with a high level of accuracy in our tests.
Cost: The Mobile Companion costs $24.99 per month with a $99.99 one-time hardware fee. Aloe Care Essentials goes for $29.99 per month with a one-time hardware fee of $149.99, and the Essentials Plus and Tota Care packages cost $39.99 per month and $49.99 per month, with one-time hardware fees of $249.99 and $349.99, respectively.
Cost to add fall detection: Aloe Care Health does not charge an additional fee for fall detection; the feature is included with each of its systems.
Contracts: Month to month
Equipment or setup fees: $99 to $349.99, depending on the system
Our verdict: With its multipronged approach to fall detection, Aloe Care Health offers reliable fall safety both in the home and on the go. This, combined with its handy voice commands, makes the company one of the best options for fall detection.
One concern we hear frequently regarding fall detection is that the pendants can send out false alarms.
To be completely transparent: Yes, this is a genuine issue. No fall-detection system is perfect, and from time to time the sensors may mistake an ordinary movement — such as bending forward or getting into bed — for a fall and send out an alarm. If it happens, however, you can simply press the button on your base station or pendant to contact the call center and let them know there’s no problem.
On the flip side, most systems are set not to send out an alarm if they detect movement after a fall. This is to prevent false signals — the system assumes if you can move, then you can press your alarm. It’s a good idea to press your help button after a fall to make sure help is coming.
Fall-detection systems aren’t perfect, but we firmly believe they are worth the investment — especially for older adults who are particularly at risk of falls, such as people with balance issues, unsteadiness on their feet, or a history of falls.
It’s far better to risk the occasional false alarm than be left without a way to get help after a fall. Medical alert companies are well aware of the potential for false alarms, so they’re prepared for them to happen.
Yes, some of the newer smartphones in the market today may have new fall detection capabilities. Some smartphones like the Galaxy Watch 3 have an accelerometer feature that’s built into the smartphone to detect falls and send alerts.
Fitbits do not currently have fall detection features.
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
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