Lively, a company widely known for its Jitterbug phones for seniors, offers a mobile medical alert system called the Lively Mobile Plus. This device promises to protect people both in their homes or on the go, but how does it really perform? Let’s take a closer look.
AARP Discount: AARP members can get a $60 discount on Lively Health and Safety Packages.
Pros and Cons of Lively Mobile Plus
All-in-one mobile device: Often with mobile medical alert systems, you’ll have to wear additional help buttons or pendants for fall detection. Luckily, my Lively Mobile Plus had these features built into one compact unit that fit comfortably on my belt clip.
Fall detection: In addition to being fully waterproof and GPS capable, my Lively Mobile Plus also came with a built-in fall detection device.
Advanced caregiver features: Through the Lively Link app, my friends and family could stay updated on my location and receive notifications every time I made an urgent response call.
24/7 monitoring: Unlike some other medical alert companies, Lively’s professional monitoring is in-house and based in the United States, which definitely made me more comfortable with the system in general.
No long-term contracts: The high cost of Life Alert partially comes from its three-year minimum agreements. Luckily, Lively allows you to pay on a monthly basis and cancel your service at any time.
Short battery life: The device I tested only lasted 24 hours before it needed to be recharged. Compared to other mobile systems like the Active Guardian, this is on the shorter side.
No add-on accessories: Although I appreciate their Marie Kondo-like minimalism, I wish Lively offered some additional options, like more attractive neck pendants, lock boxes for easy entrance, or wall help buttons.
$19.99/mo + one time $37.49 activation fee Basic Plan
$24.99/mo + one time $37.49 activation fee Preferred Plan
$34.99/mo + one time $37.49 activation fee Ultimate Plan
Lively Systems Overview
Lively offers two different medical alert system devices: their mobile system and a medical alert smartwatch. Here’s a closer look at both.
Lively Mobile Plus: This cellular system connected me to the monitoring center in any location that had an adequate cell signal. With a rechargeable battery that lasted 24 hours, I took this button absolutely everywhere I went –– even into the shower! Although I preferred to put it in my pocket, it could also be worn on a lanyard or on the hip with the included belt clip.
Lively Wearable2: The Wearable2 is a smartwatch and a medical alert system in one. It’s great for someone who wants to disguise that they’re wearing a medical alert device with optional fall detection and a water-resistant design. Not only can you use it to connect to the monitoring center, you can also track your steps or get health tips. And the Wearable2 has a much better battery life than the Mobile Plus, with a maximum of four months. Do note, however, that the Wearable2 can’t be used without a smartphone.
FYI: The Wearable 2 is only compatible with iOS devices 11 or higher or Android devices 7.0 or higher.
Features: All in one cellular medical alert system with a two-way speaker including 5Star Urgent Response.
Extras: Lively Link app, fall detection, and product replacement protection can all be added.
In-home range: n/a, since this is a cellular unit, coverage works anywhere with cellular service
Cost: Starts at $19.99/month
Using My Lively Medical Alert Systems
After ordering my Lively Mobile Plus through Lively’s website, I was excited to start testing it out. Once it arrived at my house, I opened the box and found the following:
1 Lively Mobile Plus device
1 charging dock
1 magnetic lanyard
1 belt clip
Installation Tip: Since mobile medical alert systems should be charged every day, I recommend putting your charging dock on your nightstand so you’ll remember each night to plug it in.
As with most mobile systems, the setup process was quick and easy. I plugged my charging dock into an outlet, placed my device on the charger, and waited until my device said, “Setting up device; please wait.” A few moments later, my device flashed a green light, and then said, “Welcome to 5Star.”
After this, I received an automated test call from the monitoring center, confirming that my device was activated and ready to use. I’d recommend installing the Lively Link app on your smartphone (or that of a loved one). This way, any of your loved ones can keep tabs on your system.
With my system installed and charged, I started testing its basic features. First I placed a series of test calls in my home. Each of them was answered promptly and politely by agents at Lively’s U.S.-based monitoring center. To test out the waterproofing on this device, I brought it into the shower and found it still performed flawlessly.
To test out the cellular connection, I took my Lively Mobile Plus on a trip around town. At the park, the library, and even on a short hike through the woods, I found that my calls were able to go through. On average, I only had to wait about 12 seconds for a monitoring agent to respond.
One of my favorite parts about my Lively Mobile Plus was that I could place an urgent response call both in emergency situations and for general assistance. Each time when I connected to a 5Star agent, they took the time to understand my situation and plan a proper response. For example, if I had fallen and needed medical attention, they would have contacted emergency responders; however, if I’d simply locked myself out of my home, they would contact a loved one to come help.
Another impressive feature of the Lively Mobile Plus was its fall detection. Each time I simulated a fall (which is about as glamorous as it sounds), my device automatically called Lively’s 5Star service and connected me with an agent. A couple of times, my device detected a fall when this was not the case. Luckily, when this happened, I could easily cancel the call by pressing my device’s call button.
Fall Detection Tip: If you want to use fall detection on your Lively Mobile Plus unit, you’ll need to wear it as a lanyard. Otherwise, it won’t be able to detect falls accurately.
Health and Safety Features
In addition to its professional monitoring, my Lively Mobile Plus also came with some more advanced features, including medical advice and caregiver tracking.
Through Lively Link, their smartphone app that was part of my plan, I could choose a group of loved ones who had access to information from my device. For example, every time I made an emergency call, my husband received a notification on his smartphone. Additionally, my husband and kids could keep track of my location through this app, as well as receiving notifications when my device’s battery went low.
Another feature I appreciated was Lively’s Urgent Care. With this feature enabled, I could use my Lively Mobile Plus to connect directly to a hotline with real doctors and nurses. To do so, I simply had to place a call to the monitoring center and ask to be connected to urgent care. Once connected I spoke to a nurse practitioner who was able to answer some questions I had about medication.
While certainly not standard for medical alert systems, I appreciated that Lively included these optional features in their device. Especially for a person who lives alone, the addition of a caregiver app is a great way to give loved ones peace of mind.
If I needed help or had any questions about my Lively Mobile Plus, I could either call the company directly, check out their online help center, which I found really useful, or fill out a form online. I didn’t run into too many problems testing it out, but it was good to know that if I did, I had options.
On a monthly basis, I paid $39.99 per month to use my Lively Mobile Plus, although there are cheaper options available for $24.99 or $29.99 with the Basic or Preferred plans, respectively. But again, I wanted the Ultimate package mainly because it’s the only plan with fall detection, which, in my opinion, makes it more than worth the extra $10 a month. The Lively Mobile Plus also costs a one-time $24.99 for the device itself. Luckily, this meant that I owned my device rather than leased it.
Additionally, if you’d prefer to purchase your device in person, Lively medical alerts are available at both Walgreens and Best Buy.
Overall, I had a really good experience buying, setting up, and testing out my Lively Mobile Plus. It’s certainly a top pick when it comes to the best medical alert systems, even if the battery life left something to be desired. Still, for active older adults, it’s a functional and reliable way to keep safe just about anywhere you go.
I’d recommend Lively if you’re looking for:
An affordable mobile system: Starting at $24.99 per month, the Lively Mobile Plus is one of the most affordable cellular mobile alerts on the market, though the price will go up if you want the more advanced features like fall detection.
Detailed caregiver tracking: It takes a village to care for a loved one, and Lively’s smartphone app simplifies this process, keeping any loved ones updated on your activity throughout the day.
Quick response times: In my tests, Lively had some of the fastest response times of any system I’ve tried. This made me feel confident that a Lively device could protect a loved one when they need it most.
I wouldn’t recommend it if you want:
An in-home system: Presently, Lively doesn’t offer any traditional in-home systems. If you’re looking for an affordable in-home system, then I’d recommend checking out the Bay Alarm Medical review.
Long battery life: Although a 24-hour battery life is certainly enough to get you through the day, mobile systems from Alert1 offer a greater battery life of up to four days.
A medical alert bracelet: The Lively Mobile Plus has to be worn either on the pendant or belt clip. To find a bracelet option, be sure to check out our guide to the best medical alert bracelet.
It depends on what you get. For the medical alert systems, the Lively Wearable 2 and the Lively Mobile Plus, the monthly cost will range from $24.99 to $39.99 a month, but for either Jitterbug phone, the monthly cost ranges from $24.99 to $30.99.
You can return Lively within your first 30 days after purchasing to receive a full refund.
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.