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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?
In this Lively Mobile Plus review, we'll test out this medical alert system, both at home and on the go. We'll also compare its response times, fall detection, and GPS capabilities to those of other medical alerts.
Lively Mobile Plus Review Takeaways
Time Spent Testing
$24.99 per month
Average Response Time
Customer Service Response Time
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.
Fall detection: In addition to being fully waterproof and GPS capable, my Lively Mobile Plus also came with a built-in fall detection device, although using it costs extra.
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 Mini Guardian, this is on the shorter side.
No add-on accessories: Although I appreciate the simplicity, I wish Lively offered some additional options, like more attractive neck straps, 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 one medical alert system, the Lively Mobile Plus, as well as an urgent response service that's available on either an Alexa-enabled device or an Apple smartwatch.
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 on Alexa Devices
For those who already have an Amazon Echo device, you might consider using it with Lively's urgent response service. For $24.99 per month, you can turn your Amazon smart speaker into an emergency response device. Unlike the Lively Mobile Plus, however, this service is voice-activated. Rather than press a button to contact a response agent, you simply say, “Alexa, call for help.”
If you're interested in this service, you also might consider subscribing to Alexa Together, which provides similar features for only $19.99 per month.
Lively on Apple Watches
As with an Echo device, you can add Lively urgent response service to an Apple Watch for $24.99 per month. While this method doesn't allow voice commands––rather, you must press a button––it can be paired with the smartwatch's fall detection to automatically make emergency calls when a user falls.
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.
When it comes to medical alert systems, Life Alert is undoubtedly the most popular option; however, in terms of price and features, we think that the Lively Mobile Plus is the superior option.
For starters, there is the cost. Life Alert systems start at $49.95 per month (not to mention activation fees), and to get Life Alert’s mobile system, you’ll have to pay an additional $20 per month, as their mobile unit cannot be purchased alone.
The Lively Mobile Plus, however, starts at $24.99 per month. This price rises to $34.99 per month if you want fall detection, a feature not even offered with Life Alert.
The Lively Mobile Plus also offers a caregiver app, Lively Link, which allows loved ones to receive notifications on their phone when a user presses their help button. It can also be used to track the location of the Mobile Plus unit. Life Alert offers none of this functionality.
While the Lively Mobile Plus is technically a mobile system, requiring daily charging, it can easily be used as a home medical alert, making it all-around a better option than Life Alert.
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.
You can return Lively within your first 30 days after purchase to receive a full refund. Otherwise, you can cancel your subscription at any time.
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.