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LifeFone Medical Alert Review

A User-Friendly System that Fosters Independence and Flexibility

Editor's Rating:

4.3 / 5

There’s a lot that can go wrong when seniors are left to fend for themselves. From falls to forgetting to take medications, it can be hard to take care of seniors, especially when you don’t live with them. Having worked with older adults for the majority of my career, I’m very familiar with medical alert systems and have tested out all of the most popular brands on the market. And medical alert systems are becoming more and more popular in general; in fact, the industry is estimated to be worth $9.6 billion by 2025.

In this review, I’m testing out LifeFone, a company that’s been around since the days of disco. They first launched in 1976, but don’t worry; they’ve made technological advancements since then. Today, I’m checking out the At-Home and On-The-Go GPS with automatic fall detection. Now, LifeFone’s At-Home medical alert device comes as a wristband or pendant, but I tried out both and found that they’re basically foolproof, a necessity for this reviewer. Overall, I found that LifeFone delivered on its promise to give seniors independence with a minimum amount of fuss. Plus, LifeFone didn’t dent my wallet too badly with upfront costs like activation and equipment fees, although there were add-ons available, but I’ll get to that later. Here’s everything you need to know to decide if LifeFone is right for you and your family.

LifeFone Ratings
Reliability When help is needed, the equipment does its job, the call is answered promptly, courteously, and appropriate action is taken to handle the reason for the call.
4.4 / 5
Equipment Equipment is updated and utilizes the latest technology. It works as it should with easy-to-understand instructions and simple installation.
4.7 / 5
Reputation The reputation of the company as reported by consumers, user reviews, industry feedback and our review/analysis. Customer service and technical support are also responsive and helpful.
4.2 / 5
Options The company offers a variety of medical alert solutions to fit the needs of customers. In-home and cellular medical alert systems as well as optional fall detection and additional accessories.
4.5 / 5

LifeFone Pros and Cons

Only have a few minutes? Here are our favorite and least favorite things about LifeFone.

What We Like About LifeFone

  • User-Friendly Devices — When I tested out the LifeFone system, I found the devices super simple to use, without any extraneous buttons or features. In a nutshell, to get help, all I had to do was press a button, which is something some tech-averse seniors I work with can easily get a handle on. Plus, the On-The-Go devices come with two-way speakers, which automatically connect to live humans without having to be within range of the base station.
  • 24/7 assistance — Day or night, I felt comfortable knowing that I had access to 24/7 assistance that’s based in the United States. Many companies outsource their monitoring, but I love that LifeFone owns and operates its own calling center.
  • Smart Spending — Comfort, and peace of mind are priceless, but that doesn’t mean I had to spend a ton with LifeFone. With most subscription plans ranging between $25 to $40 a month, I only paid about a dollar a day for 24/7 monitoring. Medical alert systems typically cost about $30 to $60 a month, so compared to the rest of the industry LifeFone is definitely one of the more affordable options out there.
  • Subscriber Price Guarantee — On top of that, I knew that once I signed up for a subscription plan, LifeFone wouldn’t suddenly raise the price on me. In fact, the price will never increase, guaranteed!
  • No-Risk — LifeFone made it easy for me to feel comfortable with my purchase. They gave me a 30-day money-back guarantee, and even after that, I could cancel the service without hassle, if I wanted to. Plus, there’s a lifetime warranty on all products, so signing up for LifeFone is literally a zero-risk endeavor.

Pro Tip: Since LifeFone has a 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s no risk to trying it out.

What We Didn't Like About LifeFone

  • Add-Ons Add Up — Although these are optional, LifeFone offers a number of add-on services that can definitely add up in terms of price. Thankfully, when I shopped for a system over the phone, the customer service representative was able to help me find the add-ons I needed while staying within my budget.
  • Water Resistance — Although all of LifeFone’s wearable products are water-resistant, only the wristband and the regular pendants are waterproof. On the other hand, the On-the-Go Voice Necklace is only water-resistant, so while it can be worn in the tub or shower, it shouldn’t be submerged in water. However, this is common with most cellular medical alerts that contain a two-way speaker.
  • Signal Strength — While the At-Home signal offers an impressive 1,300-foot range in any direction of the base for both the landline and cellular In-Home units, I found that the signal was weaker outside, even within that range. This could be an issue if your loved one enjoys gardening or reading in the backyard frequently, so that’s something to keep in mind. Make sure to test the range of any medical alert system so that you are aware of the limits within your home.

LifeFone Pricing
 
At-Home Landline
At-Home Cellular
At-Home and On-The-Go GPS
At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In-Necklace
Monthly$29.95/mo$34.95/mo$39.95/mo$43.95/mo
Quarterly$27.95/mo$32.95/mo$39.95/mo$41.95/mo
Annually$24.95/mo$30.95/mo$36.95/mo$39.95/mo
Optional Fall Detection$5/mo$5/mo$10/mo$5/mo

My Experience Buying LifeFone

All of LifeFone’s products are available for purchase online, through their website, or over the phone. Since I always like to read up on things before jumping right in, I started by checking out their options online for in-home use, on-the-go use, or both. Then, I called their support line directly to walk them through our situation and get a personalized recommendation.

In my case, I was curious about the add-on options; which ones were necessary, and which ones were superfluous. The representative I spoke with told me about Activity Assurance, which is an add-on that would require the senior to check in with the call center at a certain time each day. If the senior doesn’t answer the check-in call (or one subsequent follow-up call), LifeFone would take the liberty of attempting to contact my loved one, and if they couldn’t reach her, they’d call for help.

Another add-on the woman on the phone told me about was medication reminders, which are completely self-explanatory. But the representative told me that having both medication reminders and Activity Assurance would be unnecessary, as I could just remind the senior to take their meds when we check-in at the same time every day. Two birds, meet one stone.

Now, I’m always looking to get the most bang for my buck, so naturally, I asked about discounts and learned that the package I was considering was actually 20 percent off at the moment, with a further discount available if I chose the annual payment option.

FYI: Although you can complete your purchase on LifeFone’s website, I recommend calling to get a customized recommendation.

Overall, I was really impressed with the customer service I received; the woman I spoke with was very patient in walking me through my options, and I didn’t feel that sleazy high-pressure sales approach that some other companies take. In a few minutes, I ordered my LifeFone system and was off the phone. Now, I just had to wait for the system to arrive in the mail.

How I Setup and Tested The LifeFone System

When LifeFone’s At-Home & On-The-Go GPS systems arrived at my doorstep, I was surprised at how small the box was; somehow, I expected something bigger. When I opened it up, I found the base station, wall plug, help wristband, waterproof pendant with fall detection, mobile device with charging cradle, leather carrying case for the mobile unit, and instruction manual.

I was able to set up and test my systems in only a few simple steps. All I had to do was plug in the base unit console, turn it on, and put on the pendant. Next, I plugged in the charging cradle and placed the On-The-Go mobile unit on it to let it fully charge. Once the mobile unit was charged, I pressed the gray help button to make a test call. After I spoke with someone at the response center using the two-way speaker on the mobile unit, I felt confident that my system was ready and easy enough for seniors to use. The only negative I could see with the In-Home medical alert was that when I went in my home’s yard, I noticed that the signal wasn’t as strong, as it can be affected by walls and furniture, so this may not be ideal for seniors that like to spend a lot of time in their homes’ outdoor spaces.

For life-saving products like medical alert devices, ease of use isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Fortunately for me and the seniors I work with, it doesn’t get much easier than pressing the button on the base station, pendant, or mobile unit when you need help. Just one touch and my loved one would be connected to the response center, who can call for in-person help if they need to.

The Fine Print (Warranty)

That all sounds well and good but again, I’m a Mom myself, so naturally, my mind goes to worst-case scenarios. What if something breaks? Would I be locked into a contract that I couldn’t get out of? Would I constantly have to buy batteries for the components, and what if our power goes out?

Fortunately for my anxious brain, LifeFone’s equipment came with a lifetime warranty for normal wear-and-tear, with free battery replacements to boot. And believe me, this lifetime warranty isn’t always the standard for medical alert devices; some other products like Philips Lifeline only come with a one-year warranty. On top of the lifetime warranty, LifeFone also offers a Protection Plan, $5 a month, which covers damage, loss, or theft of equipment.

LifeFone Equipment at a Glance

ProductPriceFeaturesType of System24/7 Professional Monitoring Included?
At-Home LandlineStarting at $24.95 per month– Two-way base station speaker
– Long-lasting back-up battery
– 1,300 foot coverage range
– Emergency trouble indicator
LandlineYes
At-Home CellularStarting at $30.95 per month– Uses AT&T network
– Two-way base station speaker
– Back-up battery
– 1,300 foot coverage range
-Emergency trouble indicator
CellularYes
At-Home & On-the-Go GPSStarting at $36.95 per month– Two-way speaker
-Lighted display with time, date
and ambient temperature
– Back-up battery
– Wearable mobile unit
CellularYes
At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice in NecklaceStarting at $39.95 per month– Two-way voice pendant
– GPS and WiFi location technology
– 30-day battery; 5-7 day battery when using fall detection
– Uses AT&T or Verizon network
CellularYes

Overview of LifeFone Systems and Products

So that’s my personal experience using LifeFone to stay safe, but they also have a variety of additional products that may be a better fit for you and your loved ones. First, let’s talk about the different systems available.
LifeFone Fall Detection Medical Alert System

At-Home and On-The-Go GPS

Features: An in-home + cellular mobile unit. The in-home unit works with the AT&T cellular network (no landline required), the mobile unit works outside the home anywhere there is cellular coverage. This option is like having two systems in one.

Extras: Lockbox, additional medical alert buttons, wall-mounted help buttons, beaded lanyards, protection plan, fall detection pendant.

Battery: 30 hours of backup battery life for the base unit and 24 for the mobile unit

In-home range: Up to 600 feet from the base unit and 350 ft from the mobile unit

Cost: Monthly prices as low as $30.79

Add-on Accessories

Once you’ve selected your system as I did, it’s time to check out the add-ons available. Now, keep in mind that these add-ons will start to increase your price, so while it’s easy to get swept up in additional safety features, it’s always important to keep the bottom line in check. Nevertheless, let’s see what LifeFone has to offer.

The More You Know: If the senior in your life doesn’t want anyone to know they’re wearing a medical alert pendant, show them the beaded lanyard and Vanity Pendant options, which disguise the system as a pretty necklace.

Now, all of these options aren’t necessary for every senior, so don’t feel pressured to buy everything available. Rather, use LifeFone’s add-on products to customize your system for the senior in your life’s needs, which may be minimal or expansive.

The Bottom Line

Medical alert systems are designed to be simple and easy to use, and LifeFone definitely fits the bill. To get help, I simply pressed a button; it doesn’t get much more simple than that. Plus, I felt confident knowing that I could test LifeFone out for 30 days without committing to a long-term contract. As long as I returned the equipment within that period, I wouldn’t be charged, which made the cancellation process direct and simple. With the essential features like fall detection, activity assurance, mobile units for on-the-go protection, plus a lifetime warranty, LifeFone kept my loved one safe without overcomplicating things, but the in-home system may not be the best for seniors that like to spend a lot of time in their yards. Plus, be sure not to get too swept up in the add-ons, which can really add up. If you want to explore other options, a great place to start is our list of 2020‘s best medical alert systems, which includes not only LifeFone but also Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm. But in general, LifeFone is very trustworthy and user-friendly.

Perfect for Large Homes
LifeFone

Editor's Rating:

4.3 / 5
Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. The in-home range is 1,300 feet, perfect for couples with larger homes. Call to hear current LifeFone offers and pricing.

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4 Comments

  1. I don’t think $40 is too much to pay for this. It could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and not to mention it could save someone’s life.
  2. Forty dollars a month way too high for average seniors. Mobile help has great watch & only $25 dollars a month. Lower price for seniors guys. Thanks
  3. I think it is very important to pick an alarm provider that offers added-extra service and I’ve not come across but a couple that use EMD-trained call center professionals (who are trained the same as 911 operators!), offer multi-lingual call centers, monthly reminder phone calls to test the equipments, well-wishes cards and thank-you presents. I know many seniors who live alone at home look forward to these little added “Social Extras” and this is exactly what I’d be looking for when I get my parents alarms at 65.

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