The world’s population is aging. Luckily, there are a number of services available that can make life easier and safer for seniors. To protect against the dangers of falling at home, there are a variety of medical alert systems that provide peace of mind and added security both in and out of the home.
With the press of a button on a pendant or wall-mounted device, first responders will be notified and sent to help. Two of our favorite options are Medical Guardian and Lifefone. Before selecting one of these providers, it is important that you consider your lifestyle and your needs.
FYI: The Senior List has a helpful Guide to Medical Alert Systems, which is a good starting point to familiarize yourself with the basics of these kinds of systems.
Medical Guardian Overview
Medical Guardian was founded by CEO Geoff Gross in 2005 and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Offering a wide range of products, Medical Guardian does not require prospective buyers to sign long-term contracts. Devices come with access to the MyGuardian portal, which allows users to track shipments, manage their accounts, and access manuals electronically.
Medical Guardian’s monitoring center is TMA Five-Diamond Certified, and highly trained operators will notify EMTs, the fire department, or a loved one depending on the kind of emergency. Operating nationwide (also available in Puerto Rico and Canada), Medical Guardian has a variety of systems for individuals looking for protection at and around their homes, as well as on the go with GPS technology. Here is an overview of their systems.
Medical Guardian Systems
|System||Monthly Starting Cost||Connection||For Use||Ideal For|
|Classic Guardian||$29.95||Landline||In-Home||Users who spend most of their time at home and have a landline.|
|Home Guardian||$34.95||Cellular||In-Home||Individuals who spend most of their time at home.|
|Mobile Guardian||$44.95||Cellular, GPS||On-the-Go||An active person who spends most of their time at home, in their yard, or chatting with a next-door neighbor.|
|Active Guardian||$39.95||Cellular, GPS||On-the-Go||Users who spend a lot of time out and about who prefer a lightweight wearable with fall detection.|
|Freedom Guardian||$44.95||Cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS||On-the-Go||Active older adults who want a stylish smartwatch medical alert at-home and on the go.|
|Mini Guardian||$39.95||Cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS||On-the-Go||Individuals who want a small, sleek, and discreet medical alert with an unlimited range of coverage and fall detection.|
What We Love About Medical Guardian
- Variety: Medical Guardian has a wide range of options, fitting the lifestyle needs of most seniors whether they are looking for protection at or away from home. They also offer a smartwatch option that many other Medical Alert System companies do not.
- Fall Detection: Falling while at or around the home is a major cause of injury in seniors. Medical Guardian offers Fall Detection technology for an additional $10 a month that will notify the proper first responders if a fall is detected, even if the individual is not able to physically press the appropriate button on their device.
- Easy to Cancel: Because Medical Guardian does not require customers to sign contracts, canceling the system is a straightforward process. Medical Guardian will refund a prorated amount if the subscription is canceled before the end of the monthly billing period.
What We Don't Love About Medical Guardian
- Added Device Costs: Some system choices, such as the Freedom Guardian that includes a smartwatch option, include additional fees (for the Freedom Guardian that’s a $299.95 up-front cost).
- No Free Trial: Medical Guardian does not offer interested customers the option to try their systems before signing up for a paid subscription.
LifeFone is a medical alert system company that has been providing peace of mind for seniors since 1976. Options are available for in-home use as well as on-the-go with GPS-enabled systems. There is no contract requirement for LifeFone use, and a subscription can be canceled at any time. LifeFone also provides a Subscriber Price Guarantee, meaning that once you subscribe, you’ll never have to worry about the company upping the price.
They also offer promotional deals, providing a free month of service for each referral a customer sends their way. LifeFone devices come with a Lifetime Warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Free spouse monitoring is available with LifeFone plans, and fall detection can be added for an extra $5-$10 a month. Here is an overview of their systems.
|System||Monthly Starting Cost||Connection||For Use||Ideal For|
|At-Home Landline||$24.95/mo||Landline||In-Home||Users who spend most of their time at home and have a landline.|
|Home Guardian||$34.95||Cellular||In-Home||Those who want added security while they are at home.|
|At-Home Cellular||$30.95/mo||Cellular||In-Home||Those who want added security while they are at home and do not have a landline.|
|At-Home & On-The-Go GPS||$36.95/mo||Cellular, GPS||In-Home and On-the-Go||Those who want added security while they are at home as well as on the go.|
|At-Home & On-The-Go GPS, Voice-in-Pendant||$39.95/mo.||Cellular||In-Home and On-the-Go||Those who want added security while they are at home as well as on the go, with the added peace-of-mind of a long-lasting battery.|
What We Love About Lifefone
- Fall Detection: For added protection against falls that may result in loss of consciousness, Fall Detection technology is an available add-on for all of LifeFone’s systems.
- Guarantees and Promotions: LifeFone offers a number of financially beneficial promotions and guarantees, such as their Subscriber Price Guarantee that ensures users will never see an increase in monthly price, as well as their 30-day money-back guarantee and their referral program.
- Monthly Subscriptions: LifeFone does not require a contract, allowing customers to cancel and get a pro-rated refund for whatever part of their billing cycle remains at any time.
What We Don't Love About Lifefone
- Pricing: It can be tricky to understand what you need as far as add-ons while exploring the LifeFone website, and the costs of the add-ons and accessories can add up quickly.
- Water Resistant: Some of LifeFone’s devices are merely water-resistant, not waterproof, meaning that it is possible to damage or ruin the technology if you are not clear on whether the device you have ordered can be submerged or not.
FYI: According to the CDC, around 37% of falls in older individuals result in an injury that requires medical attention.
LifeFone and Medical Guardian Similarities
LifeFone and Medical Guardian both offer a wide range of services, including the ability to contact the police, fire department, EMTs, or family members, depending on the type of emergency. They also offer 24/7 nationwide coverage with no risks of getting locked into a long-term contract.
Some other similarities include:
- Fall Detection Technology: Both LifeFone and Medical Guardian offer optional fall detection for an added monthly fee.
- GPS: LifeFone and Medical Guardian each offer the option for an on-the-go device with GPS for added safety while away from home.
- Wristwear: LifeFone has the option to order a wristband instead of a pendant worn around the neck, and Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian system works with a stylish smartwatch.
- Lockboxes: Both companies offer lockboxes that can be installed so that first responders can enter a home without damaging the front door.
Medical Guardian and LifeFone Differences
Medical Guardian and LifeFone have many similarities, but they are different in some ways.
Systems & Prices
Medical Guardian has a wider variety of options, including a smartwatch device. However, their costs, both monthly and in device-fees for their higher-tech systems. Lifefone, on the other hand, offers devices that are slightly more affordable, with their in-home systems starting at just $24.95/month.
Medical Guardian and LifeFone are two highly rated, highly trusted names in medical alert systems. While they vary slightly in cost and range of systems offered, they both rank well in customer satisfaction and both provide reliable service without requiring interested individuals to sign a long-term contract. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, we’d recommend Lifefone; however, if you’re looking for the most advanced in equipment, then you should take a look at Medical Guardian.