close

Medical Guardian Review

Editor's Rating:

4.8 / 5

In my years working with seniors and caregivers, I know firsthand what it means to have limitations. Being a caregiver is at times frustrating; not only do you feel limited by the amount of care you can give, but there’s an overall feeling of powerlessness that comes with the responsibility of caring for an elderly loved one. The senior feels it every day, limited by their own mental or physical restrictions, and that powerlessness transfers to everyone else; family members feel like they’re not doing enough to care for the person that perhaps cared for them growing up.

The reality is that as a caregiver, you’ll do whatever it takes to help your elderly relative live a normal life, with as much dignity and independence as possible. For seniors, the top priority is staying in their own home for as long as possible before entering an assisted living facility. The vast majority of elderly Americans receiving care, about 80 percent, choose to remain in their homes. In those instances, or even if a senior is in a senior care facility, medical alert systems can be a great option, providing an essential lifeline between caregivers, the elderly, and emergency personnel to allow a loved one independence without sacrificing safety.

Today I’m going to review the Medical Guardian alert system, a company built on the promise of “a life without limits.” Medical Guardian is a relative newcomer in the medical alert space, which has some institutions in the industry dating back decades. The company was founded in 2005 and has a varied and expansive product offering to suit just about any senior’s lifestyle. Medical Guardian is one of the fastest-growing medical alert companies in the business, and their commitment to adapting and evolving their product line is a big reason why.

I’ll be looking at the most affordable of their six product offerings: The Classic Guardian. I’m going to highlight some pros and cons of their system, take a hands-on look at their service and support, and take a broader look at the company as a whole. Hopefully, this will be all the information you need to decide whether Medical Guardian is right for you.

Medical Guardian Logo
Medical Guardian Logo

My Video Review

Did you know that The Senior List is on Youtube? If you prefer watching to reading, check out my video review of Medical Guardian below. Otherwise, keep reading for all of the important information I gleaned from testing the Class Guardian system.

The Pros and Cons of Medical Guardian

Just need a quick high-level chat about whether Medical Guardian Classic is good or not? I’ve got you covered. Here are a few quick things I liked and didn’t like about the system.

What I Liked

  • Wide Detection Range— Medical Guardian boasts one of the largest detection ranges on the market with their Classic Guardian system. The activation button can be 1,300 feet away from the base station and still communicate an emergency. I really like that the system can cover not just the inside of a home, but also gardens and other nearby outdoor spaces as well.
  • Excellent monitoring and support— Medical Guardian has 100 percent United States-based, 24/7 professional monitoring, which is responsive and reliable when you need it most. Additionally, they offer no cancellation fees as well as prorated refunds to customers who haven’t used the service for an extended period of time.
  • Two Button Options— Instead of offering just a neck pendant or just a wrist button, I liked the fact that I could choose one or the other, with the option to add additional sensors if I wanted.
  • Power Outage Backup— The base unit features a 32-hour backup battery, which is a great failsafe to have in the event of an emergency during a storm or other power issue.

What I Wasn't Thrilled About

  • Landline Reliant— The Classic Guardian’s base unit communicates with the monitoring service via a landline connection, which while reliable, is a more outdated technology that not every home may have. However, Medica Guardian has cellular options as well if you lack a landline.
  • Add-ons Are All Separate Monthly Charges— While generally speaking, the system is reasonably priced, each additional device incurs a separate monthly charge. So adding a fall sensor, or another pendant, or even a lockbox means an extra charge each month, which could greatly increase your bottom line if you aren’t careful.

Tip: Keep an eye out for deals and promotions! There may be available offers like free shipping and free months of service or other additional savings and upgrades from Medical Guardian.

First Impressions of Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian base station cellular pendants
Medical Guardian Equipment

As with many of the products I interact with for The Senior List, the first point of contact I have with a company is their website. And I have to say, the clear, straightforward nature of the Medical Guardian site puts them above many of their competitors. Oftentimes when going through the shopping or buying process, fees can be obscured, or it can be generally confusing to figure out which product is best for your needs.

Medical Guardian didn’t suffer from any of these common mistakes. When I first landed on the website, it was easy to navigate their product offerings. And, with a company like Medical Guardian that offers six different medical alert systems, it can be less than intuitive to make a decision. The company does a great job of describing their services in an easy-to-understand format. Not only do they clearly delineate the differences among their products, but they even offer a Buying Advice page as well as a Product Chooser quiz that walks customers through common questions related to medical alert systems and directs them to the right product.

Not only is the website intuitive, but their customer service offers multiple points of contact for customers that need additional assistance in deciding on a system. Their phone number is prominently displayed, and their site’s live chat offers another point of contact for additional questions.

When I purchased the system, the subscription plans were upfront, and adding accessories to my order was as easy as could be as well. If I wanted to add a fall sensor or additional alert buttons, putting them in the cart was intuitive and all of the pricing was clear. I really liked the fact that there weren’t hidden fees or mystery charges within the buying process.

Selecting Between the Medical Guardian Systems

As I mentioned, Medical Guardian has six distinct medical alert systems, each geared towards different customer types. Not only does the company offer the more affordable, stripped-down Classic Guardian alert system, but they also have systems made to accommodate more mobile users looking to carry their alert system with them on walks or errands, as well as alerts built into smartwatches. Let’s take a look at their systems, what they offer, and how they compare price-wise.

Classic Guardian

The Classic Guardian is Medical Guardian’s most affordable and, well, classically-styled medical alert system. The base unit connects to the home’s landline where it offers two-way communication between the senior and the emergency response operator. Landline use only means there is no cellular connectivity, which is slightly disappointing as not every home has a landline connection set up, but the range between the pendant and the base is an impressive 1,300 feet, and its 32-hour backup battery is a nice bonus feature. Read on for options that don’t require a landline!

Medical Guardian Classic Guardian
Classic Guardian

Home Guardian

The Home Guardian is similar to the Classic Guardian, except it runs on AT&T’s cellular network. The base unit also features an LED display screen and a 30-hour backup battery. While the inclusion of cellular connectivity is nice, the range between pendant and base unit is only 600 feet, which is pretty limiting.

Family Guardian

The Family Guardian is an interesting medical alert system because it really allows a family member to monitor the senior’s activity. The system works on the AT&T cellular network, which means no landlines needed, but it still retains the 1,300-foot pendant-to-base range as the Classic Guardian. Additionally, the system comes with three in-home safety sensors that let a caregiver check in on the senior’s movements throughout the day using the Family Guardian app (available for both iOS and Android).

Freedom Guardian

The Freedom Guardian is a smartwatch with many of the same features as other similar smartwatches like SMS text messaging, schedules, weather forecasts, and more, but with the added bonus of a medical alert system. This device also features GPS tracking and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Medical Guardian Freedom Guardian medical alert smartwatch
Freedom Guardian

Mobile Guardian

The Mobile Guardian is similar to the Home Guardian, except the base unit is portable, which means the senior can take the unit with them on walks or extend the range of their system as they see fit. The pendant can activate the base unit up to 350 feet.

Active Guardian

The Active Guardian stands out from the rest of the systems because it’s a singular device; there is no base station. In fact, it’s the best cellular medical alert we’ve encountered. Think of it like a single-purpose cell phone. The device is worn like a pendant and can be pressed to call the monitoring service directly. The Active Guardian is waterproof, features GPS tracking, and has an internal fall detector, though fall detection still requires an additional monthly fee.

Classic GuardianHome GuardianFamily GuardianFreedom GuardianMobile GuardianActive Guardian
Monthly Plan Cost$29.95$34.95$79.95$44.95$49.95$44.95
Quarterly Plan Cost$89.85$104.85$239.85$134.85$149.85$134.85
Semi-Annual Plan Cost$179.70$209.70$479.70$269.70$299.70$269.70
Annual Plan Cost$329.45$384.45$879.45$494.45$549.45$494.45
Basic Monthly Plan Includes-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or Wrist Button
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or One of Twp Wrist Button Options
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or Wrist Button
-Emergency SOS Service
-3-Day Weather Forecast
-Time and Date
-Choice of Black or White Watch
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or One of Twp Wrist Button Options
-Free Equipment
Annual Plan Includes-Free Month of Service
-Free Second Button
-Free Lockbox
-Free Ground Shipping
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or Wrist Button
-Free Month of Service
-Free Second Button
-Free Lockbox
-Free Ground Shipping
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or Wrist Button
-Free Month of Service
-Free Second Button
-Free Lockbox
-Free Ground Shipping
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or Wrist Button
-Free Month of Service
-Emergency SOS Service
-3-Day Weather Forecast
-Time and Date
-Free Lockbox
-Free Ground Shipping
-Choice of Black or White Watch
-Free Month of Service
-Free Second Button
-Free Lockbox
-Free Ground Shipping
-Free Equipment
-Choice of Neck Pendant or Wrist Button
-Free Month of Service
-Free Lockbox
-Free Ground Shipping
-Free Equipment
Communication TypeLandlineAT&T Cellular (included with subscription)AT&T Cellular (included with subscription)3G SIM Card, Additional Wi-Fi connectivity (included with subscription)AT&T Cellular (included with subscription)AT&T Cellular (included with subscription)
Additional NotesN/AN/AIncludes additional activity sensors for a family member to monitor the senior’s activity throughout the day.Smartwatch style medical alert device. Equipment costs are $179.95 on first order. Also features GPS tracking.Features a mobile base unit so it can be used on the go. Also features GPS location information.Portable medical alert device with GPS tracking and Wi-Fi location tracking.

Add-On Components

Like many medical alert systems, Medical Guardian provides optional pieces that can be added to the system for increased security or coverage throughout a senior’s home. Here are some of the options I could’ve used to bolster my system:

    • Additional Sensors— Additional wrist or neck pendants can be added to a system, which is a great option for elderly couples that each require medical alert coverage.
    • Fall Alert Pendants— Fall alert pendants have interior triggers that can detect when most falls occur and can automatically contact the monitoring service should it happen. The National Council on Aging estimates that one in four Americans aged 65 and above fall each year, so these pendants can be a great investment.
    • Wall-Mounted Buttons— These buttons mount easily to a wall and provide an extra opportunity to add an alert to the home in case there’s an emergency but the senior isn’t near their pendant or base unit.
    Medical Guardian Wall Button
    Medical Guardian Wall Button
    • Voice-Activated Wall Button— These easily mounted buttons can be activated when the senior says “Call Medical Guardian” twice, or pulls the ripcord trigger.
    • Lockbox— Weatherproof lockboxes mounted to a front door can give medical personnel easy access to a home in the event of an emergency.

    Quick Tip: All Medical Guardian pendants (including fall sensors) are waterproof, which is a great bonus feature for those worried about incidents in the shower, as 67% of falls stem from “slips and trips” according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

    ComponentMonthly Price
    Fall Sensor$10
    Voice Activated Wall Mounted Button$5
    Additional Neck Pendant$2.99
    Additional Wrist Pendant$2.99
    Mounted Wall Button$2.99
    Lockbox$2.99

Getting Hands-On With the Medical Guardian Classic

Since the Classic Guardian is one of the more basic models in the medical alert market, there isn’t a whole lot to the packaging, which helped to keep things simple. When the unit arrived, it featured the base unit with necessary power and phone cables, the activation button, and necessary, detailed instructions on installing the device.

One of the things that immediately struck me with the Guardian Classic is how sleek the hardware is. There are times when I’ll be reviewing medical alert systems, and it’s easy to tell when a company hasn’t updated their hardware design for a while; units can be oversized or can feel outdated aesthetically. The fact that Medical Guardian has newly updated hardware says a lot about the company’s commitment to growth and innovation, which in turn instills confidence in me as a customer.

The base unit has a large, easily pressed emergency call button on the top, as well as three indicator lights representing power, phone line connection strength, and malfunction indication. These lights are helpful to stay up-to-date on the device’s functions, to make sure it’s operating properly.

Setting the Unit Up

The actual install and setup process for the Classic Guardian was straightforward and intuitive. The first step is connecting the base station into a phone line. I plugged the base station in, and then plugged my landline phone into the back of the base station, which was nice since it only required one wall port. The next step was powering the device on; again, I just needed to plug it into the wall using the included adapter.

Once the base station was powered on and connected to the phone line, I was instructed to call a phone number, which would, in turn, put the unit on Test Mode. Once in test mode, I pressed the emergency call button on the base unit, where I received a message stating that the device was all set and functioning properly.

Note: It’s recommended to test your device out every month, just to make sure everything is functioning properly.

Testing the Unit

The Classic Guardian is, again, an extremely straightforward device, but I was impressed with its reliability and functionality. To test the device, I first pressed the main emergency call button. After an emergency alarm sounded (which helps inform anyone nearby that you may need help), I was put in contact with a Medical Guardian operator. The operator I spoke to was calm and friendly, and helped assess my situation to determine if I needed further emergency services called.

Medical Guardian Active Guardian cellular medical alert system
Active Guardian

I also tested the device by pressing the emergency call button on the pendant. Once activated, the base unit performed the same function: sound the alarm, call the operator. I tested the range of the two-way communication by standing in the next room from the device, and the operator was still able to hear me clearly. It’s also reassuring knowing that if the operator wasn’t able to hear me, after a period of no response, emergency services like the police would be contacted.

The time between activating the unit and being put in touch with an operator is about a minute, which is about standard. It can feel like an eternity though, especially when you factor in that the average emergency response time for an ambulance is about 8-15 minutes.

Some Quick Notes About Terms and Conditions

As I mentioned before, Medical Guardian really does put the customer at the forefront. And to that end, they do offer wear-and-tear warranties on their systems. If the unit happens to malfunction over time, or if the pendant stops working, all you have to do is contact the company and they’ll replace hardware for you.

That said, if you do wind up damaging or losing the hardware, there can be equipment fees charged up to $350, which is pretty steep for an out-of-pocket expense. To help mitigate those costs, Medical Guardian also offers a Protection Plan for $6.99 per month which covers unit replacements (one base unit and two buttons in a 12-month period).

Enhanced Emergency Notifications

Another really great feature that Medical Guardian offers is Enhanced Emergency Notifications. For $2.99 per month, in the event of an emergency, not only will the base unit get in touch with the monitoring service, but your “Care Circle”, a group of family and friends, will receive text and email notifications in real-time updating them in an emergency. I would highly recommend this add-on, especially for family members worried about a senior living on their own.

The Last Word

There is a reason I named Medical Guardian as the best medical alert system of 2020 above other top-tier brands like Philips Lifeline. The company offers a number of unique systems made for every type of senior’s lifestyle. From systems built for seniors that travel and get outside every day, to more homebound users, Medical Guardian is the peak of what the medical alert system can be. The Classic Guardian is a simple, affordable system that does the basics flawlessly. I was blown away by the 1,300-foot range, as well as the ease of setup and the clarity of the two-way communication. There is a downside, which is that the device only works on a landline connection, but if you’re looking for a cellular device, Medical Guardian has other options to suit your needs. From a price standpoint, the Classic Guardian is about in the middle of the industry, but the service they provide is next-level. And with sleek, updated hardware, I am excited to see how their offerings evolve in the future.

FAQs About Medical Guardian

  • Was this Helpful ?
  • yes   no

4 Comments

  1. DROPPING Medical Guardian! Active Guardian – Charging cradle prongs so small & weak they make poor contact. Twice charge ran out & my contacts got a non-specific e-mail; I wasn’t notified at all. Supposed to have a 4-5 day charge to cover a power outage but mine went from 100% to zero in 8 hours according to THEIR records. They sent a new device and I gave them a 3rd chance. I couldn’t answer a call from them and they left a voice mail – it was just the sound of someone’s breath. Called the originating phone # – it was Medical Guardian; I wanted to know why they called and picked a service support option. They’ve reduced support staff (PLUS you can’t call before 9am & just on Mon-Fri) so you listen to 20+ minutes of ads. Tried asking the alert operator thru the device but she said I’d have to call the main office, offered no phone number and immediately hung up. Totally unprofessional!
  2. We have ATT and we are interested in a men’s watch with an alert system from any location. What would you recommend?
  3. My house/pet sitting business puts in different homes and different towns a good portion of my time. I also do teaching assignments. In other words I am an over 80 year old who wants a system that would be really mobile. Also AT&T does not provide me with reliable mobile coverage/service in a lot of my areas so I am seriously considering changing to Verizon. What emergency device do you have to meet my needs.
    1. Hi Dorothy, If you have good coverage by Verizon, I would recommend the GreatCall system- it’s mobile and uses the Verizon network. You can see it here: www.theseniorlist.com/greatcall-lively. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.