There is a lot to like about Numactive medical alert systems. The company’s in-home system offers an affordable, landline-based solution, and its mobile device, the Alert Sky, offers reliable coverage with GPS location tracking that will quickly put a customer in touch with the help they need. For the approximately 5 million older people living with Alzheimer’s, a medical alert system that can locate them in a wandering emergency can be crucial.
Though Numactive offers two systems, I’ll be focusing primarily on the mobile Alert Sky. I’ll break down the pros and cons of the system; get hands on with ordering, setup, and daily use; compare Numactive’s other products; and see how the company stacks up against others on the market.
Pro Tip: To learn more about medical alert systems — how they work, how much they cost, and how they help — check out my guide to medical alert systems.
Numactive Pros and Cons
Before I get too specific with Numactive’s Alert Sky system, let’s take a high-level look at what I liked and didn’t like about it.
Advanced, affordable fall detection: One of Numactive’s main distinguishing factors is its commitment to fall detection. Before ordering the unit, one of Numactive’s certified care consultants conducted a survey with me using the company’s fall-risk-assessment tool to determine my risk of falling. Numactive’s fall-detection service is only $5 per month, which is about half the cost of many competing medical alert systems.
Serious, professional monitoring: Numactive takes its monitoring seriously, working only with response centers certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC). The company operates two of its own 24/7 response centers in Ontario, with two additional centers in the U.S. I was impressed with the commitment to high standards in its response centers.
System checks and quality assurance: Many systems put the onus of running systems checks on the user (aka you), which can be an unwanted headache when you expect your device to work when you need it. Numactive did remote systems checks for me, testing my system each week and notifying me if there were issues, such as a dwindling battery or weak cellular connection.
Long battery life: The Alert Sky has an impressive 72 hours of battery life, which is great longevity for an active user. The extended battery life is one less thing to worry about when you’re using the system every day.
Cellular and GPS coverage: Because the Alert Sky uses cellular connectivity, it can provide reliable communication to the response center almost anywhere in the world. Numactive works with large-network providers — Rogers in Canada and AT&T in the U.S. — for wide coverage availability.
High start-up costs: It’s nice that Numactive offers four plan types, but the price to get the system up and running is a little steep. The cost of the system isn’t especially high, but there isn’t much flexibility in pricing that doesn’t require a long-term commitment, and all but one of its plans require an activation fee.
Complex refund process: The activation fees and lack of equipment costs result in a confusing refund process. To receive a refund, you must return the hardware in good condition, and you may still incur additional costs on unrefunded activation fees. There is also no hardware protection plan, so you may be responsible for additional out-of-pocket expenses if you damage the device.
Numactive Systems Overview
Numactive has a relatively limited product offering compared to some of its competitors. The two options it offers cover the major areas for medical alert systems: at home and on the go. Here’s a closer look:
Alert Home: This system includes a base unit that connects to a landline, and it features a large emergency call button on the unit and a peripheral emergency call button you can use to trigger the system when you need help. The system has a range of 200 feet, which is enough to cover most homes.
Alert Sky: The Alert Sky system I tested is designed for active people who want medical alert coverage on the go. It’s a simple system, with one main emergency response device you carry with you to connect to the monitoring center. The Alert Sky can also be fitted with fall detection, and it features built-in GPS so monitoring agents can track your location if you fall.
Numactive Medical Alert Features
Landline or cellular
Average response time
$5 per month
Using My Numactive Medical Alert System
Upon receiving my Sky Alert system in the mail, here’s what I found in the box:
1 mobile unit
1 help button
1 charging cable
1 mobile unit lanyard
1 mobile unit belt clip
1 instruction manual
Upon unboxing the system, I was instructed to plug in the base unit and place the receiver on it to charge. After a few minutes of charging and connecting to the cellular network, the unit sounded a message that instructed me to place a test call to the emergency response operator. I pressed the button and, after a few seconds, I was connected to a friendly operator who confirmed that my device was functioning properly.
Once I was connected, I did a quick test of the two-way communication, which was clear when I was right next to the unit. I then went a step further, literally, and walked away from the unit to test the two-way communication range. At about six feet away I was still audible to the operator, but I was told I came through faintly.
Everyday use of the Alert Sky system was everything it was advertised to be. I carried the device around with me to test its reliability, and it performed admirably everywhere I had a cellular connection. Pressing the emergency call button connected me to a friendly, helpful emergency operator within about 20 seconds. The operator would talk me through my concerns, and could then contact either one of my designated caregivers or emergency services.
The device includes GPS location, which is a great help for someone on the go. You never know when you’re going to have an emergency, so the operator’s ability to pinpoint my location was a valuable asset.
My only minor complaint with the device is that it is a little bulky. Even with the belt clip and lanyard, it was slightly cumbersome to transport. But the service it provided allowed me to overlook the minor inconvenience, and I got accustomed to the device after a few days.
Another major factor that sets Numactive apart from the pack is the device’s battery life. It maintains about three days of life on a single charge, and it gave me great peace of mind to know it would perform when I needed it most. Even though it had the longevity to go further — and even though it could be fully charged in only a few hours — I decided to charge the unit overnight each night so I had a routine that guaranteed I wouldn’t forget.
One of the most difficult parts of the buying process was selecting the right pricing option. Numactive has four options for the Alert Sky device, all based on different term limits. The plans include a flex agreement, which has no contract but requires a high $150 activation fee; a one-year contract, which lowers the activation fee to $100; a two-year agreement for a $50 activation fee; and a three-year contract that eliminates the activation fees.
All the plans require three months of billing up front, and they all have the same $49.99 per month charge. This is in Canadian dollars, though, which translates to about $36 per month in U.S. dollars.
What sets Numactive apart from the others is its service. The company’s commitment to training its emergency operators is second to none, and it goes beyond the fall-risk assessment. Operators go through a six-week training course that prepares them to deal with a variety of medical emergencies, which helps them assess situations and dispatch appropriate response units if necessary.
A durable landline system: Numactive’s in-home system works well and can be connected via an existing landline, ensuring a stable connection with the monitoring center.
A mobile system with long battery life: In my tests, Numactive’s mobile device lasted for three days on a single charge, which is pretty good considering the average battery life is only about one day.
Great professional monitoring: The agents at Numactive’s monitoring centers are highly trained, ensuring that you’ll find yourself in good hands when you press your help button.
I wouldn’t recommend it if you want:
The most affordable systems: Numactive’s systems start at $29.99 per month, and they come with hefty activation fees. For more affordable systems that still provide great protection, check out my list of the most affordable medical alert systems.
Caregiver tracking: Numactive doesn’t currently offer any companion app or portal. If you’d like to keep close tabs on your loved one’s system, I’d recommend looking into an option from Aloe Care Health or QMedic.
Numactive Medical Alert System Frequently Asked Questions
The short answer is yes. Opting for a longer-term commitment will lower your activation fees, but you’ll retroactively be responsible for the fees if you cancel your service before the contract is up. For example, if you sign a three-year contract but you use the device for only six months and then return it, you will be responsible for the $150 CAD activation fee you avoided by agreeing to the longer contract.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here