In 1974, Dr. Andrew Dibner and his wife, Susan Schmidt Dibner, launched Lifeline Systems Inc., becoming the first company in North America to provide personal alert services. Lifeline now sells both in-home and on-the-go medical alert systems, making it a great option for older adults of any activity level.
Keep reading to learn about Lifeline’s systems, pricing, and features, and how its medical alerts compare to others on the market.
Lifeline offers three unique medical alert systems: two home-based and one mobile unit. The systems vary widely in price, starting as low as $29.99 per month and reaching as high as $58.95 per month. Unlike many other personal emergency systems, which often rent their equipment, Lifeline requires an up-front fee of up to $100 to cover the purchase of each system’s equipment.
Lifeline HomeSafe Standard
The HomeSafe Standard is Lifeline’s most affordable option. It’s best for older adults who spend most of their time at home or in their yard, and it includes one in-home base communicator and the option to choose either a help button pendant or wristband.
The landline version of the system starts at $29.95 a month, and the cellular version is $43.95 a month. Both systems also require a one-time $50 device fee. The base communicator acts as a speakerphone, and when you press the help button it immediately calls the Lifeline response center.
The help button works anywhere within 800 feet of the in-home communicator, and it comes with a long-lasting battery that Lifeline will automatically replace when needed. You’ll receive a low-battery alert 30 days before your battery runs out and a subsequent call from a Lifeline representative to provide a new one, so you won’t have to worry about having batteries in stock at all times. The help button is also waterproof, so it can be worn in the bath or shower, where falls are very common.
Lifeline HomeSafe With AutoAlert
This system is ideal for homebound older adults who desire an extra level of protection, especially those with a history of falls. HomeSafe With AutoAlert offers all the features of the standard system, but it also includes automatic fall detection. The added feature makes the AutoAlert system a bit more expensive, but I think it’s worth it. Falls are the No. 1 cause of death in adults age 65 and older, and no matter how much you prepare with a medical alert system you may not be able to push your help button after a fall. The AutoAlert technology is designed to detect falls and quickly alert the response center, regardless of whether the button has been pushed.
A HomeSafe With AutoAlert subscription costs $44.95 per month with a landline connection and $58.95 with a cellular connection. A one-time device fee of $50 is also required.
GoSafe 2 is the newest addition to Lifeline. It’s a great choice for active older adults who are often out and about, since it provides support anywhere AT&T service is available. The all-in-one water-resistant system costs $49.95 a month, plus a one-time up-front equipment fee of $99.95.
With GoSafe 2’s two-way voice capability, AutoAlert fall detection, and five locating technologies, you can feel confident that help will find you wherever you are. Rather than using only cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS locating technologies, the system incorporates five location technologies: assisted global positioning systems (A-GPS), Wi-Fi, intelligent location history, two-way voice, and an audio beacon that emits a loud sound to help first responders find you.
Philips’ medication dispenser is the only add-on available for the Lifeline systems. The medication dispenser, which costs $59.95 per month, removes some of the complexities of medication schedules. The rechargeable system can dispense up to 60 cups of medicine six times a day, and it sends alerts if there’s a missed dose, dispenser errors, or refills needed. The dispenser also includes safety features that ensure you take your prescribed dosages at the right time, including notifications for caregivers if a dose is missed.
Purchasing From Lifeline
The simplest ways to purchase a Lifeline system are through either the company’s website or over the phone, since the full systems aren’t available in brick-and-mortar stores. If you have questions about the systems but you have trouble hearing or do not want to call, Lifeline’s customer service is also available via live chat during regular business hours.
One thing to keep in mind is that Lifeline requires you to purchase your equipment up front. Your Medical Guardian cost, for example, would be only the monthly charge to lease your system, whereas Lifeline requires an initial equipment charge in addition to the monthly fee.
Lifeline Warranties and Returns
Warranties are specified on the warranty card supplied with your product. Medical alert systems typically offer a one-year limited warranty. For Lifeline, that means if a hardware defect happens in the first year, the company will repair or replace the parts at no charge, exchange it for a new product functionally equivalent to yours, or refund the purchase price. Equipment repaired under warranty is protected for the remainder of your original purchase’s warranty period.
Your system is eligible for return within 30 days of delivery. You must notify Lifeline of your intent to cancel via phone, and you will receive a Return Material Authorization number that must be displayed on your package when you return it. The company will arrange for pickup. You must return your equipment in its original condition.
Tip: With the Lifeline app, your family and friends can create a care circle, which is a network of people actively involved in an older adult’s care.
Philips Cares App
Apps are an easy way for your loved ones to stay on top of your care without having to be present at all times. Not all medical alert systems have such user-friendly apps, so the Philips Cares app is a big bonus.
The Philips Cares app is a digital platform that helps caregivers and family members better communicate and coordinate care. Older adults often have many health-care providers and family members involved in their circle of care, so it’s priceless to have a place where everyone can share notes, engage with one another, and manage availability. The Philips Cares app informs caregivers whether their loved one’s alert device is working and provides valuable reminders, scheduling tools, step-count monitoring, fall notifications, chat capability among caregivers, and more.
Lifeline agents have an impressive monitoring pedigree. The company’s trained care specialists provide 24/7 monitoring, and they have access to more than 140 languages via an interpreter service. Each medical alert device has direct access to a call center through its help button or AutoAlert fall-detection triggers. It takes only about 12 seconds for a trained care specialist to pick up once an emergency button is pushed.
Each trained care specialist on the 200-person team undergoes 80 hours of detailed instruction in gerontology and stress management, and completes monitored training classes to make sure they can provide the best support in all situations. All response centers have plans to stay operational during power outages or natural disasters; if one response center has an unforeseen technical problem, calls are transferred to another center. Once a call is complete and you have received the help you need, care specialists go through follow-up coaching sessions and training to ensure excellent service.
FYI: On top of monthly payments, there is a one-time activation fee for both HomeSafe and GoSafe systems
Is Lifeline Worth It?
There is definitely some pressure associated with being a leader in the industry, but Lifeline lives up to that standard with reliable service, easy-to-use systems, and an intuitive app. Combined with its personalized service, smart medication dispenser, and award-winning monitoring, it’s hard to beat.
The only downside I see with Lifeline is the cost, which is well above average. Still, sometimes you get what you pay for, and I think Lifeline is well worth it.
Lifeline is great for:
Reliable service: With nearly half a century in business, consistently high ratings on The Senior List, and a status as the nation’s largest medical alert supplier, Lifeline has a long-standing reputation for providing seniors with world-class service and devices.
User-friendly systems: Lifeline systems are FDA-approved, easy to use, and well-constructed, and they use advanced technology to ensure safety. The brand also designs its systems with simple self-installation in mind.
Intuitive mobile app: Philips Cares allows everyone you add to your care network — e.g. family, friends, and professional caregivers — to share care-related information and manage their availability to support you.
Lifeline is not ideal for:
Affordability and fees: Lifeline is one of the best medical alert systems for seniors, but it’s also one of the most expensive. Monthly subscriptions are on the high end, and each system requires an up-front equipment fee between $50 and $100. If you’re looking for something more affordable, check out my ADT medical alert pricing breakdown.
The HomeSafe communicator acts as a speaker and microphone to make sure you and the monitoring center’s care specialist can hear each other regardless of your location. If you aren’t able to hear each other, the specialist will immediately follow up based on the instructions in your personal profile. If it’s unclear how to proceed, the care specialist will usually call for an emergency response since they don’t want to take any risks with your health and well-being.
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
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