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Verizon Medical Alert System

Verizon's medical alert system has been discontinued, but there are better options.

Made by Verizon, the SureResponse medical alert device offered older adults a way to protect themselves both inside and outside their homes. This mobile device, powered by Verizon’s industry-leading cellular service, allows you 24/7 access to a professional monitoring center, giving peace of mind to you and your loved ones.

Editor's Note: The SureResponse medical alert device from Verizon has been discontinued; however, you’ll find info on comparable devices throughout this rundown.

Product Review: SureResponse Medical Alert System
Sure Response Medical Alert System

Verizon SureResponse Pros and Cons

If you’re short on time, here’s what we liked most about our SureResponse.

What We Liked

  • On-The-Go Device: As the only medical alert device powered by Verizon’s cellular network, SureResponse was able to connect us to help just about anywhere we took it, making it perfect for a person with an active lifestyle.
  • Location Services: Since this device is designed to be taken outside the home, we appreciated that it had built-in GPS technology. This way, whenever the panic button was pressed, a monitoring specialist would be able to track our location and deploy help accordingly.
  • Durable Device: Worn as either a pendant or a wristband, the SureResponse help button is built to withstand scuffs and drops. It’s even waterproof so that it can be safely worn in the shower and bathroom.

What We Didn’t

  • Long Contract: The SureResponse help button can be purchased either through a one-time payment of $229.99 or through two years of monthly $19.99 payments; however, either payment option requires you to sign a two-year service agreement.
  • Frequent Charging: In our tests, we found that after one day of use, we needed to recharge this device. While this is not unacceptable, there are mobile units that can last for much longer than this.
  • No Fall Detection: Especially for a device worn outside the home, it must be able to alert the monitoring center in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately, the SureResponse does not have this feature, meaning that the button will have to be manually pressed to place a distress call.

SureResponse Medical Alert System Details

Verizon SureResponse w/ Lanyard

If you’re interested in buying a medical alert system, then SureResponse from Verizon is a great option to consider. Unlike a traditional in-home system, one that requires both a base unit and a help button, SureResponse combines these devices into one portable unit.

You’ll see an LCD screen that displays the time, cellular signal strength, and the battery level on the front of this device. Beneath this is the help button. By pressing this button, you’ll be connected to Verizon’s professional monitoring center, wherein one of their specialists will assess your situation and contact the appropriate assistance.

Sure Response docking station photo

In addition to the SureResponse itself, you’ll also receive a lanyard, wristband, and belt clip, giving you three different ways of wearing your device. You’ll also receive a SureResponse docking station. In addition to charging your mobile unit, the docking station can also connect to your home phone (through ethernet or landline) for added protection.

A Note On Charging: While many mobile medical alert systems claim to have batteries that last for days on end, I always recommend charging it every night before you go to bed. This way, you can rest assured that you’ll wake up with your device ready to take you throughout your day.

SureResponse Medical Alert Features

Like all mobile medical alert systems, SureResponse acts as a lifeline between the user and a team of emergency response personnel. Should you fall, feel faint, or simply lose track of your location, all you need to do is press the SureResponse help button, and you’ll be connected to a team of trained professionals who will speak to you directly through your device. From there, a response will be planned, whether this means contacting an EMT or merely calling a loved one to check on you.

Verizon SureResponse

Here are some additional capabilities of SureResponse.

Two-Way Talk

The SureResponse mobile unit has both a built-in microphone and speaker. In terms of communication, it’s almost like a cell phone. So whether you’re at home or at the grocery store, when you press the help button, you’ll be able to communicate effectively with a monitoring agent.

GPS Technology

Since this device is connected through Verizon’s cellular network, it can also give the monitoring center your location information. This can come in handy for the more active users, particularly for those who sometimes get lost or disoriented while outside their home. For those who prefer their privacy, you can also disable this feature at any time. When the help button is pressed, a monitoring specialist will receive your location information, allowing them to send help to the right place or simply inform the user of their whereabouts.

Water Resistance

Nearly 10 percent of falls occur when exiting the shower. Thankfully, the SureResponse help button is waterproof, meaning that it can keep you protected, even in this often hazardous environment.

SureResponse Online

With this online platform, a SureResponse user can set up a profile and share their information with their loved ones and caregivers. With this feature, they can check in on the user’s location and receive alerts from the device, such as when a distress call is made or when its charge is running low.

Breaking the Agreement: Although SureResponse requires you to lock into a two-year service agreement, you might be eligible to exit this contract if you enter a nursing facility within this time.

Best Alternatives to Verizon Medical Alert Systems

Unfortunately, Verizon’s SureResponse was discontinued in 2014, with the accompanying services ending a couple of years after that. Still, there are plenty of solid devices on the market that offer similar, if not better, features.

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian base station with alert buttons, mobile alert and medical alert smartwatch.
Medical Guardian System

Medical Guardian, one of our favorite medical alert providers, offers several different mobile options. Their Mobile Guardian is a portable medical alert device with a separate wearable help button. The Active Guardian is an all-in-one device with both GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity. They even offer a smartwatch, the Freedom Guardian, which puts a medical alert device in a discreet, wearable package.

Starting at $39.95 monthly, each of these devices gives you instant access to a Medical Guardian monitoring center, in addition to being waterproof and offering fall detection for an additional $10 monthly charge.

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical Equipment
Bay Alarm Medical Equipment

With over 70 years in the business of medical alert technology, Bay Alarm Medical isn’t going away any time soon. Their On The Go device is an all-in-one wearable that can be worn either around the neck or on one’s belt with an included clip. It features GPS capabilities, cellular connectivity, and the option of fall detection. This device starts at $29.95 monthly, and it requires no long-term contracts.

GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus

GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus
GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus

GreatCall, known widely for its senior-friendly line of Jitterbug phones, also offers a mobile medical alert system, the GreatCall Lively. This all-in-one system features two-way-talk, GPS capabilities, and the ability to wear it as a bracelet, pendant, belt clip, or key chain. It’s also water-resistant.

Starting at $24.99 per month, GreatCall offers three different care packages that include access to emergency response personnel, direct contact with medical professionals, and fall detection. Finally, no long-term contracts are required.

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43 Comments

  1. I have one my grand kids got for me. the battery life I get is about 8 hours and the button is too easy to push. I have set mine off doing simple things like slightly leaning on something. I put a ring of silicone rubber around the button and that improved it some. The button needs to be more deeply inset. At times when putting it on the base to charge I have to clean the contacts with a Q tip to get contact. as to liking it it’s an Eh!
  2. Purchased this device for my Mother because I liked the features, however as noted by many reviewers battery life is very poor, the unit is bulky and Verizon charges quite a lot for it. We did not have much trouble with it but there was one occasion when the call center did not answer at all. I did like the fact that she was able to get in touch with us through the call center just by pressing the button since she was unable to use a regular phone. As her dementia progressed she was unable to use the device and we ended up selling it.
  3. I bought the Sure Response for my mother and the two problems that I have with it is that the battery only lasts 24 hours and the device makes a sound randomly; other than that it works great. I had no problems setting it up or docking it for recharge. I was able to set up the caregiver account easily
  4. I will preface this review by saying that after one month of trying, we still have not been able to put the device into service. We had a device that had belonged to a friend of the family, when we tried to activate this unit, we were told that it could not be done and we had to be sent a new unit. After being assured 2 times in the last month by Verizon customer service that the service was suspended until we got a serviceable unit and activated it, we found out today that Verizon had lied to us and we were being charged. I cannot comment on the quality of the unit or service because I have still not gotten beyond the incompetence and lies of verizon customer service and tech support. I have had verizon cell service for several years with no major complaints, so don’t assume that I am just a hater or have an axe to grind. I had no issues with them until now. I have been lied to and received texts and calls threatening me that I would be charged a large sum of money for not returning the defective device. I received these even after the device was received in their warehouse. My advice is that if you choose to go with this service, don’t believe anything that verizon tells you
  5. I have just purchased this product. I live with my mother as a caregiver and my main interest is in locating her on her many, many, I cannot tell you how many, walks. So far it is working well. I actually did not believe it was working because of the location it gave me, but it was actually correct. I will update more during the 2-week trial period I am giving it but so far, for what I wanted it for, it is working.
  6. Lousy product, seems like it’s in beta form. Very difficult for 3 adult children to use/set-up without accidentally setting it off multiple times. Couldn’t get our elderly parents to figure it out at all. Very troublesome device. Some of the features would be good, but too many technological problems, especially since it will be used by elderly people with little technological knowhow. Just try to get an 90 y.o. to remember they have to charge their “phone” daily, not wear it in the shower or forget it in the laundry, etc. And just to get them to remember to have them on their person at all times. i think these products are designed to make us feel better, but really don’t add security. Returned it the next morning, had to pay a $36 re-stocking fee. On an aside, years ago my dad’s sister got a different one, a high-end company brand name, but rarely remembered to wear it, and when she fainted one day, wasn’t able to push the button but was found by neighbors. These have got to be age-proof, water proof (like a light-weight watch-like device that can be worn in the shower) and require no technical know-how. Maybe Google or Apple could design one, but I doubt we’re even close.
    1. Like you, we’ve been advocating for a simple “no brainer” for quite some time Bruce Man! Thanks for the feedback on your experiences!!
  7. I must be very lucky with my SureResponse. Yes, I agree it is difficult to dock and that would be my primary complaint. It does not require being removed from the necklace to be docked. We have also found that the battery handily lasts more than 24 hours, and during a 36 hour power outage we didn’t have any low battery warnings. We have had ours for just about a year at this point. The Verizon SureResponse techs are very friendly on the phone or over the pendant speaker but they do have some process issues to work out still. For example they had a hard time reconciling the fact that the unit is on my Verizon account but my Grandmother is the “user” and I’m the caregiver. They kept asking for her authorization for things, but we got it sorted within the day we got the unit. It’s not a perfect unit by any means. However it’s one of the few units I’ve found where the speaker and mic are on the pendant, not on the base station. Using VZW’s 1x service also they get good coverage. Mike
  8. Just returned the 2nd sureresponse to Verison. Battery not working on both units. First one lasted 30 min 2nd one would shutdown when removed from the charging station. Neat technology, just not mature enough for consumer product.
    1. Your experience is shared with a number of folks on here M. It’s too bad really… This one had a lot of potential, they just didn’t execute. I’m hoping someone at Verizon addresses these issues, and turns it into something great!
  9. After 3 months battery was not lasting 24 hours. They sent replacement unit, that would not activate they said they would send another unit. Told them they might want to ship it better ( smashing around in large box). Yes Sir we will make sure they do a good job. Second unit arrives the same as first, no bubble wrap, crumpled paper, nothing! This unit will not activate either. They send 3rd unit, this is a complete new kit, charger, clip etc. so they can use the manufacturer packing? Well long story short 12 days with no unit for my 87 year old mother, and over 250 minutes on my cell I have had it. This thing is a joke and they should get this thing off the market.
  10. I don’t understand why this device still has such a favorable review, when so many of the user comments has said otherwise. Reading the review alone (if one didn’t realize there were so many comments beneath it) would be very misleading….
    1. m.hargett, You make a very good point! In fact I know Tim has been working on an updated review to reflect our community discussion/feedback on this device. Unfortunately while it had/has great potential, Verizon has done a less than stellar job with the launch (and with their support of the product). Additionally, you’ll see some edits above to encourage folks to read the comments. Stay tuned.

  11. Like others have said – stay away from this device. It’s a great concept, but does not work. I bought one for my mother 6 weeks ago. Docking, size, and using the unit are not a problem. We’re on our 3rd unit already because they are simply defective. When they say 36 hour standby, what they mean is 4-6 hours. Then they stop taking a charge. Then I get to spend another hour on the phone explaining the issue in the plainest language I can muster. Then my elderly mom has to box it up and get the runaround from the local store or ship it off to Verizon and get another one to pair and activate on her own because I’m 200 miles away. Then I get to hear again from tech support how some magical software update is going to fix all this at some point. The agent on the phone just sympathized with me that I would have to pay that $170 termination fee for this defective device – she said she could understand how that might be upsetting. Really? Not worth it – find another device.
    1. Scott, “Magical software update”… 🙂 That’s funny. Please let us know how things work out (we’d love to hear how this ends up). I’m sorry it’s so frustrating- Hang in there, and thanks for sharing!
  12. Also, I agree with Morgan’s feedback. Asking for POA paperwork is ludicrous! That is what password is for.
  13. Just returned the SureResponse device I had bought for my husband who has early dementia. The concept was just what I wanted, but the Verizon tech support was terrible. I was unable to set up the Web Portal so that I could be listed as caregiver. After 6 days of fairly constant checking, and paying my own tech support guy who comes to my home, I learn that the glitch setting up the WebPortal is probably a design issue for Verizon (or whoever wrote this software!) Apparently, IF the primary caregiver and the user of the device have the SAME EMAIL ADDRESS, there is NO WAY for the Web Portal to work. It is essential for the named caregiver to be entered through the Web Portal, and there is no feedback possible to the person setting up the Web Portal. They say it is privacy issue – well, someone who needs a primary caregiver depends on that caregiver to be able to manage the web site and the device for them!!! I am his wife, bathe, groom, dress him, what privacy issue remains? DON’T BUY THIS NOW … wait for the bugs to get worked out.
    1. Sorry to hear that Jackie – As you can see from the comments here on The Senior List (and elsewhere), Verizon has some work to do.

  14. This commentary has been inspired by Kory and Sandy … I buy all my phone and computer network services/products from Verizon. However, you have to go into this with your eyes open. No one is perfect, and that applies to companies as well. Keep in mind that Verizon uses an unethical tactic to get people into the store. That is, they take a really cheap introductory product to sell to the consumer. When you get into the store, they sell you on a much improved and more expensive product. Now if you happen to buy the introductory product, there is a significant probability that something will be wrong with it (spoken from experience). If you return it, the store robots will charge you the $35 restocking fee. However, if you upgrade, you can avoid the restocking fee. Gotcha! If you do end up with the restocking fee, you can call the humans at customer service. They may be more sympathetic and refund you the restocking fee. So how is this related to their Sure Response system … so appropriately named … This is an emotional subject for me and has kept me up at night. We almost had a situation where if my mom had fallen, she would have been lying on the floor and pushing a button with no response. She would have been in both physical and mental anguish over an extended period of time, and could be a life or death situation. The last time she fell, she broke a hip. Fortunately we discovered early that the personal device of the Sure Response system could not hold a charge. Would I replace it with another? No way … I would rather pay the restocking fee and plea with customer service to give it back. They also charge an activation fee so I need to find out if I can get that back as well. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Still looking for another device with a similar concept, which is a good concept. The more serious questions is … How can a company like Verizon put profits before the safety of our senior citizens? On a more global scale, how can FDA allow them to do so? Who is protecting the public’s safety? Best wishes …
    1. That’s not true that if you upgrade you will not be charged the restocking fee. It’s not a bait and switch game and that’s not how Verizon runs. In fact, most of us Verizon employees are paid a higher commission on the cheaper products than we are on if you purchase a more expensive one. The restocking fee is there because the manufacturer’s warranty is void and the next person to purchase that device would recieve $35 off of their purchase price to compensate them for not having a warranty. That being said, if your device would not hold a charge and it was with in the first 14 days it would have been considered a DOA or dead on arrival device and could not be resold. You would have a better chance of getting the restocking fee waived or reimbursed if this was the case however they were still with in policy to have charged it.
      1. Thank you for the info VerizonRobot – Lot’s of folks here have been sharing their frustrations with the SureResponse. I appreciate your visit, and also your point of view on this. Come back anytime – Different points of view and lively discussions make a community a community! 🙂
    2. Thank you for sharing Phil! Sorry it’s been so frustrating, but I hope your experience will help others go into this with their eyes wide open!
  15. I am so happy I did my homework. I was about to sign up for the Sure Alert but after reading the comments, I would not touch it with a 10 foot pole. I cannot believe that they would not refund $$ for a product that WOULD NOT WORK. I would take them to task in a small claims court. These comments will not bode well with consumers. I would be an unsuspecting one had I not read the above. Thank all of you who posted comments, you saved me a bunch of $$, I only wish someone had done the same for you!!!!!!!!
    1. Hi Dot! Thanks for the message. I do hope Verizon gets their act together. This mobile device has a great deal of promise, and we all should hope it succeeds. Having major players in this space (like Verizon and Philips) keeps the competition hot and heavy… and where there’s heavy competition, consumers (usually) win.

      Care to share which medical alert system you did go with?

  16. My Grandmother recently purchased a SureResponse system from Verizon for the peace of mind and security the salesman said it would offer. She has had nothing but headaches. When we had charged the unit and pressed the button to work through the activation, the operator’s voice was so garbled she had to disconnect the call. It took three presses of the button to get a connection where we could understand each other (somewhat). There were multiple problems with the unit (difficult to get the mobile unit correctly connected to the docking base, numbers being located underneath a plastic belt attachment that was required for docking the unit but difficult to remove to access the numbers needed for activating the service) but the reason we called customer care multiple times was the unit would keep sending critically low battery messages to the company (and them calling her home with notices she needed to place the mobile unit on the charging dock) despite the unit reading “fully charged”. When they would look in their computer after calling her, the computer would show 98% battery life remaining despite the warnings that kept coming. The first tech was not able to resolve the problem and put us in contact with another tech who couldn’t resolve the problem. We were told the device was malfunctioning and would have to be returned. The replacement unit had the same issues. We called customer care again, and after working through the same actions to try and fix the issue, they told us if the problem persisted the charging dock would have to be replaced. Grandma was understandably very frustrated when she again got calls from the company after I’d gone. She was tired of all the phone calls and equipment that still didn’t work and asked what she needed to do to get her money back. The rep kept pressuring her not to discontinue service and used early cancellation fees as a means to keep her from cancelling. She did not appreciate the scare tactics and insisted on being done with this company. When she asked again how to return them and get her money back, she was told she would have to eat $179 of the money she spent and as far as the unit went “you bought it, you keep it.” I wouldn’t recommend this system to ANYONE!!!
    1. So sorry to hear about these issues Kory! We’ve reached out to Verizon multiple times (to respond to reported issues) and we’ve had no response whatsoever. As you can see your complaint doesn’t stand alone. We hope Verizon addresses these issues. It doesn’t sound like this device is ready for prime time yet.
  17. Don’t be duped. I tried this system for my mom. It was a nightmare to dock and charge. The battery dies quickly. Too large, heavy, clumsy and not even the VERIZON store manager could handle it without pressing the alarm button. Save the hassle. Not good for its intended purpose. To add insult to injury, when I took it back less than 24 hours from purchasing it VERIZON tried to charge me a $35 restocking fee because it would not be good for anyone to use. My response? It wasn’t any good for anyone (target market) to use when I bought it. Needs to do a whole lot more market research on this. To top it off I rode 350 miles, took 2 days off of work so that I could buy it and set it up for mom. When the store manager tried to disarm it he could not and pressed the alarm button but did not respond to the respondent. My mother was scared too death when EMS, Ambulance and Police showed up at her door at 8:45 pm when she did not even have the device. What a nightmare! Now mom doesn’t want anything to do with med alert systems just when I had finally convinced her to wear one.
    1. Ugghh- So sorry to hear about your experience Ivo. I wish Verizon would address these complaints. As it is, they look like they’ve got a lot of work to do…

      1. After one year I am on the 3rd device for my Mother in law. It will not work. A very dangerous situation. Verizon refuses to let me out of my contract. I am going to complain to every agency that is involved with consumer protection.
  18. I have been wearing the SureResponse system for 2 months now, so far no real negatives. I like having it for my safety since my right hip popped out of place one evening. I live alone, so this is a blessing. I clip in on to my waist clothes. I am still up and about but home bound. I can understand the one who has a problem getting it in the recharge, I have set mine off several times trying to click it in. It would be difficult for anyone who has had a stroke or otherwise not able to perform the operation of the system. Right now I am pleased with it, the responders have always been very nice when accidently the button was clicked…
  19. Verizon totally ripped off my aging parents with the Sure Response product. They cancelled their phone and upsold them to a cell line which they couldn’t use. Hundreds of wasted dollars. Verizon should be investigated for Elder Abuse!!
  20. Hi, Please do not buy a sure response system from Verizon. My mom had a stroke and has limited usage of her right hand. The unit is difficult to charge and does not hold a charge for longer than 36 hours. The unit has to be removed from the necklace and inserted into another clip for charging. I thought the unit was going to stay charged for about 4 days. Both the salespeople at the store and an online Verizon site said about 120 hours of standby power. This was misleading. The first unit I purchased would not hold a charge at all and about 16 days after first purchasing it they gave me the concession of exchanging it after the 14 day return policy time limit. Up to that point, it had never truly worked. Also I must add that I didn’t even connect it for about 7 days after I purchased it. My mom had come out of rehab and I was very involved with other things. She lives on her own so I needed a dependable device. The replacement phone does charge but only holds the charge for 24 – 36 hours. Verizon will not let me return it without incurring a $200 charge. You would think since I have 5 wireless phones on my account that they would just let it go, but they stand by their no return after 14 day policy and I have been on the phone with about 5 people. I can’t go to her house every day to charge the phone and it takes about 2 hours to charge fully. DO NOT BUY THIS SYSTEM unless the person using it is completely mobile and responsible. It is not an emergency system that will work in an emergency.
      1. Ivo, Please let us know how things went for you, we’d love to hear about it. Thx! (Note: Unless Ivo is subscribed to this feed he may not respond.)
  21. My father has the Sure Response and I’m finding it needs a lot more design work. The button is too easy to (accidentally) push, it happens when he rolls over in bed, or when he gets a good hug from someone. The button needs to be more concave I think. Also, the company is difficult to work with as a caregiver. I have to send them my power of attorney documentation to be able to update notification phone numbers and people. I would think that talking to him once on the phone, having him grant permission for me to speak for him, would be sufficient. But they either have to have the POA, or get permission from him each time. This has become enough of a maintenance issue that I’m looking at other options.
    1. Hi Morgan- This is really great feedback, thanks! Interesting to hear about the POA issue. That is very strange… Many of these mobile medical alert companies allow caregivers, family members, etc. to change these emergency contacts online (where you only have to enter in a password for access). Anyone else have experience with SureResponse and/or their customer service folks?

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