Best Medical Alert Systems for Seniors

Updated July 2022
Caring Village may receive commissions for purchases or leads made through links in this article.

If your loved one lives alone or if you are unable to monitor them to the degree they require, a medical alert system will allow them to quickly contact emergency services in the event of a fall or other emergency.

All too often, falls, heart attacks, injuries from burns while preparing a meal, slipping in the shower, and getting locked out of the house in extreme cold or heat can turn into a lifesaving situation.

What Is A Medical Alert System?

A medical alert system also called a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) or Home Alert System, allows your loved one to remain independent and able to stay home by having an emergency call button at their fingertips.

There are two main types of medical alert systems: the in-home and mobile systems. The in-home use console consists of a pendant or wristband (sometimes a smartphone watch) that communicates with the console. The console is plugged into a wall jack and phone landline. The pendant or wristband communicates with the console and monitors activities. If the pendant or wristband is pushed, the call center that monitors 24/7 either contacts the wearer or calls for help via local 911 or the wearer's caregiver.

Mobile medical alert systems utilize GPS or cellular phone technology. These are typically worn in the same fashion as the in-home pendant or wristband. The GPS model is especially useful for more active seniors or individuals who may wander as a result of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

Who Should Consider Getting a Medical Alert System?

If you are unsure if a medical alert system is right for your situation, be sure to check out our Does My Loved One Need a Home Alert System article to help you decide.

Medical alert systems are especially good for:

  • Seniors prone to falls or other accidents
  • Seniors and others with health conditions that make them dizzy or unsteady on their feet
  • Active seniors
  • Those who live alone
  • Individuals with poor hearing or eyesight.
  • Anyone who lives with a difficult-to-manage disease (i.e. epilepsy, dementia, diabetes, etc.)
  • Those who wish to remain independent and continue doing activities they love with an added level of security

Why Purchase a Medical Alert System?

"When I worked as a home health nurse, I went to my regularly scheduled Monday morning appointment at 8:30. I rang the doorbell. No answer. I attempted to contact their emergency contacts. No answer.

Finally, the Meals on Wheels delivery driver who knew her personally was dropping off her weekly meals. He let me in because he knew where the key to her home was hidden. I found her on the floor where she had been lying since Saturday night. She had broken her hip and was unable to reach the phone. The poor woman was dehydrated and very cold, though she had managed to pull a blanket and a throw rug on top of herself to try to stay warm. I called the ambulance.

Fortunately, she was able to recover and return to her home after a lengthy stay in the hospital and rehab unit. A medical alert system would have saved her the trauma of lying on the floor after an injury for 36 hours. Needless to say, she went home with one, and her family made it a point to check up on her daily after that.~ Brooke Lounsbury, Home Health Nurse

How to Select a Medical Alert System

There are so many options and models it can be overwhelming trying to decide which medical alert system would be the best fit for your loved one or yourself.

Some things to consider when looking at a Medical Alert Systems are:

  • Where will the device be worn? Will it be used strictly at home and around the yard, or will it be used while traveling?
  • If your loved one regularly leaves home or wanders, you will likely need a device with GPS.
  • In-home devices typically rely on a landline. Is there a landline already installed? If there is no landline, is the cellphone carrier within cell range for the device to work properly (many medical alert systems use ATT and Verizon service however you do not need to be a customer of either company)
  • Will fall detection be required?
  • Is environment monitoring something that you're looking for? (e.g., how hot or cold the home is)
  • Do you want 2-way monitoring where the wearer of the device can talk back and forth with emergency services or predetermined contacts?
  • Would you prefer a wall button or wearable devices such as a watch or pendant, or both?
  • What's your budget? The monthly monitoring cost can differ based on the options offered.
  • Does the device have a long battery life, or will you need to recharge frequently?
  • Do you want a device that incorporates medication reminders?
  • Is there a caregiver portal or app that caregivers can use to check in?

Best Medical Alert Systems

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian’s mission is to provide an affordable and reliable medical alert service to all those who wish to live an independent life, regardless of their limitations. Whether customers are looking to remain safe in a medical emergency (such as a seizure, stroke, or heart attack), have limited mobility, are at risk of falling as they age, or are afraid to live alone because of home invasions or fires, Medical Guardian guarantees that they will be there to protect them.

Best Medical Alert Systems - Medical Guardian
Source: Medical Guardian

Options Available from Medical Guardian

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$29.95

In-Home System

Landline

1,300 feet

32-hours

Y

$34.95 +
one-time fee

In-Home System

Cellular

1,400 feet

32-hours

Y

$39.95 +
one-time fee

Mobile System

Cellular

Unlimited

5-days

Y

$39.95 +
one-time fee

Mobile System

Cellular

Unlimited

5-days

Y

$39.95-$44.95 +
one-time fee

Smartwatch

Cellular

Unlimited

24-hours

N

What We Like:

  • A variety of both in-home and mobile systems available
  • Several attractive, lightweight devices to choose from
  • Messages app on the phone allows you to chat with loved ones in real-time
  • Premium features available

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • More information about plans and overall cost available on the website without having to call

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical provides consultation, technical support, and customer service from its headquarters in California. They keep 24/7 medical monitoring completely separate from their day-to-day business operations to ensure that all calls are rapidly responded to. In the case of a medical emergency, pushing the help button quickly connects your loved one to a professionally-trained operator.

Source: Bay Alarm Medical

Options Available from Bay Alarm Medical

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$19.95

In-Home System

Landline

1,000 feet

32-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$29.95

Mobile System

Cellular

N/A

32-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$29.95

Mobile System

Cellular

N/A

5-days

N

What We Like:

  • Stylish SOS Smartwatch with emergency button
  • Caregiver tracking app*
  • Multi-language monitoring service

* Included with SOS Mobile subscription

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Full waterproofing for fall detection pendant

MobileHelp

MobileHelp provides a reliable GPS-enabled medical alert system that helps protect loved ones at home and on the go. Serving clients in all 50 states, their devices are integrated with nationwide wireless voice and data and GPS technology to provide real-time medical monitoring services and location tracking for personal emergency assistance. MobileHelp offers MobileHelp Connect, an innovative event notification and online tracking platform for families and caregivers.

Source: Mobile Help

Options Available from MobileHelp

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$19.95

In-Home System

1,400 feet

24-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$24.95

In-Home System

1,300 feet

30-hours

N

$54.95

Mobile Tablet

150 feet

24-hour | 12-hour

Y
$10 / mo

$37.95

Mobile System

N/A

24-hour

Y
$10 / mo

$33.95

Mobile System

N/A

4-days

Y
$60 / year

$41.95

In-Home & Mobile System

350 feet | 1,400 feet

24-hours | 24-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$44.95

Mobile System

350 feet

24-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$54.95

In-Home, Mobile & Tablet

150-350 feet

24-hours | 12 hours

Y
$10 / mo

What We Like:

  • Generous return policy (prorated)
  • Variety of payment options
  • MobileHelp Connect platform for caregivers
  • Free ground shipping on most plans

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Full waterproofing for fall button
  • Fall detection for all devices

Medical Alert

Connect America, Medical Alert, and/or Alarm Company specializes in Personal Emergency Response Services (PERS). Connect America is a nationwide company founded by Kenneth Gross, with its corporate headquarters in Broomall, Pennsylvania. Connect America’s core business is providing personal emergency monitoring and home alarm services nationwide to older adults with medical ailments or conditions, who wish to live at home.

Source: Medical Alert

Options Available from Medical Alert

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$24.99 + one-time fee

Mobile

Cellular

Nationwide

4-5 days

Y

$29.99 + one-time fee

In-Home System

Cellular

Nationwide

6-hours

N

$29.99 + one-time fee

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

30 feet voice | 200 feet button

4-5 days | 6-hours

Y

$49.99 + one-time fee

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

Nationwide

4-5 days | 6-hours

Y

What We Like:

  • Excellent customer reviews
  • One of the most affordable medical alert device plans
  • First month free

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • A wider selection of accessories and options
  • Fall detection included instead of being an add-on

Aloe Care

With automatic fall and motion detection, along with voice activation features, this medical device stands out as an easy-to-use medical alert device that promotes safety and peace of mind. The total care model includes 2 motion sensors. Aloe care also has a mobile app for caregivers to allow check-ins between the care team and the wearer.

Source: Aloe Care

Options Available from Aloe Care

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$24.99 + one-time fee

Mobile

Cellular

Nationwide

4-5 days

Y

$29.99 + one-time fee

In-Home System

Cellular

Nationwide

6-hours

N

$29.99 + one-time fee

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

30 feet voice | 200 feet button

4-5 days | 6-hours

Y

$49.99 + one-time fee

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

Nationwide

4-5 days | 6-hours

Y

What We Like:

  • Built-in night light with motion detection
  • Voice activation
  • No extra charge for fall detection
  • Secure app for caregivers

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • No fee for hardware (currently from $99 up)
  • GPS for mobile option

LifeStation

LifeStation has been instrumental in providing a safety net for those faced with the potential of requiring immediate medical assistance. The LifeStation medical monitoring system has been designed by industry veterans who have one goal in mind — secured independence.

Source: LifeStation

Options Available from LifeStation

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$32.95

In-Home System

Cellular

600 feet

24-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$37.95

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

Nationwide

5 days

Y
$10 / mo

$43.95

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

Nationwide

5 days

Y
$10 / mo

$43.95

In-Home & Mobile

Cellular

200 feet

1-year

N

What We Like:

  • Easy to use smartwatch with built-in activity monitor
  • Extra loud speaker on devices for the hard of hearing

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Medication reminders
  • Larger in-home range for pendant and base station

ADT

Best known for its 150-year history of providing home security, ADT helps seniors continue to live independently. Their Health Monitoring Professionals are senior-sensitivity-trained and communicate via two-way voice to determine what kind of help is needed, contacting caregivers, loved ones, or emergency responders as needed. ADT offers both in-home and on-the-go options including fall detection.

Source: ADT Health

Options Available from ADT

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$29.99

In-Home System

Landline

300 feet

20-hours

N

$35.99

In-Home System

Cellular

600 feet

24-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$39.99

Mobile System

Cellular

N/A

N/A

Y
$10 / mo

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Fall detection availability for all plans
  • Mobile app
  • Expanded coverage (AT&T coverage is currently required for some options)

What We Like:

  • No cost for activation, equipment or shipping
  • Guaranteed monthly cost with no increases
  • Environment temperature monitoring available

Medical Care Alert

Medical Care Alert is a company that provides medical alert services for seniors. It has a variety of medical alert plans and equipment designed to notify medical professionals about any emergency.

Source: Medical Care Alert

Options Available from Medical Care Alert

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$29.99

In-Home System

Landline or Cellular

1,000 feet

72-hours | 24-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$39.99

Mobile System

Cellular

N/A

3 days

Y
$10 / mo

What We Like:

  • Professional EMT/EMD certified operators
  • Alert service calls and texts emergency contacts
  • Free lockbox lets EMS enter without damaging the door
  • Available in 50 U.S. states

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • A wider range of accessories and options
  • Longer trial period (currently 14 days)

LifeFone

LifeFone has been an innovator in providing security and peace of mind to thousands of people throughout the U.S. since 1976. Utilizing the latest information technology and their continued commitment to “personal” response, LifeFone is at the forefront of the healthcare communications industry.

Source: LifeFone

Options Available from LifeFone

Scroll right on chart to see more features >>

Model

Monthly Cost

Type of Device

Connection

Range

Battery Life

Fall Detection

$24.95

In-Home System

Landline

1,300 feet

32-hours

Y
$5 / mo

$30.95

In-Home System

Cellular

1,300 feet

32-hours

Y
$5 / mo

$36.95

In-Home & Mobile System

Cellular

1,400 feet | 600 feet

24-hours | 30-hours

Y
$10 / mo

$39.95

Mobile System

Cellular

Unlimited

30-days

Y
$5 / mo

$41.95

Mobile System

Cellular

Unlimited

16-days

Y
$5 / mo

What We Like:

  • Can answer incoming calls on help button
  • Offers many models from landline to cellular to GPS enabled

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Longer battery life (backup battery is 32 hours if power is lost)

Final Thoughts

Be sure to explore each of the products listed above to find the one that best meets your aging loved one’s needs. You can also discuss these options with your healthcare provider to get their recommendation. Remember that finding the right product can give you peace of mind and protect your loved one.

Expert Contributors

Brooke-Headshot

Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Brooke worked as a home health and hospice nurse for many years. During her time working with patients and families, she saw the pressures and strain of what caregivers went through while caring for loved ones.

Daniel Fogarty

Dan Fogarty, M.A., FACHE

Dan Fogarty has more than 10 years experience in healthcare management and strategic communication. Dan earned his Masters in Health Communication from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. Dan is the Acting Chief Administrative Officer of the NIH Clinical Center and an Adjunct Faculty member of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS).

.
DryDirect Incontinence Products