Falls impact the lives of many seniors each year, and sometimes falls become fatal. By 2030, estimates indicate fall-related injuries will claim the lives of seven people per hour. Approximately 1 in 4 seniors already fall once a year or more, even with home modifications and other preventative measures in place.

Numerous factors contribute to this common issue, from vision and hearing impairments to medication side effects and dementia. Unfortunately, some of these ailments have no cure, so it’s important to prepare for the possibility of a dangerous fall. For this reason, many caregivers equip mobile seniors with a medical alert system so they have 24/7 protection.

Benefits of Reliable Medical Alert Systems

A medical alert system protects elderly adults when they feel unsafe or need medical assistance. With the press of a button, seniors can request emergency care in their home or at another location, such as a shopping center or park. Many medical alert systems have GPS tracking so medical workers can quickly locate subscribers in need of assistance. You may also want a device with a caregiver portal so loved ones can monitor movements and track incidents.

All medical alert systems help protect elderly adults, but some are more dependable than others. Look for a device with a long-lasting battery if your senior needs constant care, and make sure you choose a waterproof model if removal while bathing isn’t ideal. Consider several options before you make a selection, as choosing the right device requires careful research. We understand how stressful it can be for caregivers to explore multiple medical alert systems, so we’ve compiled a few of the most reliable ones below.

The Most Reliable Medical Alert Systems of 2020

Medical Care Alert

Medical Care Alert is one of the most budget-friendly options for elderly adults seeking a reliable device. Monthly billing isn’t available for new subscribers, but seniors can switch to a monthly plan after they complete one quarterly billing cycle. Monthly plans range from $29.95 to $39.95, and there are five options available.

Home and mobile units are available, and all options are water resistant. Battery life generally lasts somewhere between 1 to 4 days depending on which device you choose. Two units require landline connections, but the other three use a cellular connection.

When a senior experiences an emergency, the medical alert system contacts EMT- or EMD-certified operators about the incident. Seniors can also create an approved call list for friends and family. Medical Care Alert automatically sends a text to everyone on the list when an emergency occurs.

Annual subscribers get a free PIN-protected lock box, but everyone else pays a one-time fee of $29.95 for this optional feature. Fall detection is available on three of the five units for a $10 monthly fee. All systems have a 14-day trial period, so subscribers can return anything that doesn’t suit their lifestyle.

LifeFone

LifeFone offers reliable protection for seniors while they relax at home or explore their town. In addition to tackling safety concerns, LifeFone provides a premium feature called Activity Assurance. This feature delivers a prompt that gives wearers 15 minutes to respond, then disappears when they press the button. If a call goes unanswered, an emergency team visits the senior’s location by using GPS tracking. This lets caregivers know their loved ones are safe throughout the day.

A wearable device isn’t necessary for emergency help, as Mobile Alert also offers a smartphone app for $5.95 or $7.95 per month. Seniors can use the app as a virtual escort service when needed, easing safety concerns and pangs of loneliness. A senior can use the app any time, even when they aren’t wearing their pendant or wristband.

Monthly LifeFone plans range from $29.95 to $46.95 per month before considering the price of add-ons. Fall detection is available for $5 to $10 per month depending on which plan you choose, and PIN-protected lock boxes have a one-time fee ranging from $29.95 to $39.95. Expect to spend another $6 per month if you request Activity Assurance. There are no activation, cancellation or contract fees, and a second family member can add a membership at no cost.

Battery life typically ranges from 24 to 36 hours. The At-Home unit lasts up to 32 hours and uses a landline connection, but the rest of LifeFone’s plans rely on a cellular connection via the AT&T network. When an emergency occurs, calls are dispatched to emergency care agents in New York and California.

Life Alert

Life Alert has its drawbacks, like a high monthly subscription fee and a mandatory three-year contract, but few companies compare to the reliability of Life Alert devices. There are no battery-draining special features, and devices are lightweight, comfortable and easy to operate.

Life Alert bracelets and pendants are geared toward elderly adults who want safe, dependable devices. The company offers several in-home units plus an on-the-go device to meet the needs of mobile seniors. If desired, you can combine all three units into one monthly plan, though keep it mind it carries an $89 price tag. Devices also have activation fees ranging from $95 to nearly $200, though these are one-time fees. The most affordable plan costs $49 per month.

Life Alert may cost more than other devices, but its medical alert devices are effective. The company saves the life of a subscriber every 11 minutes, and emergency assistance arrives quickly after a call. Life Alert’s on-the-go unit and bathroom unit each boast a battery life of as much as 10 years, and subscribers also have the option of requesting a smartphone app. Seniors do not have to wait for an injury to occur before requesting help via the app; they can also contact an operator if they feel unsafe or get lost.

Why Choose a Reliable Medical Alert System?

When an elderly adult gets injured, they need prompt medical care. Waiting too long can result in serious complications, and some medical issues can become fatal without immediate attention. That’s why it’s crucial that you choose a reliable medical alert system for emergencies. Look for a medical alert system with a long-lasting battery, plus a durable, water-resistant exterior.

Avoid pendants that only last a half a day or so before requiring a battery recharge. These devices help some seniors, but seniors seeking one of the most reliable medical alert systems need something with a longer battery life. Some Life Alert devices last up to 10 years, and while that isn’t the norm, you can generally find a device that lasts at least a few days from other companies.

How to Find a Reliable Medical Alert System for Seniors

Reliability matters, but you also need a medical alert system that is user friendly. After all, a medical alert system isn’t much help if the subscriber doesn’t understand which buttons to press or how to operate the battery charger. When possible, take some time to review features and maintenance with your loved one before handing over the device. This may help reduce user errors as they get used to their new medical alert system.

Some reliable medical alert systems have a hefty price tag compared to other companies. Expect to pay a bit more for many of the most dependable devices, even if you don’t include any special features in your monthly package. Make sure your budget allows this before you commit to a device or company. You should also consider future expenses, such as home modifications and disability benefit decreases, that may impact your income.

Think about how likely your loved one is to damage a medical alert system. If they’re rough on devices or lose things easily, look for a medical alert system with a warranty or insurance plan. That way, you can replace or repair the device quickly rather than buy a new one.

You cannot prevent every fall, especially when seniors have vision impairments, hearing loss or side effects from medication. That’s why it’s important to choose a reliable medical alert system to protect your loved one around the clock, whether they live at home with a spouse or reside in an assisted living community with a full-time caretaker.