COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.

As many adults grow older, their vision decreases, muscles weaken, and cognitive skills decline. These changes make aging adults more susceptible to falls and many of them develop serious complications after an accident. Each year, approximately 3 million elderly adults seek emergency care after a fall, and more than 800,000 people require hospitalization for their injuries. Nearly 1 in 3 nonfatal injuries, such as broken bones, sprains or bumps and bruises, stem from falls, and every 20 minutes, a fall claims the life of a senior.

Staggering statistics like these inspire many caregivers or seniors to invest in medical alert systems even if they’ve already made home modifications with safety in mind. These systems provide 24/7 monitoring for at-risk seniors, helping them complete daily activities with confidence.

Reliable Protection in a Compact Device

Many elderly adults require around-the-clock care, so they need medical alert systems that withstand unexpected sweat or rain as well as showers and dips in the pool. Cellular medical alert systems are often water resistant, and device care plans provide coverage if an issue arises due to normal wear and tear.

Cellular medical alert systems are compact yet resilient. Some come in the form of box-style home units, while others are available as necklaces, bracelets, watches, or wristbands. While medical alert systems are available via landlines or cellular networks, many seniors prefer the convenience of cellular alert systems such as the popular choices listed below.

The 4 Best Cellular Medical Alert Systems for Mobile Seniors

QMedic

Compliance monitoring sets QMedic apart from other cellular medical alert systems. With compliance monitoring, loved ones know a senior is actually wearing the device rather than just letting it sit in a drawer or on a counter. Caregivers can monitor daily activity levels, sleep schedules and emergency call history via a complementary portal.

QMedic offers two devices compatible with cellular service: The Cellular Medical Alert System and the Mobile GPS Medical Alert System. Before adding special features, monthly expenses range from $30 to $45 for QMedic devices. The company also offers a landline-friendly unit for $30 per month. All devices are water resistant.

Requests for help are routed through the AT&T network and sent to a U.S.-based call center. Customer care agents generally answer calls within 30 seconds, providing prompt, courteous attention when seniors need help. Nationwide services are available for the in-home and mobile units, but only the Mobile GPS Medical Alert System works when a senior is on the go. The in-home devices only offer coverage while a senior is within 800 to 1,000 feet of the base unit.

RescueTouch

RescueTouch has five cellular-friendly devices that connect seniors with emergency workers and friends and family members via a convenient two-way messaging system. Communication works both ways, so seniors can both make and receive calls through their device. The company also offers a 911-only unit ideal for seniors who prefer a simple system rather than one packed with features.

RescueTouch offers one device, a mobile SOS pendant that’s water resistant and available in several colors. Depending on which plan you select, you can utilize features such as automatic fall detection and GPS monitoring. Monthly plans range from approximately $25 to $70, and the company keeps expenses predictable with a lifetime price lock.

Calls are routed via AT&T or T-Mobile cellular networks to a call center in Utah. Customer care workers are equipped to handle health-related emergencies as well as calls about security concerns and fires.

MobileHelp

MobileHelp minimizes expenses for seniors by providing a free lockbox when they purchase a medical alert system. The company offers mobile devices and in-home units, all of which are powered by cellular networks rather than landlines.

Elderly adults have the choice of four plans ranging from approximately $20 to just over $40 per month. Device options include traditional in-home boxes, necklaces and smartwatches. GPS tracking and cellular triangulation are available for compatible devices, making it easy for loved ones to locate seniors day or night. The company’s smartwatches do not offer texting, but wearers can track their physical activity or view local weather forecasts.

MobileHelp routes calls through Rapid Response, a U.S.-based medical alert monitoring company that offers emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These cellular devices transmit data via the AT&T network.

LifeFone

LifeFone goes beyond fall protection to tackle several challenges seniors may face, including safety concerns and Activity Assurance. Activity Assurance is a premium feature that lets caregivers know their loved ones are safe by prompting wearers to press a button within 15 minutes. If a response is not received, an emergency care worker contacts the senior, then executes an emergency safety plan if the call goes unanswered.

Mobile Alert is a smartphone app available for new and existing customers at the rate of $5.95 or $7.95 per month. This app acts as a virtual escort service, providing comfort and protection for seniors who are alone and feel unsafe at home or in their community. The app can be used even when a senior isn’t wearing a medical alert system.

The At-Home unit relies on a landline connection, but LifeFone’s other three plans use a cellular connection. Calls are sent via the AT&T network to Emergency Care Agents in New York and California. Monthly cellular medical alert system plans range from around $35 to $50, and additional features, such as lockboxes and wall-mounted buttons, are available for a fee.

Reasons to Consider a Cellular Medical Alert System

Landline medical alert units restrict seniors to their home, which isn’t a practical solution for seniors who enjoy frequent outings or even the occasional errand. Because some in-home devices only monitor seniors from 600 to 1,000 feet away, seniors in large homes may also struggle to receive continuous protection.

Cellular medical alert systems offer 24/7 monitoring wherever life takes device wearers, from local doctors’ visits to out-of-state trips. Help is available day or night with the push of a button or the launch of a voice-activated prompt.

Many Cellular Devices Go Beyond Basic Fall Protection

The best medical alert systems often offer fall detection, but many units also enhance the lives of elderly adults with minimal effort from their users. Features vary among brands, but many cellular alert systems offer two-way communication capabilities that keep seniors connected with friends and family members, plus weather tracking, activity monitoring, and weather forecasts.

How to Choose a Cellular Medical Alert System

Selecting a cellular medical alert system can be overwhelming for some seniors because there are so many devices, plans, and features to consider. When shopping for a medical alert system, consider the primary purpose of the device. A senior worried about injuries may appreciate a simple cellular device with automatic fall protection, while others who have recently moved to an assisted living community may appreciate a device that helps them connect with loved ones.

Prices vary, with budget-friendly units as low as $25 a month and higher-end models carrying fees as high as $80 to $100. Consider the price of the unit itself and the services it provides; you may have a one-time fee or a monthly rental cost.

Special Features May Have Additional Fees

Some companies, such as MobileHelp, offer free lockboxes for new subscribers. However, lockboxes typically cost around $5 per month. They’re worth the extra expense if you have a loved one who’s unlikely to make it to the door during an emergency.

Seniors can also request wall-mounted buttons, automatic fall detection, additional devices for friends or family members, activity monitoring and prescription medication reminders from some companies. Consider the lifestyle, budget and cognitive state of the person wearing the device before making a decision. Despite all the features available for medical alert systems, some elderly adults still prefer a no-frills device that connects them quickly and easily to emergency workers.

Don’t let a fall become fatal due to a delayed response time from medical professionals. Invest in a cellular medical alert system that provides continuous protection and prompt assistance for its wearer, day or night.