The Best Medical Alert Systems for Active Seniors
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.
A medical alert system is a device that connects a user to assistance, in the event of a medical emergency or fall. It typically permits two-way communication with a remote monitoring center via a speakerphone, which includes a microphone sensitive enough to transmit a call for help from a reasonable distance. Some systems may include wearables, such as pendants and wristbands, that give the user greater range, and most are activated with the press of a button. Enhanced features, including automatic fall detection, are also available in some models.
Medical alert systems can offer peace of mind to individuals who live alone, are at risk for falling or have chronic medical conditions. They can also benefit seniors who want to balance an active lifestyle with the security of knowing that assistance is just a button-push away. This article explores the best medical alert systems for active seniors, and examines the features seniors on the go should look for when purchasing a unit.
The 3 Best Medical Alert Systems for Active Seniors
Medical Guardian’s premium features make it an ideal brand for active seniors. In addition to offering traditional home-based medical alert systems, the company features three unique mobile devices. Several of their models include tools that are designed for use by both users and their caregivers to ensure the user’s safety, even on the go.
Medical Guardian is the only company to offer a smartwatch-style device, rather than a standard wristband or pendant transmitter. This lightweight watch has large touch screen icons and advanced location tracking technology that can help emergency responders find the user, even if they’re lost or unable to speak. The Freedom Guardian includes a voice-to-text SMS messaging feature that lets users send and receive messages from anywhere. Active seniors may also benefit from medication reminders and calendar alerts, which can help them manage important daily tasks, even when they’re out and about.
Caregivers of users who opt for the smartwatch can download a companion app to access enhanced features. Care Circle makes it easy for family members to get in touch with a user through SMS messaging. Through the app, caregivers can also access alert history and set medication reminders.
The Mobile Guardian system also lets active users take the device on the road. This traditional mobile medical alert device includes a portable base station, a charging cradle and a wearable help button that’s waterproof, so it can be worn in all weather. The Mobile Guardian works over a cellular network so it can be used anywhere that gets cell phone reception, and it’s equipped with a GPS locator, so help can be dispatched to users who can’t identify their location.
Medical Guardian’s third mobile medical alert system is the Active Guardian, a waterproof pendant-style device that can be worn around the neck. The unit features dual GPS/Wi-Fi location technologies and an automatic fall detection alert, which ensures that users receive help when they need it most. The Active Guardian has a battery life of five days, so users don’t have to worry about constantly charging the device.
Medical Guardian’s third-party monitoring service is based in the United States and certified by The Monitoring Association. Users can supplement their mobile devices with features, such as a lockbox that permits emergency personnel entry to their home, and mounted wall buttons that provide additional security in high-risk areas, such as a garage or bathroom when a user isn’t wearing their device.
LifeFone is a great option for active seniors due primarily to its smartphone app, which provides another option for on-the-go users to connect with essential services. The application also offers seniors additional safety and security options, such as a virtual escort service for users who may feel unsafe. Although many medical alert systems offer companion apps, only LifeFone’s mobile application functions even when the user isn’t wearing a transmitter or within range of a base unit.
LifeFone offers a 100% mobile system, which permits two-way voice communication with a remote monitoring center, and has integrated GPS location technology, so users can easily be located in the event of an emergency. Seniors can opt for a lightweight, water-resistant pendant or wristband, and each has a 36-hour battery life.
What sets LifeFone apart from other medical alert monitoring companies is its standalone mobile application, which offers seniors an easy way to call for help if they’ve left home without their wearable transmitter.
This easy-to-use app displays three buttons:
- A panic button for emergencies
- A medical button for users who have medical conditions that require immediate attention
- A concern button, which enables a virtual escort service for seniors in situations or locations that may feel unsafe
Seniors using LifeFone medical alert systems can set up specific care instructions, which may include emergency contacts and the user’s medical history. The company’s U.S.-based monitoring center can access this information to connect the user with the right help, no matter where the user is. For a small monthly charge, caregivers and family members can also access a user’s location history.
As an industry founder and the longest-running U.S. medical alert device company, Life Alert brings decades of experience to its product offerings and customer service. Life Alert offers an array of features, including cell phone emergency options and extended battery life, that can offer peace of mind to active seniors.
Its exceptional customer care is one reason that Life Alert is an ideal choice for seniors on the go. Customer care representatives are trained for up to a year, and in the event of an emergency, they will remain on the line with the user until help arrives. Dispatchers also notify family members of the event and provide first responders with the user’s relevant medical history.
The company offers mobile protection through its Life Alert Mobile with GPS system, which features a waterproof push-button device that can be worn, tucked in a pocket or stowed in a bag. The device works over a cellular connection so it can be used anywhere in the country, and it has a 10-year battery life so there’s never downtime during charging. A GPS locator ensures that operators can dispatch services to users who may be in unfamiliar areas and can’t readily identify their location, which can be especially helpful to seniors who hike or travel out of state.
Why Active Seniors Should Opt For a Mobile Medical Alert System
Mobile medical alert systems typically operate over cellular networks and are designed to be used outside of the home and while traveling. Most mobile systems include a lightweight wearable pendant or wristband with a button that connects the user to a remote operating center, where an operator can assess the situation and dispatch help.
For seniors who live an active lifestyle, mobile medical alert systems can offer the security of knowing that help is always available, whether they’re running errands in town, embarking on a solo hike or traveling cross-country. These units generally include GPS or Wi-Fi locator technology to dispatch help to users who are lost or unable to speak. Some even have an automatic fall-detection feature, which uses technology to register a potential fall and alerts the monitoring center, so help can be dispatched.
For active seniors who live alone or have chronic medical conditions, mobile medical alert systems can make it easier to remain independent. Additional features, such as medication and care reminders, may also help seniors on the go maintain healthy routines.
Considerations When Choosing a Mobile Medical Alert System
Not all mobile medical alert systems are the same, and there are several major factors active seniors should consider when choosing a unit.
Mobile alert systems generally come with a lightweight wearable device. Options typically include a pendant or wristband, and companies, such as Medical Guardian, are now offering smartwatch designs. Some devices can also be worn around the waist or tucked into a bag or pocket. Seniors should consider which wearable best suits their lifestyle, and individuals who spend extended time outdoors may also want to consider a device that has a waterproof design.
Depending on how they plan to use their mobile medical alert system, active seniors may want to consider getting a device with features, such as GPS or Wi-Fi location, automatic fall detection and medication reminders. Other optional features may include activity monitoring and wall-mounted buttons for added security in areas where falls are common.
Mobile medical alert systems typically incur a monthly subscription cost that ranges from just over $30 to upwards of $70, with additional features, such as automatic fall detection adding an additional $5 to $10. Some companies may also charge an additional startup or activation fee that can be as much as $350. Seniors can also opt for a less costly unmonitored system, which connects them to a family member or other emergency contact.
When choosing a medical alert system, it’s important to select the device that best fits into a user’s unique lifestyle. Since this can mean something different for each user, it’s always a good idea to research features and functionality thoroughly.