Best Medical Alert System Watches
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.
Approximately 4 out of 5 seniors need help getting up after they fall, but unfortunately, 88 percent of adults are alone when a fall-related accident happens. As a result, nearly 1 in 3 elderly adults say they’ve spent at least an hour laying on the ground waiting for help. Seniors who remain on the ground after a fall have an increased risk of developing serious complications that require surgery or hospitalization as compared to seniors who receive prompt treatment, so quick care is essential to a senior’s recovery process.
It’s difficult for caretakers or loved ones to monitor seniors around-the-clock, so many older adults rely on medical alert systems. The devices offer 24/7 monitoring, providing peace of mind for wearers as well as caregivers. While the best medical alert systems include everything from in-home units to necklaces and bracelets, many elderly adults appreciate the convenience of a medical alert system watch. Medical alert watches fit comfortably on seniors’ wrists, so seniors are more likely to use them rather than something they dislike, such as a heavy necklace or bulky pocket device.
Different Types of Medical Alert System Watches
Some medical alert watches provide data about activity or sleep habits, while others focus on connecting seniors with loved ones via voice-to-text messages. Depending on the watch a senior selects, they may also have the option to monitor prescription-medication usage, track weather trends or keep records of physical activity. Some watches are even waterproof, so seniors can wear them in the shower or pool.
A medical alert system watch provides constant monitoring because it’s placed directly on a senior’s wrist. It’s ideal for active seniors who like to visit friends or attend community events because it continues tracking activity beyond the home. Many watches work around the country, so seniors aren’t confined to a specific geographical area. Learn more about medical alert system watches that offer 24/7 monitoring, including how to find one that meets your needs, in the list below.
The 3 Best Medical Alert System Watches for Around-the-Clock Monitoring
Medical Guardian offers six plans to protect elderly adults and simplify their daily tasks. More than half of the plans include wrist pendants or watches, and prices range from around $30 a month to approximately $80. The Freedom Guardian, which is Medical Guardian’s version of a smartwatch, also requires a one-time $99 fee.
The Freedom Guardian isn’t waterproof, so it may not be the right choice for absentminded seniors or loved ones who struggle with dementia. It also lacks an automatic fall detection feature, but users can request help by pressing the side button for a few seconds. Caregivers can track the wearer’s behavior through a companion app and also send and receive text messages to and from the watch wearer.
Medical Guardian cellular devices are routed through the AT&T network, and services are available anywhere in the United States. This gives seniors the chance to travel safely with their device in tow, whether they want to tour their hometown or visit a beach across the country.
MobileHelp is a popular option for seniors on a tight budget. The device doesn’t require landline service, and seniors receive a free lockbox when they purchase a new medical alert system watch or in-home unit.
The MobileHelp Smart plan has a onetime fee of approximately $350, and service costs around $25 per month. Unlike the Medical Guardian smartwatch, MobileHelp users cannot send typed or voice-to-text messages through their devices. However, they can monitor their heart rates, track the number of steps they take, and keep an eye on the weather.
MobileHelp works with Rapid Response, a U.S.-based medical alert monitoring company that also works with security companies. Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and alerts are transmitted via the AT&T network. Seniors interested in MobileHelp devices can test drive the company for 30 days and cancel with no fees if they decide the service isn’t a good fit for them.
QMedic wrist monitors aren’t medical alert system watches, but they have many of the same features. When a senior wears a QMedic wristband, caregivers can track activity day and night. The wrist pendant tracks sleeping habits and other activities, and then sends the data to a Caregiver Dashboard that’s updated in real-time. The dashboard also shows a wristband wearer’s call history, so caretakers remain informed about falls and other incidents.
QMedic wristbands are generally less expensive than the medical alert watches on our list, with prices averaging around $30 per month before special features are added. The Landline Medical Alert System works up to 1,000 feet from the base unit and has a battery life of up to 2 years.
All QMedic devices are water-resistant and rely on a cellular connection rather than a landline. A U.S.-based call center fields calls from wrist pendant and in-home unit users, and emergency calls are typically answered within 30 seconds. Services for the Mobile GPS medical alert system are available nationwide, so seniors aren’t restricted to in-home use with the wristband.
Why Might Elderly Adults Want Medical Alert System Watches?
Medical alert system watches are sometimes called wrist pendants, though the devices aren’t necessarily the same. Both devices are worn on seniors’ arms, but medical alert system watches typically have more features than basic wrist pendants. Some watches are similar to smartwatches because they offer texting, weather alerts, alarms, and medication reminders.
Wrist pendants typically have just one or two features, such as a help button or automatic fall detection. It provides support during serious situations, while medical alert watches also help monitor daily activities and keep seniors connected with loved ones.
Mobile Medical Monitoring for Busy Seniors
Many seniors venture beyond the range covered by in-home units. This is risky for seniors who don’t wear mobile devices, such as an activity-tracking smartwatch or medical alert necklace. Medical alert watches track seniors wherever they go, whether they visit a local bakery or meet their grandchildren for a fun day at the movies. With mobile monitoring, seniors can live active lifestyles without sacrificing safety.
Encouraging independence also helps seniors strengthen their social connections, which may delay or prevent cognitive decline and may help older adults live longer. Seniors who socialize with others are often happier and healthier than homebound seniors who remain isolated from their community. A medical alert watch helps your loved one cultivate and retain friendships by serving as a visual reminder that help is just a quick text or call away.
How to Find the Best Medical Alert Watch for Your Budget
Consider your budget when selecting a medical alert watch, as prices typically range from $25 to $80 per month before special features are included. Many watches also have one-time fees ranging from $100 to $350. If a medical alert watch exceeds your budget, consider a wristband instead. It may not have as many features, but it still offers comfortable monitoring for seniors on the go.
Premium features, whether for wristbands or watches, often carry an extra fee. You can generally expect to pay more for special features, such as automatic fall detection, lockboxes, care protection plans, and repairs. Some companies charge a fee for caregivers to monitor watch wearers, but this service is often included in the monthly premium.
Keep in Mind You May Still Need an In-Home Unit
While some medical alert system providers offer standalone devices for mobile monitoring, you may still need an in-home unit to go with the watch. Consider that when you select a plan, as it may increase your monthly pricing; however, a home unit provides protection while a watch or wristband charges, so seniors are never left without access to emergency care.
Pants don’t always have pockets, and not every senior wants to lug around a purse or backpack. Medical alert system watches offer on-the-go protection, whether a senior wants to garden in the backyard or visit family across the state, help is with them at all times.