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.

For aging seniors and their loved ones, medical alert systems can make a powerful difference in minimizing stress and enhancing peace of mind. As individuals age, falling, medical emergencies and accidents such as burns or fires become an increased risk. For the estimated 25% of seniors who fall each year and for those who experience an injury or illness, immediate access to an emergency alert system is vital to ensure they quickly receive the help they need.

These alert systems equip seniors with wearable wristbands or pendants as well as optional wall-units that connect them to live emergency monitoring centers at the quick press of a button. Some devices also come with automatic fall detection, GPS location tracking and medication reminders. These systems can be linked to landlines for homebound seniors or cellular devices for those who are more mobile.

Choosing a Medical Alert System

With ever-increasing advancements in technology, medical alert systems come with a growing number of pricing and service options. Because wading through the dozens of available market offerings can be a challenge, we’ve created side-by-side, in-depth comparisons of the most reputable medical alert system companies to help you select the best one to meet your needs.

Below, we compare offerings from LifeStation and ResponseNow. These companies each provide reasonably priced landline and mobile-based systems. While both offer a range of service options, we found that LifeStation is best for seniors looking for a more affordable, easy setup and ResponseNow may offer better returns for mobile seniors ready to invest long-term in a system geared toward a more active lifestyle.

Side By Side Comparison LifeStation ResponseNow
Up-Front Equipment $0 $0 for quarterly and annual plans
$14.95 shipping for monthly plans
Monthly Monitoring $19.95 – $26.95 for Standard plans
+$5/month for optional fall detection
$29.95 – $49.95
+$11.95/month for optional fall detection pendant with In the Home plan
Contract Month-to-month; no cancellation penalties Monthly, quarterly or annual plans; 30-day money back guarantee
Range Up to 1,000′ from in-home landline base
Up to 650′ from in-home cellular base
Up to 500′ from in-home landline base
Optional Monthly Add-On Services Device protection – $5 – $10
Lockbox – $2.99
Extra help button – $3.99
Mountable help button – $2.49
Care(+) device protection plan – $3.95
Lockbox – $3.95 (included with annual plan)
Extra help button – $2.95
Water-Resistant Wearable Devices Pendant and wristband Pendant and wristband
Connection Landline or cellular Landline or cellular (AT&T network)
2-Way Voice Communication Through In-Home base station, wearable help button and Mobile with GPS wearable device Through In-Home wearable help button or mobile service wearable pendant
Range Up to 1,000′ from in-home landline base
Up to 650′ from in-home cellular base
Up to 500′ from in-home landline base
Battery life 48-hour backup batteries with In-Home plans
5-day battery life with Mobile with GPS
24-hour backup battery with In the Home system
30-day battery life with Belle mobile device
5-day battery life with Belle+ device and 3-hour charge time
Fall Detection Included in Select and Supreme packages of all plans Optional monthly add-on with In the Home plan; Included with Belle+ plan
GPS Locator Included with Mobile with GPS plan Included with Belle+ plan
Coverage Away From Home Included with Mobile with GPS Included with Belle and Belle+ plans
24/7 USA Call Center Yes Yes
None Hanging and wall-mounted master lock boxes
Wall-mounted help button
Extra wearable alert buttons
Beaded lanyard

LifeStation Overview

Founded in 1977, LifeStation provides 24/7 monitoring services to clients located throughout Canada and the U.S. The company stands out for its personalized system that ensures seniors can connect with a person rather than a machine any time they push a button for an emergency, customer support or a technical issue. Employees are CSAA-certified care specialists who receive six weeks of intensive training and boast the quickest response time in the medical alert field.

With a simple, five-minute setup, free activation for all but one plan and no shipping costs, LifeStation service packages are easy and affordable options. Married couples and roommates can greatly lessen costs by sharing a plan and purchasing an extra, low-priced personal help button. The company’s month-to-month policy means seniors can cancel at any time without penalty.

Pros of LifeStation:

  • Free shipping with all service plans and zero activation costs for most plans
  • No long-term contracts and no penalties for canceling
  • UL-listed, U.S.-based call centers
  • Impressive 20-second average response time
  • Available GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking
  • The option of additional personal and mountable help buttons
  • Device protection plan included with Select and Supreme packages

Cons of LifeStation:

  • Customers may incur shipping costs for device returns
  • Exact pricing can be more complicated and difficult to determine due to multiple tiers offered
  • $50 activation fee for the standard Mobile with GPS plan
  • Costlier add-on features than most competitors (lockboxes and wall-mounted buttons)
  • No price-lock guarantee

ResponseNow Overview

ResponseNow is based in the U.S. and offers AT&T cellular users options for mobile services with a quick 30- to 60-second response time. The company’s management team has over 30 years of industry experience, and a wide network of authorized response agents provide a robust regional presence.

Seniors enrolled with ResponseNow enjoy the option of monthly, quarterly or annual plans that offer perks for longer-term upfront payments, and each plan comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. When making an emergency call, seniors can ask to speak to emergency personnel or a personal emergency contact, such as a family member or neighbor.

Pros of ResponseNow:

  • Care(+) Protection Plan that provides device coverage even if the user is at fault
  • Long mobile device 30-day battery life and short three-hour charge time
  • Price-lock guarantee
  • Discounts with quarterly and annual plans
  • Texting service available for loved ones who wish to know a user’s exact location
  • Free repairs for faulty equipment and complimentary battery replacement

Cons of ResponseNow:

  • Activation fees charged with mobile plans
  • Above average cost for mobile device monthly plan
  • Higher-than-average lockbox and fall detection charges
  • Month-to-month users must pay an initial device shipping fee
  • Fall detection unavailable with lower-tier Belle mobile device service plan

Pricing Comparison

As one of the lowest-priced medical alert system offerings on the market, LifeStation beats ResponseNow by a notable margin for ongoing monthly service fees and initial setup costs on all but one plan. The most affordable ResponseNow plan is the discounted annual at-home package, which is still $5 more than LifeStation’s $19.95 monthly at-home plan with a 1,000-foot range that’s double that of ResponseNow.

Most of LifeStation’s plans include free shipping and zero activation costs, and only LifeStation’s standard Mobile with GPS plan’s $50 activation fee costs more than ResponseNow’s $35 mobile plan activation fee. Even in this comparison, however, LifeStation’s monthly prices are lower. Additionally, ResponseNow users must pay for the highest level Belle+ plan if they wish to have both GPS tracking and fall detection, whereas optional fall detection is available with any LifeStation plan.

For active, mobile seniors who value the freedom of a low-hassle, exceptionally long battery life and don’t desire fall detection, ResponseNow’s base mobile package may be the best choice. Those willing to invest long-term in the Belle or Belle+ packages can sign up for an annual plan to save on monthly service and enjoy the lifetime price lock guarantee. Additionally, those who add a ResponseNow Care(+) device protection plan will never have to pay for device repairs or replacement.

Our Pick

Ultimately, LifeStation offers more affordable and flexible options for seniors looking for a reliable medical alert system. ResponseNow’s mobile devices are better suited for active seniors and those who want to take advantage of the company’s lifetime price-lock guarantee.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

Click on the links below to read about Medical Alert system comparisons.