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.

Every year, more than one in four adults aged 65 or older fall, according to the CDC. Moreover, one in five of those falls results in a serious injury. Even if a fall doesn’t end up causing a hip fracture or other significant trauma, it can create a feeling of fear that causes seniors to limit their social engagements and other activities outside the home. It may even make them second guess living independently. This, in turn, furthers physical decline, depression, and feelings of social isolation and helplessness. That’s where medical alert systems become very helpful.

These systems supply older adults with immediate access to assistance 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They enable seniors to remain independent while being confident that when a fall or other emergency occurs, help is always available.

Modifying one’s life to include these constantly monitored, always-on systems allows seniors to instantly connect to emergency services, loved ones, and neighbors via devices that are wearable and discreet. Some devices offer advanced features, such as automatic fall detection and GPS, so even if the wearer is unable to press a button, help can be dispatched.

Personal safety systems of all kinds have become popular in recent years, and the number of medical alert systems from which one can choose has grown exponentially with that popularity. Between confusing marketing language and the sheer number of options, choosing the right medical alert system can be difficult.

Comparing Features Side-By-Side

We’ve done all the research and created in-depth, side-by-side comparisons to help decide which system is best for specific needs. These guides compare the different services and features of each system in a clear and simple way that is easy to understand.

This guide compares the Medical Guardian and Medical Care Alert systems. These companies are based in the United States and offer in-home and mobile medical monitoring systems.

Through our research, we determined the two companies are relatively equal in terms of monthly monitoring costs and offer similar devices. However, Medical Guardian does provide more options to allow clients to better customize their medical monitoring service.

Overall, we discovered that Medical Guardian and Medical Care Alert are both solid companies with long and reputable histories in the medical alert industry. They’re relatively evenly matched with Medical Guardian offering more premium features and Medical Care Alert providing better monitoring services.

Side by Side ComparisonMedical GuardianMedical Care Alert
Up-Front Equipment$0 for most plans, $99 with Freedom Guardian plan$0
Monthly Monitoring$29.95 - $79.95
+ $10 per month for optional fall detection monitoring
$27.45 - $39.95
+ $10 per month for optional fall detection monitoring
Activation Fee$0 $0
ContractMonth-to-month, Quarterly, Biannually, or Annually
*Full refund of unused prepaid services
Quarterly, Biannually, or Annually
*Full refund of unused prepaid services
Optional Monthly Add-On ServicesWall-Mounted Button - $2 each
Voice-Activated Wall Buttons - $5 each (Classic Guardian or Family Guardian plans only)
Lockbox - $2 each, free with the annual payment plan
Water-Resistant Wearable DevicesPendant and wristband button
Active Guardian All-In-One Mobile Device
Two-way voice pendant and wristband device
ConnectionLandline or cellular (AT&T network)Landline or cellular (AT&T network)
2-Way Voice CommunicationThrough in-home base for At-Home products or wearable pendant with On-The-Go serviceThrough two-way voice pendant included with all plans
Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)Up to 600 feet for In-home bases
Up to 1,300 feet for wearable devices
Up to 600 feet for voice pendant
Up to 1,000 feet for In-home button to the base
Battery lifePortable devices offer rechargeable batteries with one to five days per charge
In-home bases have 30 to 32 hours of battery backup
Base offers continuous recharging with 24 hours of emergency standby power
Buttons have three years of life, aren't rechargeable, and are automatically replaced when low
Rechargeable pendants have four months of standby and four hours of talk-time per charge
Fall DetectionOptional monthly add-on with Mobile Guardian and Freedom Guardian plansOptional monthly add-on with all products
GPS LocatorIncluded with all On-The-Go plansIncluded in all products, along with Wi-Fi and cellular locating services
Coverage Away from HomeYes, anywhere in the United StatesYes, with AWAY systems
24/7 USA Call CenterYesYes, bilingual service
Wall-Mounted Button - $2 each
Voice-Activated Wall Buttons - $5 each (Classic Guardian or Family Guardian plans only)
Lockbox - $2 each, free with the annual payment plan
Additional Pendants for $60 each (limit 4 total)
Wall Mounted Button - $29.95
Lockbox - free with annual plans, $29.95 otherwise

Medical Guardian Overview

Medical Guardian was founded by CEO Geoff Gross after his grandmother fell several times and needed help at home. He began the company in his apartment and spoke to countless seniors about what they wanted and needed to remain independent and active. Today, the company has grown to be one of the top-rated medical alert device companies.

Since officially opening its doors in 2005, Medical Guardian has become an authority in fall detection. It provides in-home as well as mobile medical alert systems. The company also has U.S.-based monitoring centers that are CSAA certified and operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. In addition, it provides numerous additional features for extra added peace of mind, including smartwatch devices and remote activity monitoring.

Pros of Medical Guardian:

  • Established, trusted U.S.-based company
  • Lightweight, discreet wearable devices
  • Advanced fall detection and GPS locating
  • No long-term contract
  • Wide variety of device options
  • Availability of premium features
  • Free caregiver portal
  • No device or activation fees (other than Freedom Guardian smartwatch device)

Cons of Medical Guardian:

  • Mobile systems are pricier than the industry average
  • Some customers must pay for shipping
  • Equipment fee for smartwatch device

Medical Care Alert Overview

The family-owned, Michigan-based company American Response Technologies Inc. provides Medical Care Alert’s services. All operators in the monitoring center for this company are EMT/EMD certified and must undergo a Security Industry Association (SIA) certified training program. This ensures that those answering an emergency have a firsthand understanding of how to respond.

Medical Care Alert offers a number of emergency response systems with a range of payment options to fit each customer’s individual needs. Its devices are manufactured by BOSCH, a German health care manufacturer that creates hospital-grade communications and medical technology.

Highlights of this company include a price-lock guarantee, positive customer reviews, and a risk-free, 30-day trial.

Pros of Medical Care Alert:

  • Long-standing U.S. company
  • No activation fees
  • Unlimited contact notifications
  • EMT-certified operators
  • Home and Home & Yard are easy to use while on vacation
  • Free lockbox provided with all annual subscription plans
  • Great coverage for seniors who spend time outside

Cons of Medical Care Alert:

  • Optional devices can be costly
  • Fall detection is not available with all devices
  • Only three plans from which to choose
  • Limited options for additional features

Pricing Comparison

Neither company charges activation or equipment fees, except for Medical Guardian’s smartwatch-style device, which requires a one-time fee of $99. Both companies have relatively similar pricing, although Medical Guardian offers six plans to Medical Care Alert’s three.

In addition, neither company charges cancellation fees and both offer discounts for prepaying on a quarterly, biannual, or annual basis. If it’s decided to cancel a subscription at any time, a prorated refund is received for any prepaid months.

Furthermore, Medical Guardian and Medical Care Alert offer optional fall detection services for only $10 per month. Overall, they’re relatively equal where cost is concerned.

Our Pick

It’s difficult to choose a clear winner between these two companies. Each has its own benefit over the other, and yet they’re both relatively even overall. In addition, both companies have received glowing reviews from customers and A+ ratings with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Each company provides nationwide coverage through the AT&T cellular network and GPS tracking for customers who are away from home.

That being said, Medical Guardian ranked slightly above Medical Care Alert in terms of packages and available extra features. However, Medical Care Alert wins with regards to simplification and monitoring operators.

Overall, either of these companies would be a great choice for a medical alert system. Seniors looking for discreetly wearable emergency call technology with a reliable monitoring service that’s available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week would be well served by either of these companies.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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