Seniors who are looking for the right mix of independence and peace of mind often find that a medical alert system is an ideal solution. These small, high-tech devices are designed to be worn as a wristwatch or necklace pendant that connects seniors with an emergency response call center, caregivers and loved ones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some systems also come with a wall-mounted emergency button that can be placed in the bathroom, next to the bed or on a table.

There are a wide variety of medical alert systems available that offer a range of features and optional services, such as automatic fall detection, GPS location tracking, temperature sensors, and medication reminders. While all of these features can quickly increase the cost of the devices and monitoring service, a number of systems are quite affordable even for seniors who may be on a fixed income. We’ve compiled a list of the most affordable medical alert systems to help seniors and their loved ones stay safe and connected at a price that’s reasonable.

The 3 Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems

LifeStation

LifeStation tops our list of the most affordable medical alert systems because its plans are among the lowest priced in the industry. Better yet, LifeStation’s plans are easy to understand and there are no hidden fees or added costs to worry about — the price you see is the price you’ll pay.

Most LifeStation service plans and devices include activation with the exception of the Mobile GPS, which costs $50 to activate. By comparison, some other medical alert systems charge device activation fees of around $100 and shipping fees in addition to the monthly costs.

Seniors who want a basic medical alert device that comes with 24-hour monitoring can pay as little as $25.95 per month for LifeStation’s Standard plan that connects to a traditional landline. Pricing for add-on features, such as fall detection, replacement of lost devices and LifeStation accessories, starts at $2.49 per month for a bathroom and hallway button and goes up to $15. Subscribers can add a second user to the monitoring plan for $3.99 per month, making LifeStation very affordable for seniors who live with a spouse or companion who also needs a medical alert device.

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical offers a basic medical alert system with 24/7 U.S.-based monitoring for a flat fee of $19.95 per month, making it one of the most affordable systems on the market today. Every one of Bay Alarm’s medical alert packages includes the choice of a pendant or wrist button device along with a base unit equipped with a large red help button. Shipping is included with semiannual plans.

For $29.95 per month, seniors are provided with a wearable device, a base unit and four additional wall-mounted help buttons that are ideal for anyone who may not want to wear a medical alert pendant or wrist device while in bed, in the bathroom or they’re preparing food. Automatic fall detection is included for an extra $10 per month, and this package comes with a free lockbox that first responders can use to gain access to the senior’s home in case of an emergency.

With Bay Alarm Medical, seniors pay no start-up costs or activation fees, and there’s no minimum contract. Spouse/roommate coverage is free, making the per-user price of this medical alert system especially low for senior couples.

QMedic

QMedic is a medical alert system that provides advanced, proactive features that go beyond the basic emergency response offered with many other systems. There are no activation fees and seniors can subscribe on a month-by-month basis, which can be a money-saving option for seniors who may not want to pay for 3, 6, or 12 months of service up-front. Seniors can also cancel at any time, there are no activation fees, and ground shipping of the devices is free throughout the United States. Subscribers who are comfortable paying in advance can purchase an annual plan for $300, a $60 savings over month-to-month costs.

Unlike some other systems that require seniors to purchase their wearable pendant or wrist bracelet, all of QMedic’s devices are leased — that means if there is ever a problem with the device, the subscriber simply contacts the company for a free replacement. Seniors who live with a companion can pay $10 more for a second button.

In addition to the relatively low monthly monitoring rates, QMedic ranks on our list of the most affordable medical alert systems because of the unique compliance monitoring features it offers. The QMedic devices work as activity monitors, and caregivers and family members can check to see if their senior has been wearing the device, how often the user is moving around and the status of their sleeping patterns. This additional information can be invaluable in ensuring that seniors are safe, and QMedic’s status monitoring may also help reduce costs related to having a caregiver check in on a senior.

Comparing Prices of Low-Cost Medical Alert System

Weighing the true cost of a medical alert system can be complicated, especially when you’re looking for one that can enhance the safety and independence of seniors at an affordable price.

The lowest-priced medical alert plans are ones that operate off of an existing landline phone, which may be suitable for seniors who already have a home phone and don’t leave their home by themselves. These systems all offer two-way voice communication with a monitoring company that’s available 24 hours a day. However, these landline-based devices don’t work once the senior moves outside the in-home base unit’s range. In most cases, these landline systems provide exceptional coverage within 1,000 feet of the base unit, which is perfect for seniors who live in a condo, apartment or small home.

Seniors who live in a large home or need coverage in the backyard or community, need to look for a cellular-based medical alert system. Costs for mobile medical alert systems are higher than landline systems because these devices require a cell connection. However, the added cost may represent a good value for seniors who don’t want to depend on a caregiver or family member to assist them outside their home.

Tips for Choosing the Most Affordable Medical Alert System

While the monthly price of a medical alert system is an important consideration for most seniors and their loved ones, it’s also important to consider the features and services that are provided at each price point.

Start by thinking about the reasons why your loved one may need a medical alert system. If you’re looking for a basic emergency device that seniors can use to call for help when they may not be able to reach the phone, a low-cost service may be ideal. Seniors who are at an increased risk of falls due to age-related deterioration, the side effects of medication or a medical condition may want to pay the added fees for a medical alert system that includes automatic fall detection.

Also, consider whether features, such as medication reminders, activity monitoring and a second device added to the same account, are right for your particular needs. Paying extra for a medical alert system that includes access to an app that lets family members check on the senior’s activity levels may be more cost-effective than hiring a caregiver to check in on the senior every day.