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.

Many seniors face a reduced quality of life and loss of independence after experiencing falls, stroke, heart attack and other injuries. The sooner treatment is received, the better the health outcome. Recognizing this, many companies now provide medical alert systems squarely aimed at improving emergency response times for seniors and other vulnerable people.

An extensive range of feature-rich products and plans is available. Sifting through all of the different equipment, monitoring plans and add-ons and working out the best options for yourself or someone you are caring for can be time-consuming and confusing.

In this guide, we compare the equipment and plans from two companies: Bay Alarm Medical and RescueTouch. These companies have been in operation for many years and have developed products with multiple useful features.

Category


Side By Side Comparison


RescueTouch


Bay Alarm Medical


COSTS






Up-Front Equipment


$99 - $178


$99 for each single device


$178 for a twin-pack


$0 - $79


$79 for an on-the-go device



Up-Front Fees


$0


$0



Monthly Monitoring


$19.00 - $64.00


$19.95 - $39.95


+$10/month for optional fall detection



Activation Fee


$0


$0



Contract


Month-to-month





Month-to-month






Optional Monthly Add-On Services


N/A


+$1.95/month for optional secure key lockbox


+$5/month for optional additional wall buttons


+$5/month for optional caregiver tracking app


+$5/month for optional protection plan warranty


+$10/month for optional fall detection technology



Cancellation Fees


None


80% of unused balance of service fees refunded


None


Payment for unused months less shipping costs is fully refunded



Shipping


Free priority shipping


Free ground shipping for premium and full coverage services


FEATURES






Water-Resistant Wearable Devices


Water-resistant


All wearable devices are waterproof



Connection


Each plan for the medical alert device provides a cellular connection to Utah monitoring center


In-home system plugs into a landline wall jack and uses the same connection


Where there is no landline, the in-home system uses AT&T's 4G LTE network as do the mobile devices



Two-way Voice Communication


Two-way speaker in the device


All devices have two-way speakers



Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)


Devices are cellular only


In-home range is 1,000 feet



Battery Life


Battery life of the device goes from 2.5 days up to five days dependent upon GPS use


In-home system has a 32-hour backup battery life


Mobile device has a battery life up to three days


Standard help buttons have up to five years of battery life


Auto fall detection button has a two-year battery life



Trial Period


30 days


30 days


FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE






Fall Detection


Four of the six service plans include fall detection





Fall detection is not automatically included in most of the monthly service cost plans


Can be purchased for an extra $10 per month



GPS Locator


GPS location included in five of the six RescueTouch plans


The mobile and in-car devices have GPS location tracking






Coverage Away From Home


The RescueTouch device has an unlimited range with no restrictions on available hours of locations


All monthly plans have access to 24/7 monitoring centers


In-home device can be unplugged, taken to another residence and plugged in for continuing protection



24/7 USA Call Center


24/7 Utah based monitoring center for professional monitoring plans


US-based monitoring centers operate 24/7


Two US-based monitoring centers located in Idaho and Utah operate 24/7


Multilingual services across 170 languages


OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES







None


Secure key lockboxes


Mounted wall buttons


Choice of a necklace or wrist button


Protection plan warranty for devices


Bella charms to cover necklace buttons


Bay Alarm Medical Review

Bay Alarm is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was founded in 1946 to provide home security services, and in 2007, it added the Bay Alarm Medical division to its company structure.

Bay Alarm Medical provides three separate medical alert systems and plans, and one bundled service. These products offer in-home, on-the-go and in-car medical alert services, and the bundled option allows users to choose a combination of services from the three alert systems.

Pros of Bay Alarm Medical

  • Monitoring service is available in 170 languages
  • Free monitoring for a spouse if a second personal button is purchased
  • On-the-go car tracking and crash detection for seniors who drive
  • Free vial of life — a record of complete medical information accessible for emergency personnel when attending a callout
  • Customizable packages available and encouraged
  • Change or cancel plans at any time
  • Geofencing available with in-car devices
  • Positioning for 5G technology implementation

Cons of Bay Alarm Medical

  • Fall detection is not automatically included in most plans, requiring an extra $10 a month
  • If several add-ons and plan customization are necessary, monthly costs can be substantially higher than the basic plan

RescueTouch Overview

RescueTouch was founded by Scott Lepper in 2014 to improve medical emergency response times, particularly for seniors and other vulnerable people.

RescueTouch broke away from the monitoring center model with the development of the S.O.S Caller. This device allows a versatile response to medical incidents or emergencies. It can be set to contact family members, friends, neighbors and caregivers. Alternatively, it can be set to a 24/7 contact point in a senior care home or a 911 call center.

Six plans cover basic to advanced services.

Pros of RescueTouch

  • US-based company developed by emergency medical technician
  • Select up to five contacts to assist with emergencies or incidents
  • Professional monitoring provided if desired
  • Two-way voice connection supported by family text alerts
  • Lightweight, water-resistant mobile devices available in a range of colors
  • Unlimited cellular range
  • Monthly prices from $19 basic plans up to $64 for comprehensive cover
  • Lifetime price lock-in

Cons of RescueTouch

  • Fall detection not available in lower-priced plans
  • No 24/7 operator service for family monitored plans
  • Device purchase costs from $99 – $178

Pricing Comparison

The lowest-starting points for monthly plans from Bay Medical Alarm and RescueTouch are similar: $19.95 and $19, respectively.

Bay Alarm Medical’s in-home package provides free spousal coverage on purchase of a second personal device, making this an attractive cost option for couples. The cost of the Bay Alarm Medical on-the-go mobile package starts higher than their in-home packages, and there is a one-off purchase cost for the mobile device. The in-car medical alert package starts higher than the mobile packages, but it can be combined with an in-home system to earn a discount of $10 per month for bundling the two services.

All the RescueTouch monthly packages are based around one device with two streams of monitoring: family and professional. Family monitored plans start at a higher monthly price than the basic professionally monitored plan. Extra features such as fall detection, text alerts and GPS tracking are available through the higher-priced plans for both monitoring streams. There is a one-off purchase cost for the device on top of the monthly plans. Discounts are given for prepaying quarterly and annually, with additional discounts available for members of AARP, veterans, first responders and nurses.

Our Pick

Given the different monitoring streams and package options of the two companies, there is not a standout leader. Both companies address essential features such as GPS tracking, fall monitoring and emergency contacts at the press of a button and have similar price points for their basic plans.

There do, however, seem to be medical alert devices and plans that fit the particular mobility levels and lifestyles of some seniors than others. RescueTouch delivers the ability to directly contact a number of friends and family, which may be a more comforting option for seniors with low-risk medical conditions. On the other hand, Bay Alarm Medical provides a unique in-car tracking and crash detection device which is a useful feature for seniors who are still driving.

Careful assessment of the individual’s mobility capabilities and other lifestyle factors can help prospective purchasers decide which plan is the best choice.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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