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.

Today’s networked world brings an exciting new array of wearable personal equipment that can significantly help people facing physical frailty and a range of health conditions. Relatively unobtrusive, these electronic devices are usually styled as smartwatches, bracelets, necklaces or pendants. These medical alert systems connect to emergency services and monitoring centers when an alert is triggered. Some devices can also be set to notify friends and relatives when help is needed.

Having the right type of device and plan in place helps seniors and others maintain their independent lifestyles. This also provides some degree of comfort to their families who are often worried about what may go wrong with their elderly relatives when they can’t be present.

This guide compares RescueTouch and Medical Guardian medical alert systems. Both companies have a large presence in the medical alert market, are firmly established and have developed markedly different products.

Category


Side By Side Comparison


RescueTouch


Medical Guardian


COSTS



Up-Front Equipment


$99 - $178
$99 for single devices
$178 for twin pack devices


$0 - $99 per device
$99 for Freedom Guardian device only



Monthly Monitoring


$19.00 - $64.00


$29.95 - $79.95
+$10/month for optional fall detection technology



Activation Fee


$0


$0



Contract


Month-to-month


Month-to-month



Optional Monthly Add-On Services


N/A


+$2.99/month for optional enhanced emergency notifications
+$2.99/month for optional secure key lockbox
+$6.99/month for optional Protection Plan
+$10/month for optional fall detection technology



Cancellation Fees


None
Service fees refunded at 80% of unused balance


None
Full prorated refunds for any months of unused service


FEATURES



Water-Resistant Wearable Devices


All devices are water-resistant


All devices are water-resistant



Connection


All devices have a cellular connection to a dedicated monitoring center in Utah


Landline connection for Classic Guardian device uses the existing home phone line
All other devices use AT&T's nationwide cellular network and dedicated monitoring centers



Two-Way Voice Communication


All devices have two-way speakers


Communicate with emergency services directly through the device



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


No landline service


In-home system devices have a range starting at 600 feet up to 1300 feet.



Battery Life


Devices have battery lives ranging from 2.5 days to five days


The in-home system devices have an average 32-hour backup battery life
Mobile devices have battery lives starting from 24 hours up to five days


FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE



Fall Detection


Fall detection included in four of the six available service plans


Fall detection is not automatically included in most of the monthly service cost plans
Fall detection can be purchased for some devices for an extra $10 per month



GPS Locator


GPS location is available in five of the six RescueTouch devices


GPS location tracking included in all On-The-Go devices
The In-home devices do not have GPS functionality
The Family Guardian device has activity detection plus door and window entry/exit sensors



Coverage Away From Home


All RescueTouch devices have unlimited range
There are no restrictions on location or hours


All devices and plans have access to monitoring centers where help can be dispatched across 50 U.S. states



24/7 USA Call Center


A monitoring center is based in Utah, and some plans offer 24/7 professional monitoring


US-based monitoring centers operate 24/7


OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES




None


Secure key lockboxes





Choice of a neck pendant or wrist bands





Extra wearable alert buttons





Mounted wall buttons





Voice-activated wall buttons


RescueTouch Overview

As an emergency medical technician, Scott Lepper developed a keen understanding of the importance of responding swiftly to life-threatening events. Armed with this knowledge and a passion to improve response times for medical emergencies, Scott founded RescueTouch in 2014.

RescueTouch developed a device with a unique feature. While most other medical alert equipment locks into a 911 call or to a monitoring center, the RescueTouch S.O.S Caller provides a broader range of choices. The device can be set so that the wearer can contact family members, friends, caregivers or neighbors, the front desk of an aged care facility or a 911 call center. The device is easily activated by pressing a large central button on a pendant or bracelet.

There are six plans to choose from, covering basic to advanced services.

Pros of RescueTouch

  • US-based company developed by emergency medical technician
  • Choice of up to five contacts for medical incidents and emergencies
  • Professional monitoring center if desired
  • Two-way voice connection and family text alerts
  • Portable, lightweight, water-resistant mobile devices
  • Unlimited cellular range of devices
  • Monthly plans ranging from $19 for basic features up to $64 for advanced features
  • Lifetime price lock-in

Cons of RescueTouch

  • No 24/7 monitoring in some plans
  • Fall detection not available in lower-priced plans
  • Up-front costs to purchase equipment ranging from $99 – $178

Medical Guardian Overview

Founded by Geoff Gross in 2005, Medical Guardian has the distinction of being featured in several of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing list of companies between 2013 and 2016.

Currently, Medical Guardian has seven medical alert devices and plans. There are two main product groups: in-home sets with a base station unit connecting to a monitoring center and mobile devices providing additional functionality outside the home.

Freedom Guardian sensors and plans are particularly useful for caregivers looking after seniors with cognitive decline. This plan provides activity monitoring within the home supported by door and window sensors. In the case of people living with dementia becoming confused and wandering away from home, the caregiver is notified of their absence and able to respond quickly.

There are seven plans to choose from, covering basic to advanced services.

Pros of Medical Guardian

  • US-based company in operation since 2005
  • Variety of devices and plans providing an excellent range of choice for the seniors market
  • An option for landline-based monitoring
  • Sophisticated in-home sensors that aid in tracking movements of people with dementia
  • Advanced mobile smartwatch style device with GPS and location finder
  • Devices connect to emergency services with direct two-way communication
  • Optional reminders and alerts system
  • No up-front costs for equipment except for the Freedom Guardian plan
  • 24/7 monitoring

Cons of Medical Guardian

  • Higher entry costs than RescueTouch. Monthly payment plans start at $29.95
  • Fall detection is not automatically included in most plans, requiring an extra $10 a month

Pricing Comparison

Monthly plans for RescueTouch basic services are lower priced than the Medical Guardian plans. However, Medical Guardian does not require an additional payment for its equipment (excluding the Freedom Guardian product), while the RescueTouch device always requires payment on top of the monthly plans.

RescueTouch provides discounts for prepaying quarterly and annually. Additional discounts are available for members of AARP, veterans, first responders and nurses. While Medical Guardian plans do not provide a discount for prepayment, they do provide a free month of service, free second buttons, lockboxes and shipping.

Further complicating price comparison, four out of six of RescueTouch plans include fall detection, while most of the Medical Guardian plans do not and require an additional monthly payment.

Our Pick

The very different products provided by RescueTouch and Medical Guardian make an even comparison extremely difficult, and there does not appear to be a clear-cut winner in this instance. Rather, there are medical alert devices and plans better suited to the management of some medical conditions than others.

The RescueTouch feature allowing nominated contacts to be drawn from family, friends and caregivers is a winner. Minor falls and injuries can be attended to by family and caregivers in place of an unnecessary call out to emergency services. On the other hand, Medical Guardians combination of activity and location sensors are invaluable for caregivers of people with dementia. Specific plans and devices provide timely assistance when seniors may become confused and lost and must be quickly located.

In summary, lower-risk health conditions that can be managed by a circle of family and friends are perhaps better suited to the RescueTouch products. Those with high-risk medical conditions such as dementia may be better suited to the Medical Guardian products.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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