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.

Medical alert systems allow seniors to access help 24 hours a day in the event of a fall, medical emergency or if they experience a flare-up of a chronic health condition, such as low blood sugar or symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke. Having ready access to emergency services through a wearable device allows seniors more independence, as they don’t have to rely on access to a telephone in emergencies or have regular supervision from a home caretaker.

Wearable medical alert devices typically come in the form of a pendant or wristwatch and are monitored 24/7 by professional monitoring companies. These devices can have direct access to local 911 services for emergencies, and some are equipped with fall detection, GPS technology to protect seniors prone to wandering and two-way call and response interaction, allowing the wearer to communicate through the device like a cell phone.

The security and safety that a personal safety system gives the wearer and their loved ones, plus the advances in wireless technology, have led to a growth in popularity of the devices. Now, many medical equipment companies manufacture various types of medical alert devices to fit the needs of individuals. In many cases, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid or the individual’s private health insurance policy can cover some or all of the costs of the devices.

Due to the multitude of devices, manufacturers and features, comparing the service plans and individual device features may be time-consuming, complicated and sometimes confusing. We’ve created in-depth, comprehensive comparisons of common systems and place two of the top brands side-by-side in an easy-to-read format to help individuals and their families select the right system.

Here, we are comparing RescueTouch and ResponseNow, both reputable companies that incorporate leading-edge technology in their wearable devices. These systems have many similar services and features at approachable price points.

Category


Side-by-Side Comparison


RescueTouch


ResponseNow


COSTS






Up-Front Equipment


$99 for a single device or $178 for a pair


Included with each plan



Monthly Monitoring


$19 for 911-only


$24 - $39 for a single plan monitored by a caretaker or professional service


$54 - $64 for dual packages monitored by a caretaker, the other wearer or a professional service


Starting at $34.95 for Belle


Starting at $44.95 for Belle+



Activation Fee


$0


$35



Contract


Month-to-month, quarterly or annually. No cancellation fees, but no refunds on devices after 30 days


Month-to-month, quarterly or annually. No cancellation fees



Optional Monthly Add-On Services


Several tiers of packages, each with inclusive services


Two levels of monitoring, both packages all-inclusive


FEATURES






Water-Resistant Wearable Devices


Pendant only, in four colors


Pendant, in black only



Connection


Cellular through all carriers; contacts of the wearer call into the device using their own network


Both use AT&T cellular connections; Belle+ also uses GPS technology



Two-Way Voice Communication


Yes, both device-to-device and device-to-contact


Yes



Range (from the in-home base unit for landline service)


Unlimited


Anywhere in the U.S. with AT&T coverage



Battery Life


2.5 days with GPS on


5 days with GPS off


Up to 30 days with Belle


UP to 5 days with Belle+


FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE






Fall Detection


Not on family-monitored and 911-only base plans


Yes on all other plans


Belle+ only



GPS Locator


Yes on everything except the 911-only base plan


Belle+ only



Coverage Away From Home


Yes, unlimited


Yes for both



24/7 USA Call Center


Yes, through AvantGuard monitoring, a U.S.-based company


Yes, with local operators and a noncentralized call center


OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES







Available in four colors


None


RescueTouch Overview

The Florida Health Alert & Technology company created RescueTouch to deliver a more precise way to track seniors and those with chronic health conditions. Florida Health Alert & Technology uses telehealth services and cellular technology to specifically address the needs of those 55 and older. The company has been in business for many years and is U.S.-based. Founder and CEO Scott A. Lepper believes in giving seniors greater independence and their loved ones greater peace of mind through two-way communications of the wearable device.

RescueTouch combines GPS technology, fall detection, emergency services calls and personalized monitoring through either a 24-hour monitoring company or up to five contacts that the wearer designates. AvantGuard Monitoring monitors all RescueTouch security plans, and the company is a member of the Electronic Security Association and accredited by the BBB.

RescueTouch allows great freedom of movement for the wearer. The signal is unlimited, which means that seniors can go for walks, shop or play a round of golf without the need to stay close to their home base. Another feature that sets RescueTouch above other types of medical alert systems is the capability for the wearer to talk to up to five contacts. Communication works just like a cell phone, with either the wearer or a contact initiating the connection.

For cases where the wearer may have fallen or is experiencing minor health issues that don’t necessitate an emergency response, this two-way ease of communication can reduce the number of 911 calls and allow a friend or family member to come and help. The two-way Chit Chat feature allows two wearers to communicate with each other and with contacts or the professional monitoring system. For couples or companions who wish to age in place, this technology allows them to check on one another easily.

RescueTouch Pros:

  • All-inclusive packages
  • Long battery life – up to five days
  • Choice of either family monitoring or professional monitoring
  • Two-way communication initiated by either the wearer or a contact
  • Chit Chat plan, ideal for elderly couples or companions

RescueTouch Cons:

  • Pendant-style only
  • Coverage dependant on cellular reception
  • All devices purchased new, and outright – no leasing plans

ResponseNow Overview

ResponseNow is a U.S.-based medical wearable device company with more than 30 years of experience creating medical alarms to meet the needs of the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. The product design team has analyzed the requirements of users to refine and improve its products.

ResponseNow offers either an in-home device or a Belle medical alert pendant. Both systems are monitored 24/7 by a U.S.-based security company, and the operators are trained to help determine and meet the needs of the wearers. Depending on the situation, operators dispatch EMTs, a designated caretaker or a friend or family member to render assistance. The Belle products are wearable pendants, while the in-home service response is designed to protect seniors or the chronically ill when in the home. One of the best features of the Belle (baseline service and device) pendant is the long battery life; after a three-hour charge, the battery can last up to 30 days.

Instead of one centralized operational response unit, ResponseNow uses a nationwide network of authorized, trained response agents. Decentralizing the response process allows for personalized, localized service from people who live in the same communities as the subscribers. ResponseNow prides itself on offering this regional support to enhance the safety and well-being of their customers and to help seniors feel more comfortable with the devices and response. ResponseNow certifies its home safety products using the services of Underwriters Laboratories, which specializes in product safety certification.

ResponseNow Pros:

  • Local operators and personalized service
  • Several flexible plans, with equipment included in the plan price
  • Push-button technology for ease of use
  • Both home base and wearable products available
  • Very long battery life, up to 30 days

ResponseNow Cons:

  • Limited two-way connection
  • Priced high compared to other plans
  • Device tracking quickly drains the battery

Pricing Comparison

RescueTouch units are purchased new, with a single pendant costing $99 and a twin-pack for $178. Plans are very approachable, with the baseline 911-only priced at just $19 per month. The best value is the Family Response With Fall Detector “The Whole Shebang,” which has the same features but uses a professionally monitoring system instead of family or friends as contacts. All plans at RescueTouch are inclusive, meaning that there are no hidden fees or extras that quickly add up. The plans for the Belle and Belle+ from ResponseNow are comparable to those offered by RescueTouch, as are the costs for each device.

Our Pick

We like the two-way calling feature of the RescueTouch devices, which gives it an edge over the Belle and Belle+. However, the pricing for ResponseNow includes the Belle devices, which means that subscribers don’t have to purchase the devices upfront. The features of RescueTouch are more comprehensive than ResponseNow, though. That, plus the longer battery life of the RescueTouch devices, makes this medical alert system our winner. However, both devices have received good reviews, especially with the responsiveness of their respective operators and the ease of getting assistance.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems

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