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.

You may have heard the statement about how every minute counts for stroke victims. That’s because a whopping 2 million brain cells die every 60 seconds until blood resumes its normal flow. Delaying stroke care can have long-term consequences and may even result in death, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected if an emergency arises. Because of this, many elderly adults rely on the dependable performance of medical alert systems.

The best medical alert systems offer automatic fall detection for subscribers. When an elderly adult falls, whether they trip over furniture or collapse from exhaustion, emergency services are dispatched immediately. This helps seniors get the prompt medical care they need, which may prevent serious complications from arising during their recovery.

If you’re interested in owning one of these life-saving devices, you might be wondering how to get one. There are numerous places where you can buy a medical alert system, including the ones listed in our informative guide.

Explore Local Retailers

Many retailers, including Walgreens and Costco, offer medical alert systems for their customers. Some of these devices are only available online, but you can find others near the pharmacy or wellness section of the store. You may also have success finding medical alert systems at Walmart, CVS and Target.

Shopping locally offers the advantage of being able to touch and see the devices before you make a purchase. This gives you a good estimate of the size and weight, so you can determine whether the product is something you can comfortably carry. You may also have access to special in-store promotions or discounts when you buy a medical alert system at a local retailer.

Shop Online for Medical Alert Devices

Many seniors enjoy shopping for medical alert systems online because they can read customer reviews before making a purchase. Products on often have hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of reviews, so customers can easily get a good idea of what pros and cons to expect. Consider sorting reviews from the lowest to the highest rating, so you can spot potential issues right away. You can also use the search box in the review section to look for important features, such as whether a device is waterproof or requires a landline.

Be careful if you browse sites such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace that carry used devices. You may not get the full benefits associated with a new device, such as a warranty or equipment protection. You may also end up with a broken or damaged device that doesn’t perform as expected.

Contact Medical Alert System Providers

Sometimes it’s best to purchase a medical alert system directly from the manufacturer because then you know exactly what you’re getting. However, this can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with many medical alert companies. Here are some you can explore as you search for the device you want:

  • Life Alert
  • ADT
  • MobileHelp
  • Medical Guardian
  • LifeFone
  • Boomer Alert
  • QMedic
  • Medical Care Alert
  • GreatCall
  • Bay Alarm Medical

These trusted companies offer medical alert systems for every budget, whether you want a classic pendant or a contemporary smartphone. Many of these systems are available online, but some companies, such as Life Alert, also discuss devices over the phone. You can also request a pamphlet or catalog in the mail.

When you shop for medical alert devices directly from the provider, look for FAQs or Help sections in case you have questions. Make sure the system you choose has the benefits you need, including any or all of the ones on this list:

  • Waterproof design
  • Automatic fall detection
  • Cellular connection
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Services available in multiple languages
  • Free cancellation
  • PIN-protected lockbox
  • Caregiver app or portal
  • Medication reminders
  • Two-way connections

You should also find out if a company offers a trial period and whether there are fees for activation and installation. Some medical alert companies also provide lifetime warranties or money-back guarantees for new subscribers, so you aren’t stuck with a broken or damaged device if something goes wrong.

Finding the right medical alert system takes time, but it’s worth the effort. A medical alert device gives you the freedom to age independently by providing protection day and night. Explore your options carefully, then make a selection that fits your lifestyle and budget.