LifeFone Medical Alert System Review
How LifeFone Compares to Other Top Medical Alert Systems
LifeFone earned the number two ranking out of 23 medical alert companies reviewed, with an impressive star rating of 4.7/5 stars. LifeFone received high scores in all of the rating categories thanks to its competitively priced devices and history of reliability, with 44 years of experience in the emergency monitoring industry and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
LifeFone performed best in the “Availability of Add-Ons” category, with a perfect 10/10 rating. It was one of the only companies to offer all of the add-on devices and features we included in our rankings, including activity tracking, on-demand location tracking, and medication reminders.
One of the company’s most useful add-on features is the Mobile Alert app. Mobile Alert has three different buttons users can press for assistance, depending on their needs: a panic button for emergency situations, a concern button, which turns into a virtual escort service when callers are alone and feel unsafe, and a medical button for users with medical conditions that require immediate attention. Users simply need to have the app open on their smartphone, and contacting the monitoring center is as easy as pressing one’s personal help button on their wearable device.
Caring.com’s Medical Alert Provider Rankings
Caring.com’s team of experts and researchers ranked the top 23 medical alert providers based on different features, price points, and qualities of the company. Those data points were split into 5 core metrics and 28 sub metrics that were weighted based on importance in determining the overall quality of the companies. Each company, including LifeFone, was scored and ranked based on those metrics and weights.
Contact LifeFone for a free quote.
Pros and Cons of LifeFone Medical Alert Systems
- Many add-on features and devices available
- Impressive 30-day battery life for At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In-Pendant
- Free spousal monitoring
- Detailed and easy-to-navigate website
- Offers a new GPS-enabled smartwatch with built-in step tracker and heart rate monitor.
- Fall detection not included in monthly cost for any devices
- Caregiver mobile app not included in monthly cost
- No connectivity between the smartwatch device and mobile app
At-Home & On-the-Go
Type of Device
In-home and mobile system
24 hours; 32-hour backup
Up to 5 days
Up to 24 hours
1,400 feet in-home, 600 feet mobile
$5 a month
$5 a month
$10 a month
$5 a month
$5 a month
$5 a month
At-Home Landline costs $29.95 a month when paid for monthly. Quarterly and annual payment options are available, which cost $27.95 a month and $22.87 a month, respectively. All plans include free shipping. Fall detection costs an additional $5 a month.
This is a classic landline-based system, so users must have a landline connection in their homes. The base station has a range of 1,300 feet and a 32-hour backup battery. The help button may be worn as a pendant or wristband and is waterproof, so it’s wearable in the shower. Users can purchase a second wearable help button for $39.99. A second person may use this button to receive monitoring service under the same plan as the initial subscriber for no extra fee.
At-Home Cellular costs $34.95 a month with a monthly plan, $32.95 a month with a quarterly plan, or $28.37 a month with an annual plan. Fall detection is available for an additional $5 a month.
This cellular-based in-home system uses AT&T cellular service to connect with the monitoring center, and is ideal for seniors who want in-home protection but do not have a landline. Other than the connection type, the system is the same as the landline-based At-Home. The base station has a range of 1,300 feet and a 32-hour backup battery, and the included personal help button is showerproof.
At-Home & On-the-Go GPS
This system costs $39.95 a month when paid monthly or quarterly. Annual plans are slightly less expensive, at $33.87 a month. Fall detection costs an additional $10 a month.
At-Home & On-the-Go GPS includes two different systems: the At-Home Cellular in-home system and On-the-Go GPS mobile system. On-the-Go GPS is a portable device the size of a deck of cards, so it fits in a belt-clip holder, pocket, or purse. The in-home system functions as a portable base station with a range of up to 1,400 feet, so users must still wear their personal help button while using the mobile device. The range on On-the-Go GPS is 600 feet, and the battery lasts 32 hours between charges.
This portable device costs $43.95 a month with a monthly payment plan. Quarterly plans cost $41.95 a month, and annual plans come to $36.62 monthly. Fall detection is available for an additional $5 a month.
The At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, VIP Active, is an all-in-one portable system. The lightweight device has a built-in two-way speaker and wears around the neck, so there is no need to wear an additional personal help button. Users can choose between AT&T or Verizon cellular and GPS location services so emergency monitoring operators and caregivers can locate the device anytime. The battery lasts up to 5 days on a single charge, and the device is waterproof, so it’s wearable in the shower.
LifeFone’s VIPx costs $45.95 with a standard monthly plan, $43.95 monthly with a quarterly plan, or $38.45 monthly with an annual plan. Fall detection is available for an additional $5 a month, and the caregiver mobile app is available for an extra $8 a month.
The VIPx is LifeFone’s smallest and most lightweight voice-in pendant with options for fall detection and a caregiver mobile app. The system detects a user’s location through a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals. This waterproof device is powered by AT&T or Verizon’s 4G LTE nationwide cellular networks, which is ideal for both inside and outside the home. It lasts up to 16 days on a full charge and comes in three colors: silver, black and white. Lastly, it’s the only Lifefone device supported by the Caregiver App. The mobile can check in on loved ones, including location and activity tracking, battery level updates, and button press history.
The new At-Home & On-the-Go Smartwatch Active costs $49.95 with a monthly plan, $47.95 a month for quarterly plans, and $42.12 monthly for the annual plan. An optional fall detection feature is available for $5 a month. Also, you can include a Daily Check-in service for $19 per month and the LifeFone Protection Plan for $5 per month.
Lifefone just introduced a new GPS-enabled wearable device called Smartwatch Active. It features advanced location technology using cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS connectivity. This smartwatch also comes with a built-in step tracker and heart rate monitor, making it an ideal device for active seniors. The Smartwatch Active device includes a built-in speaker and microphone to communicate with the LifeFone Care Team. On a full charge, the smartwatch offers up to 24 hours of battery life with optimal settings.
Starting Costs and Contracts
LifeFone does not charge any activation, installation, or equipment fees. Some customers may have to pay approximately $15 for shipping.
LifeFone customers are not required to sign long-term contracts, and users may cancel their service at any time without paying a fee. Customers who prepaid for longer service periods will receive a prorated refund for any unused months at the time of cancellation. All new customers are also eligible for a 30-day free trial, during which they can return their system for a full refund.
LifeFone operates its own monitoring center in White Plains, New York. They also work with third-party companies to monitor their backup centers, one in New York and the other in California.
All LifeFone customers set their Emergency Care Instructions, which outline important information such as medical history and emergency contacts. Operators will use callers’ Emergency Care Instructions to ensure that each user gets the help they need.
Caregiver Tools and Extra Features
Caregiver Portal and Location Tracking
Caregivers and family members of LifeFone users can use the Caregiver Portal to update their loved one’s Emergency Care Instructions. Caregivers of On-the-Go users can also use the portal to locate their loved one’s device. In the online portal, caregivers can view the device’s last known location on a map, as well as location history. The Caregiver Portal is included with LifeFone service, but location tracking costs an additional $9 a month.
Caregiver Mobile App
Offered with the VIPx device for $8 a month, the Caregiver Mobile App takes the standard caregiver portal one step further. Location tracking provides visibility into the user’s exact location through the app, and caretakers receive notifications on their mobile phones when they press an alert button. Launch the app to track activity levels with the step counter and get a notification each morning when the user’s first motion is detected. If the device is powered off or the battery is running low, the app will also notify caregivers.
For $6 a month, users or their caregivers can set medication reminders. In the Caregiver Portal, caregivers can set up to four medication reminders per day (up to 10 medications per reminder) for their loved ones. At the pre-programmed time, the user’s in-home base station will play an alert reminding the user to take their medication. Users must press a button on the base station to disable the alert, or it will automatically stop after 30 minutes. Caregivers can then check the portal to see whether their loved one accepted the reminder. If the user never presses the button, the medication reminder will be marked “ignored.”
Activity Assurance provides caregivers peace of mind that their loved one is safe and going about their day as usual. To activate this feature, users set a time for an alarm to sound daily. Users must press a button on their base station, signaling to the monitoring center that they heard the alert. If the user does not respond to the alarm within 15 minutes, the monitoring center places an outbound call to the user. If this call goes unanswered, the operator will respond to the situation according to the procedures outlined in the user’s Emergency Care Instructions. Activity Assurance is only available for At-Home landline users for a $6 monthly fee.
Daily Check-in Call
All LifeFone users are eligible for daily check-in service. This feature enables users to receive a daily call from a LifeFone care agent to check in, ensure everything is okay, or provide medication reminders and other types of reminders. Each user can customize the call to meet their needs. This feature works with all LifeFone devices and costs $19 a month.
LifeFone also offers the following add-on devices:
- Wall-Mounted Button: These buttons can be placed anywhere in the home where users would like extra protection. Like the wearable personal help button, pressing the wall-mounted button triggers a call to the emergency monitoring center. Wall-mounted buttons are available from LifeFone for $39.95 each.
- Lockbox: Lockboxes provide an easy way for emergency services to enter one’s home if they are unable to answer the door after placing an emergency call. LifeFone sells a basic hanging lockbox for $29.95 and Master Lock lockboxes for $39.95.
- Second Wearable Help Button: Users of At-Home systems can purchase a second wearable help button for $39.95. The second button may be worn by a spouse, who can be monitored under the same plan as the initial subscriber, essentially receiving monitoring service for two people for the price of one.
- Vanity Pendants: These designer-inspired pendants are perfect for those who want to improve the aesthetics of their medical alert device. These pendants look like fashionable necklaces but function like LifeFone’s standard wearable help buttons to connect users with emergency assistance. A vanity pendant costs $71.95.
- Leather Carrying Case for Mobile: It’s a standard leather carrying case that protects the mobile help button (At-Home & On-the-Go) from damage, and costs $14.95.
Who Should Consider LifeFone
Seniors with a Fixed Income
LifeFone keeps prices low from the start with zero one-time fees. Some companies’ device, activation, installation, and equipment fees can total over $100, so LifeFone customers save money right away. Additionally, LifeFone guarantees a lifetime price-lock on all subscriptions. The price that users pay for their first billing cycle is the same price they will pay for years to come. This makes it easy for seniors with a fixed income to plan ahead, as they know exactly how much they will pay for emergency medical monitoring in the future.
Seniors Who Are Prone to Falls
Almost all medical alert companies offer fall detection with some of their devices, but typically there are limitations on which devices are compatible with fall detection. All five LifeFone devices may be used with the fall detection pendant, giving seniors prone to falls plenty of choice and flexibility when choosing their devices. Since fall detection is available with all devices, LifeFone customers who need extra protection in case of falls will not feel that they must make their decision based on compatibility with fall detection.
Seniors with a Medical Condition
LifeFone offers extra features, including medication reminders, activity assurance, and daily check-in calls, which can be extremely useful for seniors with medical conditions. Rather than wait for the user to call the emergency monitoring center, these features allow LifeFone agents to be proactive and regularly check in on users to ensure they are safe and healthy. Medication reminders and daily check-in calls ensure seniors to stay on track with their medication regimens. In addition, check-in calls and activity assurance can provide peace of mind for caregivers of seniors with high-risk medical conditions.