An emergency can strike at any time, whether you’re rearranging your living room or strolling through a local shopping center. Unfortunately, you may not always have a caretaker or loved when with you when something goes wrong, which is why many seniors carry a medical alert system.

Medical alert systems come in an assortment of styles, but classic pendants and easy-to-use speaker phones are two of the most popular options. You can use either of these medical alert systems alone or combine both options for around-the-clock monitoring no matter where you go. The type of device you choose depends on a number of factors, including your lifestyle, financial situation and personal preferences.

We realize an overwhelming number of medical alert systems available for seniors exists, so we’ve compiled information to help you decide which type of device works best for you. Learn more about medical alert pendants and speaker phones in our detailed sections below, so you can make an informed decision. We weigh the pros and cons of each type of device, plus discuss other essential information you should know before making a purchase.

Pendant Medical Alert Systems: Are They Right for You?

Many elderly adults enjoy the convenience of a traditional medical alert system pendant. Worn like a regular necklace, the pendant delivers continuous protection as you carry on with your daily activities. Look for a pendant with automatic fall detection, which prompts assistance during a fall that renders you unconscious or unable to reach the help button.

There are many benefits associated with medical alert pendants, but these handy devices also have some drawbacks. A pendant’s exact features vary depending on the company and model you choose, but here are some potential pros and cons:


  • Waterproof, so you can wear it while swimming or bathing
  • Water-resistant, so you can wear it in the shower or rain
  • Lightweight yet resilient
  • Easy to use
  • Generously sized help button
  • Effective
  • May offer automatic fall detection
  • Affordable
  • Available in fashionable jewelry designs
  • Unisex design
  • Quickly connects seniors with emergency assistance
  • Long battery life


  • Often requires a compatible base station, so it’s best for in-home use
  • No special features aside from fall detection
  • May not have a caretaker app
  • May require a landline connection
  • Limited range

Speaker Phone Medical Alert Systems: Could You Benefit From One?

Active seniors may prefer a speaker phone medical alert system over a pendant medical alert system. Speaker phone systems often use cellular connections, which means elderly adults are protected beyond their home and yard. You can talk and listen when you use a two-way speakerphone, and you may even have the option to call friends and family instead of just emergency workers. This is a great option for seniors who want to keep in touch with loved ones using something less complicated than a smartphone.

Before deciding a speaker phone medical alert system is right for you, consider the possible benefits and disadvantages of your unit. Here are some pros and cons often associated with speaker phone medical alert systems:


  • Mobile devices work anywhere with a cellular connection
  • Compact design
  • May offer automatic fall detection
  • Water-resistant
  • GPS technology tracks your location
  • Connects you with help quickly if an emergency occurs
  • Can be worn in different ways, such as on a lanyard or belt hook


  • May cost more than a pendant medical alert system
  • May have a shorter battery life than a pendant
  • Can get confusing for seniors who prefer a single-button device
  • Might be bulkier or heavier than a pendant

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medical Alert System

A medical alert system is often a long-term investment, especially if you choose a device that doesn’t offer a monthly plan. That’s why it’s important to carefully weigh the benefits and disadvantages of multiple medical alert systems before you commit. Before you make a decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s my budget?
  • Do I prefer simple devices or modern ones?
  • Do I want a wearable medical alert system or something I can place in my pocket or purse?
  • Do I need a mobile medical alert system or an in-home unit?
  • Should I choose a medical alert system with a caretaker app?
  • Do I need automatic fall detection?
  • Am I interested in any special features?
  • Does online shopping work for me, or do I need to see the devices in person?
  • Does the device have a trial period?
  • What happens if I cancel my subscription?

Think about your answers carefully, and use them to choose a medical alert system that fits your needs. The right device provides invaluable protection when an emergency arises — and it can save your life.