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Last Updated: May 2024

Best Medical Alert Systems of 2024
Make sure help is always nearby

With easy set-up and 24/7 monitoring, you can always get immediate emergency response and support. Compare the best at-home and on-the-go devices below.

A medical alert device can summon 24/7 emergency help fast.
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Our Best Medical Alert System

Natural Intelligence does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.

We find the 10 best options, so you can make informed decisions on tons of products and services.

*Requires a month-to-month agreement with Medical Alert Plus or On-The-Go Emergency Response Systems. First month monitoring due at time of purchase. Excludes taxes. Offer excludes professional installation which may be available upon request for an additional fee. An ADT Medical Alert system is not an intrusion detection system or medical device; ADT is not a ‘911’ emergency medical response service and does not provide medical advice, which should be obtained from qualified medical personnel. Fall Detection monitoring service is only available with Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go Emergency Response systems. Digital cellular service not available everywhere or at all times. The On-The-Go emergency system and services use and rely on the availability of cellular network coverage and the availability of global positioning system (GPS) data to operate properly. The GPS is not operated by ADT. Prices subject to change. Systems remain property of ADT. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts and is available for new customers only. Promotion is limited to one (1) discounted Fall Detection Pendant only. No termination fees. 2-day shipping delivery Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday delivery are not available. 2-Day shipping valued at $9.99; free activation valued at $29; Fall Detection valued at $11/mo. before promotion is applied. Offer availability 1/1/2024 – 3/31/2024.


@2024 ADT. All rights reserved. The product/service names listed in this document are marks and/or registered of their respective owners and used under license. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited.

†Fall detection pendant does not detect 100% of falls.


What Are Medical Alert Systems?

Medical alert systems, often known as personal emergency response systems (PERS) are devices that let users call for medical attention and assistance, 24/7, with the push of a button. They’re particularly useful for older adults or people with medical conditions who live or spend significant time alone. 

These systems typically consist of a wearable device—for instance, a pendant or wristband with a button and a base unit that’s connected to a landline or cellular network. 

When you experience an emergency like a fall or sudden illness, you can press the button on their medical alert device. This triggers a call to the medical responder or pre-programmed emergency contact, initiating prompt support and assistance. 

Some devices offer additional features such as fall detection technology that automatically triggers an alert if a fall is detected. This is extremely helpful if you’re unable to manually press a button immediately after a fall. 

In this way, medical alert systems enable you to continue living independently while having access to reliable assistance when you need it. Studies show that they reduce the fear of falling in the elderly, decrease the lengths of hospital visits, and provide family members with peace of mind.

Different Types of Devices?

Here are some of the key benefits of using medical alert systems. 

Different types of devices and customization options 

Medical alert systems come in various forms to suit different lifestyles and needs. Initially, they tended to consist of a unit placed in a home, with a pull cord or switch to be used in case of injuries such as cuts and burns or other medical situations. However, these aren’t useful if you don’t have the mobility to get to the button to push it. 

Now, you can find devices in the form of pendants worn on the neck or wristbands that are linked to a cellular or landline unit. These come with a button that, when pressed, links to the main unit and opens communication between users and medical responders. This type of device is particularly useful when you can’t get yourself to a wall unit. 

The newest medical alert systems have even better technology. Some come with automatic fall detectors, voice integration, fire alarm sensors, and even built-in blood pressure devices. 

Further, while most traditional units were designed for at-home use, some devices are now GPS-enabled and offer on-the-go protection to individuals who are at home, traveling, running errands, and more. You can even customize emergency contacts on some devices, ensuring that the system meets your specific needs. 

Ease of use

Medical alert devices are typically straightforward to operate, especially since they’re largely used by seniors who are likely less tech-savvy. This makes them quick and easy to use in an emergency compared to a smartphone, for example. In fact, most users find little to no need for training

and are satisfied with these systems.  

Faster response times during medical emergencies 

Seniors and other individuals with health conditions are at increased risk of accidents and other medical emergencies, and this is even riskier when you live alone. Studies have shown that treatment is more likely to work if provided within the “golden hour” after the emergency or onset of symptoms. For instance, this is around 60 minutes in the case of a heart attack. 

A medical alert system provides patients with faster access to help in such situations. It ensures quick communication with medical services or designated emergency contacts. This rapid response can be critical in cases of falls, heart attacks, strokes, or other sudden health issues. 

Peace of mind for both—caregivers and users

Medical alert systems can help provide peace of mind for your at-risk loved ones. Knowing that yout family members have an easy means of summoning help at any time alleviates anxieties and concerns about potential emergencies. 

Systems that are integrated with 24/7 monitoring centers and good-quality emergency services also provide an added layer of security and reassurance to family members who may not always be physically present or nearby. 

Research shows that medical alert systems also provide seniors and other individuals with a sense of security. Plus, another study found that it enhances their quality of life by improving confidence in performing daily activities. 

Reduced hospitalization stays and costs

Keeping the above benefits in mind, clinical analyses indicated that the usage of personal emergency response systems reduced mortality rates by almost four times. What’s more, hospitalization rates were down 59%, and users saved $7.19 for every dollar spent on these devices. 

Another study found that medical alert system users were also found to have decreased lengths of stay in the hospital, which once again meant that users saved money on healthcare. 

What Should I Look Out for When Buying Medical Alert Devices?

Consider the below factors when buying a medical alert device. 

Usability

A medical alert device must have a user-friendly interface. Having a complex system means you might not be able to use it in case of an emergency. 

Look for large, easy-to-press buttons that can be used by people with limited dexterity or cognitive impairments. In addition, find a system that’s simple to set up with the right details including personal information, health records, emergency contact information, and more. 

Type of system and connectivity

Think about what kind of system and connectivity you need. For example, if the user is usually home-bound and seeks help from family, friends, or neighbors to run errands, a home-device with good Wi-Fi connectivity may suffice. 

On the other hand, if the user is often on the move—for instance, traveling, doing chores, and so on, it may be better to opt for units with data connectivity and GPS capabilities. This way, they can access help even if they’re away from their home base or personal Wi-Fi. 

Whatever you choose ensure there’s seamless communication between the device and the base unit or monitoring center by testing the device a few times before relying on it. 

Special features 

Think about what—if any—additional features you want from your medical alert system. For instance, an elderly individual prone to falls may consider a device that comes with automatic fall detection. Similarly, someone with pre-existing blood pressure issues can buy a system with a built-in blood pressure tracker. 

Also, think about whether you need features such as two-way communication that allows the impacted individual to speak to the responder. Additionally, consider voice activation or integration with smart home technology. These are useful for those who struggle with mobility or dexterity issues.

Some devices even come with mobile apps where you can track your dependents’ health parameters and get notified of emergencies straight to your mobile phone.

Affordability

Lastly, look out for medical alert systems that give you the best bang for your buck. Assess different pricing structures, including purchase costs, installation fees, monitoring service subscription fees, and other hidden expenses. 

Choose a device that suits your budget but also provides you with the features that are most essential and relevant to you. Also look out for special deals such as spousal coverage which could let you provide the system to an elderly couple—for instance, your parents—at a reduced fee. 

Key Features to Consider in Medical Alert Systems

You can differentiate between various medical alert systems by comparing their performance on these key features.

Range

Ensure that the coverage area within which the device can communicate with a base unit or monitoring center aligns with your intended area of use. There’s no point offering protection in just a bedroom, only to find that a senior has fallen and requires assistance in the living room. 

Battery life

For home-based systems connected to a power source like a landline or electrical outlet, the concern about battery life isn't as significant. However, for mobile systems that provide monitoring while being worn or carried, ensuring sufficient battery life is crucial. 

For users who have support at certain times—for instance, access to a night nurse, devices can be charged regularly at night. But for those who require round-the-clock care, consider devices that can typically last for multiple days on a single charge.

Water resistance

The best devices will withstand exposure to water or moisture. This is a crucial factor for wearables, especially because many users will still need support from falls or other emergencies while bathing. In fact, falls in a bathroom are twice as likely to result in injury than falls in a living room. 

Connectivity options

Many older models can only operate on landlines. This restricts the device to a specific location such as homes. Today, most good systems will have cellular connectivity so you can buy a device that works on the go too. 

Monitoring services and speed of response

Some companies have an emergency center that responds to emergencies and dispatches services 24/7. Others have features such as automatic fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide detection. Consider your needs while assessing your choices. 

Although most medical alert systems will have a button, cord, or automatic trigger, what happens after is critical to the success of using these devices. One survey

showed that fast response time was the most important consideration for 69% of responders. Finally, some devices also offer the ability to speak to certified doctors rather than first responders.  

Who Benefits Most from Medical Alert Systems?

Medical alert systems serve as lifelines for various individuals, providing them with a safety net in times of need. Those who benefit most include the following:

  • Seniors living alone: These systems offer immediate access to help for older adults— over 65 years—who are living alone and most at risk of falls and other health emergencies, enabling them to remain independent.

  • Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions: People with heart problems, diabetes, neurological disorders, chronic illnesses, and other conditions can swiftly summon help, potentially mitigating the severity of health crises. 

  • Individuals with mobility issues: Medical alert devices, especially those with fall detection, voice capabilities, and automatic alerts can ensure aid is promptly dispatched even for those with mobility issues or developmental disabilities, or who are prone to seizures.  

  • Active aging populations: Senior members who still live a busy and active lifestyle can benefit from continuing confidently in their routine, knowing that they may require emergency medical aid from time to time. 

  • Family members and loved ones: Beyond direct users, these systems provide peace of mind to family members and loved ones who aren’t able to be physically present at all times but know that rapid assistance is available when needed. 

Making an Informed Decision: Tips for Choosing the Right Brand 

When selecting a medical alert system, it’s important to make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and budget. Here are some practical tips to guide your selection process. 

Check for hidden costs

It’s not enough to compare high-level pricing plans. Dive into the details to understand the different fees associated with each system and check that the plan you pick aligns with your budget while providing you with features that meet your needs. 

Also, speak to the sales team to seek transparency and inquire about any hidden costs. Finally, ensure you’ve read through the terms and conditions, cancellation fees, and other policies before making a purchase. 

Understand contract terms 

Review contract terms, cancellation policies, and other caveats carefully before committing to a product. Some providers may have long-term contracts or clauses that impact flexibility. Also, clarify termination procedures to prevent any unexpected obligations later on. 

Review certifications and endorsements

Research your chosen brand thoroughly and look for certifications and endorsements from reputable organizations in the medical and safety industry. These help validate the system’s quality and adherence to industry standards. 

Read customer reviews

User reviews and testimonials can give you objective and valuable insights into the system’s reliability, customer service, and overall satisfaction levels.

Evaluate features and services 

Consider which features you need and ensure that they’re provided by your chosen brand. Additionally, investigate the monitoring center’s reliability and responsiveness by checking their track record and quality of assistance through online reviews.  

Request trial periods or demos

Where possible, opt for systems that offer a trial period or live demo so you can experience the system first-hand before committing.

Our Top 3 Picks

  • 1
    Medical Guardian

    Medical Guardian

    • Best ForExceptional customer service
    • Monthly Price$29.95-$44.95
    • Trial PeriodNo

    Medical Guardian has been in business for 16 years and boasts over 300,000 users. Their medical alert systems deliver 24/7 at-home and on-the-go monitoring, while their versatile devices can connect to landlines, WiFi, and cellular networks.

    Chris McDermott, an advanced practice registered nurse and certified life care planner at Intercoastal Consulting & Life Care Planning (ICLCP), states that the company's connectivity options give consumers "the best of both worlds, as some other devices [are] limited to a landline or cellular service." He adds, "[this] service also uses Verizon for its cellular network, which can be helpful if one travels somewhere with limited connectivity and has an emergency."

    Medical Guardian provides monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription options, and offer add-on services, such as fall detection, at an extra cost. Long-term contracts are not required, and the initial subscription fee includes the price of the equipment.

    Why we chose Medical Guardian: Medical Guardian offers features like automatic emergency response, fall detection, and an extended signal range of up to 1,400 feet. In addition, their certified Diamond Monitoring Center is available around the clock and notifies your designated contact in emergency and non-emergency situations—no matter which subscription you choose. 

    Our experience: We felt that Medical Guardian's product quiz effectively determined which device best suits our needs. After answering three questions, the site recommended we try Mobile 2.0. This device had an extended, five-day battery life and GPS tracking - fit for active seniors. However, we didn't like that they asked for our contact details before sharing this recommendation.

    Pros
    • No contracts or hidden fees
    • Offers automatic emergency response in case of a fall
    • Long-lasting battery life—up to 168 hours
    Cons
    • No free trials
    • Some services require add-on purchases
  • 2
    MobileHelp

    MobileHelp

    • Best ForMedication alerts
    • Monthly Price$19.95
    • Trial Period30-day free trial

    MobileHelp takes medical alert monitoring to a new level with the most advanced equipment and features available today. Users have access to 24/7 medical support, so they’re always just the press of a button away from help in case of an emergency. In-home systems have a range of 600 ft from the base station, but you can opt for a cellular model that goes with you wherever you go. There are no long-term contracts to be concerned about, and all MobileHelp plans are moderately priced.

    MobileHelp systems let you set up daily medication reminders, so the wearer never skips a medication because they forgot. With seniors and those with memory problems, this is one of the most important features and one that you won’t find with many other medical alert systems (even the top brands). You can also set up mobile connection alerts so that when your MobileHelp system is pressed, an email or text message notification is automatically sent out to a family member or caregiver. Another important feature is the vital signs monitoring. MobileHelp systems monitor signs like blood pressure, weight, blood oxygen saturation levels, and more.

    Pros
    • No long-term contracts
    • Mobile alerts via text and email
    • Medication alerts
    Cons
    • Shorter field range than others
    • Fall detection costs extra
  • 3
    ADT Medical Alert

    ADT Medical Alert

    • Best ForCompetitive prices
    • Monthly PriceFrom $29.99 per month
    • Trial PeriodNo

    ADT offers competitively-priced medical alert monitoring systems for at-home or on-the-go use. With one press of the help button you are connected to senior-sensitive trained experts who can assess your situation, call emergency services and get in touch with your family if necessary. With 6 monitoring centers across North America answering over 19 million alarm signals annually, ADT is one of the industry’s most trustworthy companies.

    Users can expect a fast and smart response from either the base unit or a pendant. Pressing the help button will immediately alert a senior-sensitive trained expert in-house at ADT to help you directly. If you are on the phone, your call will be bypassed so you never have to wait for assistance. The expert can then assess your situation, contact and dispatch emergency services to your home or mobile location and even keep your family up to date with the situation as needed.

    Pros
    • Senior-sensitive trained experts
    • Lifetime warranty
    • On-The-Go mobile solution
    Cons
    • No fire/smoke monitoring
    • No daily check in service

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