Medical alert systems are widely used devices that can contact medical personnel in the event of an emergency. Although mainly designed for elderly people, they can be used by anyone with a medical condition that could require emergency care.
In addition to emergency protection, medical alert systems come with a range of other features. They can tell you when to take your medications, and at what dose. Many systems let you schedule check-in calls from an agent to make sure that you are doing well. They also have built-in fall detection, where they reach out to medical personnel if you are unconscious or unable to press the button on the device.
Medical alert systems are an affordable alternative to traditional in-home care. However, they have limitations. They cannot provide immediate care, so they should not replace a nurse for those who need immediate emergency care.
Best Medical Alert Systems
Medical Guardian’s alert system is one of the highest-rated alert systems available, ranked #1 nationwide through various reviews and studies. Medical Guardian has systems designed for at-home use as well as on-the-go use options so you can choose the solution that is perfect for you or your loved one and whatever their situation might entail.
Medical Guardian is an affordable alert system that promises no hidden fees and no long-term contracts as well as pro-rated and full refunds for applicable scenarios. You get your first month free and service even comes with an extra button as well as a free lockbox.
ResponseNow is your standard medical alert system that you wear around your neck. It’s not exceptionally fashionable, but it’s also not gaudy and overly conspicuous. This is a little black box on a necklace.
This company also offers in-home solutions that can pair with the necklace device. It’s easy to use. You simply press your button to activate, speak with a friendly operator that is always available, and wait for help to arrive.
Through ResponseNow you get free activation, free shipping, and free equipment. You simply pay the monthly subscriptions – and you can choose the plan that is right for you.
QMedic designed their medical alert system to be intuitive and simple so you get the best of both worlds and can rest assured you will get the connections and care that you or your loved one’s need.
This medical alert system assesses the situation and connects you to the appropriate care service rather than instance ambulance call like some medical systems utilize. QMedic’s system has also been awarded numerous awards and positive rankings.
This system is designed to be versatile, a perfect option for aged, disabled, or blind individuals who need a care tool at their service. This system is designed to be worn like a watch or a pendant so you have 24/7 access. Additionally, the system recognizes abnormalities and checks in.
MobileHelp is another highly rated medical alert system that has earned their place amongst the ranks with their savvy technology, U.S. operator personnel, and quick help.
MobileHelp prides themselves on providing a quick and immediate response when you push your button. The response center provides professional service every minute of every day and the technology of the devices is second-to-none.
This medical alert system provides various options that cover your home or your on-the-go needs at an affordable monthly are. This company has been awarded an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau.
5Bay Alarm Medical
Bay Alarm Medical works with the simple push of a button to alert emergency services or neighbors, friends, and family depending on the situation. This system is highly rated for response and can work in a number of ways.
You wear the button as a watch of necklace and it can even connect to a mobile phone app as well. Keep your independence while maintaining ultimate safety in case the unexpected occurs in your home.
This alert system has been in use for more than 70 years, earning the trust of customers across the nation. You can even jazz up your pendant with a trendy necklace so it’s not obvious you’re wearing the button.
6One Call Alert
One Call Alert has a number of different products from a complete protection set that includes a home base, pendant, and mobile button to a simple on-the-go mobile piece that you can take anywhere with you.
One Call Alert strives to provide you with reliable options to meet your needs so you can choose what works best for you and go from there. The monthly fees vary based on the products you determine fit your needs. The key for each device is that you simply press the button and receive immediate help, no matter the hour.
LifeStation has a versatile tool that can even connect with Amazon Alexa. You can monitor your loved ones from a distance and check on them to be sure they are ok.
This is not the prettiest or most attractive necklace piece but it’s easy to use and always accessible. Additionally, you could easily tuck it into your shirt top to conceal it if you prefer.
The LifeStation medical alert system can be connected to your home landline or your mobile phone so you can use what works best for you and it comes at an affordable monthly rate. This company has received high rankings in the top 10 alert systems as well as nationwide recognition.
Sky Station is designed to work like a walkie-talkie but you are guaranteed to always get the connection you need rather than static. Should you need help, you are immediately connected with 911 rather than an operator. The Sky Angel is small and can be attached to a necklace or keychain. It is also waterproof.
You can purchase this device in your choice of 4 color options.
9Full House Wireless Caregiver Pager
This device is uniquely designed for an individual who has family or a hired caregiver taking care of them. The basic idea is that your signal alert contacts the caregiver or family member with the receiver with a page to let them know you’ve triggered the system.
While you don’t have access to an operator, your caregiver will get an instant alert and the alerts can go out to more than one individual so if the first does not respond there is a backup.
The Full House Wireless Caregiver Pager is most ideal when someone is always nearby or in the same home to answer the call.
10Blue Star Senior Tech Ranger Advanced
Blue Star’s Ranger includes a GPS tracking system so that responders of any kind can find your real-time location. This device is worn around your neck and works in coordination with your mobile device. You need a monthly subscription for agent response and monitoring.
This device is reliable and small, operating through 4G to make it a technologically advanced option far superior to some of the options on the market. This company is owned and operated by veterans and the response team for calls is wholly U.S. based.
How We Rank
When ranking the best medical alert systems, there were a few things to consider. The first thing we looked at was whether the company provided versatile options. We wanted to ensure that no matter which product you selected, you would be covered at all times. It would be a shame if you purchased a medical alert system that only worked in your home but you’re on-the-go a lot.
We did not necessarily require our ranks to carry both options but rather required that you could either select a home system, like Medical Guardian or an on-the-go system, like Mobile Help, or that the alert system was one that could always be carried on your person so you would always be covered, like Sky Angel.
Next, we chose systems that either offered monitoring for abnormal activity or offered fall detection. Some systems shared in our ranks offer both while some offer one or the other. We felt as though a high-quality system should offer at least one of these so that you would be protected in even the worst situations.
Third, we reviewed fees and affordability. A system that boasts affordable fees and no up-front costs could easily pull you in and then add hidden costs that you simply can’t get away from. We wanted integrity for you in your choices and therefore wanted to be sure you wouldn’t be blind-sided with unexpected costs. Companies like LifeStation and One Call Alert shined here
Next, we looked at simplicity. We felt it was essential to have a system that would be easy to use but also would not be falsely triggered too easily. In most cases, when a medical alert system is needed, it’s for someone who has suffered a fall or has an extreme medical issue. We wanted them to be able to seek help without extensive effort.
Finally, our last piece of criteria was the type of response. Our preferred systems have operators that are always available so you have no worry that your call for help could go unanswered, like Response Now. We also allowed for systems that called emergency services or paged a caregiver, but we were careful to note these limitations.
After all this, we determined the top 10 best medical alert systems on the market.
1Medical alert systems can alert medical personnel quickly in an emergency situation. One of the biggest fears of people who live alone is an unexpected emergency. Without anyone around, medical personnel may not be able to respond in time should something go wrong.
Medical alert systems are designed to protect you in the case of an emergency. If you fall and are unable to reach the phone, you can call for emergency care by pushing a button. This connects you to an agent, who can then reach out to medical personnel.
Some medical alert systems can call for medical care if you go unconscious or are unable to press the button on the device. This can be life-saving in the event of a stroke or other medical emergency that leaves you unconscious or in a state of paralysis.
2Medical alert systems can save money compared to a traditional caregiver. A medical alert system won’t be able to replace a traditional caregiver. However, it can monitor your health around the clock, and alert medical personnel should you have an emergency.
This makes it a more affordable way of protecting yourself in the event of a medical emergency. If you are healthy and mostly independent, but at a higher risk of a medical emergency, a medical alert system can give you the right level of protection without having to spend too much money.
3Medical alert systems provide 24-hour monitoring. Medical alert systems are designed to protect you every hour of the day.
Many medical emergencies occur at night when traditional caregivers often aren’t available or won’t respond to calls. A medical alert system can quickly alert medical first responders should you have an emergency, even if you are unable to contact them yourself.
If you do have an emergency, an agent will stay on the phone with you until help arrives. They can also relay any messages you have to family members to help them know how you are doing.
4Medical alert systems provide check-ins by a professional health care team. Medical alert systems have continued to improve over the years, with many now offering added features such as automated check-ins. Someone from the service will reach out to you to ensure that all is well. If you aren’t able to respond, they can contact emergency medical care to check on you.
This service can save lives, as people are often unable to respond to the phone or get in touch with medical personnel after a medical emergency.
5Medical alert systems keep you independent for longer. As old age approaches, medical demands and lack of mobility can severely limit independence. Medical alert systems keep you independent for longer, allowing you to stay in your home without a caregiver. They allow you to go about your day without fear of an accident.
6Medical alert systems ease the burden on families. Without a medical alert system, it can be hard to know how family members are doing. It often falls on the family to check in, adding an extra burden of worry and anxiety.
Medical alert systems can make it easier to live alone without putting extra strain on your family. Most systems allow you to set up alerts and contact lists. Should you have any problems, the service can reach out to the people on the contact list, letting your family know what’s happened.
They can also set reminders for you to reach out to your family. These check-ins can help give your family peace of mind and make it much easier for you to reach out quickly.
7Medical alert systems assist with medications. When people live alone, they may forget to take their medications or take the wrong dose. This is especially common when elderly people have early-stage dementia. Although they may be able to function normally in day to day activities, missed doses can put their lives at risk.
Many medical alert systems come with medication notifications that alert you when to take your medication, as well as the dose you should be taking. You simply have to program the device when you first receive it, inputting your medication and the dose. You can then schedule a time for the reminders.
8Medical alert systems reduce anxiety. Many people who live alone have increased anxiety, fearing that there is no one to help them should anything happen. They might limit their activities, afraid to move and hurt themselves.
A medical alert system can give you peace of mind as you move around your house and carry out day to day activities. Since you don’t have to be at home to receive help, you may also feel more comfortable going out and getting things done.
9Medical alert systems provide safety in the shower. One major concern for people living alone is a fall in the shower or bathroom. Many medical alert systems are fully waterproof, so you can use them in the shower or while swimming.
If you should slip and fall, many medical alert systems also have automatic fall detection and will reach out to medical personnel if you are unresponsive.
10Medical alert systems provide protection from smoke and carbon monoxide. Most medical alert systems have built-in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Should you fall asleep while cooking or forget to turn the gas off, first responders will be notified and can respond quickly to the scene.
11Medical alert systems increase exercise levels. Elderly people at risk of accidents often avoid getting exercise, fearing that an accident could occur. Without anyone around to give them care, they may stay seated or in bed most of the day, and not get the proper amount of exercise. Research has shown that fear of falling is one of the main reasons elderly people avoid moving around (1).
Medical alert systems can increase exercise levels by making people less anxious to leave the house. Lower levels of exercise are associated with increased risk of heart problems, dementia, and depression. Although a medical alert system won’t prevent these conditions directly, it can reduce the chance of developing them by increasing physical activity.
12Medical alert systems help persons suffering from epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that involves frequent seizures, which are often hard to predict. Many people with epilepsy who live alone are at risk, as they can have a seizure while showering, going down the stairs, or cooking (2).
Medical alert systems can protect people with epilepsy, alerting medical personnel in the event of a seizure. They can detect falls, so if you slip while having a seizure, emergency responders will be notified. Most medical alert systems will do this automatically if they detect a fall, so you can still get help even if you’re unconscious.
13Medical alert systems are easy to use. Medical alert systems are a better option than cell phones because they are much easier to use, and don’t require any dialing. Most systems work with just the press of a button, allowing you to contact emergency personnel without picking up the phone.
They also have a much longer battery life, so they should always be working if you have an emergency. Because they attach to a necklace, you don’t have to worry about forgetting your system when you move around.
14Medical alert systems provide location tracking. Many services also offer GPS tracking. If you leave the house and have an emergency, the company will know where you are and can direct emergency personnel to the proper location. Once you leave the house, they will switch your connection to cellular, so that you are always connected to the service.
1Medical alert systems, although helpful for many people, are not appropriate for all situations. They are designed to assist people who are independent but at a higher risk of accidents such as slips or falls that could require emergency medical care. They should not be used as a substitute for full nursing care.
2Although response times can be fast, a medical alert system will not be able to get you instant care. If you have a medical condition that requires attention within minutes, then a medical alert system will not be fast enough.
3Medical alert systems may also not work for people who live in rural areas. Some companies will not offer the service if you are too far away from a hospital. If they do, response times could be quite long, and may not be quick enough to get you the care you need in the event of an emergency.
4Most medical alert systems may be faulty without you knowing. Unfortunately, they cannot be counted on to work all of the time. Batteries may die, or the connection to the service can temporarily be lost.
Medical alert systems can trigger false alarms. Many medical alert systems are enhanced with fall detection or a continual monitoring system that detects unusual behavior. While these can be great features that serve a useful purpose, they are certainly not fail-safe. (3)
Unfortunately, fall detection is one of the highest false alarms triggered by these alert systems. On the other hand, it’s also better to be safe than sorry by having a safeguard in place for protection.
Before being used, the medical alert system will need to be set up. You have to connect the base to the service, which can often be done by landline, a cellular connection, or through WiFi.
Once connected, you can set up preferences for the system. This will often include adding the contact list of people that should be called in the event of an emergency, as well as setting up any automatic check-in times. Some systems also allow you to add all of your medications and their doses so that you can be reminded to take them at the appropriate time.
To use a medical alert system, all you have to do is press a button. This will contact an agent, who can then call emergency services. Many medical alert systems will also reach out directly to emergency personnel.
Most medical alert systems have a long battery life. However, they’ll still require replacing eventually. It’s advised that you replace the batteries every few months. Although they may last longer, this ensures that you never run out of battery and put yourself at risk.
A medical alert system should not be used as a replacement for nursing care. Rather, it is designed to assist people who can still function independently but are at a higher risk of accidents that may require emergency medical care.
How expensive are medical alert systems? Medical alert systems vary widely in price, depending on the features of the service. However, they tend to be much more affordable than traditional caregivers and cost a fraction of what you’d pay for a nursing home.
Most medical alert services will charge a monthly fee and lock you into a contract for a certain period. These contracts are usually 1-3 years. The company may also charge an activation fee, which you have to pay before you begin service.
How do medical alert systems work? Most medical alert systems work by connecting you directly to the company’s service center. If anything goes wrong, the agent will call medical first responders so that you get the care you need. The system has a device that you keep on you at all times. This is then linked to a base somewhere in your home that is connected by landline, a cellular connection, or WiFi to the company’s agents.
Should something go wrong, you just press the button on the device, and you’ll be connected to an agent. Many medical alert systems will also automatically contact an agent if you fall.
Can you set up automatic check-ins? Yes. Many medical alert systems will let you set up automatic check-ins, where an agent from the company will contact you at specific times to see if everything is going well. If you don’t respond, they can reach out to relatives or to emergency personnel.
Will medical alert systems work via WiFi? Yes, most medical alert systems can be connected to the internet through a WiFi connection, giving you more coverage throughout the house. However, you should check with each individual service, as not all medical alert systems will connect via WiFi.
Are medical alert systems just for the elderly? No. Medical alert systems are designed for anyone who is at risk of falls or accidents and needs additional monitoring. They can be used by people with limited mobility, epilepsy, or a wide range of other medical conditions that could require emergency care?
Can medical alert systems contact your family? Yes. Most medical alert systems will allow you to set up contact preferences. Should anything go wrong, the people on this list will be notified directly, in addition to emergency medical personnel who respond quickly to get you the appropriate care.
Are medical alert systems just for people who live alone? No. Medical alert systems are often used by couples where one or both of the people have medical conditions that could require emergency attention. Often, an elderly person cannot give their spouse the care they need or is unable to contact emergency services themselves.
A medical alert system can help ease the burden on couples and protect them in the event of a medical emergency.
Will medical alert systems work in rural areas? That depends on the service. Some medical alert systems will work in rural areas, although response times can be quite long. However, other companies may not offer service in areas that are too far away from a hospital.
Are medical alert systems covered by Medicare? Although no one doubts their effectiveness, for the most part, insurance companies and Medicare will not cover the cost of these life-saving alert buttons. However, customers are encouraged to call their insurance provider to check if they qualify for reimbursement.
How much are medical alert systems per month? Life Alert’s monthly fees range from $49.95 to $89.85. In comparison to our monthly prices, Alert1’s monthly fees range from to depending on which device you purchase. On average, most medical alert costs range from $29.95 to $89.95 a month.
Does insurance cover medical alert bracelets? Health insurance plans may reimburse you for the purchase of your medical ID. When visiting with your doctor, ask for a prescription for your Medical ID jewelry based on your medical condition.
Do veterans pay for medical alert systems? Personal alert devices are provided at no additional charge to Veterans, through their veterans administration.
Do medical alert systems have fall detection for seniors? Many medical alert systems have fall detection systems for an extra cost.
Are medical alert systems tax deductible? As of today, the IRS does not implicitly state that medical alert devices are eligible for itemized tax deductions. They do, however, allow for various medical expenses to be deducted.
Do medical alert systems interfere with pacemakers? If you’re worried that a medical alert device may cause interference with your pacemaker, contact your doctor and the manufacturer of your pacemaker to make sure that it is not susceptible to RF emissions consistent with the frequency of your medical alert device.
Do I need a medical alert bracelet? It’s commonly said that a medical alert bracelet speaks for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. Thus, it’s especially critical for persons who have an illness that might render them unable to speak to wear a medical id bracelet or medical alert pendant.
Is it possible to get a free medical alert device? Some companies offer free products and installation for their medical alert systems but still require a monthly fee. There are no truly free systems available but there are some options to help cover the costs. Life Line is a free phone program that is available to individuals with low income. This is a discount program that specifically works with the cost of your landline or mobile device. In most cases, you must be receiving some form of government assistance to qualify. Additionally, veterans can get a phone dialer device through the Veteran’s Administration that allows the individual to program 4 numbers that can be dialed in an emergency.
How quick is the response time from a standard medical alert system? The quickest response time is 20 minutes. However most responses will be within 60s or less, especially if it’s a high-quality medical alert system.
Medical alert systems are used by millions of people to help them in the case of an emergency. They can connect you to medical personnel, as well as reach out to family members to let them know that there’s been an emergency.
Systems also come with a wide range of added features designed to make life easier for those who are at a higher risk of accidents. They can remind you to take medication, as well as check in automatically throughout the day to ensure that nothing has gone wrong.
Many medical alert systems have built-in fall detection, contacting an agent, and reaching out to emergency medical personnel should you have an accident.
Medical alert systems are safe, with few safety risks. However, they do have some limitations. They cannot offer immediate care, so they are not a full substitute for nursing care. They may also be unavailable in certain rural areas that are too far away from a hospital.