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Find the Best Medical Alert Systems

A medical alert device is a worthwhile investment for seniors who live alone. Read our guide to research the best medical alert system for you. During a crisis, a medical alert device connects you to an emergency responder automatically or with a press of the help button. We explain what to look for comparing equipment, features and costs.

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by Shelley Webb Senior Products Contributing Editor
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Compare Top Medical Alert System Reviews

Medical Guardian
Read 931 Reviews

Senior home alert systems and on-the-go packages priced $29.95 to $39.95/month. In-home device range up to 1,300 feet from base. Mobile battery lasts up to 5 days. Additional equipment and fall detection available.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (800) 863-6980
Philips Lifeline
Read 4,480 Reviews

Monitored medical alert systems with optional fall detection priced at $29.95 to $54.95/month. In-home range is up to 800 feet from the base station. Backup battery lasts up to 30 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (800) 594-0862
Medical Alert
Read 1,017 Reviews

Medical alert systems priced $19.95 to $39.95/month. Lockbox and auto fall detection available. Home alert system range is up to 600 feet from the base unit and has a battery life of up to 30 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (800) 852-0856
Bay Alarm Medical
Read 3,477 Reviews

Medical alert systems for seniors start at $19.95/month. Offers optional fall detection for $9.95/month. In-home range up to 1,000 feet from base. Mobile battery lasts up to four days.

Learn More
Read 734 Reviews

Monthly monitoring fees start at $24.95 and include equipment costs. Add fall detection for $5/month more. Home medical alert device range is up to 1,300 feet from base station. Backup battery lasts up to 42 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (866) 202-0298
Read 1,470 Reviews

Monitored medical alert systems start at $19.95/month. Offers optional fall detection for $7/month. Home base unit has range up to 500 feet. Mobile device battery lasts up to five days.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (866) 235-1920
GetSafe Medical Alert

Monitoring fees start $24.99/month. Sells wearable and stationary equipment for $99 to $359. Does not require long-term contracts. Gives equipment discounts to new clients when they opt into annual payments.

Life Alert Emergency Response
Read 5,365 Reviews

Medical alert system prices from $49.95 to $89.95/month. Equipment costs from $95 to $198. In-home device range is up to 800 feet with a battery life of up to 10 years. No fall detection available.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (800) 920-3410
BlueStar SeniorTech
Read 644 Reviews

Medical alert systems for seniors priced around $24/month. Equipment costs vary by package. Offers optional fall detection. In-home range from the base station is up to 600 feet. Mobile battery life lasts up to 48 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (855) 887-8667
Read 186 Reviews

Monitored systems start at $19.95/month and include medical alert equipment. Optional fall detection for extra $10/month. Device range is up to 600 feet from the base unit. Base unit has a battery life up to 24 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (800) 803-4616
Lively Mobile
Read 1,330 Reviews

Cellular medical alert systems with 5Star start at $14.95/month plus equipment costs and a one-time activation fee. The mobile battery unit lasts up to 24 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (888) 808-2415
Cox Homelife Care
Read 107 Reviews

In-home medical alert systems priced around $35/month with on-the-go options for $45/month. Alert buttons for seniors include automatic fall detection. Available only in Cox service areas.

Walgreens Ready Response
Read 13 Reviews

In-home and mobile medical alert systems priced $29.99 and $39.99/month. Offers optional fall detection. Home devices have range up to 380 feet from the base. Backup battery life lasts up to 30 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (855) 887-8667
Jitterbug Smart
Read 985 Reviews

Monitoring fees start at around $20/month. Cellular medical alerts for seniors priced at $149.99. No fall detection available. Devices equipped with 5Star emergency response service.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (866) 325-3469
Medical Care Alert
Read 11 Reviews

Monthly monitoring costs start at around $30. Offers optional fall detection for $10/month. In-home base unit has a range of up to 1,000 feet. Battery lasts up to 72 hours.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (888) 988-7409
Read 1,300 Reviews

Medical alert systems for the elderly start at around $20/month. Offers free fall detection with monitoring subscription. Home alert range is 600 feet from the base station. Requires landline for some devices.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (844) 900-0575
Jitterbug Flip
Read 1,225 Reviews

Cellular medical alerts compatible with hearing aids start around $20/month plus $99 equipment cost. Devices aren’t waterproof. Does not offer fall detection. No long-term contract required.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (800) 650-6452
ADT Medical Alert

Offers three plans from $29.99 to $39.99 for in-home and mobile monitoring. Allows customers to add fall detection to premium plans for $10 more. GPS tracking available with its On-The-Go plan.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (855) 904-4221

Medical alert plans start around $30/month and include equipment costs. In-home range is up to 1,000 feet from the base station. Allows caregivers to follow and monitor their loved one’s behavior.

Learn More Call Now Toll Free (855) 887-8667

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What is a medical alert system?

Medical alert systems are made up of a base unit and portable emergency help button, usually on a medical alarm bracelet or neck pendant. When the wearer presses the help button, the personal emergency response system (PERS) automatically alerts an emergency response. Medical alert devices connect to monitoring centers through a small radio transmitter in the base station that’s connected to a cellular or landline receptor.

The best medical alert devices are lightweight and not much larger than a key ring. The device connects you to an emergency responder if you have a sudden accident. Much like phones, monitoring devices can run on a cellular connection or require a phone line.

Medical alert systems can be monitored or unmonitored, are available with or without fall alert features and connect to a home-based landline or cellular network. Cell phones and digital assistants like Amazon Alexa don’t have all the features most seniors need to age in place. A wearable help button is more reliable during an emergency, especially in the shower or bath. You don’t have to worry about reaching a phone to call for help because you’re wearing the device.

How do medical alert systems work?

Imagine something terrible happening while you’re in your yard, out visiting friends or in the bathroom. With a medical alert system, you can be automatically connected to trained emergency response operators or a trusted loved one with the press of a button.

1 in 4 U.S. residents
aged 65+ fall each year

If you have a monitored system, the medical alert connects you to a live operator through a two-way speaker system. The operator then either contacts local emergency services or a trusted loved one on your predetermined caregiver contact list. Unmonitored medical alert systems connect you to pre-programmed contact numbers until someone who can assist answers.

The main components of any in-home medical alert system are the base station and a portable help button. The help button for seniors is usually worn around the neck on a pendant, on the wrist like a watch or clipped to a belt. Some senior alert systems utilize motion detectors, smartphone features and home automation technology to monitor for emergencies.

Mobile medical alert systems for seniors with active lifestyles are designed to function without a stationary base unit. Much like in-home medical alert systems, the device automatically connects to a trained emergency response operator through the speaker system when the wearer presses the emergency call button.

Medical alarm devices can be passive or active. An active device requires you to press a medical alarm button to call for help, while passive systems monitor movements to determine an emergency. Fall detection is one feature of a passive medical alert system device.

Both monitored and unmonitored systems include a panic button or an emergency call button for seniors, and many have the option to add fall detection. If a monitored medical alert system detects a fall, the company may first try to make contact by phone before contacting emergency personnel, depending on your plan’s monitoring services.

Cost of medical alert systems

Price is a significant factor when comparing medical alert systems, especially if you’re on a fixed income. Total medical alert costs include regular monitoring fees ($20 to $90 a month), equipment charges (up to $200 or more) and potential activation or installation fees (up to $100 each).

It’s essential to read the fine print before opting into any medical alert contract. Some companies charge high cancellation fees if you terminate services early. You should also look for a company that offers a price lock guarantee to ensure the system remains affordable. Keep in mind that if you buy a medical alert system and pay for monitoring, you may not be able to afford any price increases at the end of the year.

How much does a medical alert cost per month?

The average monthly cost of medical alert systems with monitoring is between $20 and $90 a month. Most medical alert companies have packages that include free equipment as long as you have an active monitoring subscription. Many companies offer both month-to-month service and contract periods. New customers often get a price break if they enroll in a monitoring contract with a yearly payment plan. Some companies provide unmonitored medical alert systems with no monthly fees at all.

medical guardianmobilehelpmedical alertphilips lifeline
Accredited partner
Monthly monitoring fee$29.95 - $39.95$19.95 - $41.95$19.95 - $32.04$29.95 - $49.95
Device fee$0$0$0Up to $149
Fall protection+$5/month+$10/month+$10/monthIncluded in some plans
Activation fee$0$0$0Up to $58.95
Free trial period30 days30 days30 days
Customer serviceRead reviewsRead reviewsRead reviewsRead reviews
Accredited partnerMonthly monitoring feeDevice feeFall ProtectionActivation feeFree trial periodCustomer service
medical guardian$29.95 - $39.95$0+$5/month$030 daysRead reviews
mobilehelp$19.95 - $41.95$0+$10/month$030 daysRead reviews
medical alert$19.95 - $32.04$0+$10/month$030 daysRead reviews
philips lifeline$29.95 - $49.95Up to $149Included in some plansUp to $58.95Read reviews

How to choose a medical alert system

As you compare medical alert systems, the first step is deciding whether you want the option to take the device out of your house. Then determine if you would feel safer if your device connects to a trained operator and whether you need fall detection. Remember, it’s crucial to read medical alert device reviews to learn about average customer experience and to always pay attention to the fine print before you sign a contract.

1. Choose between an in-home vs. mobile medical alert system

Home-based senior medical alert systems have a range between 400 to 1,400 feet from the base station. Mobile systems are designed with a more active lifestyle in mind and have GPS features and an unlimited cellular range.

  • Home-based medical alert system: Sometimes referred to as traditional medical alert systems, home-based systems have not changed much since the 1970s. Home-based alert systems come with a wireless pendant that connects to a base station. Not all home-based medical alert systems require a landline and a phone jack — in-home medical alert systems can run on a landline, cellular or internet connection.
  • Mobile medical alert system: Mobile medical alert systems have better technology, features and options than home-based medical alert systems, but they also come with a higher price. Mobile medical alert systems include a variety of wearables, including traditional help buttons for seniors on pendants, fashionable medical alarm necklaces and bracelets and smartwatches with built-in monitoring technology. Many caretakers prefer a mobile medical alert system with GPS to help monitor their loved one’s safety while out and about. Mobile medical alert devices have a backup battery that can last for several days, but you still must remember to regularly charge your device.

2. Determine if you need a monitored or unmonitored medical alert system

The best-rated medical alert systems put you in touch with an emergency operator who is ready to respond to any crisis. Monitored systems connect to a dispatch center, and unmonitored medical alert systems dial through pre-programmed contacts when the device is triggered. With unmonitored medical alert systems, you pay for the device without a monthly fee.

  • Monitored medical alert systems connect you to a trained emergency response operator when you press the button. The medical alert call button connects you to the dispatch center, and a trained professional talks you through your crisis. The person at the dispatch center can then contact a caregiver, friend or family member or 911. The best medical alert monitoring centers guarantee fast response times and employ bilingual operators or partner with a translation service to provide help in several languages.
  • Unmonitored medical alert systems connect you to pre-programmed emergency contacts when the device is triggered. Instead of getting a guaranteed response from an emergency dispatch center, the system calls through a list until it reaches the final number, which is usually 911. Unmonitored medical alert systems are often referred to as “no-monthly-fee” systems since they don’t require a service contract to function.

3. Decide if you should add fall detection to your medical alert device

Systems with fall alert features trigger an alarm when a fall is detected, which eliminates the need to press an emergency button for the elderly to call for help after an accident. Medical alert systems with a fall alert feature use accelerometers and barometric sensors to track the movement of the device. Fall detection sensors are often located on a watch, bracelet or neck pendant.

If the fall detection sensor detects a sudden movement, the device sends out a signal to a control center. This feature can be life-saving for seniors if a fall leaves them unconscious or immobile. Even relatively short falls can be devastating for the elderly, so speedy medical attention is the best way to prevent long-term injuries or death.

Medical alert questions

Are medical alert systems covered by Medicare or Medicaid?
Depending on where you live, some medical alert systems may be covered by Medicaid, although they are not covered by Medicare Parts A or B. Your long-term care insurance may also provide reimbursement for medical alert systems. ConsumerAffairs is unable to direct consumers to Medicaid-eligible systems, and any brand you reach out to will typically refer you to your Medicaid caseworker for further guidance.
Are medical alert systems tax deductible?
The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t specifically itemize medical alert systems as eligible for tax deductions, but many medical expenses are tax deductible. A tax professional can help you determine if you can deduct a medical alert system on your tax filings.
What is the best medical alert system?
Finding the right medical alert system company for yourself or a loved one is important. Here are some factors to compare when looking for the best medical alert for seniors:
  • In-home or mobile: In-home systems work inside the customer’s house and require a landline or cellular connection. Home medical alerts typically have lower monthly service fees than mobile medical alert systems. Mobile systems are better for seniors with active lifestyles since the alerts communicate by cellular connection and come with GPS tracking capabilities. Many of the best medical alert system companies offer combined home and mobile service plans for protection while at home and on the go.
  • Monitored or unmonitored: In an emergency, a monitored system connects you with a 24/7 dispatcher who stays on the line with you until help arrives. Unmonitored systems are programmed to call a friend or family member and can contact emergency services. Caregivers for loved ones whose first language isn’t English should confirm the monitoring center supports that language before you enroll in services.
  • Fall detection: Most senior alert devices offer optional fall detection that automatically notifies an emergency dispatcher when they detect sudden movement. Medical alert systems with fall detection provide extra security for the wearer and greater peace of mind for caregivers and loved ones. On the other hand, fall detection is more expensive and won’t detect every fall. Another disadvantage of fall detection is that false alarms are not uncommon.
  • Safety features: The best medical alert systems for seniors include an amplified two-way talk function on the base station so you can call out for help without physically pressing the medical alert button. Automatic system testing is also becoming a standard feature of all the best medical alert companies. Caregivers should confirm whether a medical alert company offers multilingual support if their loved one has a first language other than English. Some companies let you add a spouse or additional occupant coverage for free or at a discounted rate.
  • Additional equipment: Those who live in a house with stairs should consider a customizable medical alert system with the option to add extra wall buttons and range extenders. Medical alert system lockboxes are a popular add-on for many seniors. With a lockbox, emergency personnel can access your home without breaking windows or damaging doorways.
What medical conditions require a medical alert bracelet?

Medical alert bracelets and pendants are most popular among recently retired seniors and those with newly diagnosed or severe epilepsy, uncontrolled diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. However, medical alert systems are a practical investment for people of various ages and conditions. If you have a history of falling, are at risk of falling, live alone or have a health condition, you could benefit from wearing a medical alert bracelet or watch.

A medical alert system is a practical way for seniors to maintain their independence. For healthy, active seniors, wearing an “elderly” alert device is simply an extra level of protection in the case of a fire, burglary or accident.

Are medical alert buttons waterproof?

Yes, most medical alert companies manufacture waterproof or water-resistant devices. Because many accidents happen in or around the shower, make sure you choose a waterproof alert button for the elderly so that you can wear it at all times.

How to talk to your loved one

Are you trying to purchase a medical alert system for a loved one but haven’t spoken to them about it? Watch this video for tips on how to approach the topic of senior medical alert devices.

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    Medical alert system reviews

    Medical Guardian

    In-home alert devices for seniors with up 1,600-foot range start around $30/month. On-the-go medical alerts with five-day battery backup life priced around $40/month. Fall detection is optional for an added $10/month.

    • Medical alert equipment: Select from all-in-one wearable and in-home systems with fall detection and two-way speakers. The base unit and pendant are included as part of one of the medical alert system plans with additional equipment available for purchase.
    • Monitoring centers: Multiple U.S.-based monitoring centers ensure quick responses to emergencies at any time of day. Landline and cellular connections provided through AT&T.
    • Contracts: Medical Guardian offers month-to-month contracts and prorated refunds.
    • Account accessibility: Manage your account details, update payment methods and access additional resources through an online portal. Add contact information for caregivers and loved ones if you would like them informed about potential emergencies.
    Read 931 Reviews

    At-home medical alert systems with a 600-foot range start at $19.95/month. Mobile systems with up to two-day backup battery start at $24.95/month. Fall detection available for an additional $10/month.

    Read 186 Reviews
    Medical Alert

    Medical alerts for seniors starting at $19.95/month with ranges up to 600 feet and backup battery life up to 30 hours. Add fall detection for an extra $10/month.

    Read More

    Medical alerts systems start at $24.95/month with no equipment fees. In-home base station ranges up to 1,300 feet, and the mobile battery life lasts up to 42 hours. Fall detection is optional for an additional for $5/month. Provides free protection for spouses with basic monitoring services.

    • Equipment features: Ensure independence and safety for any lifestyle with in-home systems and an on-the-go medical alert necklace for elderly options. Round-the-clock U.S. coverage has provided more than 40 years of reliable service that’s recognized and recommended by doctors and hospitals.
    • Monitoring centers: LifeFone provides customer service and monitoring from the company’s center in White Plains, New York. Dedicated, kind and professional operators are available 24/7 to ensure your safety.
    • 30-day guarantee: Return your pendant and device equipment within the first 30 days for a full refund.
    • Consumer-friendly policies: Equipment is guaranteed for lifetime subscribers, plus spouses are protected for free. Cancel anytime.
    Read 734 Reviews

    Prices start at $19.95/month for in-home medical alert system and mobile systems with GPS. Optional fall detection is available for $7/month.

    Read 1470 Reviews
    Jitterbug Smart

    Smartphones for seniors with emergency response buttons start at $149.99 plus monitoring plan and device activation. Service starts at around $20/month. No fall detection is available.

    Read 985 Reviews
    Philips Lifeline

    HomeSafe plans start at $29.95/month and mobile GoSafe plans start at $54.95/month. Service that includes AutoAlert fall detection technology start at $44.95. New clients pay activation fees up to $50.

    • Equipment features: The in-home device range is up to 800 feet, and the mobile backup battery life lasts up to 30 hours. Professional installation with equipment training is available for the elderly emergency call system. AutoAlert fall detection and water-resistance technology are included in some plans.
    • Monitoring centers: Personal alert services give customers fast, reliable access to North America-based emergency response technicians fluent in English and Spanish. Operators also have access to more than 140 languages through a translation service. The company is staffed with 200 emergency operators who answer up to 18,000 calls per year.
    • Fall detection: Systems that include AutoAlert fall detection start at $44.95/month. Auto alert sensors identify falls and instantly alert the emergency response center for immediate help.
    • Personal care plan: Remain in control of your life by choosing your emergency contact and in-home or on-the-go system to suit your lifestyle.
    Read 4480 Reviews
    Lively Mobile

    Medical alert devices for seniors start at $29.99 plus monthly plan and activation charges. Only cellular service is available.

    Read More
    GetSafe Medical Alert

    Medical alert devices for elderly and active seniors work around you so you don’t have to wear it on your person all the time. Monitoring plans start at $24.95/month. Customizable medical alert system packages starting at $99 are sold separately. Fall detection is optional.

    • Equipment features: You can summon help during an emergency by pushing a button, pulling a cord or saying “Call 911” into the two-way speaker base unit. Systems have a backup battery life of up to 32 hours.
    • Monitoring centers: GetSafe monitoring centers are UL-certified and professionally licensed in all 50 states. Devices use AT&T cellular network to connect to monitoring centers.
    • Contracts: The company does not require a contract, but you can opt into a year of monitoring service to get a discount on equipment costs.
    • Money-back guarantee: The company’s emergency alert systems for the elderly come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
    View Profile
    Life Alert Emergency Response

    Monthly service fees start at $49.95. Equipment prices range from $95 to $198, depending on what options you choose. Fall detection is not available. All equipment comes with a free lifetime warranty.

    Read More
    Cox Homelife Care

    Medical alert systems for seniors start around $35/month for home units and $45/month for on-the-go protection, plus a one-time $50 equipment charge. Make hands-free calls in emergencies and connect directly with personal care professionals.

    Read 107 Reviews
    Bay Alarm Medical

    Protect your health and independence for $19.95 to $59.95/month. 24/7 emergency operators contact family, friends, neighbors and your local 911 emergency services. Add fall detection for $9.95/month.

    Read More
    Walgreens Ready Response

    Monthly service fees start at $29.99 for home-based units and $39.99 for mobile safety devices. The company charges a one-time $14.99 activation fee.

    Read 13 Reviews
    Medical Care Alert

    Medical alert systems start at $27.45/month with no long-term contract. Home, home & yard, and home & GPS systems are available, which lets customers can choose a device that best suits their lifestyle. Fall detection can be added for $10/month.

    Read 11 Reviews
    Jitterbug Flip

    Flip-style cell phones start at $99 for device plus activation and monthly monitoring fees. Monthly monitoring fees start at around $20/month.

    Read 1225 Reviews

    Medical alerts for the elderly start around $20/month. Medical alert base units and help buttons are included with the price of subscriptions.

    Read 1300 Reviews
    BlueStar SeniorTech

    The company sells a variety of home health and safety products. With mobile, in-home and fall detection options, users can stay connected and safe in a way that suits their lifestyle and needs.

    Read 644 Reviews
    Better Alerts

    Medical alerts for the elderly start at $19.95/month. Better Alerts combines established medical alert systems with new, wearable technologies.

    • Smartwatch: Better Alert partners with Fitbit devices to create a wearable technology that can give caregivers and seniors peace of mind.
    • Affordable pricing: With two different pricing tiers, users can choose the number of features they want. GPS location and medical alerts are included in either tier.
    • Caregiver tools: While some other elderly alert systems only offer emergency responses, Better Alerts includes features for caregivers to track the user’s daily activity and send out medication reminders. The device also provides fall alert notifications.
    • Easy set up: The system sets up in approximately 10 minutes.
    One Call Alert

    Medical alert systems for seniors start at $29.95 with an annual plan. Emergency alert systems include fall detection. Equipment costs are included in the monthly monitoring fee.

    • Equipment features: Home alert systems for seniors have a range of up to 1,400 feet. For mobile, on-the-go protection, the pendant alert is equipped with two-way voice communication and fall protection. All devices are waterproof or water-resistant.
    • Monitoring centers: U.S.-based monitoring centers are certified and available 24/7.
    • Risk-free trial: New customers get a 30-day risk-free trial to decide if the One Call Alert system is the right fit.
    • No contracts required: New customers aren’t required to sign a long-term contract, though discounts are available for those who do.

    Compare Top Medical Alert System Reviews

    Better Alerts Read Author Review

    Cellular monitoring plans for seniors start at $19.95/month. Offers fall detection. Compatible with Fitbit and Pebble smartwatches. Allows customers to select up to 10 emergency contacts.

    One Call Alert Read Author Review

    Medical alert systems start at $29.95/month when paid annually. Includes fall detection and equipment costs in monitoring service fees. In-home range up to 1,400 feet from the base unit. Battery life up to 36 hours.

    by Shelley Webb Senior Products Contributing Editor

    Shelley Webb is a registered nurse, geriatric care manager and freelance writer who concentrates on the subjects of eldercare and health.