Life Alert is a medical alert system created to help people in the event of an emergency at home. Read on for our full review.
Anyone looking for a way to protect family members in the event of a medical emergency at home has probably heard about Life Alert. This medical alert service provides different types of buttons and a 24/7 emergency help service.
Life Alert is generally best for older adults and other individuals who may be likely to have medical emergencies.
Read on to learn more about what the service offers, pros and cons, and how to get started.
Life Alert is a medical alert system designed to protect individuals during a home health emergency. Though the majority of customers are older adults, it can be used by anyone who may need a way to ask for help during a fall or other medical emergency.
It’s an important service to promote senior independence and can often be vital for ensuring someone can remain in their home and age in place.
It also provides relief to family members of older adults who may be concerned about the safety of their loved ones in the home.
If someone experiences a medical emergency, with a press of a button, they will alert the two-way, amplified-voice communication monitor located in the house. They will be put in touch with a dispatcher, who will send help immediately by calling the police, an ambulance, or other emergency contacts.
The alert equipment can be accessed in many different ways, such as a wristband, pendant, or by being fixed to the wall. This ensures that no matter where you are in your home or how far you are from a phone, you can still get the help you need.
Life Alert asserts their devices have an 800-foot range, are fully waterproof, and that the included batteries do not need to be recharged.
Our research process included a thorough vetting of Life Alert, its products, and business practices. This included a phone interview to confirm the product’s pricing structure and other information.
Additionally, our medical experts evaluated Life Alert’s medical and health claims against the current body of scientific research. Our network of medical reviewers includes healthcare professionals from research institutions, professional organizations, and private practice with extensive expertise.
- Price: $59 a month for the base unit and a pendant, plus a one-time activation fee of $195
- Key features: The emergency pendant can be worn around your neck or on your wrist, ensuring that it can always be easily accessed.
Perhaps the most popular product sold by Life Alert, the brand’s medical emergency pendant is designed to be worn and pressed in the event of a medical emergency. It’s fully waterproof, has a range of up to 800 feet, and the included batteries can last for up to 10 years.
The signature main unit, which is required with the pendant, can be connected to either a cell phone or landline. It also comes with a backup battery and features 24/7 U.S.-based monitoring.
That being said, you’ll have to pay for a maintenance fee, an activation fee, and monthly use.
- designed to be lightweight
- button device is waterproof, so it can be worn in the shower
- has a range of 800 feet
- depending on the size of the home, the range may not be large enough
- button does not include fall detection
- no voice-activated feature to the button
- Price: $79.90 per month for the addition of the help button, with an activation fee of $197
- Key features: It’s waterproof and large enough to be placed on the wall.
The HELP Button is specifically designed for shower or bathroom emergencies but can be placed and used anywhere in the home. In the event of a medical emergency, the user can press the large red button, which will immediately connect them to a dispatcher who can send help. Dispatchers are available 24/7.
Unlike the emergency pendant, this option doesn’t need a telephone line or electrical outlet. The included batteries can be used for up to 10 years.
- does not require the individual to wear the button continuously
- button device is waterproof
- no telephone line or electrical outlet is needed
- batteries do not require charging
- if you can’t reach the button, you will not be able to alert dispatch
- adding the HELP button makes the package more expensive
- Price: $98.85 per month, with an activation fee of $195 (includes all the above devices; choosing one device less would cost $79.90 a month and activation is $197)
- Key features: This is small and immediately connects the user to a security dispatcher.
A small help button, when pushed, connects the individual to a monitoring center where they can speak with a security dispatcher. Through the sensitive microphone, the dispatcher will be able to hear the activity.
In the event of a break-in, the dispatcher can try to scare away the intruder with a loud voice over the system and by contacting the police.
- provides peace of mind to older adults, especially at night
- phone is not required to reach a dispatcher
- provides a deterrent during break-ins
- prompts police response
- microphone may not be able to accurately provide information to the dispatcher
- documentation of criminal activity is minimal
- Price: $79.90 per month for the addition of the GPS unit, with an activation fee of $197
- Key features: This product is designed to be used on the go.
Not all emergencies happen at home, which is why Life Alert developed this system to be worn or carried in a bag or pocket.
The button will reach Life Alert’s emergency monitoring system using a GPS system and will put the individual in touch with dispatch.
- protects individuals when they’re not in their home
- batteries do not require charging
- GPS for locating the individual is included
- individuals may not wish to be tracked with the GPS system
- GPS system only works in the United States, where GSM cellular phones operate
|Products available||Safety concerns||Considerations||Ease of use|
|Life Alert||• Medical emergency pendant|
• HELP button
• Personal protection
• HELP on the go and GPS
|does not offer voice-activated options||more expensive than other options and requires a maintenance fee, but relatively simple pricing structure||offers a wearable device, a wall button, and a mobile device|
|Bay Alarm Medical||• SOS Home|
• SOS All-in-One
• SOS Mobile
• SOS Smartwatch – Bay Alarm Medical App
|does not offer voice-activated options||cheaper than others on the market, but customized features can add up||offers several different types of wearables and offers a 30-day trial|
|Medical Guardian||• Mini Guardian |
• Mobile 2.0, Home 2.0
• Classic Guardian
• MGMove Smartwatch
|mobile device combines GPS with voice-activation features||though their pricing is middle of the road, they charge per month for accessory add-ons||offers a variety of options for access, and a 14-day full refund|
|Get Safe||• Voice-activated wall button |
• Standard wall button
|offers an option for a voice-activated button; wearables have the option for fall detection||monthly cost is moderate, with no equipment or activation fee ||several options for use, such as wearables, and there is no contract|
- The service gives people who are more likely to have emergencies more independence.
- They offer a variety of product options.
- Devices are designed to be durable, and all equipment is insured.
- The system provides support 24/7.
- Equipment is certified by Underwriter Laboratories, one of the oldest certification bodies in the United States.
- There are no fees or penalties for false alarms.
- Monitoring is U.S.-based only.
- The website is very outdated, so information is not easy to find.
- You can’t order online. It must be done by calling a salesperson.
- It’s one of the more expensive emergency alert services on the market.
- The equipment is leased.
- There is no trial period, and the contract is a minimum of 3 years.
Life Alert is best for people who are at risk of medical emergencies. They operate their own monitoring center and offer a 24/7 service. It can be used by any individual concerned about falling down the stairs, slipping in the shower, or experiencing other unexpected medical events.
This is often the case for seniors who are trying to remain in their homes but who may need additional monitoring and support in the event of an emergency. Life Alert can help older adults delay or avoid going into nursing homes or other care facilities.
Life Alert’s website offers only basic information. For details on pricing and to order the system, customers are asked to call 800-490-0043. They will be put in touch with a salesperson who can answer any questions and place the order.
Once the order is placed, the system will be shipped to the address provided. Upon arrival, instructions will be provided on how to make an appointment for installation.
Is Life Alert covered by Medicare?
Do you need WiFi for Life Alert?
No, you don’t. If a landline isn’t available, you can opt for wireless connectivity.
Can Life Alert go through a cell phone?
The system doesn’t operate through a cell phone.
Does Life Alert go off when you fall?
There is no fall detection. You have to press the button yourself.
Though Life Alert is a more expensive option than some of its competitors, it has a strong reputation as a trusted medical response system that has been on the market for over 30 years.
Anyone looking for a well-known system with a solid reputation — but without the need for high-tech bells and whistles — could benefit from Life Alert’s services.
Johanna Sorrentino is a writer, editor, and wayfarer. Her appetite for empowering information and great storytelling is matched only by her appetite for cheese and chocolate. Learn more about her at johannasorrentino.com.