The Best Medical Alert Systems for Seniors 2018

Jeph Preece ·
Senior Domain Editor
Updated

At Dignifyed, we know how aging in place can help maintain seniors' quality of life. This is why we considered as many medical alert systems as we could find — over 70 — and tested the best 21 medical alert systems available. After spending more than 120 hours testing and 300 hours researching, we determined that the best medical alert system for you or your loved one is GreatCall Lively Mobile. This company offers a mobile system that goes wherever you go, provides better and faster communication with emergency operators, detects falls at a better rate than most systems, and starts at a price that no other service can match.

Dignifyed Best Picks Buying Guide

Best Overall Pick
GreatCall Lively Mobile
With your safety or the safety of a loved one on the line, the GreatCall Lively Mobile provides the best safety net. Not only do you get the fastest call response time, excellent fall detection and a mobile device that goes wherever you go, but you pay less per month. Of the 21 different products we evaluated GreatCall Lively Mobile was the standout in nearly every key area.
View on GreatCall
$24.99@GreatCall
Best Overall Pick
GreatCall Lively Mobile
Best Landline Home System
Medical Guardian
Medical Guardian's Classic Guardian product is an excellent option for a landline-based medical alert system. While the packages are of average value and the call response time is average, the monitoring quality is outstanding. If you don't have reliable cellular coverage in your home or if you can't afford a mobile alert system, the Classic Guardian is the best option.
View on Medical Guardian
Best Cellular Home System
MobileHelp
MobileHelp develops and manufactures one of the most popular and best medical alert hardware systems: the MobileHelp CBS1-02, which features a great speakerphone, a reliable pendant and a detailed LCD display unique to the market. The package prices aren’t stellar, but bulk payments lead to sizable savings.
View on MobileHelp
Best Overall Pick
Not only did Lively Mobile prove to be the best mobile system in our tests, with excellent fall detection and GPS capabilities, but GreatCall's average call response time put all of the other services we tested to shame (20.67 seconds).
These strengths, combined with the best price for a medical alert package available on the market (starting at just $20 per month), make GreatCall the Dignifyed pick for the best medical alert system. In fact, GreatCall was so impressive that all of our other picks and recommendations are essentially considered runners-up to Lively Mobile
Pros
  • Fastest call response time.
  • Least expensive base package.
  • Solid construction and good design.
Cons
  • High activation fees.
  • Low speaker volume.
$24.99GreatCall
Read the full review
Best Landline Home System
Most companies that offer medical alert systems include landline systems in their basic, most affordable package.
If you're not convinced by GreatCall's $25-per-month subscription or you don’t have a reliable cellular signal in your area, the best affordable landline medical alert system to consider is Medical Guardian Classic Guardian. Classic Guardian is a landline system that costs $29 per month, which is the average cost of a basic package, but you can lower this price with bulk payments. In addition, the wireless pendant has the longest range of any home medical alert system that we’ve tested, reaching 2,000 feet in previous reviews.
Pros
  • One of the best speakerphones.
  • Good fall detection.
  • Excellent range.
Cons
  • Requires landline.
  • Costs and customer service are mostly average.
$29.95Medical Guardian
Read the full review
Best Cellular Home System
If you don't have a landline, a cellular home medical system is your next option.
These packages typically cost $6 to $10 more per month than landline systems, in part because they connect to a wireless network such as those from AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon. MobileHelp is our pick because it manufactures the device that many other services use, but its subscription plans provide greater value than those offered by other companies.
Pros
  • Has the best speakerphone
  • System’s informative display
  • Monitoring center very good.
  • Savings from bulk payments.
Cons
  • Average month-to-month costs
  • Short pendant range (86 feet)
  • Slow call response time
$34.95MobileHelp
Read the full review
Best System for Senior Couples
Most medical alert companies provide packages that are narrowly focused on seniors who live alone. And for good reason: People who live alone are at the highest risk for fatalities related to falls and other medical emergencies.
With RescueTouch, you can get a mobile medical alert system that allows a senior to chat with his or her spouse or live-in partner, similar to the way you would with a walkie-talkie, without having to purchase an additional package. If one person needs help from across the house, he or she can simply call the other person. They can also use it to chat from across the house. RescueTouch can also be used to keep in touch in situations where one senior is living in a care facility while the other is living at home. In addition, RescueTouch also provides full monitoring services like other medical alert systems.
Pros
  • Provides many unique features.
  • Affordable base package.
  • Stylish & waterproof design.
Cons
  • Slow response time.
  • Low speaker volume.
$35.00RescueTouch
Read the full review

Dignifyed was created to provide a reliable and dedicated resource for seniors and their caregivers. We are 100 percent focused on testing, evaluating, researching and reviewing the products and services available today, to help seniors live with as much confidence and autonomy — and the best quality of life — as possible.

We provide these unbiased reviews by utilizing affiliate links where possible as a means of funding our efforts. We mention this to be fully transparent, so you know how to consider all aspects of our business. That said, no affiliate links influence our decisions to recommend a product we cannot back with thorough testing and evaluation.  

About This Reviewer
I have been a reviewer for Dignifyed's sister site Top Ten Reviews since 2013, where I'm currently the senior domain editor for the digital consumer team. I have tested and reviewed a wide range of products and services, and have covered medical alert systems since January 2015. In these years, I have kept on top of the industry patterns and trends, and read all of the fine print on these medical alert providers' websites, including the terms and conditions and privacy policies. I have come to know the ins and outs of the industry through both anonymous and direct contact with every company we have reviewed.

I developed, oversaw and participated in the testing process. It was critically important for me to experience the system and the service by talking to the monitoring operators and simulating falls to see if the fall-detection pendants really worked. I talked with sales and customer service reps. I approached the process from the perspective of someone looking to purchase a medical alert system for an aging parent — because that's precisely my motivation.

In the winter of 2011, my mother suffered a fall in her garage while my father was at work. She was only in her late 50s at the time, so the prospect of a medical alert system wasn't on anyone's mind. But there she was, on the cold, cement floor of the garage, with a shattered wrist and injured ankle. She didn't have the strength to get up and seek assistance. All she could do was scream and cry for help.

Because of my personal experience, I completely understand the fear that comes with having a vulnerable loved one. Coupled with my hands-on experience with testing and evaluating medical alert systems, I believe my reviews and analysis of this industry and its products is both fair and impassioned.

Medical alert systems are built on three parts: the actual device, the monitoring center and the company. So, to find the best company, we developed real-world tests and evaluations around each of these parts. Read more about our testing process and the results in our testing story.

Read Our Testing Story: How We Made Our Picks

Before you decide which medical alert system to buy, there are several things to consider, including billing policies, wireless signal strength in your area, and some ways to be sure a medical alert system is right for you.

For that, and more, consider the Dignifyed Checklist: What to Ask Before You Buy.

In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of each type of medical alert system and who would benefit most from each type. If you're not sure which system is best suited to your situation, or if you're wondering if you should get a medical alert system at all, read on to find out. 

Read About Which Medical Alert System is Best For You

We answer common questions about the technology, the monitoring centers, the services, how we tested, and more. If you have a question about medical alert systems and services, chances are, you'll find the answer here. If not, send us your questions, and we'll do our best to answer them.

Read Medical Alert Systems FAQ: What They Are and How They Work


We tested 21 devices from 20 services. Read how each service fared in our tests:

Our Best Picks:

All the Rest: