There’s no doubt about it — medical alert systems save lives.
That said, these devices don’t have to be clunky and cumbersome. These days, medical alert devices can be sleek, discreet, and even stylish.
If you’re looking to add a layer of protection to a loved ones life — or your own — without being so obvious about it, these medical alert bracelet systems might be just what you’re looking for.
Before diving into the alert system companies that do bracelets best, though, here are some quick stats.
|Alert Bracelets Tested||8+|
|Best Feature||Two-way Voice|
|Test Duration||7-10 days|
Now, let’s take a look at which brands to choose if you want a wearable medical alert system to age safely in place.
Bay Alarm Medical is one of the biggest names in the business — and for good reason. They offer some of the most reliable equipment out there, at some of the most affordable prices. You can read all about them in our in-depth Bay Alarm Medical review, but the short version is they offer affordable protection options for almost everyone.
Bay Alarm Medical was founded in 1946 and has been family owned and operated ever since. Their monitoring centers are CSAA Five Diamond Certified and all their products are made in the United States. The Bay Alarm Medical wristbands are small, ultra lightweight, waterproof, have up to 1000 feet of coverage, as well as a 5-year battery life.
You can read more about this in our Bay Alarm Medical pricing guide, but they offer at-home and on-the-go solutions to help protect your loved ones no matter their lifestyle starting at just $24.95 per month. All of their equipment packages offer wearable solutions, and they even offer a Smart Watch option for active seniors. It costs $255 for the equipment, and $34.95 for the monitoring, but keep in mind Bay Alarm Medical is currently running a 50 percent off sale. If you’re considering a medical alert system, consider this your sign.
|Connectivity||Landline and cellular|
|In-home Range||Up to 1,400 feet|
|Battery Backup||Up to 32 hours|
As we covered in our full Medical Guardian testing, this medical alert system has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It’s a great option for customers who want an at-home personal alert system at an affordable price. They are also rated best-in-class for their customer service. Additionally, if you require a language other than English or Spanish, they can communicate with you using a translation service. Medical Guardian is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a triple-redundant backup system so you will never be without assistance when needed.
Medical Guardian offers several varieties of medical alerts that can be worn on the wrist. A help button is offered with both at-home systems (the Classic Guardian and the Home 2.0) as well as one of the three on-the-go systems (the MG Move, Mobile 2.0, and the Mini Guardian). And they’re affordable, too. Here’s a quick breakdown of those prices:
|At-Home System||Equipment Price||Monthly Price|
|Classic Guardian||$0||$29.95 per month|
|On-The-Go Equipment||Equipment Price||Monthly Price|
We really want to spotlight the MGMove, though, a medical alert device and smartwatch all in one. Much more than just a help button, the MGMove is a sporty, water-resistant, multi-functional smartwatch. It was designed for active seniors who want to monitor fitness and activity in addition to ensuring safety. The watch features reminders and alerts for medication and appointment management. The MGMove comes with an equipment fee of $199.99 and a monthly monitoring fee of $39.95. Read our full Medical Guardian review for more.
|Connectivity||Landline, cellular, and Wi-fi|
|In-home Range||Up to 1,400 feet|
|Battery Backup||Up to 32 hours|
LifeStation was founded in 1977, is UL Listed, and CSAA Five Diamond Certified. LifeStation benefits include free shipping, no long-term contract, a price lock guarantee, no hidden fees, and no landline required. However, there is an additional fee for customers who don’t have a landline. Additionally, they charge a minimal fee of $3.99 for each additional user. But, the good news is that while their wristband options are limited, they do offer a medical alert button that can be worn on your wrist.
LifeStation offers at-home and mobile options with GPS enhanced features. And, they have one medical alert device that can be worn on your wrist. They have three different plans which start at $25.95 per month. with discounted rates, if you pay quarterly or annually. They also have an automatic fall detection option available for an extra fee as well. Additionally, the LifeStation monitoring center is CSAA Five Diamond Certified and has some of the best response times in the industry at an average of 20 seconds. Additionally, LifeStation offers landline and non-landline options. And, they only charge $3.99 per month for any additional users so this can help save you money as well. Head over to our LifeStation review for the full scoop.
With so many brands out there, we know that for some people, shopping for a medical alert device can be nearly as intimidating as shopping for a car. Don’t worry, we’re here to simplify the process by sharing what to look for in a medical alert system.
Lots of variety exists within each of the three alert system categories (in-home, mobile, and hybrid). We’re here to educate you on available features and tech so that you can decide on the best fit for yourself or your loved one.
People buy medical alert systems for protection, so the more protection the better, right? Not necessarily. We recommend identifying the user’s needs, tastes, and budget when making a decision. No reason to buy a Cadillac when a Ford Fiesta has all you need.
For example, if you or your loved one never goes out alone, it may not be necessary to invest in a mobile system that includes location detection (unless they have dementia). Or if you live in a small, ranch-style home, it may not be necessary to have the maximum number of wall help buttons that a company offers.
At the same time, some features will be important and may help you to determine which system you choose. Now let’s cover the different features that will help you to narrow down your options and find the right fit.
It’s important that your wearable medical alert device be comfortable for you, whether it’s one of the best medical alert wristwatches or the industry’s top medical alert necklaces. Thankfully, most companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can really take the device for a test drive. Whichever alert system you choose, be sure it’s comfortable to wear on a daily basis, this way you or your loved one is more likely to wear it day in and day out.
Some wearable devices include sensors that are designed to detect falls. Typically, when an alert that a fall has occurred is sent to a response center, an associate will contact the user to check on their safety. If the user does not respond, the associate will contact emergency services. This technology is a great addition to medical alert systems, but be aware that they do not always work perfectly. False alarms can occur. Also, the best medical alert systems with fall detection work best when worn on a lanyard around your neck, or even a belt strap, rather than a wristband. Expect to pay about $10 extra for fall detection, which we think is a fair price for the added layer of protection.
Range refers to the distance that a user who is wearing a help button can move from the base unit in an in-home system. It is important that the user be able to communicate with the base unit from every floor and room of their house as well as their yard (if they regularly use it) or driveway (if they like to collect their own mail or chat with a neighbor). Keep in mind that most in-home systems range from between 600 to 1,300 feet, but take a look at the best long-range medical systems for exact ranges on each system.
Another thing to look for in a medical alert system is a fast response time. This is ever so important in the case of an emergency. How long does it take between the time that the user pushes a help button, whether at home or away, and the time that an emergency response center associate responds? The industry average is 30 seconds, and we wouldn’t even consider a medical alert company that takes longer than 50 seconds to respond.
For mobile devices, it can be helpful to have location detection. Using a cellular system, the response center can locate the user in the case of an emergency. For example, a person who has fallen and hit their head, resulting in unconsciousness or confusion, would benefit from location detection with GPS. Other examples include an early-stage dementia patient who has become lost or a late-stage dementia patient who has wandered. Some companies even offer a caregiver’s app so that location can be detected by the caregiver as well as the response center.
Some wearable devices include the ability to speak directly into the device to a response center associate. Others simply have a help button that when pushed, directs a response center associate to either call predetermined emergency contacts or 911. On in-home systems, even if the wearable devices don’t have two-way talk, the base unit likely will. However, it is important to consider how close to the base unit the older adult needs to be in order for their voice to register.
Keep in mind, the medical alert system doesn’t need to be the Cadillac or the Ford Fiesta. Plenty of models exist in between. The important thing is that it offers reliable response and enough features to give you or your loved one the peace of mind you deserve.
Here are the different features of medical alert systems worn on the wrist and how they will benefit you.
24/7 Emergency response is a must-have feature no matter the provider you choose. Medical alerts worn as bracelets deliver reliable coverage — simply press the help button and you’ll be connected to friendly emergency response staff. And of course, if you have fall protection feature, your bracelet will automatically send the alert on your behalf.
Wear it in the shower, wear it in the bath, and even wear it in the swimming pool. Water resistant — or better yet, waterproof — is a great feature built-into many medical alert bracelets. Now you or your loved one can stay safe in the most high-risk fall zone in the home… the bathroom.
Fall Detection is typically offered as a paid upgrade with senior alert bracelets, but it’s cheap and worth it. And by ‘worth it’ we mean life-or-death. This vital feature is capable of detecting a fall, even from low heights, at which point it automatically contacts the monitoring station. Fall Detection literally saves lives, every single day.
If English isn’t your first language, no problemo, you have plenty of options. Some emergency monitoring stations offer Multi-Lingual Support — an important feature that comes standard with many alert bracelets. The last thing you need is a language barrier standing in the way of emergency care. So find an alert bracelet with Multi-Lingual Support for you or your loved one.
You’re searching for an alert bracelet, so it stands to reason that you or your loved one is an active senior on-the-go. Great! You’re in good company. Cellular monitoring is a brilliant feature that does not require a landline. This means you get 24/7 coverage powered via cellular signal (like your cell phone). If you’re tracking, that’s untethered peace of mind.
“Hey honey, what’s that on your wrist?” It can happen that your spouse grows envious of your stylish medical alert bracelet. So it’s a smart move to find a company that offers spouse coverage — a feature that makes it easy and affordable to add them to your plan. This way, they too can choose their own bracelet and enjoy coverage.
As mentioned above, cellular alert bracelets generally offer nationwide coverage. However, not all bracelets are powered by cellular signals. For instance, a landline connection — which is wired into your phone line — usually won’t extend far beyond the home. So if you want coverage from Bakersfield to Boston, you need to ensure your specific alert bracelet offers nationwide coverage.
The longer the range, the better. That’s why cellular connections are king. But if you or your loved one stays at home, you likely don’t need a long range medical alert bracelet. So a landline connection will serve you with a 500 ft - 1,500 ft range. If you want to go the distance, get a cellular plan with nationwide coverage.
Medical alert bracelets combine form and function. With this in mind, GPS Location Services is a great feature for active seniors. Using GPS satellites, your bracelet tracks your location in real time. Because you just never know. If you’re lost, confused, or have an emergency situation, simply press the help button and emergency monitoring staff will take it from there.