As diabetes becomes more prevalent, many people are looking for medical alert systems that specifically address the needs of a diabetic. However, finding the information you need all in one place can be difficult. That’s why we’ve studied, researched, and compiled the top five medical alert systems for diabetics so you don’t have to. Here are our top five picks based on hundreds of hours of testing and research.
1. Bay Alarm Medical – Best Medical Alert System for Diabetics
Bay Alarm Medical is a subsidiary of Bay Alarm, a company which has been in business for more than 70 years. Bay Alarm is a family-owned company that is committed to quality and transparency with over 100,000 customers to prove it. One of the features that contributes to them being the best medical alert system for diabetics is their reliable fall detection in conjunction with their advanced equipment. These features are important, especially when it comes to diabetic shock which could result in fainting, seizures, poor coordination, and more. Here are a few of the Bay Alarm Medical pros and cons.
- Extremely affordable transparent pricing
- CSAA Five Diamond Certified monitoring centers
- No upfront costs for equipment
- Responsive fall detection
- Geofencing and sophisticated GPS alert system
- Average response time lags slightly behind competitors
- Equipment replacement costs higher than most
- Comparatively, bulky equipment
Bay Alarm Medical is America’s #1 rated medical alert system and coincidentally, it’s also our editor’s choice because they offer top-quality equipment at an affordable price. And because they have the best life-saving alert systems in the country.
Bay Alarm Medical offers a risk-free 30-day trial so you can try out their system before you fully commit to it. They offer 24/7 protection in-home and on-the-go with automatic fall detection and advanced GPS and geofencing features, both of which are extremely important for diabetics.
The Bay Alarm Medical equipment is lightweight and can be worn as a pendant or wristband, and, their help buttons can go five years without having to recharge them. Their equipment also comes equipped with a loud 2-way speaker with hands-free audio and a lifetime warranty.
Additionally, the Bay Alarm Medical system is extremely affordable starting at just $19.95/mo for their in-home option. They also have their Bay Alarm Medical 4G LTE GPS help button, so as far as a diabetic medical alert system goes you really can’t go wrong.
2. Medical Guardian – Best Nationwide Coverage
Medical Guardian has been in business for 13 years and has an A+ BBB rating. This brand is perfect for diabetics because they offer nationwide coverage and fall detection. Additionally, their help buttons come equipped with cellular monitoring and their mobile on-the-go device has built-in GPS technology.
- No long-term contracts, no hidden fees, free activation
- Waterproof equipment
- Fall detection available
- GPS and advanced location tracking
- Multiple plans with add-on options
- Monthly monitoring costs are a bit pricey (but worth it)
- Additional equipment costs extra
Medical Guardian is great for diabetics because, in addition to offering medical alert systems, they also offer features such as activity and fitness tracking, as well as fall detection and long battery life. They also have medication and appointment reminders. Another feature you will want as diabetic is the 2-way speaker function so you can communicate with the monitoring center or someone else, should you become ill, disoriented, or feel faint. And, while their monitoring costs are a bit more expensive than other options at slightly less than $1 a day, they offer additional features other brands don’t. So basically, you get what you pay for.
3. GreatCall – Best Cellular Medical Alert
GreatCall is widely known for their Jitterbug phones and Lively Mobile medical alert device. They have been in business for 14 years and currently have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. GreatCall provides emergency medical assistance, as well as help for non-emergencies such as roadside service or contacting family members if needed. This is perfect for diabetics who might not need immediate medical attention, but would like to alert a family member of their current condition or other timely need. Here are a few of the Lively Mobile pros and cons.
- Uses the extremely reliable Verizon network
- Waterproof device
- Fall detection included
- Patented GPS technology
- Extremely fast agent response time
- Monthly costs a bit high (but it comes with a multitude of helpful features)
- Short battery life
- False alarms have been reported
The GreatCall Lively Mobile system comes with a myriad of advanced features such as GPS location services, fall detection, weather apps, fitness tracker, links to 24/7 nurses, urgent care, and more. GreatCall offers the Lively Mobile system along with two types of mobile phones, both of which come with a 5Star medical alert button included on them. They also have a smartwatch option as well for anyone who doesn’t want a traditional medical alert help button.
The GreatCall monthly monitoring costs are $37.49 per month, which at first glance might seem high; however, that cost includes a wide variety of features that could be extremely useful to those who have diabetes.
4. LifeStation – Most User-Friendly
LifeStation is UL-Listed, CSAA Five Diamond certified, and has been in business for more than 40 years. And, they currently have an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, LifeStation offers its services across the U.S. and Canada. As far as features go, LifeStation has fall detection, landline and cellular monitoring, and GPS tracking available, which is helpful for anyone who is experiencing diabetic shock. Here are a few of the LifeStation pros and cons.
- User-friendly and takes less than 5-minutes to set up
- Weekly automatic testing
- No long-term contracts
- 32-hour battery backup
- Equipment repairs and replacements included
- Comparatively, slower response times
- No advanced features available
LifeStation offers free shipping, a 30-day money-back guarantee, no activation fee, doesn’t require a deposit, and you won’t see any hidden fees or taxes either. They have CSAA Five Diamond Certified monitoring centers all with U.S.-based agents.
The LifeStation system starts at just $19.95 per month for the landline package and $24.95 per month and $26.95 per month for the mobile with GPS and In-Home Wireless options respectively. Additionally, all the LifeStation equipment is waterproof and has an enhanced speaker and voice capabilities so you can easily communicate your needs to a monitoring Care Specialist, which is extremely helpful if you are diabetic and feel ill, are disoriented, or have fallen. And, that Care Specialist will remain on the line with you until help arrives. Should you have an emergency, the monitoring center team is highly trained and will immediately follow your personalized emergency plan of action by contacting one or all of the people you have listed on your predetermined emergency plan.
LifeStation also offers a complimentary AlertMessage service that will send specified family members or caregivers automatic email notifications should you ever experience an emergency or have problems with your medical alert system.
Why Should Diabetics Consider a Medical Alert System?
If you are a diabetic, your first thought might not be to get a medical alert system. However, if you are a diabetic, a medical alert system could save your life—literally!
There are plenty of reasons diabetics should consider a medical alert system. For example, what if your blood sugar drops or jumps to the point where you can’t function? Or, what if you suddenly experience diabetic shock, also known as hypoglycemia, which happens when you have too much insulin, too little food, too much activity/exercise, or any combination of such?
Diabetic shock can lead to relatively minor symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, or poor coordination. Or extremely severe symptoms such as confusion, fainting, unconsciousness, seizures, or falling into a coma.
Just the fact that you are a diabetic, is reason enough to get a medical alert device, especially when it comes to its ability to save your life. Unfortunately, if you are diabetic, it’s virtually impossible for someone to be with you around the clock to make sure you are OK and not experiencing symptoms that are out of your control to the point you can’t even call for help. That’s where a medical alert device comes in because it can actually request medical assistance for you even when you are not physically able to do it yourself.
Benefits of Having a Medical Alert System When You Have Diabetes
There are many benefits to having a medical alert system when you have diabetes. A medical alert system can send help if you fall, become disoriented or unconscious. It can send an alert to family members if a problem occurs, and it can help older diabetic users remain active and on-the-go versus having to stay at home where they have access to testing strips, insulin, and other medical necessities. Additionally, many medical alert systems provide access to medical professionals, not to mention they all have highly trained monitoring center teams who are available 24/7 to help you.
Most medical alert systems have cellular wireless options. This means you can travel and still do all your normal daily activities without having to worry about not having access to medical assistance wherever you go. And, most medical alert devices offer a GPS location tracking feature so you will never have to worry about your blood sugar causing symptoms that could keep you from calling for help should the need arise.
Additionally, medical alert service providers keep their customers’ details, medical conditions, and medications on file so if the paramedics have to be called, they will have the information they need to properly treat you as soon as they arrive versus having to assess the situation then treat the condition, which wastes valuable time. And if that weren’t enough, many brands also offer medication reminder services that will alert you when it’s time to take your medication. This will help you keep your blood glucose levels under control.
Features of Medical Alert Systems for Diabetics
Here are some of the most common features of medical alert systems for diabetics.
24/7 Emergency Response
If you are a diabetic, you need a medical alert system that offers 24/7 emergency monitoring. The 24/7 monitoring feature is what provides the monitoring of your medical alert device so when you press the help button, the monitoring center can communicate with you to assess your needs or immediately send medical assistance.
Wireless connectivity means you don't need a landline to communicate with a medical alert monitoring center. A wireless medical alert system uses a cellular connection and it communicates with a cellular network just like your mobile phone. Generally, a wireless medical alert system is a bit more expensive than a landline option. However, a wireless medical alert system gives you so much more flexibility, as well as the ability to roam versus having to remain at home so you can be close to your medical alert device and its base station.
Some medical alert brands offer multi-lingual support and others don't. Multi-lingual support is simply a medical alert device that can communicate in multiple languages. Additionally, many monitoring centers also have employees who speak multiple languages and are available to help those whose first language is not English. So if you have the need to communicate in a language other than English, make sure you inquire if the brand you would like to use can accommodate your chosen language.
The 2-way voice feature is extremely important for diabetics. Two-way voice is the feature that enables you and the monitoring center to communicate directly. This feature is a help button that has the 2-way communication function built into it. Why is this important? This is important because when you press a traditional help button it just sends a signal to the monitoring center. When the monitoring center receives an emergency alert, they dispatch medical assistance. With the 2-way voice feature, when you press the help button, the monitoring center can talk with you directly, which means you can tell them what you need, so they can respond appropriately.
Mobile monitoring uses the same communication function as the wireless connectivity feature. Both mobile monitoring and wireless connectivity use a cellular network connection to communicate. The only difference is that mobile monitoring requires a mobile medical or on-the-go medical alert device that's equipped to handle a cellular signal that can provide you with medical assistance no matter where you go. So if you are diabetic, this is another important feature to have. This is because it will provide you with on-demand medical assistance which enables you to travel and do everything you normally do without having to worry about your blood sugar.
Some medical alert devices are water-resistant, which means they can withstand a limited amount of water. However, a waterproof medical alert device can withstand being submerged in water for an extended period of time, which is the case when bathing or showering.
If you are an active diabetic or like to travel, it is imperative that you choose a mobile medical alert device that uses cellular communication and one that is on a reliable nationwide network. This will ensure you have coverage wherever you go nationwide as long as your chosen brand has network coverage.
The term long-range for at-home medical alert devices refers to the distance (range) between the medical alert base unit and the medical alert help button before they lose communication with each other. When referring to a mobile medical alert device that has two components, such as the mobile unit and the help button, pendant, or wristband, there is a limited range that can be between the two before they lose communication with each other. Ranges vary widely, so it's best to look for one that has a range that best suits your needs. However, some medical alert devices use cellular communication; therefore, they don't have a range limit at all.
GPS Location Services
Most medical alert devices have a built-in GPS location tracking feature available. This feature uses a cellular network along with the GPS-enabled device to detect your exact location. These work just like your cell phone and have the same two-way communication feature as well. So you can talk directly with the monitoring center when needed. The GPS location tracking service is important because diabetics sometimes encounter sudden low/high blood sugar symptoms that could result in diabetic shock. When that happens, you could fall, have a seizure, faint, or lose consciousness, which would mean you might not be able to physically contact help yourself. If that were to happen, your GPS-enabled medical alert device with the fall detection feature would automatically detect your location and send help. Alternatively, if you were conscious, all you would have to do is press the help button and the monitoring agent would assess your situation and respond accordingly even if you didn't know exactly where you were.