1. Bay Alarm Medical
Bay Alarm Medical has been in business for more than 70 years and is America’s number one rated medical alert system brand. So they have earned a solid reputation in the industry and are trusted by over 100,000 customers.
The Bay Alarm Medical systems are affordably priced and offer 24/7 protection. Their devices also come with automatic fall detection and GPS, which is what you need if you are active and want the longest range possible and for nationwide coverage, as well as the GPS tracking feature that can pinpoint your exact location should you ever become lost, injured, or disoriented, etc.
- 30-day risk-free trial
- 4.7 Star Google rating
- Three redundant call centers
- CSAA Five Diamond Certified monitoring centers
- Nationwide coverage
- 170 languages supported
- American Seniors Association, AMAC & USAA member discounts
- Up to 1,000-foot range for in-home options
- Some have reported bad customer service experiences
- False alarms more frequent than other systems due to the device’s design
Bay Alarm Medical offers high-quality equipment that’s easy to set up and use. They offer an In-Home option, as well as a mobile GPS help button option that can be used in conjunction with your Smartphone.
They also have an In-Car medical alert option with automatic crash detection, a GPS tracking feature, and a live two-way talk feature, by simply plugging the unit into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
Or, if you’d prefer broader coverage options, they offer bundled packages as well. The Bay Alarm Medical plans range from $19.95/mo. to $39.95/mo. and can go up from there depending on the bundled options you choose. They also have three redundant call centers. That means if one of them goes down, your system rolls over to another one so you are never without coverage.
One of the biggest things that stands out about Bay Alarm Medical is that they offer nationwide coverage, which is what you need if you’re looking for long range medical alert systems. Additionally, their medical systems are compatible with most standard phone lines, which is great if you need a long range landline option.
2. Medical Guardian
Medical Guardian offers award-winning customer service, some of the fastest response times in the industry, and they are known for innovative life-saving technology. If you’re looking for simplicity, Medical Guardian doesn’t require you to sign any long-term contracts and doesn’t have any hidden fees. Additionally, they have free activation and no upfront equipment purchase requirements.
- No upfront equipment costs
- 1,300-foot range with the landline medical alert unit
- Home activity sensors available
- Family Guardian app available
- Active Guardian has a 5-day battery life, GPS, and Wi-Fi
- Fall detection available
- TMA Five Diamond Certified, UL Listed, ESA member
- Only a 600-foot range for the cellular connected unit
- Relatively new to the medical alert industry
- Plans are a bit pricey
Medical Guardian has a variety of in-home and on-the-go product options that start at only $0.97/day. Their products also have some of the industry’s longest battery life that goes up to 120 hours. And if you need a long range medical alert system, Medical Guardian is it because their in-home units have the longest range in the industry with up to 1,300 feet of signal range to give you more freedom at home.
Medical Guardian also has automatic fall detection, which triggers an automatic emergency response when a fall occurs. And if that’s not enough, Medical Guardian is TMA Five Diamond Certified, FM Approved, UL Listed, and has an ESA Security Certification.
GreatCall has medical alert systems called Lively Mobile. This is in addition to their popular Jitterbug phones that have a 5Star Urgent Response button built into them. They also offer a Smartwatch medical alert device as well. GreatCall’s products come with a variety of extremely helpful apps and services such as wellness checks, medication reminders, health and safety tips and advice, fitness tracker, access to non-emergency medical professionals, and the ability to link with caregivers.
- IAED Certified U.S.-based call centers
- Easy setup and user-friendly
- Feature-rich services
- Lively Wearable syncs with your Smartphone
- 100% waterproof mobile devices
- GPS-enabled mobile device
- Fall detection available
- Lively Mobile’s all-in-one unit has a two-way talk feature
- Upfront equipment costs
- Cellphone overage fees are high
- Activation fees
- No traditional in-home options
GreatCall offers four types of medical alert devices which are the Jitterbug Flip($74.99), Jitterbug Smart2 ($112.49), Lively Mobile Plus ($37.49), and the Lively Wearable ($49.99). Regardless of the option you choose, they all require an activation fee. Any of their products would be ideal for those who need a long range medical alert device because of an active lifestyle or traveling.
The Lively Mobile Plus is GreatCall’s all-in-one device that doesn’t require you to have a cellphone to use it. It also has enhanced GPS built-in so the monitoring center can pinpoint your exact location regardless of where you are, which is perfect for those looking for a long range medical alert system.
The Lively Wearable (the Smartwatch-like option) is their urgent response device that works in conjunction with your Smartphone. And it can be used up to 150-feet away from your Smartphone. This option doesn’t require any charging.
LifeStation has been in business since 1977 and only offers medical alert devices and services so their focus is dedicated to protecting seniors and helping them maintain healthy active lifestyles. They offer in-home and mobile medical alert devices. And, their mobile medical alert option has a GPS feature so it would be perfect for those who are looking for a long-range system. Additionally, LifeStation has one of the quickest response times in the industry, which averages around 20-seconds from the time the help button is pushed.
- 20-second response time
- Extremely affordable
- Personalized emergency plans
- Caregiver alerts
- CSAA Five Diamond Certified
- No long-term contracts and free shipping
- Weekly automatic device testing
- Equipment can’t be integrated with third-party smarthome automation or home security systems
- No additional services available (medication reminders, etc.)
- Automatic fall detection add-on is pricey ($10-15 per month)
LifeStation has landline and cellular options starting at $19.99/mo. You can also add automatic fall detection to any plan for an additional $10-$15 per month. LifeStation frequently runs promotions so be sure to inquire about those as well before committing to a purchase. Their mobile option is a GPS-enabled device and uses the AT&T cellular network to connect with the monitoring center. This means your medical alert device will work nationwide wherever AT&T has network coverage. Additionally, the mobile device is an all-in-one unit with a built-in microphone and speakers so you will be able to easily communicate with the monitoring center should the need arise. And, since LifeStation has a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it and return it if you don’t like it. So technically, you have nothing to lose!
Why Is Range Important in a Medical Alert System?
There are many reasons range could be important to you when looking for a medical alert system. And the answer to your range question will be dependent on your lifestyle and how your medical alert device will be used.
In-Home – If you are homebound then you probably won’t need nationwide coverage range or the GPS location tracking feature. However, if you are homebound, but are frequently in your yard or have a large home, you will want to find a medical alert system that has the longest range possible. The most common ranges for a landline system are somewhere between 400 and 1,300 feet. But some systems can be more feet or fewer feet than that. So if you need a long range system, please remember to check this before making a purchase.
On-The-Go – The on-the-go medical alert systems, also referred to as mobile medical alert systems, use a cellular signal to communicate; therefore, they have nationwide coverage often with a GPS location tracking feature built-in. This means if you have a mobile medical alert system, you can freely travel anywhere in the country and you will have long range protection wherever your chosen brand has network coverage.
Range is important when shopping for a medical alert device because if you buy a system that doesn’t have enough range for your particular lifestyle, you could unknowingly be left without access to medical assistance if you are outside of the coverage area. For example, if you have a medical alert system with a 300-foot range and you have a large backyard, you might find you’re not covered once you’ve walked a short distance from your patio. That means you aren’t covered while in the furthest part of your yard, which is probably when you are most likely to need your system.
What does all this mean? Well, it means buying a medical alert device without enough range could ultimately cost you your life. So be sure to look at the range before making any decisions.
What Determines the Range of a Medical Alert System?
The range of a medical alert system is determined by the signal capability between the base station and the medical alert device itself. You will place the base station in your home in a centrally located area. You will then wear the medical alert device on your person. The range is the distance you can go before your medical alert device will no longer be able to communicate with the base station, which communicates with the monitoring center once the help button is pushed.
If you have a mobile medical alert device, you won’t have to worry about how far away you are from the base station in your home. This is because a mobile, or on-the-go medical alert device, uses a cellular signal to communicate. So your only concern with a mobile medical alert device is to know where your brand has network coverage. For example, if your brand uses the AT&T cellular network, then you will have a signal anywhere AT&T has network coverage.
Features of Long Range Medical Alert Systems
There are a variety of features available with long range medical alert systems. Perhaps one of the most important features, if not the most important features of a medical alert system is the range. Because without enough range—you might as well not be wearing a medical alert help button at all.
24/7 Emergency Response
The 24/7 emergency response feature is the connection between your help button and a monitoring center. The monitoring center for any given brand will communicate, send medical assistance, and/or contact a caregiver after assessing the user's situation and determining the appropriate response. A medical alert device without a 24/7 emergency response option would be pretty much useless because there would be no one to respond when help is requested.
A wireless medical alert device is one that doesn't require the use of a landline. The wireless connectivity feature uses a cellular signal to connect the help button to the monitoring center. A wireless connectivity feature is a must if you are active, travel, or are frequently away from your home. This means you won't ever have to worry about going out of range because wireless connectivity will generally provide you with nationwide coverage or coverage anywhere your brand has a network signal.
Extended Battery Life
The battery life is important for any medical alert system. The longer your battery life, the less often you will be required to recharge your device and the less chance there will be of your device running out of a charge and leaving you without coverage. On average, most medical alert device batteries only last between 24-72 hours. That's why it's important to look for a medical alert device with extended battery life. Some brands such as Medical Guardian have a 5-day battery life. Then there are some brands that offer an extended battery life that will go even longer.
The 2-way voice feature, sometimes referred to as two-way talk, is another extremely important feature. The 2-way voice feature is what enables the wearer to directly communicate with the monitoring center through the help button itself. Almost all medical alert brands offer this feature; however, some limit it to just the base station. The 2-way voice function is important because the medical alert device wearer can tell the monitoring center exactly what the problem is, so they can respond appropriately without wasting any precious time.
Mobile monitoring uses a cellular connection to communicate. And, generally, they also offer additional functions for both the wearer and the caregiver(s). Mobile monitoring usually refers to the connection, as well as the system's companion mobile app. These apps have a variety of features that range from medication reminders, emergency alerts, activity tracking, calendars, and more that can all be managed and monitored using the wearer's Smartphone. Additionally, any caregiver who has the app and approved access can also login to the app to monitor the activities, etc. of the wearer as well.
Cellular monitoring refers to how the medical alert device communicates, which in this case is by connecting with a cellular network just like your mobile phone does versus a connection that uses a landline. Cellular monitoring is usually slightly more expensive than landline coverage. However, with a cellular connection, you will be covered inside and outside of your home and anywhere your brand's chosen network has coverage. So if range is important to you, then look for a medical alert brand that uses a cellular signal so you will have coverage regardless of where you go. And if you need an in-home option and range is important to you, look for a brand that has the longest range from the base unit to the help button.
Nationwide coverage refers to the areas you can travel and still have a connection between your medical alert device and the monitoring center. To have nationwide coverage, your system will have to be a wireless system designed for mobile devices and equipped to communicate using a cellular network such as AT&T or any other cellular network your chosen brand uses. Having this feature means you will have plenty of range and can travel anywhere nationwide or anywhere your brand has network coverage and still be able to use your medical alert device.
Fall detection is a feature that can automatically sense a fall and will contact the monitoring center if the wearer doesn't respond within a few seconds or so of the fall occurring. Any fall can prove deadly if help is not received in time. And with a fall, the wearer might not be conscious or capable of calling for help. Therefore, the automatic fall detection feature is extremely important and could ultimately save the wearer's life.
GPS Location Services
GPS location services or GPS location tracking is another extremely important feature. And most, but not all, medical alert devices have this feature. This type of medical alert device will give you the longest range possible because it uses a cellular signal to communicate. A GPS-enabled medical alert device connects to a cellular network and can pinpoint your exact location regardless of where you go.