Innovative medical alert systems powered by smart devices to keep seniors safe
PLEASE NOTE: We’ve heard that GreatCall has experienced some problems with activation of their Lively device and has therefor recalled their products. We would recommend looking at other options or waiting until they relaunch later this year.
This isn’t your ordinary medical alert company. GreatCall takes a highly-innovative approach to keep seniors safe. Their tech-forward devices include the ever-popular Jitterbug smart- and flip-phones, and even a smart watch. Sure, these modern mobile products can be pricey, but they’re powered by a feature-rich service. Get access to MedCoach, GreatCall Link for caregivers, wellness check-ins, a built-in fitness tracker, and more. See what our experts say in our GreatCall Lively review.
GreatCall takes a much different approach to medical alerts than other companies. Rather than focusing on a traditional base unit and medical alert button combination, GreatCall focuses on mobile products that fit into the modern senior’s lifestyle. They’re designed to improve independent and provide emergency assistance wherever they go.
GreatCall’s connected health solutions are thoughtfully designed to be easy to use for people with all levels of technical proficiency. The medical alert company offers a smartphone, a flip phone, a wearable smartwatch and a mobile alert unit. The service that comes with this equipment includes features such as wellness check-ins, health and safety tips, access to medical professionals for advice in non-emergency situations, and linking with caregivers.
This medication reminder service keeps you on track with prescriptions and vitamins. The reminders go through your phone. Caregivers can set up your medication schedule if you need help. You confirm that you took a dose and that gets recorded on MyGreatCall. You can track your medical compliance over time and get notifications to refill any medication.
This app is intended for caregivers. It links to the senior’s information and sends you updates about their activities and well-being. If they have a medical emergency and contact GreatCall, caregivers can view the location and get to them as quickly as possible.
Caregivers can confirm that seniors are going to their appointments and are keeping up with daily activity. The Lively Wearable device gives you additional data, such as information on daily challenge completions.
Schedule a check-in every day to see how your senior loved one is doing. You can ask yes and no questions such as whether they took their medication, gone for a walk, or ate breakfast. If you want a longer period between check-ins, you can schedule it to be weekly or monthly.
Get useful health tips for ways to improve your well being.
Keep exercising your brain with the brain games installed on the Jitterbug smartphone.
Dr. Brian Alman, Ph.D. is a GreatCall partner that conducts a weekly Wellness Call. It’s designed to improve self-care and relaxation techniques, with interactive coaching.
Falls are a serious medical risk, especially if you can’t press the alert button afterward. This feature detects potential falls so emergency medical professionals can arrive on scene faster.
Keep track of your activity level with a built-in fitness tracker.
Sometimes you have medical questions but you don’t want to go through the time, trouble or cost of making an appointment with a doctor or specialist. The Urgent Care service is available 24/7 and connects you with licensed and certified medical professionals. If you have a general health concern, pre-recorded information is available. For more specific inquiries, you talk directly with a registered nurse or certified doctor.
For Jitterbug smartphone users, the medical dictionary database and symptom checker are preinstalled on the phone. If you use an Android or iOS smartphone already, the app is available for those platforms.
Put together your personal profile so caregivers and 5 Star Response agents have up to date medical information and other details. Some examples of information that you can provide include the basics, like your name and address. Then you can put frequently visited locations in, emergency contacts, caregivers and significant family members, medical information, the vehicle you drive, and other details. You’re not obligated to provide any of this information, but it’s helpful in the event of an emergency.
Sometimes you need help but it’s not an emergency medical case. In these situations, a personal operator can help you complete tasks or contact one of your caregivers to help you out. You don’t have a limit on how many tasks you can request, but you do pay 99 cents for each one.
You face a simple DIY installation process with GreatHome products. In most cases, all you need to do is plug the equipment in or turn it on.
GreatCall offers two types of responders for your needs: the emergency team and the medical professionals team. When you need fast help for an urgent situation, you use the medical alert feature on your GreatCall device to get in touch with the emergency team. If you have health questions that you’d like to ask a registered nurse or board-certified doctor, you can reach out to the medical professional’s team. You don’t even need an appointment like you would with your own doctor. Both options are 24/7. GreatCall is IAED certified and its call centers are US-based.
The experienced responders answer quickly and can dispatch emergency services or reach out to your designated friends and family members if the situation warrants.
You don’t have an annual contract with GreatCall, nor do you pay for cancellation fees or product replacement. If you’re not happy with the service or the products, you can return the system within 30-days for a refund.
Each device has its own pricing structure since two of the products also include cellular phone service. The phones that you use with GreatCall only work with the company’s phone plans, so you wouldn’t be able to transfer the equipment to another carrier in the future.
These prepaid phones carry over their minutes for 60 days, rather than expiring at the 30-day mark like many other prepaid phone services. If you add-on minutes to your plan, these don’t expire for one year. Overage fees are 35 cents per minute, 10 cents per text and 10 cents per megabyte. International calling is available and costs 20 cents to reach Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico. Canada calling is included for free. Other countries cost $1 per minute for the call. If you’re traveling, GreatCall offers roaming in some areas. When you make a call while roaming, you get charged $2 per minute. If you’re on a supported cruise ship, you can call for $2.50 per minute. Incoming international text messages are 20 cents while outgoing is 50 cents per message.
The Talk and Text Plan for the Jitterbug Flip starts at $14.99 per month for 200 minutes and goes up to $49.99 for unlimited talk and text. The pricing is the same for the Jitterbug Smart, but you also get 100 MB of data on the unlimited plan. The smartphone data costs start at $2.49 per month for 40 MB and go up to $30 for 2.5 gigs.
The Lively Mobile plan starts out at $24.99 per month for the 5 Star Urgent Response service and two-way communication with the emergency alert center. Upgrading to the $29.99 per month plan gives you access to Urgent Care services and the GreatCall Link feature. The Ultimate plan is $39.99 per month and includes automatic fall detection and a full equipment replacement policy.
The wearable device has a $14.99 per month plan and acts as a medical alert button that syncs with your smartphone.
If you’re worried about your GreatCall phone getting lost, broken, or stolen, you can sign up for a no questions asked replacement warranty. Once you’ve been in the program for 60 days, you can have the handset replaced once per year.
This smartphone has a design that’s simple and easy to use. The large 5.5-inch screen has large icons and text for better readability. The navigation menu comes in a single list, so you don’t have to page through a ton of options to find what you need. Voice typing speeds up your communication speed for many seniors, helping you keep in touch with your loved ones.
The high-speed 4G LTE data connection supports all of your mobile data requirements, from internet browsing to checking the weather. The long-lasting battery lets you roam all day without worrying about running out of power.
The voice, text and data usage meter is prominent so you can avoid overage charges if you find yourself using the phone a lot. A built-in camera lets you capture plenty of memories, and hearing aid compatibility keeps the phone crisp and clear no matter what happens. The Jitterbug Smart costs $149.99.
This flip feature phone has big buttons and a brightly colored 3.2-inch screen, with a 1.44-inch external display. The menu is designed to be easy to navigate using the device’s yes and no buttons, so you’re not endlessly going through options to get to the options you’re looking for.
An LED flashlight setting acts as an excellent reading light, a dedicated 5Star button gets you in touch with the response team, and the built-in camera is great for snapping quick pictures. The Jitterbug Flip costs $99.99.
The mobile medical alert button is equipped with GPS features, supports fall detection and is waterproof. You communicate with the response team via the microphone and speaker included on this all-in-one unit. Choose to clip to your pocket or wear it around your neck. Lively Mobile costs $49.99.
The wearable device that GreatCall offers syncs with your existing smartphone for one-button calling to the urgent response center. It also has several other features, including fall detection, fitness tracking, daily challenges and it’s fully waterproof.
You need a smartphone with Android 4.4 or iOS 8.0 or later. You can wear this device on your wrist and it will work up to 150 feet away from the paired smartphone. It uses low energy Bluetooth pairing, so the battery lasts for a long time in the unit. Lively Wearable costs $49.99.
Keep everything charged when you’re out and about. This costs $24.99.
A Bluetooth headset gives you hands-free call capabilities. This costs $49.99.
Keep an additional wall charger on hand for your smartphone. This costs $19.99.
Protect your Jitterbug Smartphone with this case. This costs $19.99.
Lower the risk of breaking the smartphone screen. This costs $9.99.
This dock works with your Jitterbug flip phone. This costs $24.99.
This compact wall charger is the perfect fit for travel. This costs $19.99.
Keep your flip phone close at hand with this case. This costs $19.99.
Bring an extra battery when you think you’re going to be out late. This costs $19.99.
This dock is intended for the Lively Mobile device. This costs $19.99.
Get another lanyard for the mobile medical alert button. This costs $14.95.
Clip your medical alert button to your pants or another piece of clothing. This costs $9.99.
Protect the Lively device from harm with this case. This costs $14.99.
Wear the mobile device like a bracelet. This costs $19.99.
GreatCall is one of the most innovative medical alert companies on the market, with a focus on smart devices that are user-friendly and well-suited for a senior’s lifestyle. The upfront device cost may be a deterrent for some people since many medical alarm companies include the equipment cost in the price of the service, but the feature-rich services are well worth it.