LifeStation is an old favorite of ours. For several years running, it’s been one of our top recommendations for basic coverage. Lately, we’ve been testing lots of medical alert systems as demand for them surges, and we’re impressed by the moves that LifeStation is making. For starters, they’ve lowered some prices. And they’ve also added emergency call centers to maintain fast response times.
We also found that LifeStation systems have improved with age. New equipment features a sleek matte black design, and the GPS pendant has slimmed down to the size of a domino (pretty neat!).
But you have to take the good with the bad. We did come across a few disadvantages. For instance, LifeStation still has few caregiving upgrades. They don’t offer pill reminders, and we can’t sign up for friendly “How are you doing?” phone calls. If finding an affordable and reliable medical alert system is your goal, then LifeStation might be a safe bet. We’re going to share everything you need to know about their alert systems, right here. So, let’s get started!
LifeStation was founded in Union, New Jersey, in 1977. This date of origin makes it one of the longest-established brands in the industry. Today, it’s among the few medical alert brands that insurance companies will supplement or provide for free (others are Aetna, Blue Cross, and Kaiser). And LifeStation has also become the preferred choice of senior care facilities.
The company has been family owned from the start. Now, even with hundreds of people on the payroll, LifeStation maintains their family-friendly culture. No arguments here — happy employees offer better service! Most LifeStation employees work at their 80,000-square-foot New Jersey headquarters while others serve their backup call centers, all in the U.S. Some personnel travel nationwide to set up medical alert systems at senior care facilities. LifeStation also holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.1 Finally, the company holds accreditations from The Monitoring Association and other regulators of the medical alert system industry.2
We usually choose online registration, but that wasn’t an option here. Clicking “Order Online” only prompted us to provide contact info. Might as well call! Fortunately, we got a human on the line within 10 seconds, and the sign-up process was truly stress-free. It took about 10 minutes. We didn’t need to pay for equipment, and the quote for month-to-month monitoring was lower than we expected. Note, shipping was $10, but it is free for veterans.
A Few Tips for Signing Up with LifeStation:
Setting up our At Home LifeStation kit was fairly easy. As with most medical alert brands, just plug in the base station and make a test call. That’s it! But compared to other brands, LifeStation makes setup extra easy with 1) color coding to show which cord goes where, and 2) voice prompts to help us test the wearable button. Installing the system over a landline took less than 10 minutes, and setting up a cellular base station was even faster. As for the Mobile LTE version, it arrives preconfigured and ready to go. Just power it on and push the button to ensure it’s connected properly.
Using a LifeStation system is easy, as it should be. As you know, pushing the wearable button will call for help. It’s about the size of a quarter, so it’s an easy target! With the At Home unit, we could also reach an operator by pressing the button on the base station. If we were to fall while wearing a pendant with fall detection, it would automatically send an alert to the monitoring center.
As for talking with emergency operators, the Mobile LTE button has a two-way speaker built-in (pretty neat!). And the At Home system has a base station speaker that’s sensitive enough to use from across the house or (possibly) from the backyard. Of course, this all depends on the size of your property. The system also engages emergency personnel when you press a panic button that can be attached to a wall — which we recommend for high-risk areas of the home like bathrooms, stairways, and kitchens.
Did You Know: Fall detection can be life-saving, but it isn’t foolproof from any brand. If able, a person should always push the button when they need help.
We found the At Home button comfortable to wear on the wrist or around the neck. It weighs about half an ounce, so it’s lighter than most other devices we’ve researched and tested. In fact, we didn’t really notice wearing it. Meanwhile, the GPS button is heavier, yet small in comparison with other mobile buttons. And, of course, we found it to be a nice alternative to carrying a phone during exercise.
Something else to keep in mind is that LifeStation devices now come in a matte black design. To us, it seemed more discreet than the older grey and white designs. Now, don’t expect to be showered in compliments throughout the day, but hey, it never hurts to look a little fashionable.
We felt relatively safe and secure with LifeStation monitoring alerts. The company owns its call centers, so it has direct control over dispatcher training, equipment maintenance, and all the rest. This coverage is something we definitely like to see.
Most important, the centers have a Five Diamond rating from The Monitoring Association (TMA). This qualification shows that they meet the highest levels of customer service, all agents are TMA-certified, and their buildings are open to unannounced TMA inspections anytime.
The average call response time is 20 seconds for LifeStation, which is faster than the industry average (closer to 30-40 seconds). A nice touch is that once a LifeStation operator notifies emergency responders or your personal contacts, they’ll stay on the line with you until help arrives.
We were able to reach LifeStation customer service anytime, as the offices never close, which is a nice perk! Most competitors don’t have nighttime hours, and many are closed on weekends.
Our service calls were always answered within a few minutes, sometimes within a few seconds. And we’ve noticed that existing customers are asked to press #1 (thank you!). Other companies leave that top spot for sales… so LifeStation scores a point for classiness here. In our experience, we did like LifeStation’s customer service, but it wasn’t the best we’ve ever seen.
FYI: If you aren’t happy with your LifeStation system, you can return it within 30 days for a refund. LifeStation doesn’t charge a restocking fee.
LifeStation’s equipment selection is simple. One type of system is for in-home use only. And the other type works at home and away.
The At-Home Medical Alert System consists of a base station and a wearable button. You can wear the button as either a wristband or neck pendant, and it works within 500 feet of the base station (not-so-great compared to the competition). But the base station itself also has a help button. Voice communication with an operator works through a speaker on the base station, which we found to be pretty sensitive. The cost is $21.95 per month if you have a landline, or $30.95 otherwise. Features include:
Did You Know: Fall detection works when a medical alert button is worn as a necklace, and not when it’s worn like a wristwatch. This capability holds true across most medical alert brands.
The Mobile LTE option gave us peace of mind on-the-go during walks, weekend getaways, and so on. Like a smartphone, you can expect it to work anywhere in the U.S. that’s covered by AT&T’s 4G cellular network. A built-in speaker allows for two-way voice communication with LifeStation dispatchers. While other companies sell mobile alerts, LifeStation is among the best at determining your location. They utilize signals from Wi-Fi, as well as GPS. As for pricing, LifeStation ships the Mobile LTE equipment for free, but they charge $50 for activation. And don’t forget, you’ll have to pay for monitoring at $37.95 per month, contract-free (not cheap!). Features include:
The chart below shows LifeStation prices for 2020. You might be eligible for further discounts, too, as a phone agent can explain. Something to note is that the prices below don’t get any cheaper if you pay quarterly or annually. So, of course, we recommend the month-to-month monitoring option.
|At Home System with Landline||At Home System with Cellular||Mobile LTE|
|Monthly Price||$21.95 per month||$30.95 per month||$37.95 per month|
Keep in mind that extras are available with each LifeStation system. Now, we don’t recommend that you go hog wild, as these extras can rack up quite the tab. But here’s the rundown of options, add-ons, accessories, and upgrades.
If you fall and can’t press the help button, a pendant worn on a lanyard can automatically alert LifeStation to send assistance. This feature costs $10 per month before any applicable discounts.
Second Button or Pendant
This upgrade lets a couple share an At-Home monitoring account for an extra $3.99 per month. Optionally, one person could get the convenience of having both a wrist button and a fall detection pendant.
Lockboxes store house keys for paramedics and other modern-day heroes. We always keep a lockbox outside, and LifeStation (or other companies) can share the code with paramedics. Typically, this service costs $2.99 per month.
A panic button can easily attach to a wall or nightstand. Just like a wearable button, it can call for help through the At-Home base station. The fee for this feature is $2.49 per month.
A free service! Uber Health has senior-friendly drivers for transportation to and from medical appointments.4 LifeStation can arrange the rides. You’ll no longer have to rely on friends and family for a quick lift.
Find my Loved One
Here’s another free service. Find My Loved One is an Alexa app for caregivers. Asking “Alexa, where’s Mom?” will text you the coordinates of your favorite lady if she has her Mobile LTE on her.
Did You Know: LifeStation serves not only individuals, but they also tend to nursing homes. Their building-wide “HUD Compliant Call Systems” help ensure that if a resident falls, the staff receives an immediate
We’ve been testing LifeStation during a time when demand for medical alert services is especially high. Other companies are fumbling to adapt, but we get the sense that LifeStation is an old pro. They prepared to scale up as needed, and it looks like they’ve followed through.
LifeStation used to charge more for not committing to long-term service. Now, the same rates apply, regardless of the plan length. So, that’s nice. But again, this brand doesn’t exactly top our list for medical alert systems. Other companies have more options for remote caregiving upgrades. And the response times were fast, but not lighting-fast (hey, every second counts!). But they do offer reliable monitoring and some freebies too — so LifeStation could be a great choice for some folks.
LifeStation: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, April 25). BBB.
LifeStation.com. (2020). Associations.
Span, P. (2019, August 16). Older People Need Rides. Why Aren’t They Using Uber and Lyft? New York Times.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (2014, October 31). Policy on Emergency Call Systems in Senior Care Facilities.