The small box that the Mobile 2.0 arrives in tells the story. Medical Guardian has developed a streamlined dual system for at-home and on-the-go protection. The way that they do this is a bit unique to the industry. We recently got our hands on Medical Guardian’s Mobile 2.0 alert system to test it day and night, and we think you’ll like what we found.
For one thing, the Mobile 2.0 is a 2021 updated version of the Mobile Guardian, so we know that it has been updated with the latest technology.
In addition, while many medical alert systems have a central hub or base unit through which all communication and functions flow, the Mobile 2.0, at about the size of a pack of Trident gum, is the base unit. That is, it functions as a base unit and a mobile device. No need for a larger unit taking up space on your kitchen countertop or living room bookshelf.
We lived with the Mobile 2.0 for several days to observe the benefits of this efficiency and also to uncover any hitches in the system. Read on for our full review.
It was time to find out what was in our Medical Guardian box. In addition to the GPS mobile device, we unpackaged a charging cradle and cord, a belt clip, a lanyard, wristband, and a help button that could be used interchangeably between the two. We had decided on a black necklace and wristband when ordering our system, but white accoutrements were available, too.
Aside from the user manual, the only things left were a few extras that Medical Guardian threw in for us. These extras included a lock box and an emergency wall button. The lock box will enable you to keep a key outside your home with the box’s code stored securely at the Medical Guardian response center. In the event of an emergency, EMTs would have quick access to your home without damaging your door.
Note that the wall button syncs with the Mobile 2.0 and has a 500-foot range from the mobile unit. If regularly wearing the Mobile 2.0 or help button, the wall button isn’t absolutely necessary, but we understand some seniors will appreciate the extra layer of protection.
Now that it’s all on the table, we were ready to check out the main attraction – our Mobile 2.0 alert system.
We were ready to dig into our package and play with our new device. Instead, it turned out that we needed to charge the Mobile 2.0 for three hours.
No biggie. It gave us time to watch out our windows as a January storm left heaps of snow on our driveway, front walkway, and sidewalk. We couldn’t think of a better time to contemplate the importance of safety devices for seniors.
In fact, the winter months in cold-weather climates can be perilous for older adults. A quarter of falls occur on a person’s property but outside their home.1 We imagine that a good number of these falls occur in the winter months, as ice and snow make for a dangerous situation. Snow shovelling can also place strain on a senior’s heart, already working strenuously to keep the body warm.
Using a wearable device like Medical Guardian (preferably with fall detection) even for a short walk down the driveway for the mail can be life saving.
Did You Know: Medical Guardian’s mission statement is “To empower our customers to live a life without limits.”2
Upon returning to our Mobile 2.0, we checked to see if it was fully charged. How do we know if it’s fully charged, you ask? The simplest way is to observe whether a red light on the cradle is still illuminated. When the device is fully charged, the red light disappears completely.
In addition to the red indicator light on the cradle, a red light on the bottom of the mobile device blinks when the battery is low. If you get a case of the “blinks” while you’re out and about, know that you have about one hour of power remaining. Finally, a voice prompt will warn you when the battery is dangerously low.
Speaking of blinking lights, let’s talk about the other two lights on the Mobile 2.0. The middle light on the bottom of the device blinks green every three seconds, indicating that you are connected to a Wifi network. Next to it, a yellow light blinks, again every three seconds, indicating that the device is communicating with a GPS satellite (this alert system also has GPS location tracking, a feature we love to see).
Now, the lights are very small, not much bigger than a pinprick. Still, we’re not crazy about advertising to everyone in sight that we’re wearing a medical alert system — and that’s pretty much what these lights do! One easy way to get around this issue is by carrying the Mobile 2.0 in a purse or pocket and wearing the help button on a lanyard or on your wrist.
Our battery now fully charged, we turned next to testing the system. Our instruction manual directed our attention to the two buttons on the side of the device (a power button and a test button). We were directed to hold down the test button for two seconds. A voice prompt then instructed us to press the gray emergency button on the front of the device. In doing so, a test call was sent to the emergency response center. In short order, another message told us that the test was successful.
In less than a minute, we knew that our Mobile 2.0 was working properly. In our book, that’s peace of mind right out of the box.
Pro Tip: The first time we attempted to push the emergency button on the Mobile 2.0, we thought the device wasn’t working properly as we did not get a response. So just be sure to hold down the button for a full second or two and wait for a voice prompt.
With a preliminary test complete, the time had come to wear the Mobile 2.0 as we headed outside to shovel snow, our least favorite pastime.
Medical Guardian offers three unique on-the-go medical alert systems. Its smartwatch, the MGMove, does not offer a separate help button, but it also does not offer the option of fall detection. The Mini Guardian, also an all-in-one, provides the option of built-in fall detection. Unlike the MGMove, the Mobile 2.0 does offer fall detection. Unlike the Mini Guardian, it offers fall detection through a separate button. In short, you will not have a problem finding a mobile medical alert that matches your particular preferences.
The inclusion of fall detection is a great reason to choose the Mobile 2.0. Here at SafeHome.org, we believe that a great cloak of protection is the use of fall detection technology. One study demonstrated that among older adults with medical alert systems that don’t include fall detection, only 50% press their emergency button.3 This is alarming for obvious reasons.
FYI: Individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease have twice the risk of falling as their peers.4
In order for fall detection to work effectively on the Mobile 2.0, the pendant needs to be worn consistently, even while on the go. This means that while out, you will need to carry both the main device and the wearable button. Keep in mind that the updated Mobile 2.0, weighing only 1.7 ounces, is lighter than the original Mobile Guardian. So carrying it via the belt clip or in your pocket or purse, while wearing the help button with fall detection around your neck, really isn’t a burden.
Another thing we like about using two pieces is that the wearable provides back-up protection while the Mobile 2.0 is charging. We recommend placing the wearable button either around the neck or on the wrist immediately after placing the mobile device in the charger. The button can even be worn while sleeping. Emergencies can occur at any time including when getting up in the middle of the night.
Pro Tip: Once the emergency button has been pressed, it cannot be cancelled. If you accidentally press the button, simply wait for the emergency response center associate to connect and tell them that it was a false alarm.
Finally, you may be curious about the range of the devices. Because the Mobile 2.0 uses a 4G cellular system, you can travel anywhere with it you please. The wearable button (with or without fall detection) will connect with the Mobile 2.0 anywhere within a 500-foot radius of it. This might come in handy if you’re outside gardening in the backyard, or talking to a neighbor in the drive. Because the Mobile 2.0 is so easily portable, using it in conjunction with the wearable button while traveling would also be a breeze.
Overall, we love the flexibility this system provides!
FYI: If fall detection is important for you or your loved one, we recommend looking into our in-depth guide to the best medical alert systems with fall detection.
One way that Medical Guardian demonstrates their competence is through the multiple certifications of their emergency response center. Medical Guardian is FM Approved, UL listed, and certified by the Electronic Security Association. Most importantly, they have a TMA Five Diamond certification, the gold standard of certifications in the medical alert system industry.
While their many accolades help to build trust in Medical Guardian, their response time was somewhat inconsistent. Our first two tests resulted in solid response times of 33 and 45 seconds respectively. However, we followed up with two more tests, both of which came in over a minute and 45 seconds. It’s good to know that fast response times are doable with Medical Guardian, though we would have liked to have seen less deviation here.
Have a look at this short video we made of a live Medical Guardian help call in action to get a better idea of the response time:
Did You Know: If English isn’t your mother tongue, Medical Guardian’s monitoring center associates are able to communicate through a third-party translation service.
Determining the price of your Medical Guardian medical alert system can be somewhat complicated, but the good news is that you’ll have several options to choose from. To simplify things, we’ll walk you through each step of the ordering process.
It begins with choosing one of five main products: two at-home devices (Classic and Home 2.0), and three mobile devices (Mini, Mobile 2.0, and MGMove).
Of course, we went with the Mobile 2.0, and next we had three payment options: monthly, quarterly, or annually. The annual payment option will save you money in the long run and also enable you to access lots of freebies. It also means a large upfront cost; our price was around $470 plus the equipment fee.
For those able to swing such a large upfront cost, but not sure if it is worth it, here are the benefits. On their website, Medical Guardian says that the cost of paying monthly or quarterly is $39.95 per month, while paying annually is $36.62 per month. Let’s do the math. If paying annually, you will save over $3 per month or $36 per year. This nearly amounts to a free month of service.
Still not sure? Take into account a few items that come gratis with the annual payment: a lockbox, a second help button, and free shipping. As you can see, Medical Guardian offers lots of bells and whistles because they want you to pay for the system annually. Whether or not this is the best option is up to you.
But honestly, we don’t think paying nearly $500 upfront is a wise move for most folks — so we’d sooner recommend getting on Medical Guardian’s monthly plan. Here’s the latest on Medical Guardian’s equipment and prices.
|Battery Life||1 day||5 days||7 days|
|Can Be Used at Home||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|GPS Location Tracking||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wifi Location Tracking||Yes||Yes||No|
|Fall Detection||Yes, Separate Pendant||Yes, Built into Device||No|
|One-Time Equipment Fee||$124.95||$124.95||$199.95|
Compared to other medical alert companies, Medical Guardian is a good value. Some brands just aren’t feasible for seniors on a fixed income. For instance, while researching Life Alert prices and monthly fees, we found that their systems aren’t very affordable, and the contract terms are pretty strict. You can read more in our Life Alert review.
The Medical Guardian payment structure focuses on a single big-ticket item rather than selling “packages,” which is the structure many other medical alert companies use. Then, Medical Guardian allows you to fill in the gaps as needed with add-ons, accessories, and upgrades.
It reminds us a little of fast casual eateries in the restaurant industry. You pick the main course, like a sandwich or a burrito, and then customize the rest of your meal based on your own preferences.
Don’t like picking and choosing and just want one simplified plan? Look into our Bay Alarm Medical review or our review of Medical Care Alert. Both of these companies make it somewhat easier to find what you’re looking for.
Medical Guardian’s CEO Geoff Gross knows first hand the stress of ensuring an older loved one’s safety. His grandmother fell several times, and his family realized that she needed help at home.
This experience inspired Gross to found Medical Guardian out of his apartment. He interviewed other seniors to find out what they wanted and needed. And he concluded that they wanted the ability to live safely and independently while doing the things they loved. Though the company has grown since the mid-2000s, their family-first approach to business continues to this day.
Medical Guardian is our favorite alert system for several reasons. We love simplicity, and we know that many older adults do, too. That’s why we were so impressed with the Mobile 2.0. It eliminates the need for a larger base unit, and it still offers 24/7 emergency coverage at-home and on-the-go.
It also offers lots of flexibility. Some individuals may prefer to keep the Mobile 2.0 attached to the lanyard all day while they’re in and out, replacing it with a help button at night while the main device is charging. Others may want to keep the Mobile 2.0 charging near the door, wearing it when out and replacing it with the lighter help button at home. You see, the options abound!
Like any system, there is give and take. The main drawback that we see with the Mobile 2.0 (aside from the blinking lights) is that it lacks fall detection. In other words, it is not an all-in-one device. Sure, it’s possible to place the Mobile 2.0 in your pocket or purse while wearing a fall detection button around your neck… we’re just not sure it’s practical.
And let’s be honest, falls happen, especially for seniors with a recent history of falling.4 With this in mind, we recommend also looking into Medical Guardian’s Mini Guardian alert system, which is an all-in-one device.
The great thing about Medical Guardian is that they offer a multitude of options knowing that we all have individual preferences and needs. Regardless of what your needs are, Medical Guardian likely has a medical alert system that’s a good fit for your budget and lifestyle.
The Mobile 2.0 and wearable alert buttons are water resistant; however, they should not be submerged in water.
The neck pendant or wristband can be worn while sleeping. Doing so provides protection if a fall were to occur while getting up in the middle of the night.
Medical Guardian uses the 4G AT&T or Verizon cellular network (depending on the device) for its on-the-go systems. You will not be charged any additional fees for using the network or contacting the emergency response center.
Sometimes older adults fall and are unable to push the emergency button. Examples include if someone faints, hits their head after falling, or has a heart attack. In this situation the device is able to detect a fall, send a wireless signal to the base station, and then contact the emergency monitoring center.
Medical Guardian does not charge cancellation fees, and they provide prorated refunds for months of unused service. However, Medical Guardian does not provide a free trial period. Want to experiment with a medical alert system or two before making a commitment? If so, we recommend reading our review of LifeFone. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
BMC Geriatrics. (2019, Nov. 11). Fall-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations among community-dwelling older adults: examination of health problems and injury characteristics.
Medical Guardian. (2021). A Family-First Approach.
Parkinson.org. (2021). Falls Prevention.
CDC.gov. (2017, Feb. 10). Important Facts About Falls.
After earning a degree in journalism, Jenny Wisniewski spent much of her professional life in education; however, she returned to writing in earnest in the senior care space, acting as caregiver to her mother. She has hand-tested the industry’s top medical alert systems, writing nearly 50 in-depth articles that help seniors age safely in place. Jenny also covers caregiving, Medicare, assisted living, memory care, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Previously, she’s written for national publications such as Country Magazine and Sierra Magazine. Jenny holds dual bachelor’s degrees in English/Journalism and Political Science from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She currently resides in Milwaukee, WI.