A basic and affordable medical alert system that’s especially enticing for couples
Spouses share many things — bathrooms, bank accounts, beds, and the list goes on. A medical alert device is probably one thing they should not share. Sharing a device splits the protection in half, which in some ways is like taking a half dose of a life-saving medication.
One Call Alert has a solution, and it may be one of the company’s strongest selling points. For only a slightly higher price than their Solo Mobile On-the-Go system, their Mobile Double provides two mobile devices for two people that live within the same household. It’s a pretty decent bargain.
I spent several days wearing the One Call Alert devices, asking customer service representatives lots of questions, and testing the response time of the On-the-Go system.
Whether considering the Solo Mobile On-the-Go or Mobile Double, I’ll bring you up to speed on the features included with this system, its somewhat confusing pricing structure, and a few other odds and ends.
By the end of this full review, I am confident that you will know whether One Call Alert offers the right system for you or your loved one.
Don’t you love opening a package after ordering something new? Unboxing the product and taking a first look is the best part. But is it what I was expecting? Does it look like the pictures on the website? Does it feel well made? And can it potentially save my life in a moment of crisis?
Well, in the case of the Mobile On-the-Go system, the various pieces met my expectations. In part, this is because the device is similar to others on the market. The main piece, the Mobile On-the-Go, is a boxy, white and gray device with three small LED lights underneath the help button. On its side are two more buttons — an on/off button on the bottom and a testing button on the top. The device is about the size of a box of Tic-Tacs and weighs 2.4 ounces.
FYI: For comparison’s sake, read our review of Medical Guardian. Medical Guardian offers several lightweight and discreet mobile devices backed by one of the best monitoring centers in the industry.
In addition to the One Call Alert mobile device, you’ll get a charger, a help button hanging from a lanyard, a help button with a watch band, and a lanyard to use with the mobile device. (A free mobile case is also available for the mobile device.)
A fairly simple Quick Start Guide also came with the system. One thing I liked about this guide is that the directions are provided in a very large font. Most older eyes should be able to easily read it. I appreciate that One Call Alert thought of this small detail.
Moving right along …
The guide directed me to plug in the charger, and while doing so, I observed a yellow light illuminate its front. My mobile device turned on within 10 seconds, and within 60 seconds after that, it connected with my Wi-Fi network.
The red battery light on my mobile device then lit up, indicating that the battery still needed charging. This would take up to three hours. The guide assured me that I would know the charging was complete when the red light switched off and a voice prompt told me, “System ready.”
Pro Tip: The One Call Alert battery will last up to two days. But I recommend charging the device every day, ideally at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit.
A few hours later and the system was ready to use. Like most medical alert systems, this one requires you to test it after charging. It even has its very own button for doing so. Seems a little unnecessary to have a button that you will use so infrequently, but I went ahead and pressed the button with the T on it.
A voice prompt asked me to press the emergency help button on the mobile device and then follow a few more quick prompts. Later, a customer service agent informed me that I needed to follow the same routine with each of the additional help buttons. These tests detect whether the speaker is performing properly and if the Wi-Fi signal is sufficient. In my case, all systems were a go.
You will probably notice the speaker on the Mobile On-the-Go. The microphone is more difficult to detect; it looks like a small pinprick. Together the two enable two-way talk between the monitoring center and the user. The device also includes GPS location detection to help emergency personnel determine the user’s location in case of a medical emergency. Although not unique to mobile medical alert devices, both of these features hold immense value.
FYI: The lanyard for the mobile device measures 28 inches in length, is not adjustable, and includes a magnet which attaches to the device. A lanyard without a magnet will be provided to you if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator.
What is not found on every system (although it is becoming more commonplace) is location detection. Provided with One Call Alert’s free app called Connect Access, location detection can be invaluable for caregivers, particularly those who are caring for loved ones with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. You might be surprised to learn that six in ten people living with dementia will wander at least once.1 So you can imagine the benefits this technology provides caregivers.
Take Note: GPS is able to determine most locations. However, it is intended for outdoor use and may not be able to pinpoint locations indoors or underground.2
Connect Access provides a limited number of “pings” of 30 per month — an unusual feature for caregiver apps. If you go over the limited pings, you are charged an additional $5. Reminds me of the days when our family had limited texts and data for our cell phones. It felt like a life-changer when we finally moved to a plan with unlimited data! That said, 30 pings should be more than plenty.
For an overview of location detection in other medical alert systems, read our guide to the Best Medical Alert Systems with GPS.
Other functions available through Connect Access include updating your loved one’s personal data, inviting family and friends to be a part of “My Circle” where they can also access location detection, and making payments.
As I described earlier, the device is boxy, and at 2.4 ounces it’s slightly hefty in the world of mobile medical alert devices. It also has LED lights on the front, several of which blink constantly. Wearing this device around the neck can be a bit uncomfortable and indiscreet. Thankfully, the device case that attaches to a belt or purse/bag strap can be used instead.
It is important to know that if electing to add fall detection, you will need to use an additional pendant. I personally prefer an all-in-one device. It’s nice to have everything in one place and not worry about keeping track of more than one device. On the other hand, because the design of the mobile device has a few drawbacks, wearing the fall detection pendant on the neck and carrying the mobile device elsewhere may be preferable for those who do not mind carrying two devices.
Looking for more information on fall detection for seniors? Check out our roundup of the Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection.
Yes, the One Call Alert On-the-Go system is quite obviously for active seniors who frequently leave home. But protection is needed at home, too. One option is ordering One Call Alert’s Complete Protection package which includes an in-home base station as well as the mobile device.
FYI: Another solid dual system that you might want to take a look at is Bay Alarm Medical’s In-Home + SOS Smartwatch. You can read all about their hybrid unit in our Bay Alarm Medical review.
Keep in mind, though, that the Mobile On-the-Go system can serve as an at-home system, too. The device can work as a base station when in the house. As mentioned, it does need to be charged daily, so you might want to consider placing the charger in a central location, perhaps near your keys. When returning home, you can then place the device in its charger and replace it with the pendant or watch. Both help buttons, which are lighter and more comfortable to wear, work through the mobile device which has now become the base station.
Note that the help buttons do not have two-way talk, but they do connect with the monitoring center, sending a call for help in the event of an emergency. I found the response time with the monitoring center to be decent. After several test calls, the average response time came in at 55 seconds. The industry average response time is around 45 seconds, but anything under one minute is acceptable.
Here’s a short video I made of a live test call with One Call Alert:
Both the wrist button and pendant have a 600-foot range within the mobile device. While this range is at the low end of the spectrum, 600 feet is the length of nearly two football fields end to end. This will likely cover the homes of most older adults. It most definitely covers the space in mine.
Pro Tip: Each mobile medical alert system, including One Call Alert, has a few fantastic features as well as a few flaws to consider. To get a better idea of how these systems compare, we’ve compiled a list of the Best Cellular Medical Alert Systems.
On their website’s “About” page, One Call Alert says: “Backed by two decades of industry experience, One Call Alert is a trusted choice.” However, several outside sources cite 2012 as the date the company was founded. Hmm … someone is off on their math. But we’ll let it slide.
Regardless, One Call Alert, based in Boca Raton, Florida, sells both at-home and mobile medical alert systems. In addition to ordering the systems by phone or online, you can also purchase them in a pharmacy. The company’s sister brand, American Medical ID, makes medical bracelets and other forms of identification to communicate critical information to first responders.
FYI: Planning a vacation? I recommend calling One Call Alert’s customer service team at least two days in advance of your departure to provide new location and emergency contacts. This holds true no matter the medical alert system you choose.
As I mentioned, One Call Alert offers a discounted price for households with more than one older adult. While not quite a two-for-one, the $44.95 monthly fee is an impressive discount for two mobile alert devices.
In addition, the monthly fee of $37.95 for the Solo Mobile On-the-Go falls within the cost range of most other mobile medical alert systems and even sits at the lower end of the scale.
However, when I called to order my Mobile On-the-Go, using the monthly payment plan, the customer service representative informed me that in addition to the $37.95 monthly fee, the system would include a $29.95 processing fee and a $15 shipping fee. Therefore, I expected my bill to show a total around $83. Instead, the invoice that arrived with the system showed a total of only $60.10.
Like most of you, I like lower prices, but I wanted to understand the discrepancy. When I spoke again to customer service, I learned that I had not been charged an activation fee (no explanation given) but had been charged for the protection plan (which I did not order).
Next, I asked if the activation and shipping fees are typically charged when paying monthly. The representative explained that it all depends on which system you order and when you do the ordering. I was not able to pin her down on an answer to this one.
Apparently, One Call Alert runs discounts from time to time. As I said, I like discounts, but overall found the information on pricing inconsistent and confusing. I recommend asking lots of questions when ordering a One Call Alert system, including whether any discounts are available. But hey, no real complaints here, as my system was cheaper than I had anticipated!
|System||Included Products||Monthly Price|
|In-Home Landline||Base Station + Help Button||$24.95|
|In-Home Wireless||Cellular Base Station + Help Button||$19.95|
|Mobile On-the-Go||All-in-One Device + Help Button||$37.95|
|Mobile Double||Two All-in-One Devices + One Help Buttons||$44.95|
|Complete Protection||Cellular Base Station + Help Button + Mobile Device||$41.95|
FYI: If looking for a system with pricing that is straightforward and simple, check out my complete Medical Alert review. It is a system both uncomplicated and affordable.
Like many other medical alert systems, the One Call Alert payment options are designed to discourage you from opting for the monthly payment plan. As you can see from the chart below, the monthly price drops to as little as $32.95 per month if you are willing to pay on a quarterly, semiannual, or annual basis.
If you are on a fixed income, you probably prefer paying monthly. Be aware that in addition to a higher monthly cost, One Call Alert will also charge you a $29.95 processing fee and a $15 shipping fee. These fees are waived for the other payment options.
If finding an affordable system is a top priority, you may want to check out our roundup of the Best Affordable Medical Alert Systems.
|Payment Plan||Solo System Monthly Price||Mobile Double Monthly Price|
One Call Alert offers a number of add-ons with which you can customize your system. Let’s discuss those now …
One Call Alert does a hard sell on their insurance, called Connect Premium, which has a monthly cost of $5. The plan protects against lost, damaged, or stolen equipment which can cost $300 or more to replace. Most systems offer some type of protection plan at a similar rate. However, One Call Alert offers a few extra enticements. I have laid out the benefits below.
In addition to Connect Premium, One Call Alert offers the following add-ons for either the Solo On-the-Go or the Mobile Double:
Fall detection is offered on a separate pendant with a lanyard for an additional $10 per month. The pendant includes a help button. This makes sense in the home, as the pendant is small and lightweight, like the help button.
Maintaining fall detection while out and about is a bit more complicated. Because nearly half of falls occur while away from the home,3 I always recommend adding fall protection to a medical alert system. If investing in fall detection, it’s important to have full protection, including while the senior is away from home. To maintain full protection, you would need to wear both the fall detection pendant and the mobile device. The alternative is to wear the fall detection pendant and carry the mobile device elsewhere, preferably in the mobile case, a leather case that can be attached to a belt or purse/bag strap.
One thing I like about One Call Alert’s fall detection system is that it includes a cancellation feature. False alarms can and do occur. You may also hit the button accidentally or change your mind about needing help after pushing it. For these reasons, I think the cancellation feature is important. After an alert is sent to the monitoring center, a voice prompt will tell you that you can press the button again to cancel the call. You will have 20 seconds to do so.
Pro Tip: Another way to minimize false alerts with fall detection is being thoughtful in the way that you are wearing it. It is best to adjust the lanyard so that the pendant sits close to the body on the chest.3
One Call Alert offers two types of wall buttons, a waterproof version which costs $2.95 per month, or a non-waterproof button, which costs $2.00 per month.
The wall button offers extra protection in the house in areas that are out of range for the help button. Much like the help button, the wall button does not include two-way talk.
The pull cord also provides an additional layer of in-home protection. Because its features are a bit more advanced, it costs $3.75 per month. If needing assistance, you can call for help in one of three ways: pulling the cord, pressing the help button, or saying “Call for Help” into the speaker twice.
An additional help button might be useful for the Double Mobile system which includes two mobile devices but only one help button. The cost is an additional $2.00 per month. (You will receive a second help button if you sign up for Connect Premium.)
Some older adults resist using medical alert devices because of the stigma of wearing a device or frustration around using the device.5 If choosing to wear the Mobile On-the-Go as a necklace, these older adults may feel the device to be noticeable or medical-looking. The device is boxy and relatively heavy, with flashing lights on the front. In fairness, several other brands (but not all) use a mobile device with the same design, which is important to keep in mind while doing your comparison shopping.
In addition, using a separate fall detection pendant with the mobile device may be an unnecessary complication for some, and difficult to remember for others.
These critiques certainly don’t concern all older adults and their families. For some, function and cost are the priorities.
Also, a few things about the One Call Alert pricing structure are irksome. The $29.95 activation fee for a monthly payment plan seems unnecessary, and appears to be a disincentive for monthly payments. And yet, many older adults are on a fixed income, and monthly payments may work better for these individuals.
I also felt there was potential for getting nickeled and dimed. Charging for additional location detection pings and for a second help button for the Mobile Double system, which is intended for two people, both fall in this category. Of course, both of these things are covered if you invest in the Connect Premium, but this felt a little like arm twisting.
Now that I have pointed out the drawbacks that I see in this system, I do want to stress that One Call Alert offers a system with all basic functions intact for older adults as well as location detection for caregivers. And it does this at an affordable rate for solo users and at a very competitive rate for households with more than one user.
In the end, many older adults or their loved ones may be won over by the benefits of cost and function. With this in mind, One Call Alert is a reliable alert system with lots to offer you or your loved one.
Yes, the neck pendant cord can be used with just about any cord or chain. The wrist button can be used with any standard watchband.
One Call Alert recommends that you test your mobile device and help buttons monthly using the test button.
One Call Alert fully refunds returned medical alert systems if returned within the first 30 days. This includes any shipping or activation fees. If a customer returns the equipment after 30 days, the refund will be prorated.
The help buttons, as well as the fall button, are waterproof and can be submerged in water. The mobile device is water-resistant, so it can be used in the shower but should not be submerged in water.
According to customer service, One Call Alert does not offer a warranty. Protection is offered through their Connect Premium program.
Alzheimer’s Association. (2021). Wandering.
Alzheimer Society. (2021). Locating devices.
Fall Prevention Center of Excellence. (2021). Where do falls among older adults occur most frequently?
Medical Care Alert. (2021). Fall Detection FAQ’s.
Agboola, Stephen. (2018). Healthcare utilization in older patients using personal emergency response systems: an analysis of electronic health records and medical alert data. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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.