One Call Alert has been empowering seniors to reach their goals of independent living for over two decades. We’ve been following the company for years, and we’ve been impressed with their affordable in-home and mobile alert systems. But during our most recent round of testing One Call Alert, we really wanted to see if they’ve improved with age.
So, we were eager to try out One Call Alert’s newest offerings, and we’re glad we did! For starters, we like the way they’ve listened to their customers by more than doubling the coverage of their in-home devices from a 600-foot range to 1,300-1,400 feet. This enhancement means you’ll feel safer walking to the mailbox or watering the lawn. Also, their dual monitoring plan comes at half the price of similar services we’ve seen from other brands (as you’ll see, it’s pretty cheap!).
Of course, we also came across a few disadvantages with One Call Alert, like limited features and not-so-flattering designs. But overall, One Call Alert is a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for reliable and affordable peace of mind. When it comes to keeping you or your loved one safe, you need the latest information to make a wise decision. Don’t worry, we’re going to share everything you need to know about One Call Alert for seniors — the good and the bad. So let’s get to it!
We like that One Call Alert is a relatively small company that packs a punch! Based in Houston, Texas, they’ve been in the medical space for more than 20 years and have picked up acclaim along the way for their quality service and reasonable pricing. They currently have a 5-star rating with the BBB and received Consumers Digest 2014 Top Value award (always a good sign!).1
While we would have liked to learn more about the company’s beginnings on their website, we found that their mission in serving and empowering seniors from all walks of life shines through every aspect of their business.
In our research, we found that they scored high in positive reviews, with most customers feeling confident they could get help quickly if they needed it. It was also nice to see fewer complaints on average compared to some One Call Alert competitors. So, now that you have a better idea about One Call Alert’s history and values, let’s see how their devices compare to other devices we’ve tested!
We appreciated the simplicity of being able to register online, and we found One Call Alert’s website to be fairly straightforward. After comparing different plans and deciding on the best month-to-month monitoring fit, we clicked on the “Order Now” button, which led us to the Options/Add-ons page. We also liked that One Call offers free ground shipping on most plans. After all, you don’t get much cheaper than free.
The only hiccup was that it took several seconds to process our request (a bit slow, in our opinion). We were then prompted to fill out our personal and payment information. Overall, we found their website to be user-friendly and easy to read with large font sizes for seniors, as well as a bright, welcoming homepage.
FYI: One Call Alert offers a risk-free, 30-day trial, so you can see if the service is a good fit for you or your loved one.2
In our experience, One Call Alert is a no-fuss, easy-to-use system (as it should be!). The setup process is quick and painless. You just need to plug it in and follow the installation guide to activate your system. After that, you’ll wear your medical alert button, so you know that help is at hand. Thankfully, all of this setup takes less than a few minutes. Then, if you have an emergency, simply press the button, and the system will call for assistance. In the event of a fall, a fall detection pendant can automatically alert the monitoring center. But keep in mind, fall detection costs an extra $10 per month.
The wearable button is about the size of a quarter (only thicker) and comfortable to wear around your neck or wrist. Our only gripe is that it’s a bit on the larger side and less attractive compared to some of the other brands we’ve tried. During our testing, we found that it was lightweight and barely noticeable while performing day-to-day activities, which we think is a better alternative to lugging around a cell-phone.
Since the devices are waterproof, we also felt protected wearing them in the shower. Though, in our experience, this feature is becoming more and more common in the industry.
Did You Know: One Call Alert devices are waterproof. You can wear them while washing dishes, gardening in your backyard, and even in the shower.
Like any alert system, you’re protected around-the-clock with One Call Alert emergency service. Just press your button if you need it, and you’ll get the help you need, day or night. One of the critical things we look for when testing an alert company is whether you can get through to an actual human and not just an automated machine. After all, you want (and need!) personalized attention during an emergency. And you need it fast.
One Call Alert didn’t disappoint! During our testing, we found the monitoring center to be quick and responsive, and we were able to get through to a well-trained professional fairly quickly. We liked the reassurance this level of response gave us. We could even choose who the operator would contact first based on our needs — whether it be family, friends, neighbors, or local emergency responders. We always like the option of customized alerts.
However, they didn’t exactly blow us away in this category. We found One Call Alert to be on the slower side compared to the industry average. For instance, Medical Guardian offers a solid 20-30 second response time on average. But ultimately, we felt safe knowing that when faced with an emergency, we could count on One Call Alert, and help was only the push-of-a-button away.
Did You Know: One Call Alert didn’t offer the fastest response times we’ve experienced in the industry, but their service is solid and reliable.
Aside from 24-7 emergency help, we care a lot about customer service for non-crisis related concerns. We were able to reach One Call Alert by filling out a form on their website’s LiveChat,3 and we waited less than three minutes for an operator to get back to us (if you’re curious… 2 minutes is the industry average). They answered our questions in a friendly and helpful way, and we received a follow-up message the next day, asking us to rate our customer experience. Not bad!
Note, their regular customer service hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT), Monday through Friday, but one drawback we found is that they aren’t open on Saturdays or Sundays. Still, it wasn’t a dealbreaker for us. The staff was always courteous, and they didn’t make us feel like they were just trying to sell us something, which we have to say is refreshing.
One Call Alert’s equipment selection offers a few main systems: in-home units, mobile GPS devices, or a combination of both. We especially like their Complete Protection, which is a more comprehensive medical alert system.
This system works with your existing landline service to protect you at home. It comes with a base station plus your choice of a lanyard button (a neck pendant) or wrist button. We tested it and found that while it has a no-frills design, we liked that it offers an excellent range (1,300 ft) for a reasonable $24.95 per month.
Compared to Medical Guardian’s $30 per month standard system, we think One Call Alert might be on to something here. That said, it’s a bit more expensive than Bay Alarm Medical. Keep in mind, you can also add fall protection for an extra $10 monthly. Here are other basic features it includes:
This system offers a standard protection plan that includes a cellular-based unit and doesn’t require you to have a landline or internet. That’s why we highly recommend cellular systems — not to mention they’re typically more reliable than landline-based systems. This setup costs $19.95 per month, which we consider a pretty good deal in the industry. There’s no equipment cost, but you will have to return the devices if you cancel your subscription. Also keep in mind that there is a one-time $49.95 fee required to subscribe to this plan. Here are other features included:
This travel-friendly device gives you protection both inside and away from your home. One Call Alert uses GPS enabled tracking so you have the flexibility to maintain an active lifestyle (great for a loved one who is always on the go!). As mentioned, the wearable button design is clunkier than we’d like, but we tried it out and found it was a comfortable wear. Ultimately, it gave us confidence knowing it was there while we were out and about. The only real complaint we had is that at $37.95 per month, it’s a touch pricey compared to the competition. Mobile On-the-Go includes:
This setup is One Call Alert’s most expensive alert system, but it also gives you the best value for protecting yourself and another loved one. For $44.95 per month, you’ll receive two waterproof devices that don’t require a landline or internet. It’s not cheap! But we found this bundle to be more affordable than some other alert systems that can run you $80 to cover two people. Features include:
One Call Alert’s most comprehensive system costs $41.95 per month and gives you or your loved one protection both in-home and on-the-go. This device comes with a 32-hour battery backup and doesn’t require a landline or cell phone. We also had the choice of adding on a fall detection pendant for $10 per month. In our opinion, this option is definitely worth considering for seniors looking for in-home and mobile coverage. Features include:
We were slightly disappointed that One Call Alert doesn’t offer as many add-ons or upgrades as other brands we’ve tested. On the other hand, their pricing is customer-friendly, and some essential features (like the lockbox for emergency entry) are included free with all plans. Of course, the free goodies weren’t exactly door-buster deals that we just had to have. But it shows that the company cares about its customers. Here are some special benefits and optional add-ons:
Free Extra Wearable Button — Would you like to give an alert button to your spouse, or keep a spare on hand? You can add them on as needed at no extra charge. We found this to be another nice feature, especially if you like to mix and match how you wear your medical alert device (and let’s be honest… who doesn’t like options?).
Fall Detection Pendant — For an additional $10 per month (which is average), you can have greater protection for one of the most common and serious health problems in seniors.4 In our opinion, it’s a worthwhile investment. The science isn’t 100% accurate, but it can certainly be a lifesaver.5
Did You Know: Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. While not perfect, investing in automatic fall detection technology can be life-saving.6
Free House Key Lockbox — A lockbox is a secure way for rescue workers to retrieve your house key in the event of an emergency. One Call Alert provides these for free on all plans. We found this addition to be a great feature, as many alert brands we’ve tested charge an extra fee for their lockboxes.
One Call Alert Caregiver Portal — While this page was a little harder to find than we’d like (it’s not on the homepage), it was one of our favorite One Call Alert features. Their Caregiver Portal gives loved ones access to supportive resources they can dive into on all aspects of caring for a loved one.
Pro Tip: Caregivers can access One Call Alert’s Caregiver Portal to find helpful resources on how to care for their loved ones.
We enjoyed our latest testing of One Call Alert. We get the sense that they’re a company that listens to their customers’ needs and are committed to serving the aging community and their caregivers, too. They’ve made significant changes to their in-home coverage and now provide some essential features which are a nice touch.
We found the prices to be about average for medical alert companies, and you don’t have to worry about equipment costs or long-term contracts. However, it’s a relatively barebones medical alarm system that covers the basics, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of advanced features or smart technology. Other companies also offer faster response times and, in our opinion, are more attractive to wear (again, options are nice!). Another thing to keep in mind is that you can rack up a hefty bill with all the upgrades if you’re not careful!
Overall, One Call Alert devices are comfortable to wear, and they offer some pretty decent freebies. More importantly, they’re reliable when it truly counts. As you know, choosing a medical alert brand should be a decision you take seriously. After all, you want a brand that offers you or your loved one greater peace of mind. We hope this in-depth One Call Alert review makes it easier to decide on the best fit for your needs.
One Call Alert: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, June 30). BBB.
One Call Alert. (2020). Terms and Conditions.
One Call Alert. (2020). About One Call Alert.
Al-Aama, T. (2011, July). Falls in the elderly: spectrum and prevention. Canadian Family Physician. 57(7), 771–776.
Chaudhuri, S., Thompson, H., & Demiris, G. (2014). Fall detection devices and their use with older adults: a systematic review. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy (2001), 37(4), 178–196.
National Council on Aging (NCOA). (2020). Falls Prevention Facts.