A pioneer in providing at-home and mobile alert systems
You’re probably familiar with the Philips family of products. Maybe you have owned a Philips Magnavox TV or used Philips Hue lights. I was pretty excited to try out Lifeline medical alert systems because of this brand familiarity.
If you read our most affordable alert system guide, you will see that Lifeline isn’t the cheapest medical alert brand out there. But when it comes to reliability and advanced location detection, Lifeline is a top choice. And this is a good time to be shopping for a Lifeline at-home system. Lifeline is currently offering new customers a special discounted rate for the first six months of the subscription. (More details coming up.)
The best features of this system
Lifeline allows seniors to live at home (and on the go) with confidence and peace of mind. Their alert plans start at $29.95 per month and range up to nearly $60 per month. Sure, it’s a little pricey — as I’ve tried brands that only charge $19.99 per month — but Lifeline does have some redeeming qualities. Take a look at the breakdown of monitoring prices and other fees for each system.
|Lifeline Package||Monthly Monitoring Fee||Equipment Price||Activation Fee||Installation Fee|
|HomeSafe Standard, Landline||$29.95||$0||$50||$19.95|
|HomeSafe Standard, Cellular||$43.95||$0||$50||$19.95|
|HomeSafe With AutoAlert, Landline||$44.95||$0||$50||$19.95|
|HomeSafe With AutoAlert, Cellular||$58.95||$0||$50||$19.95|
Note that you will find hidden fees when ordering a Lifeline system. Let’s start with activation fees. You are required to pay a $50 activation fee for Lifeline’s at-home systems and $99.95 for their on-the-go system. And then there is an installation fee. We recommend self installation for $19.95 — installing a system is simple and easy to do. And, if you opt for professional installation, the charge is $99. These installation charges are something we simply don’t see from other providers.
One thing you may like is that Lifeline offers free equipment for its systems. In addition, they don’t require long-term commitments or contracts. Still, at $29.95 per month for a landline plan, it’s a bit steep, especially considering that top-reviewed Bay Alarm Medical starts at $19.95 per month for similar coverage.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing prices is that Lifeline includes in their monthly fees a few costs that other medical alert companies charge as extras. One of these things is fall detection, which is usually an additional $5 to $10 monthly cost. In addition, many companies charge for shipping (as much as $15). However, this cost is part of Lifeline’s installation fee.
FYI: The length of time, or “lie time,” that someone who has fallen and is unable to get up on their own is significant. Researchers determined that a lie time of 72 hours or more increases mortality by 67 percent.1 This is the reason that SafeHome.org always recommends investing in fall detection.
Lifeline keeps their add-on offerings and upgrades simple; they sell just a few for those who want to customize their systems. If you or your loved one wants a little extra peace of mind, take a look at the following products.
|Lockbox||Comes with a combination lock / stores a key for emergency personnel||$29.95 each|
|Voice Extension||An additional two-way talk communicator to extend the range in your home||$10 per month|
|Medication Dispenser||An app-connected dispenser that releases medication doses at preset times||$59.95 per month|
Out of the three offerings, I think the lockbox is the wisest investment. If you press the help button to contact the monitoring system, Lifeline shares your lockbox code with EMS. This allows paramedics to enter your home without having to damage a window or break down a door. Other brands sell lockboxes at similar prices.
A unique extra that Lifeline offers is its medication dispenser. Other brands have medication reminder services that cost much less, but the Lifeline option actually dispenses medication, which helps to reduce the chance of dosage errors. Note that the Lifeline product can hold up to 60 doses at a time, and each dose is released in a small cup at a preset time. If you’re interested in an option that costs less up front but includes a reminder service, read my review of Lively alert systems.
Finally, watch for an updated version of the medication dispenser, which Lifeline is currently developing.
FYI: The Lifeline medication dispenser has a rechargeable battery and provides up to 18 hours of backup power during an outage.
Lifeline medical alert systems are compatible with Philips Cares, a free app for caregivers. A main benefit is that the primary caregiver can create a Care Circle of people for Lifeline to contact in case of emergency. (Of course, Lifeline can call EMS, too.) Each contact can share their availability within the app.
Also, Philips Cares allows caregivers to share notes and other important details with one another. It has handy wellness rating categories too, like “Memory,” “Mobility,” and “Mood.” I really like how the app automatically charts these ratings; you can easily see trends in your loved one’s well-being.
Unfortunately, GPS tracking for caregivers isn’t part of the deal, unlike with some other brands. If I had a parent with dementia who wandered from home, I’d really like to know their location. That said, a Lifeline agent explained that GPS tracking for caregivers on their GoSafe 2 device is in the test phase. So stay tuned!
It’s worth mentioning that Philips Cares has mostly 5-star ratings at the Google Play Store.2 It’s also well-rated in the Apple App Store, although people have complained that the iOS version is buggy. That said, Lifeline releases app upgrades pretty frequently to improve service.
At this point, the app is a nice freebie to complement the Lifeline system. However, other free apps for caregivers are readily available, so I wouldn’t use it to account for the price difference between Lifeline and other brands. If/when location detection for caregivers is added to the app — well, that’s a different story.
If you value GPS location tracking and other neat caregiver features, you may want to check out our review of Aloe Care Health. This system offers unique at-home features such as motion and air quality sensors.
LifeLine sells systems for in-home and on the go. For in-home coverage you can choose between landline and cellular units. For on-the-go coverage, GoSafe 2 is a great choice. It offers fall detection, two-way talk, and location detection.
HomeSafe Standard is available for landline or cellular service. It includes a base station with a speaker and a waterproof button to wear around your wrist or neck. This button can connect with the base station from a few hundred feet away. (Lifeline doesn’t get specific about range, unfortunately.)
A highlight of the HomeSafe Base Standard is the button’s battery life which lasts for years. Also, the base station has a 30-hour battery in case home power is lost. This system is cheapest with a landline connection at $29.95 per month. But if you choose cellular service, it costs $43.95 monthly. In my experience, $43.95 for an in-home cellular alert is high compared to the industry average (which is roughly $28-$35 monthly).
Who It’s Best For: The Lifeline HomeSafe Standard is made for homebound seniors who decide against fall detection.
AutoAlert is Lifeline’s name for automatic fall detection. HomeSafe with AutoAlert is identical to HomeSafe Standard except for the fall detection upgrade. These systems are available with landline and cellular base stations, and typically a base station can monitor a button from other rooms of the house. However, you’ll get a longer range with most other brands.
I like that the plug-in base system has a 30-hour battery in case of a power outage. The monthly rate is $44.95 with a landline connection and $58.95 with Lifeline’s wireless AT&T connection.
Who It’s Best For: HomeSafe with AutoAlert is best for seniors who spend most of their time at home and want the extra protection of automatic fall detection.
Good To Know: AutoAlert was developed through thousands of hours of testing. It’s been shown to detect about 95 percent of falls, and false alerts are relatively rare.3
Like any true mobile unit, Lifeline GoSafe 2 offers emergency coverage anywhere it catches an AT&T cellular signal. And I appreciate the all-in-one design, as mobile devices from some other brands require both the mobile device and a fall detection button while on the go.
Also impressive is Lifeline’s use of Advanced GPS, or A-GPS, for especially fast location tracking. Lifeline also uses Wi-Fi to track access points in indoor spaces. Finally, you’ll like how it’s shower-safe and works for up to 72 hours per charge. Lifeline requires an upfront $99.95 activation fee and charges $49.95 per month with fall detection.
Who It’s Best For: This convenient system is best for seniors who want protection at home and away and who also want fall detection.
Pro Tip: GoSafe2’s audio beacon is a one-of-a-kind feature. A loud siren-like noise is emitted from the pendant during an emergency situation if the personal response agent or first responders are having difficulty locating the user.
Lifeline has a longstanding deal with AARP: Members can save 15 percent on monthly medical alert service. Also, shipping and activation may be free. Without an AARP discount or other deal, Lifeline activation costs $50 for at-home systems and $99.95 for GoSafe 2.
Military members are also eligible for special savings. These vary, but be sure to ask for military discounts if you’re part of a military family. If you happen to be a veteran, read our guide to the best alert systems for veterans.
At the time of this writing, Lifeline was offering a discounted rate for new customers. For the first 6 months, new subscribers receive $6 off the monthly fee of a HomeSafe system. Of course, it is always a good idea to ask customer service for any special offers, whether you see it on their website or not.
If you are someone looking for different ways to save money on a medical alert system, you might want to read my analysis of LifeFone.
|HomeSafe||HomeSafe with AutoAlert||GoSafe2|
|+ $50 Upfront Costs*||+ $99.95 Upfront Costs*||+ $149 Upfront Costs*|
|Wide Range of Operation||Fall Detection||Fall Detection|
|Two-Way Voice Communication||Two-Way Voice Communication||Two-Way Voice Communication|
|Uninterrupted Support||5 Locating Technologies||6 Locating Technologies|
|24/7 Access to Response Centers||24/7 Access to Response Centers||24/7 Access to Response Centers|
|GPS Enabled||GPS Enabled|
|Landline or Cellular Connection|
|Water Resistant Pendant or Wristband||Waterproof Pendant||Waterproof Pendant|
|30-Hour, Worry-Free Battery with Automatic Replacement||Rechargeable Battery||Rechargeable Battery|
|HomeSafe Communicator with High-Fidelity Speakers and Microphone||GoSafe In-Home Communicator with High-Fidelity Speakers and Microphone|
|30-Hour Battery Backup|
|Professional Installation||Professional Installation||Professional Installation|
|Automated Medication Dispensing Service||Automated Medication Dispensing Service||Automated Medication Dispensing Service|
Lifeline monitoring prices are slightly high, as noted above. Keep in mind they also charge fees for activation and self-installation. These fees might be waived if you’re a member of the military or AARP… but in my opinion, nobody should have to pay these extra charges. Thankfully, Lifeline offers free equipment for their systems, which is typical among the highest- rated brands.
Among Lifeline’s greatest strengths are the features on its all-in-one GoSafe 2. The location detection is advanced, employing both advanced GPS and Wi-Fi. This feature will bring peace of mind to caregivers of loved ones living with dementia, among other medical conditions. I look forward to experiencing the potential addition of location detection for caregivers on the Caregiver app.
In the end, Lifeline is a trusted brand, and for those who don’t mind paying a little bit extra, it’s a product that will likely not disappoint older adults or their caregivers.
FYI: If you aren’t happy with your Lifeline system, you can return it within 30 days for a refund on equipment and monitoring. However, you may still be charged for activation and restocking.
Dating back to 1972, Lifeline was the first medical alert brand to serve North America. It was the brainchild of the late Dr. Andrew Dibner, a gerontology-focused professor at Boston University. He grew the company with his wife Susan Dibner, a social worker by training. At first, they marketed Lifeline systems to hospitals. Then in the early 1980s, Lifeline became available for home use.4 Their first mobile unit, GoSafe, hit the market in 2014.
Lifeline was acquired by Royal Philips in 2006. Since the sale, the company has maintained a strong reputation with seniors and their loved ones. You can learn more about the brand background in our recent LifeLine review.
HomeSafe makes replacing batteries simple for users. The AutoAlert button has a non-rechargeable battery that can only be replaced by Lifeline. When the battery has about 30 days remaining, it will send a signal to Lifeline and a representative will contact you to make arrangements for the replacement. The base station uses a backup battery in case of a power outage, which is good for up to 30 hours.
Yes, the pendant can and should be worn in the shower, as falls can occur in the bathroom. However, it should not be worn in a pool as chlorine can damage the device. Heat can also damage it, so it should be removed before using a sauna or hot tub.
You don’t need anything special. The base station connects to the monitoring center, using the AT&T 4G wireless network. The wireless service is provided with the Lifeline service. No additional wireless equipment is needed.
Voice extension is a feature that requires an additional box with a speaker enabling two-way talk to take place with the base station from another room. Lifeline only offers a voice extension feature for an additional $10 per month and only for those using a landline. Unfortunately, when I inquired with a company representative about the maximum distance that a voice could be picked up when using the voice extension, the representative was unable to answer with any certainty.
Lifeline offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty on its products.
Chaudhuri, Shomir. (2015, Oct 1). Fall Detection Devices and their Use with Older Adults: A Systematic Review. US National Library of Medicine.
Google Play Store. (2021). Philips Care Assist C.03.
LifeLine. (2021). Automatic Fall Detection.
Flippo, Robert. (2019, July 17). The Industry Tips its Hat to Andrew Dibner. LinkedIn.
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.