With falls as the leading cause of fatal injuries among older adults,1 companies like ADT Health offer life safety solutions in the form of medical alert systems and monitoring services for thousands of seniors and their families who share the same concern. While companies like Philips Lifeline offer a slew of different solutions, ADT Health's three alert systems make decision making much less complex. If you have one of ADT's home security systems, you'll be pleased to know that ADT Health offers discounted rates. However, at the current time, the home security products are not compatible with the medical alert equipment. You'll have to connect with ADT Health over the phone to learn more about the exact discounted price points as they do not disclose this information on their website.
For this year's review, I'll be primarily focusing on ADT Health's Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go Emergency Response systems, though I tested out all three systems. My takeaway is that the company's century-long experience shines in their well-designed alert systems, top-of-the-line protection (optional fall detection feature), and company policies that instill a customer-first mentality (lifetime warranty and no long-term contracts). Read on as I delve into all things ADT Health: from the pros and cons to equipment description, to pricing, to my experience with setting up the system, and to interacting with the company.
Serving over 6 million customers throughout the U.S.,2 ADT Health offers three medical alert systems as mentioned earlier:
Do you have a landline at home?
Since the Medical Alert Basic requires a landline connection, this will help determine which ADT medical alert systems are compatible with your property. The Medical Alert Basic system requires a landline connection, whereas the other two systems can function with or without a landline.
Is the system for someone who is very active or someone who takes comfort in their home for most of the day?
ADT's On-The-GO Medical Alert System is perfect for those who are frequently out and about, as it covers them 24 hours a day with fall detection and GPS tracking to show emergency responders their exact location. If the user enjoys activities, such as gardening or watching their favorite shows, ADT's Medical Alert Basic or Plus system is a great fit.
Does the user live in an area where the weather can be detrimental to their health?
If the weather can be too hot or too cold and cause dangerous health problems for our loved ones, be sure to get the ADT Medical Alert Basic or Plus System as they both come with temperature monitoring.
How long does it take for ADT's emergency response monitoring centers to respond?
From my experience with testing out the ADT Medical Alert Plus System, the response time often performed within the industry average of 30-40 seconds.
Now that you're familiar with ADT Health's alert systems, below is an in-depth overview of my user experience with the Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go Emergency Response systems, along with my observations on the Medical Alert Basic system.
If you choose to go with ADT Health, out of their lineup of three, the Medical Alert Basic system is a solid match for the less tech-savvy homebodies or those who live in areas with poor cell reception, as it runs on a landline connection. I also recommend the system for those who are on a tight budget, as the monthly rate is the cheapest among the other systems. For a monthly price of $29.95, this system comes with an in-home base unit and a wearable wrist or neck help button, which is fairly common and meets the minimum standards in today's industry. During an emergency, the user will simply need to press the help button on the base unit or pendant to be connected to ADT's 24/7 monitoring center. They can then use the two-way speaker to tell the live operator what's wrong and help will be on the way.
The caveat with the Medical Alert Basic is that you can't add fall detection to your system. This shortcoming could pose a major drawback for some users, especially among adults 65 years and older, as recent data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention3 shows the continual increase of fall deaths is 62 deaths for every 100,000 people. If you don't need or mind the absence of fall detection, the Medical Alert Basic ensures that you can call for help within your home as long as you have a help button on you and are within 300 feet of the base unit. However, it's important to note that the range between the button from the base is quite restrictive as other companies who offer similar at-home systems, like Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Care Alert, offer range capabilities of up to 1,000 feet. All in all, this system is great for those who opt for simplicity and only need the minimum monitoring requirements within their home.
As one of the two systems that I tested out, Medical Alert Plus delivered on its promises—at least most of them anyway. If you enjoy spending time in your backyard, either gardening or playing with your furry companions, I highly recommend Medical Alert Plus ($35.99 per month), as it provides the user with an extra layer of protection inside and outside around the home. While it works similarly to the Basic system, it offers a larger coverage range. In order to achieve this, the Medical Alert Plus operates off of AT&T's cellular network.
I was excited to give the system a try because, truthfully, the design stood out to me. Rather than the glaring red color of the Basic system's help buttons and the “medical looking” base station, the Plus's base station has two buttons with a pleasant hue of red and blue. On top of that, the base unit looks more modern and less clunky, and it has a display screen. I found this screen pretty helpful whenever the base unit announced the system's statuses through the speaker. The speaker was loud; I could hear the prompts from the other side of my house loud! (FYI: my house is pretty small, but this is definitely one of the loudest systems I've tested.) If the user is hard of hearing, they'll still be able to read the system's status on the display screen. While some people might find the announcements annoying, I was grateful for them. I liked knowing when a call was in progress or when I was told to stand by for an operator. Seniors who are impatient and need to know if their system is working on getting help might also find the announcements reassuring.
One feature that could be improved was the range from the base unit to the help button, which is up to 600 feet. To test the range, I stood on the front lawn and pressed the help button on my pendant until a red light flashed to indicate that it was connecting to the base unit. Since I was outside and couldn't hear the operator on the base unit's two-way speaker, they gave me a call on my cell phone (I gave my number to them during the sign-up process) to ask if everything was okay. For an additional cost of $10 a month, you have the option to tack on their fall detection feature. Overall, I was very happy with my Medical Alert Plus system, especially since I spend a lot of time in the backyard!
From what I can tell, ADT Health's On-The-Go Emergency Response is the most comprehensive safety system in their lineup. Priced at $39.99 per month, it's great for active seniors who often partake in activities like long jogs around the neighborhood or walks on the beach. As a system that includes GPS location services and isn't limited by the requirements of a base unit, you won't have to worry about going out of range. When I unboxed the On-The-Go system, I found a help pendant, a palm-sized mobile device, and a cradle charger. The design is similar to the Plus's with a softer white color, and the mobile unit is small enough to comfortably fit in a pocket, purse, or on a belt.
The monthly rate for On-The-Go is similar in pricing to other mobile systems from companies like Philips Lifeline and Medical Care Alert. The mobile device is not waterproof and lasts up to 24 hours after a full three-hour charge on the cradle, so you'll want to take the charger with you if you plan to be away from home for more than a day. What I liked about the mobile device was that it's smaller and therefore more discreet than other chunkier GPS devices on the market, like Medical Care Alert's MobileElite GPS.
Unfortunately, ADT Health does not offer a companion mobile app which would've been super helpful in tracking a user's location, but other than that I was pleased with this system.
User Tip: Be sure to remove the On-The-Go's mobile device from the cradle charger from time to time, instead of leaving it on the cradle whenever you're at home, for the battery life to last longer.
ADT Health doesn't outline their add ons or accessories anywhere on their website. Instead, I had to speak with one of their sales agents to find out if they offered anything beyond their alert systems. That, and I had to get a quote in order to find prices for each add on. As much of a hassle as it was to find these add ons, I did order the Fall Detection pendant as an extra layer of protection. ADT Health also offers wall mount buttons and lockboxes.
It costs an additional $10 per month to add on the automatic fall detection feature with ADT Health, which falls right in line with what is seen across the industry. During testing, I pretended to fall in my living room and waited about 20 seconds before the Fall Detection pendant picked up the movement and alerted ADT Health's emergency response center. There's no guarantee that fall detection will identify 100% of falls,4 so it is recommended that you press the help button if you're able to. I should also point out that the fall detection pendant only works with Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go, so if you have the Medical Alert Basic system, you won't be able to add it on.
These buttons let the user call for help when they don't have access to the pendant or base station. During an emergency, just press the button and it will automatically connect to the base unit and call for help. It's important to note that these buttons are not waterproof, so you won't be able to place them inside your shower stall. This exclusion falls below the standard of full protection since companies like Bay Alarm Medical offer waterproof wall mount buttons. If you decide to add ADT Health's wall mount button to your medical alert system, an ideal place to set these buttons up is on the bedside table or in the bathroom outside the shower where they won't get wet.
Lockboxes ensure that EMS can enter your home safely and without damaging your door. ADT Health's lockboxes are rust-free and have a lifetime warranty. All you have to do with the lockbox is set your personal combination and notify the ADT Health team so they can register it on your account.
Now that I've gone over the details of testing and integrating ADT Health's medical alert systems into my daily life, I'll share my interactions with the ADT Health team and how they influenced my decision to order.
Although ADT Health spells out their medical alert systems and pricing on their website, I wanted to dig up more information before settling on a system. So, I decided to give them a call. After a quick automated response, I was connected with a sales agent named Emir, who patiently answered my questions. For any medical alert system, it's important to me that the company offers language support. When I asked Emir if they offered this, he responded that they would do their best to provide my preferred language but that it wasn't guaranteed. He expanded on this, saying that receiving immediate help is more important than trying to find someone who speaks my preferred language during an emergency. I couldn't argue and was happy to hear that ADT Health always puts users' well-being above all else.
Emir also helped me build the ideal system for my needs and walk me through the pricing. I let him know I wanted to try out a cellular in-home system, since I don't have a landline, along with a system for on-the-go use. Based on my preferences, Emir recommended the Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go systems.
After ending the conversation with Emir, I forgot to ask about the cost of adding on a Fall Detection pendant to my system, so I tried out ADT Health's live chat feature on the website. A bot prompted some questions before connecting me with a customer service representative by the name of George. I wanted to know how much it would be to add fall detection to my system, and he let me know that it would cost $10 per month, which is pretty standard for the industry.
I then hopped back on the phone and placed my order for the Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go Emergency Response systems, since you can't order systems online. I chose to pay on a monthly basis, and the representative let me know that my package should ship out the next day.
Money Saver Alert: Make sure to ask about limited-time promotions when you're on the phone with an ADT Health sales agent. These promotions may include waiving the activation fee, which normally costs an additional $28.99.
I started with setting up my Medical Alert Plus system, which included a base station and a pendant help button, and it operates on AT&T's cellular network. Emir let me know you don't have to be an AT&T customer to use this cellular connection, so I was all set. To start, I plugged the power plug into an electrical outlet in my living room before turning on the base station's ON/OFF switch. The emergency and reset buttons illuminated red and blue, respectively. One thing that I really liked about the Medical Alert Plus system was the display screen on the base station, which flashed “System Ready” after I turned it on. During my initial setup test, I pressed and held the test button for three seconds and it lit up green, followed by a “User Auto Test” on the screen. Then I pressed the emergency help pendant and the display changed to “Test Call Sent to Emergency Response Center.” The center acknowledged my test and the base unit flashed “User Auto Test Completed.” No need to call!
As for setting up the On-The-Go Emergency Response system, I plugged in the power cord on the charging cradle. I then placed the mobile device in the cradle, and a yellow light lit up. The mobile device beeped and illuminated within 10 seconds before the red battery light came on, indicating that the device needed to charge. Three hours and a marathon of The Office later, I checked that the red light turned off.
For testing, I picked up the mobile device and pressed the emergency button for two seconds until a red light around the button lit up, and the mobile device started ringing several times. An operator answered, and I let them know that I was testing out the system. I also performed a range test with my partner. I wore the help button pendant and went to the farthest area of my house (the garage) while my partner stayed by the cradle charger in the living room. The mobile device on the cradle charger beeped, and an operator came on the line. My partner let them know that we were performing a range test, and we gave each other a thumb's up for a job well done.
If you have the Medical Alert Basic system, setup requires you to plug one end of the phone cord that's included in the package to the jack marked on the base unit and the other end to your wall or phone jack. After that, you'll need to plug the power adaptor into a wall outlet and contact the ADT Activation Help Desk to activate and verify your address. For testing, you can call the Customer Monitoring Center to notify them that you're testing the unit. After that, you press the help button, wait for the operator to get on the line, let them know you're testing, and then hang up.
Setup Advice: Don't set up any of the ADT Health medical alert system base units or cradle chargers in the kitchen as small appliances will interfere with signal transmission. Instead, place the base unit in areas where you frequent most or in a centralized area in your home.
ADT offers a lifetime warranty5 with their medical alert systems, which was a huge plus in my book. If I were to drop my equipment, ADT would send a replacement at no charge. They will not cover for lost equipment or accessories.
|ADT System||Monthly Price||Landline Required?||Range||Fall Detection Available||2-Way Talk||Home Temperature|
|Medical Alert Basic||$29.95 per month||Yes||300 feet||No||Yes||Yes|
|Medical Alert Plus||$35.99 per month||No||600 feet||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|On-The-Go||$39.99 per month||No||100 feet||Yes||Yes||No|
Overall, ADT Health's medical alert systems provide basic-level alert care and monitoring protection. It's great for someone in good health who needs that extra reassurance that if something were to happen, they could get help. I can't say that ADT Health shined in all areas, especially by missing key information on the website and the pricey activation fee, but including home temperature monitoring with their systems was a nice bonus. Also, don't forget that existing customers signed up with their home security systems are eligible to receive a discounted rate – just give them a call and ask. ADT is mostly known for their security systems, but after incorporating their medical alert systems in my daily life, I can say that they hold up when compared to the other big names in the industry.
You have the option to pay monthly, quarterly, or annually. ADT Health charges between $29.95 per month and $39.99 per month.
Since ADT Health does not require contracts, you can cancel and return the equipment at any time. After you notify them that you’re canceling, they will ship a box for you to pack the equipment in and return at no extra charge.
Yes, you can take your ADT medical alert system with you. Just be sure to contact the ADT Health team to update your address 30 days prior to your move. An additional fee may be applied for each move.
ADT Health does not require long-term contracts and instead offers month-to-month plans. Prices are locked in through ForeveRate.
The help buttons are waterproof, but the base units and mobile devices for the On-The-Go system are not.
National Council on Aging (NCOA). (2020). Falls Prevention Facts.
Wikipedia. (May 2020). ADT Inc.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (September 2019). Deaths from Falls.
BioMedical Engineering OnLine. (July 2013). Challenges, issues and trends in fall detection systems.
ADT. (2020). Health & Medical Alert FAQs.