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Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection for Seniors

The 3 Best Brands
Accolades Best Overall Fall Detection Best GPS Fall Detection Best Mobile Fall Detection
Fall Detection Starting At $10 per month $10 per month $10 per month
Monthly Rates Starting At $27.45 (with annual purchase) $19.95 $19.99
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime One year
GPS Options Yes Yes Yes
In-Home Coverage Range Up to 1,300 feet Up to 1,000 feet No in-home systems
How to Order
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(866) 461-7793
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It’s expected that 3.4 million individuals worldwide will be using medical alert systems by 2021, and 2.4 million of those users will be in the United States.1 With the popularity of medical alert systems on the rise, medical alert companies are offering more features and options to keep seniors living safely at home for as long as possible. Fall detection is one of those popular, life-saving features. Since around 25 percent of older adults fall each year,2 selecting a system with fall detection is something we’d highly recommend.

When shopping for a medical alert system for yourself, or a loved one, fall detection is an important feature to consider. We’ve researched and assessed more than a dozen medical alert systems on the market and included the top systems offering fall detection here. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly system or one that is ideal for two people, this guide will take you through all the details when choosing the best medical alert system with fall detection for you.

How We Selected The Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

After our research and testing, we have chosen the best medical alert systems with fall detection that met four important criteria.

  1. No long-term contracts: With these companies, you’ll be able to cancel your service at any time. Other medical alert systems may require you to sign a contract that locks you in long term, which we’re not big fans of. With these companies, you’ll have the freedom to cancel your service at any time.
  2. Mobile option: Since 56 percent of falls happen outside of the home,3 it’s important that you or your loved one has fall protection both in the home and on the go. These providers offer systems that can be used in both settings.
  3. Great value: There’s nothing worse than paying good money for a product, only to find out the value doesn’t match the price tag. Whether you need a medical alert system that provides simple protection at a low price, or you don’t mind spending a little extra for all the bells and whistles, we’ve made sure these medical alert systems are worth the investment. If we wouldn’t consider it worth the cost for our friends and family in their golden years, we won’t recommend it to you either!
  4. 24/7 monitoring: Falls can occur at any time, which is why it’s oh-so-important that your alert system with fall detection is linked to a 24/7 professional monitoring center. Whether a fall occurs in the middle of the night or the afternoon, all of the providers on our list will be there to help around the clock.
Active Guardian

Our Editor Jeff Hoyt testing out one of the many systems with fall detection we rated during our research!

Do I Need Automatic Fall Detection?

If you’re asking yourself, “Do I really need fall detection?” keep in mind that every second a person 65 or older experiences a fall.4 To us, that statistic is downright concerning. Since falls happen frequently among older adults, we highly recommend medical alert systems built with automatic fall detection. The feature gives seniors added protection and provides peace of mind for caregivers when they’re away.

Fall detection is an innovative technology built into wearable pendants or wristbands that detects a fall even if the user is unconscious and/or unable to press their medical alert button. When a fall is detected, trained operators are alerted and can assess the situation within seconds, dispatching emergency services and alerting caregivers if needed.

Though we like to think all older adults should be protected with fall detection, it is especially important if you or your loved one has recently experienced any of the medical events listed below. Research has shown they can be precursors to a fall.

Cognitive Decline

If you’ve noticed a decline in cognitive function or mental health in yourself or an older adult in your life, this can be a precursor for a fall. For seniors who have symptoms of depression, it can increase their chance of falling by up to 30 percent5 and those living with Alzheimer’s are also at an increased risk.6

Hearing Loss

Seniors with hearing loss are three times more likely to fall than those without hearing loss.7 This is due to less spatial awareness, which makes tripping and falling more likely. If you’ve experienced hearing loss, fall detection may be useful.

History of Falls

For seniors who have fallen before, they are twice as likely to fall again in the future.8 Certain medications, vision impairments, clutter in the home, and improper footwear can all contribute to a history of falling.

Now that we’ve covered our recommendations for automatic fall detection, let’s get into our list of this year’s top medical alert systems with fall detection!

  • 1. Medical Guardian - Best Overall Fall Detection

    Medical Guardian is our pick for best fall detection overall because they offer a wide variety of fall detection options to meet the needs of all sorts of seniors. Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one system with GPS, a basic at-home unit, or a combination of both, Medical Guardian has a solution, offering fall detection with six of their seven alert systems.

    Mobile Guardian

    Time and time again, Medical Guardian ranks as one of our top picks for fall detection!

    This American company has been around for 15 years, providing innovative safety solutions to 200,000 seniors and their caregivers. Offering both mobile and on-the-go medical alert systems and top-rated customer service, they were an easy pick for overall best fall detection. With Medical Guardian, you won’t find any hidden fees or long-term contracts, which earns two big thumbs up from us. With seven medical alert systems to choose from starting at $27.45 per month with an annual payment plan and just $10 per month to add fall detection, Medical Guardian provides top-quality protection at a variety of price points.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Customizable features
    • High-tech systems
    • Smartwatch option
    • Diverse product lineup
    • Large in-home coverage range
    • No hidden fees
    • No long-term contracts
    • U.S.-based monitoring center
    Cons
    • No free trial
    • Pricier premium systems
    • Cellular systems require AT&T coverage

    Medical Guardian Pricing and Products

    Mini Guardian Freedom Guardian Active Guardian Mobile Guardian Home Guardian Classic Guardian Family Guardian
    Prices with annual subscription starting at $36.62 per month $41.20 per month $41.20 per month $36.62 per month $32.04 per month $27.45 per month $73.29 per month
    Fall detection available
    Additional price of fall detection $10 per month N/A $10 per month $10 per month $10 per month $10 per month Included in monthly rates
    Fall detection built-in or requires extra pendant Built-In N/A Built-In Pendant Pendant Pendant Pendant
    Equipment fee? $124.99 $249.95 No No No No $299.95

    Call Medical Guardian

    Call to speak with a Medical Guardian representative. Get your questions answered, products recommended, and ask about current deals and promotions.

    Visit MedicalGuardian.com

    Answer a few questions on Medical Guardian's website to get a quote on the best product and plan for you. This process is slower than calling a representative.

  • 2. Bay Alarm Medical - Best GPS Fall Detection

    Bay Alarm Medical’s GPS Help Button is backed by reliable, 4G LTE AT&T service. This powerful GPS-equipped help button is the reason Bay Alarm Medical made our list. If a fall is detected or the button is pressed, the wearer’s location can be pinpointed exactly and help will be sent straight away. As we’ve mentioned, falls can happen anywhere at any time, so your system should be equipped for on-the-go use, especially for active seniors. Starting at just $24.95 per month, this is also one of the more affordable GPS systems on the market.

    Our Editor Jeff Hoyt wearing the Bay Alarm Medical Fall Detection Pendant

    Our Editor Jeff Hoyt wearing the Bay Alarm Medical Fall Detection Pendant

    The in-home systems can also be upgraded to include fall detection for those who spend most of their time at home. The Preferred and Premium packages offer a tracking app for caregivers, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can see where the user is at all times. We’re all about companion mobile apps that keep everyone in the loop, so this is a big bonus! With a 30-day risk-free trial, no long-term contacts, and affordable pricing (talk about perks), Bay Alarm Medical has a reputation for providing customer-centered service.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Inexpensive systems
    • Sleek equipment
    • In-car system
    • Price-lock guarantee
    • No hidden fees
    • 30-day risk free trial
    • Customizable packages
    • Bundling options
    • Smartwatch system
    Cons
    • Free shipping only for premium package
    • Certain add ons aren’t very durable

    Bay Alarm Medical Pricing and Products

    In-Home System GPS Help Button In-Car System SOS Smartwatch
    Prices starting at $19.95 per month month $24.95 per month $29.95 per month $24.95 per month
    Fall detection available Collision detection No
    Additional price of fall detection $10 per month $10 per month N/A N/A
    Fall detection built-in or requires extra pendant Pendant Built-In N/A N/A
    Equipment fee? No $79 No $149

    Call Bay Alarm Medical

    Call to speak with a Bay Alarm Medical representative. Get your questions answered, products recommended, and ask about current deals and promotions.

    Visit BayAlarmMedical.com

    Answer a few questions on Bay Alarm Medical's website to get a quote on the best product and plan for you. This process is slower than calling a representative.

  • 3. GreatCall - Best Mobile Fall Detection

    For the millions of seniors who use a smartphone to stay connected, medical alert systems that pair with your phone are a great option for staying safe, which is where GreatCall comes in on our list. GreatCall’s Lively Wearable2 turns your smartphone into a medical alert system, which is why they made our list for the best mobile fall protection. When the device detects a fall automatically or the user calls for help, your smartphone will connect to the company’s 24/7 response center straight through the Lively app. Because the Wearable2 comes in a watch-like design, it’s sleek, discreet, and it can even track your steps and daily activity (calling all active users and health nuts)!

    The company is also widely known for its lineup of senior-friendly mobile phones like the Lively Flip. It’s important to note that GreatCall’s phones don’t offer automatic fall detection like their alert devices do, though the phones do come with a suite of health and safety features that can be added to your monthly plan. To access automatic fall detection for GreatCall’s medical alert devices, you’ll need to opt for the Ultimate package, which costs $39.99 per month. However, this is only $10 more than the package below it that doesn’t offer fall detection, and it comes with a wide variety of medical alert features as well. Though a bit pricey, GreatCall’s Lively Wearable2, along with the Lively Mobile Plus, offer convenient fall detection on the go.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Above Average Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Cell phones with built-in medical alert capabilities
    • Advanced add-on health and safety features
    • Smartphone and flip phone options
    • Affordable cell phones
    • Discounts for AARP members
    • Senior-friendly phone designs
    • No contracts or cancellation fees
    Cons
    • Only one standalone medical device option
    • Medical alert capabilities cost an extra monthly fee
    • No traditional in-home alert systems
    • Fall detection only available with certain devices

    GreatCall Products and Pricing

    Lively Mobile Plus Lively Wearable2
    Health and Safety Packages Pricing $24.99 to $39.99 per month $24.99 to $39.99 per month
    Fall detection available
    Additional price of fall detection Only included with Ultimate package ($39.99 per month) Only included with Ultimate package ($39.99 per month)
    Fall detection built-in or requires extra pendant Built-In Built-In
    Equipment fee? $49.99 $49.99
  • 4. LifeFone - Most Affordable Fall Detection

    Offering a price lock guarantee, lifetime warranty, and fall detection add-ons starting at $5 a month, LifeFone was our first choice when searching for the most affordable fall detection option. LifeFone subscriptions start at just $24.95 per month with no device or activation fees, making it one of the most economical options on our list. Plus, the price to add fall detection is one of the least expensive that we’ve seen. Though it is a low-cost option, LifeFone still delivers reliable service and quality on-the-go and at-home medical alert systems.

    Our Editor Jeff Hoyt with the LifeFone Wearable Pendant

    Our Editor Jeff Hoyt with the LifeFone Wearable Pendant

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Above Average Above Average Above Average Above Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Lifetime price guarantee
    • Large in-home coverage range
    • No extra fees
    • Lifetime warranty for all equipment
    • Inexpensive fall detection
    • Features for hearing and visually-impaired users
    • Great ongoing promotions and deals
    • Free spouse monitoring
    • 30-day battery life for mobile GPS system
    Cons
    • No language support
    • Add ons can add up

    LifeFone Products and Pricing

    At-Home Landline At-Home Cellular At-Home & On-the-Go GPS At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In-Pendant
    Prices Starting at $24.95 per month $30.95 per month $36.95 per month $39.95 per month
    Fall detection available
    Additional price of fall detection $5 per month $5 per month $10 per month $5 per month
    Fall detection built-in or requires extra pendant Pendant Pendant Pendant Built-In
    Equipment fee? No No No No
  • 5. Alert1 - Best Fall Detection for Two Users

    While some providers require you to purchase two separate systems with fall detection at full price, Alert1 offers discounted rates for spouses and roommates, which earned them a spot on our list. The medical alert provider offers packages with automatic fall detection already included, as well as discounted bundles for in-home and on-the-go systems. If your spouse or another senior in your home is also in need of fall detection, Alert1 may be a great option with prices starting at just $10 extra per month for the second user. This can save you around $10 to $30 per month (wowza) when compared to purchasing two individual alert systems, which adds up over time. With a 30-day refund policy and month-to-month options, you can return your device if you’re not fully satisfied, no questions asked. We’re suckers for a good deal, so if you are too, we’d highly recommend Alert1.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Below Average Below Average Average Below Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Support for 190 languages
    • 30-day battery life for on-the-go system
    • Great deals when paying annually or quarterly
    • No hidden fees
    • Customized emergency responses
    • Bundle options
    • Month-to-month and long-term options
    • Extensive add-on features and equipment
    Cons
    • No returns after trial period ends
    • Limited warranty
    • Monitoring center is not company owned

    Alert1 Products and Pricing

    In-the-Home In-the-Home + Fall Detection On-the-Go On-the-Go + Fall Detection In-the-Home + On-the-Go + Fall Detection
    Prices Starting at $16.95 per month $27.95 per month $33.95 per month $43.95 per month $49.95 per month
    Fall detection available
    Additional price of fall detection N/A Included N/A Included Included
    Fall detection built-in or requires extra pendant N/A Pendant N/A Built-In Built-In and Pendant
    Equipment fee? No No No No No

Is Automatic Fall Detection Accurate?

Fall detection sensors are calibrated to account for patterns in drops and falls. Metrics such as speed, impact, angle, distance, and motion detected after a fall are all factored by the fall detection sensor. Based on the information gathered from these metrics, the device determines whether or not a fall occurred. Upon detecting a fall, the system will connect the wearer to a trained operator, who will then determine if emergency medical assistance should be dispatched.

Though fall detection sensors are programmed to avoid triggering due to small motions, the system isn’t always 100 percent accurate. If a false alarm is triggered, you can just communicate with the emergency operator that everything is fine and you do not need assistance. No biggie!

On the flip side, since automatic fall detection isn’t perfect, sometimes when the wearer falls the sensor may not detect the fall. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as low batteries, the pendant being worn incorrectly, or simply that the sensor was unable to detect the fall. Due to this margin of error, it’s encouraged that wearers always press their medical alert button when a fall occurs, if possible. This ensures that the emergency operator is notified and help is sent ASAP.

What Does Automatic Fall Detection Cost?

Since automatic fall detection is available as an add-on feature to the medical alert systems we’ve listed above, you’ll want to consider the price of the subscription service as well. If you choose an annual subscription plan, you can expect to pay around $19.95 to $45 per month, depending on your chosen system and provider. To add automatic fall detection, most medical alert system providers add $5-$10 per month to your bill. With that wide of a price range, we’ve found that automatic fall detection is accessible and worth the investment, even if you’re shopping on a budget. Just like you, keeping the older adults in your life as safe as possible is our main concern, so we’d definitely recommend fall detection if it works for your wallet.

FAQs

  • How much does fall detection cost?

    Most medical alert system providers charge around $5-$10 extra per month to add automatic fall detection to your monthly subscription.

  • Does fall detection work?

    Yes, fall detection works, but it does not work 100 percent of the time. In the event of a fall, wearers should always press their medical alert button if possible.

  • Who should have automatic fall detection?

    Seniors who have a history of falling, or have precursors that may make them more likely to fall, should consider getting automatic fall detection added to their medical alert system.

  • Does fall detection work in the shower?

    Yes, the majority of fall detection pendants are waterproof and can be worn in the shower. This is ideal since bathrooms can be slippery and could result in a fall.

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Linda’s Acclaimed Career in Senior Care Linda Schlenker is a comforting voice for seniors and caregivers across the U.S. For nearly three decades, Linda has helped seniors remain safe in their own homes, while helping them to regain priceless independence and peace… Learn More About Linda Schlenker

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt