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Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection of 2020

Our experts reviewed and researched 15 medical alert systems with fall detection and narrowed the list to their top 4 recommendations.

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Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

Many seniors fall and cannot get up. That is scary in itself, but even more frightening is if they don’t have a medical alert system. They could remain prone for hours or days. If you have elderly parents, you may worry about this type of scenario. A fall can certainly cause severe injuries and diminish your parents’ quality of life. The good news: Falling isn’t an inevitable outcome of aging. Your parents’ living space can be adapted to greatly reduce the likelihood of them falling. They can wear shoes with a low or flat heel and use mobility aids such as walkers and grab bars. Exercise programs also help prevent falls.

Still, a medical alert system is an important piece of the puzzle. It increases the chances of your parents receiving help as quickly as possible if they do fall. Many systems come with options for automatic fall detection, which does not require that a button be pressed. The five companies listed below make high-quality medical alert systems with fall detection options that your parents can wear in the shower and elsewhere. It’s important to note that buttons or pendants should be worn around the neck. If your parents put a fall detection button or pendant in their purse or pocket or on their belt, the system may not automatically detect a fall.

Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection for 2020

How We Chose The Top 4 Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

We identified the top 15 medical alert brands with fall detection and narrowed it down to 4 of our favorites based on a number of criteria. We looked at affordability, service, ease of use, response times, and other factors to rank the best medical alert systems with fall detection on the market. Take a look at the systems we have deemed the best of the best.

15
Products considered
5
Experts consulted
4
Products selected
86
Hours of research
  • 1. Medical Guardian

    Overview

    You can get fall detection with all of Medical Guardian’s systems except one, the Freedom Guardian smartwatch. Fall detection matters to the company, as it was founded by Geoff Gross after his grandmother fell several times and needed help.

    The in-home systems are Classic Guardian, Home Guardian and Family Guardian. The on-the-go systems are Mobile Guardian and Active Guardian.

    Classic Guardian requires a landline connection, and the system has a wide range of up to 1,300 feet around the base station. That’s about the length of four football fields. Your parents should be within range when they’re working in the yard, visiting the next-door neighbors or even going to see the folks across the street.

    A fall alert pendant is one of the accessories available for this system. Other accessories include medical alert buttons to be worn as necklaces or wristbands (the buttons must be pressed, unlike the fall alert pendant). Multiple buttons are a great way to protect more than one person. The system can also have wall-mounted and voice-activated alert buttons. Another accessory, the lockbox, makes it much easier for emergency responders to access your parents’ home, and a protection plan comes in handy if any devices are damaged, lost or stolen.

    The Home Guardian system does not require a landline telephone connection, and AT&T cellular access is included with the subscription plan. The range from the base station is about 600 feet, less than half of the range you get with Classic Guardian. Still, 600 feet is quite a bit longer than one football field, which measures 360 feet. It covers many seniors in their yard and at nearby houses. You can get multiple buttons and accessories, including fall detection, to protect more than one person.

    Family Guardian is the most advanced at-home system of the three. It doesn’t require a landline connection and includes three in-home sensors that connect with a smartphone app. They can monitor door and window entry, and you can check throughout the day to see how active your parents have been. Notifications let you know if your parents’ activity levels are abnormal or if they’ve used a help button. This system may come in particularly helpful if your concerns include falling, night wandering or lethargy due to illness. The range from the base station is about 1,300 feet, and the usual lineup of accessories is available.

    The Active Guardian could be an intriguing option if your parents are particularly active. It’s designed to be worn around the neck and has GPS tracking. Your parents can get help even if they’re hours from home. Active Guardian also has Wi-Fi technology, which can decrease emergency response times. It has built-in fall detection along with a help button your parents can press, but it costs an extra $10 a month to activate fall detection.

    Mobile Guardian is another system with GPS tracking. It comes in a miniature, mobile base that has an emergency button, and you get a wearable button such as a wristband or pendant. It must be within about 350 feet of the mobile base to work. The base is small enough to fit in most pockets or purses, and fall detection costs an extra $10 a month for each wearable you add it to. The base itself does not have fall detection available, and Active Guardian may be a more streamlined option in your situation.

    Ease of use Excellent
    Equipment Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing
    Pros
    • Fall detection is available for at-home and GPS systems
    • Multiple system options with a variety of features and pricing plans
    • Multiple fall detection buttons can be used in a household
    • No contracts and activation fees
    • High level of multilingual support for emergency operators
    Cons
    • Fall detection is not automatically included in any plan
    • Smartwatch doesn’t have fall detection
    • Plans may be more pricey than consumers would like

    Pricing

    Medical Guardian has four pricing plans: monthly, quarterly, semiannual and annual. You can get fall detection with any of these plans. It’s $10 per button or pendant, so if you want both of your parents to wear one, that is $20 extra per month.

    The monthly plans typically include only the 24/7 monitoring and the equipment. The annual plans tend to also include free ground shipping, a free lockbox, a free month of service and a second wearable button (not fall detection). The prices below reflect base rates without fall detection costs included.

    For the Classic Guardian, plans are $29.95 monthly and $329.45 yearly, which breaks down to $27.45 a month. Quarterly is $89.85 and comes with free shipping. Semiannual is $179.70 and comes with the free lockbox and free shipping.

    The Home Guardian monthly plans are $34.95, and the annual plan is $384.45, which breaks down to $32.04 a month. The quarterly plan is $104.85, and the semiannual plan costs $209.70.

    The Family Guardian plans can get pricey, with $79.95 monthly fees and an annual fee of $879.45, which breaks down to $73.29 a month. The quarterly plan is $239.85, and the semiannual plan is $479.70. However, you do get in-home sensors and the ability to track your parents’ activity levels.

    The Active Guardian GPS button costs $39.95 under the monthly plan and $439.45 under the annual plan ($36.62 a month). The quarterly plan is $119.85, and the semiannual plan is $239.70.

    The Mobile Guardian system is $49.95 monthly, $149.85 quarterly, $299.70 semiannually and $549.45 annually ($45.79 a month).

    Add $10 per month to any system above for each fall detection button. Fall detection costs $120 for a year.

    The Bottom Line

    Medical Guardian has a nice array of systems with fall detection, and customers who want a simple, all-in-one wearable with fall detection should explore Active Guardian. Meanwhile the Family Guardian at-home system offers varied opportunities for tracking your parents.

  • 2. Bay Alarm Medical

    Overview

    Bay Alarm Medical has fall detectors available with both its in-home and GPS systems. The at-home fall detectors work within 800 feet of their stations. The mobile GPS help button has fall detection built in, although activating the service costs extra.

    The in-home system can be used with or without a landline (extra charge of $10 a month if no landline). It’s fairly small and is portable, enabling seniors to easily bring it on vacations. The wristband and lanyard help buttons (not fall detector buttons) work within a range of 1,000 feet of the base. This is a no-frills system—no touchscreen, no sensors—is but perfectly functional. You must pay extra for fall detection pendants.

    The GPS system is a 4G LTE help button, and two of the pricing packages include fall detection and a caregiver tracking app.

    Ease of use Excellent
    Equipment Excellent
    Service & Response Excellent
    Features & Tech Excellent
    Pricing
    Pros
    • Fall detection buttons have a range of 800 feet from base stations
    • Two-year battery life
    • In-home system can also be used to answer phone calls
    • Simplified choices with just one in-home system and one GPS system
    • Can bundle with an in-car medical alert
    Cons
    • In-home system may be too basic for some people
    • Lack of system options

    Pricing

    Bay Alarm Medical bills you monthly or semiannually. You get free shipping with semiannual payments.

    With the in-home alert system, fall detection is included only with the premium protection package. Premium costs $39.95 a month and includes the fall alert pendant, four wall buttons and a free lockbox. Add $10 per month if your system will not be plugged into a landline.

    However, you can get fall detection for an extra $10 monthly with the basic package, which costs $19.95 a month. The package consists only of 24/7 emergency response monitoring (no lockbox and no wall buttons).

    Fall detection is included with the 4G LTE help button’s preferred and premium plans. Preferred costs $39.95 a month and comes with caregiver tracking. The premium plan costs $49.95 and includes caregiver tracking and the in-home system.

    You can bundle the GPS and home systems with an in-car medical alert. For $59.95 per month, you get most everything: an in-home system, a car system with crash detection, a GPS system and a lockbox. However, fall detection in the GPS system is $10 extra a month for a total of $69.95.

    The Bottom Line

    If you want a system that touches multiple bases: home, on-the-go, fall detection and driving, then definitely consider Bay Alarm Medical.

    Likewise, if you’d like a simple, no-frills and affordable system, either the in-home or GPS option will do just fine. Also, remember that GPS systems can be used at home (in lieu of a standalone home system).

  • 3. GreatCall

    Overview

    GreatCall works to promote active aging. It has several nifty products, including cellphones with medical alert buttons. The cellphones don’t come with optional fall detection, but the Lively Mobile Plus does. It has not arrived on the market as of mid-July 2019 but promises to be a streamlined, all-in-one device similar to the Active Guardian and to Bay Alarm Medical’s 4G help button. You must choose the “ultimate” pricing plan to activate the fall detection service.

    Your parents can wear the Lively Mobile Plus on a belt or put it in their purse, but wearing it around their neck is a must for the fall detection to work as it should. A smartphone app enables you to check on your parents throughout the day and be notified if they send an alert.

    Ease of use Above Average
    Equipment Above Average
    Service & Response Above Average
    Features & Tech Above Average
    Pricing
    Pros
    • All-in-one mobile GPS device
    • GreatCall Link app for family members enables check-in and has many nice features
    • Verizon network offers an alternative to AT&T
    Cons
    • Product is not on the market yet (as of mid-July 2019)
    • Fall detection not available with lower two pricing tiers

    Pricing

    You pay $49.99 upfront for the Lively Mobile Plus device itself, and you get to keep it. You also pay for activation (no information yet on that cost).

    The Lively Mobile Plus comes with basic, preferred and ultimate pricing for monthly monitoring. Fall detection is available only with ultimate pricing, at $39.99 a month. That also gets you product replacement, the GreatCall Link app and Urgent Care. The latter enables seniors to speak to a nurse or doctor 24/7, no appointment necessary, and these professionals can even prescribe common medications over the phone.

    The Bottom Line

    The Lively Mobile Plus should be a worthy competitor in the market, and its Verizon service provides an alternative to AT&T. Moreover, the monthly plan with fall detection offers a lot of value for the relatively low price of $39.99. You do pay $49.99 plus activation for the Lively Mobile Plus itself.

    The Plus may not be available yet when you read this, and you may prefer to go with a product that has proven itself. However, GreatCall makes excellent phones and the nifty Lively Wearable. There’s no reason to think that the Plus will be a slouch.

  • 4. LifeStation

    Overview

    LifeStation has an all-in-one GPS device with fall detection built in, and the system works with Amazon Alexa. The company also has fall detection pendants to use with its two in-home systems.

    The in-home, no landline system comes with a base, and you can opt for a fall detection pendant to wear around your neck. There are options for wristband buttons, though there is no fall detection with these. The system runs on the AT&T network.

    The other in-home system is for use with a landline. Help buttons for both systems work within about 1,000 feet of the base. Both systems are relatively basic, but they are effective.

    The mobile with GPS system has fall detection built into it. However, the service can only be activated with the uppermost-level pricing plan. One nice thing about the system is that family members can automatically find out where their loved ones are.

    Ease of use Above Average
    Equipment Above Average
    Service & Response Above Average
    Features & Tech Above Average
    Pricing
    Pros
    • Fall detection is built into the mobile system
    • Mobile system has up to five days of battery life
    • The three system options don’t overwhelm
    • WiFi technology with the GPS system can mean quicker emergency responses
    • Can use Amazon Alexa
    Cons
    • Website is not overly user-friendly, and information there is limited
    • Some systems cannot be ordered online, and you may have to order on the phone
    • Multi-language support may be limited (ask about your language when you speak with customer support)

    Pricing

    LifeStation offers standard, select and supreme pricing packages with free shipping. Fall detection comes only with supreme. The prices that follow are based on annual plans but give monthly breakdowns, per LifeStation’s website.

    For the GPS system, the supreme plan costs $39.95 monthly and includes a protection plan, free activation, compatibility with Amazon Alexa and the “Find My Loved One” service.

    Supreme pricing for the in-home, no-landline system is $41.95 a month. You get free wristband and necklace attachments and the protection plan.

    Supreme costs $34.95 for the traditional in-home system. It comes with a free emergency button and free necklace and wristband attachments. You also get a protection plan.

    The Bottom Line

    The lack of information/transparency on the LifeStation website compared with what other companies offer may give you pause, but LifeStation does make quality medical alert systems.

    Neither of its in-home systems with fall detection come with window/door sensors or touchscreens, but that could be OK for your situation. Meanwhile, LifeStation’s GPS device may appeal to active seniors.

What Is Fall Detection?

Fall detection technology can alert emergency operators that a senior needs help when the senior is unable to do so. For example, a senior with dementia may not remember to press a help button. Similarly, seniors might injure their head or other critical parts of the body during a fall and be unable to press a help button.

What Are the Benefits of Fall Detection?

Some seniors fall and are not found until hours or days later. During this time, they’re scared, they’re alone, they may have serious injuries, and they’re not getting food or water. They may be subject to extreme temperatures, whether they fall inside or outside.

Fall detection greatly increases the chances that a senior gets appropriate attention as soon as possible after a fall.

How Accurate Is Fall Detection?

Fall detection does not work all of the time, and the companies listed here have disclaimers to that effect. LifeStation explains, “Fall Detection does not detect 100% of falls. If able, users should always push their button when they need help.”

That’s absolutely true. If your parents fall and they’re able to press a button to speak with operators or to summon help, they should do that. Fall detection also has a slightly delayed response time while sensors gather and send information about a potential fall. Pressing a button if you’re able to do so can mean that help arrives sooner.

False alarms are possible. Emergency operators usually call a designated phone number after receiving a fall alert. If no one answers the call, they send emergency responders.

What Costs Should You Expect with Fall Detection?

A simple, in-home medical alert system with fall detection can be had for about $30 a month, and your parent can use some GPS mobile systems with fall detection for about $40 a month.

However, if you want fall detection as part of a larger, more advanced system, the costs may get pricier. For example, a system such as Family Guardian that comes with in-home sensors is about $90 a month with a fall detection button. It would be about $100 if two people wore buttons.

In short, fall detection may cost about $30 to $100 a month, depending on the complexity of the system and how many people it covers.

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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