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Lively Medical Alert System Review

Our Hands-on Experience With Lively’s Medical Alert Systems and Senior-Friendly Phones in [Year]

SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews. Read our Editorial Guidelines here to learn more about our review process and to learn more about how we are compensated.

SeniorLiving.org Rating:
3.5 of 5
Questions? Speak with a Lively Specialist:
866-461-7793
3 System Choices
3 Phone Plans
$24.99/mo. Starting Price
Health and Safety Features

SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews. Read our Editorial Guidelines here to learn more about our review process and to learn more about how we are compensated.

SeniorLiving.org Rating:
3.5 of 5
Questions? Speak with a Lively Specialist:
866-461-7793
Jeff Hoyt
Jeff Hoyt, Editor in Chief Read About Our Panel of Experts

Ninety-two percent of Americans over 65 own a cell phone, most of which are smartphones.1 Smartphones are useful, but some seniors would benefit more from the extra safety features provided by a medical alert system. For those who want the best of both worlds, Lively provides a solution with its senior-focused phones that can double as medical alert devices, providing on-the-go protection.

With a variety of options, Lively’s products can be customized to fit your needs, although the selection process can be a bit overwhelming at first. As SeniorLiving.org’s resident tech expert, I’ve tested many medical alert systems and senior-friendly cell phones over the years, including several Lively products.

In this review, I’ll break down all of Lively’s products and packages, along with my experience purchasing and testing the Jitterbug Smart4 with my grandma. Read on to learn why Lively offers some of the best medical alert systems on the market!

Our editor's grandma trying out her Lively Mobile Plus

Our editor’s grandma trying out her Lively Mobile Plus

Pros About Lively

  • No long-term contracts
  • U.S.- based monitoring centers
  • Senior-friendly phones
  • GPS monitoring
  • Affordable mobile medical alert systems
  • Customizable health and safety packages available

Cons About Lively

  • No landline systems
  • Various add-on options can be confusing

Overview of Lively

My grandma making a call on the Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma making a call on the Jitterbug Smart4

For this year’s review, I tested out the Jitterbug Smart4. Overall, I found the device to be the right balance between sophistication and simplicity — excellent for seniors who may be new to technology or who want a simple smartphone. And, at $149.99, it’s a great value (big-name smartphones can be more than $1,000!). Below, I share my hands-on experience using Lively.

Current Deal:

Current Deal: Lively is currently offering a discount of $5 per month when you opt for paperless billing, as well as 70 percent off its Jitterbug Smart3!

The Buying Experience

I found Lively’s website was user-friendly and informative. Before making any online purchase, I highly suggest calling the customer support line to clear up any questions you have. Lively’s customer support agents can also give recommendations to help you find the device that best suits your needs.

Plus, I’ll let you in on a little secret: You can unlock some savings by speaking with a representative. When I called, I spoke to a representative named Shirley, who informed me of a promotion expiring at the end of the month. I was able to get a discount on the Jitterbug Smart4 thanks to that simple phone call. High-five, Shirley!

Setting Up My System

Activating and setting up the Jitterbug Smart4 was simple. I had the option to activate my phone over the phone for $35 or online for $25. I decided to save $10 and activate my phone online. Lively’s website took me through the process of choosing a plan and activating my phone step by step.

Once the phone was activated, I took the wall charger and USB cord and plugged in the phone straight out of the box. From there, my phone was all ready to go!

Contracts and Warranty

Unlike other companies that offer discounts when you pay quarterly or annually, Lively only offers a monthly payment option. That’s fine by me, since they have no long-term contracts and offer free cancellations.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? If you aren’t satisfied with your Lively product, you have 30 days to return it for a full refund.

Additionally, Lively provides a one-year limited warranty for all devices. During the warranty period, Lively will cover the device, rechargeable batteries, and other accessories. In terms of the medical alert industry, this warranty seems rather short (many providers offer lifetime warranties), but one-year warranties are pretty standard in the cell phone world. Keep in mind that the warranty protects these items within normal use, not damage caused by accidents or incorrect use.

Lively Systems at a Glance

Device Jitterbug Smart4 Jitterbug Flip2 Lively Mobile Plus
Category Phone Phone Medical alert device
Device fee $149.99 $99.99 $49.99
Internet access Yes No No
24/7 monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Urgent Response button Yes Yes Yes
Fall detection available No No Yes
GPS Yes Yes Yes
Navigation Yes No No
Voice typing Yes Yes No
Camera Yes Yes No
Waterproof No No Yes

Lively System and Product Details

Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4

Cost

With the Jitterbug Smart4, you’ll pay a one-time equipment fee, along with monthly fees for your chosen talk, text, and data package. Each of Lively’s three phone plans also comes with health and safety features. Below is a breakdown of the costs.

  • Equipment fee: $149.99
  • Activation fee: $35 one-time fee
  • Talk, text, and data: $19.99 to $49.99 per month for talk and text, plus health and safety features; $5 to $30 per month for data

Equipment

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

If you’re looking for a device with the right mix of fun, tech, and practical features, the Jitterbug Smart4 checks all the boxes. The smartphone’s home menu has all the features you need at your fingertips — phone, text, camera, internet, email, etc. — without the extra fluff that iPhones and Androids have. While scrolling through the menu, it was easy to find exactly what my grandma and I needed without a lot of searching. I will say, the phone was occasionally slow to load. There were times when I had to press a button or app icon several times before it would work.

The Urgent Response button is always easy to find on the home screen if you need to connect with an emergency operator. The Smart4 has evolved from previous models, like the Smart3, to include upgraded features like a larger 6.75-inch screen, longer talk time (up to 37 hours), and triple rear cameras. I appreciate that Lively strives to improve its phones over time!

The Jitterbug Smart4 easily connects to hearing aids, making it ideal for seniors with hearing loss. I like the phone’s 32 GB storage, which is perfect for storing precious photos of friends and family! If you take a lot of pictures or keep a lot of information on your phone, you can increase this storage to as much as 256 GB. My grandma and I found that the battery lasted all day during our testing, and the screen works well for older eyes. It’s big and bright with great contrast, and the oh-so-important Urgent Response button is always front and center.

The Jitterbug Smart4 has my vote, but I know plenty of older adults who would prefer something more straightforward. If this is the case for you, the Jitterbug Flip2 may be a better option.

Service and Monitoring

Lively phones use the Verizon network, which has an excellent reputation for reliable cell service. It’s important to remember if you want to activate Jitterbug Smart4’s medical alert features, you’ll need to purchase either the Preferred or Premium phone plan, which activates the Urgent Response button and other safety features.

Since the Jitterbug Smart4 has GPS technology, an emergency operator can send help no matter where you are when you press the Urgent Response button. I tested the emergency button while taking a walk around the block, and I was connected to an operator in under a minute. If you’re looking for fall detection, then check out Lively’s Mobile Plus.

Jitterbug Flip2

Navigating the Jitterbug Flip2

Navigating the Jitterbug Flip2

Cost

Just like the Jitterbug Smart4, you’ll pay a device fee and monthly fees for your chosen plans. The Jitterbug Flip2 doesn’t offer access to the internet or data, so you’ll only pay for talk and text, along with health and safety features.

  • Equipment fee: $99.99
  • Activation fee: $35 one-time fee
  • Talk and text + health and safety features: $19.99 to $49.99 per month

Equipment

The Jitterbug Flip2 is the perfect phone for practical users. If you want medical alert features and the convenience of a cell phone without all the extra techy stuff that comes with a smartphone, this is a great option.

This popular flip phone features an easy-to-use dial pad with all the buttons you need ready and available, including a speakerphone button and an Urgent Response button. The Jitterbug Flip2 may be simple, but it has a few tricks, like a reading magnifier with a flashlight (perfect for reading menus in dimly lit restaurants) and Amazon Alexa technology that allows you to text, call, or navigate your phone using your voice! When I tested this phone, I found that the voice assistant technology was one of my favorite features. It’s very useful for seniors like my grandma who have arthritis or other mobility issues. The long-lasting battery is ideal for older adults who don’t want to charge their device every day. Want to learn more? Visit our Jitterbug Flip2 review.

It’s important to note that the Flip2 has a few more features and buttons than its predecessor, the GreatCall Flip. These design changes allow the Jitterbug Flip2 to be more customizable to your preferences; however, if you’re upgrading from the GreatCall Flip, there may be an adjustment period as you figure out the new features. The Lively Flip2 is still much simpler than other phones on the market, so you should get used to the changes with a little bit of practice.

Service and Monitoring

As mentioned above, Lively partners with Verizon for service, so you’ll want to make sure you live in their coverage area. Similar to the Jitterbug Smart4, simply pressing the Urgent Response button connects you with an operator who will already be familiar with your emergency information and send the help you need. To activate this feature, you’ll need the Preferred or Premium phone plan.

Lively Mobile Plus

My grandma wearing her Lively Mobile Plus

My grandma wearing her Lively Mobile Plus

Cost

If you’re looking for an inexpensive system, Lively Mobile Plus is a sensible option. Since it’s a medical alert device and not a phone, you won’t need to pay for talk, text, or data. For a closer look at Lively’s costs and how to get the best deal, visit our Lively deals and pricing page.

  • Equipment fee: $49.99
  • Activation fee: $35 one-time fee
  • Health and safety package (required): $24.99 to $34.99 per month

Equipment

Lively Mobile Plus is a stand-alone medical alert system that gets back to the basics. This device is ideal if you enjoy an active, independent lifestyle but may be at risk of falling. It has everything you need to go about your day safely and confidently.

What I like about the Lively Mobile Plus is how comprehensive it is. It has everything you want in a wearable, mobile medical alert system: it’s waterproof, offers built-in GPS, and you can add fall detection for $9.99 per month. Plus, it includes 24/7 emergency monitoring and two-way speaking capabilities. Just throw the device on like a necklace and take it with you everywhere you go. One minor drawback that my grandma and I realized during testing is that the device isn’t stylish, and it’s a bit clunky. However, that’s pretty standard for medical alert systems; it keeps you protected, which is what matters most.

Service and Monitoring

Whenever you need help, all you have to do is press the Urgent Response button on the Lively Mobile Plus, and you’ll be connected to an emergency operator. According to Lively, you can even use this feature for situations that aren’t technically emergencies, like a flat tire or getting locked out of your house.

Thanks to the device’s cellular connection and GPS technology, you can access help from wherever you are. I was impressed with how Lively strives to help customers feel more at ease in any day-to-day situation, not just the big emergencies. After all, it’s the little things that count!

Plans and Features

Lively’s packages offer medical alerts and health features that other companies don’t. Available packages, prices, and features will vary depending on whether you choose a phone or the Lively Mobile Plus. Below is a breakdown of each package, along with automatic fall detection, and what features are included.

Package Price* Features Available with
Basic phone plan $19.99 per month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Jitterbug Smart4
  • Jitterbug Smart3
  • Jitterbug Flip2
Preferred phone plan $39.99 per month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Urgent Response
  • Lively Link app
  • Jitterbug Smart4
  • Jitterbug Smart3
  • Jitterbug Flip2
Premium phone plan $49.99 per month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Urgent Response
  • Lively Link app
  • Nurse on-call
  • Care advocate
  • Jitterbug Smart4
  • Jitterbug Smart3
  • Jitterbug Flip2
Basic medical alert plan $24.99 per month
  • Urgent Response
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Link app
  • Lively Mobile Plus
  • Lively on Apple Watch or iPhone
  • Lively on Alexa
Premium medical alert plan $34.99 per month
  • Urgent Response
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Link app
  • Care advocate
  • Nurse on-call
  • Lively Mobile Plus
  • Lively on Apple Watch or iPhone
  • Lively on Alexa
Fall Detection $9.99 per month Automatically detects falls Lively Mobile Plus

*Prices listed require paperless billing and exclude taxes and fees.
Want to learn more about the features listed above? Let’s take a look.

Lively Urgent Response

Lively's Urgent Response button is clearly displayed on the home and lock screen

Lively’s Urgent Response button is clearly displayed on the home and lock screen.

This feature connects you 24/7 to agents certified by The International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED),2 aka the same company that certifies 911 operators. These agents will already be familiar with your personal health information, so the right help can be sent as fast as possible.

Lively Rides

An operator can schedule a Lyft ride for you anytime you need transportation. This feature is great for those who no longer drive.

Nurse On-Call

In partnership with FONEMED and MDLIVE,3 the app lets you communicate with registered nurses and board-certified doctors, making it easy to get prescription refills and critical medical advice. This will save you the time and energy of making a trip to the doctor’s office or frantically searching the internet for answers.

Lively Link

Tracking my grandma's location using the Lively Link mobile app

Tracking my grandma’s location using the Lively Link mobile app

This app keeps caregivers and children informed at all times. For instance, if you call for help using your Lively device, Lively Link will send an instant update to all related subscribers, providing them with pertinent details. It’s nice to see another service that strengthens family communication.

Lively Care Advocate

Users can build a customized plan to meet their health and wellbeing goals with the help of an expert.

Ask Lively

This concierge-like service helps with non-emergency situations, like contacting a caregiver, requesting directions, or looking up a phone number.

Fall Detection

In the event of a fall, this service detects the fall and immediately calls an Urgent Response agent to send help. I think this feature is essential since in 2018, approximately 35.6 million falls were reported, with 8.4 million of those resulting in an injury.4 This is sold separately from Lively’s health and safety packages for the Lively Mobile Plus, and it costs $9.99 per month.

Lively App

If you’re interested in Lively’s health and safety features but you don’t want to purchase a new device, the Lively mobile app is a great option. You can download this app on an iPhone, Apple Watch, or Alexa-enabled device and access most of Lively’s health and safety features. To do so, you’ll just need to sign up for a health and safety package on the Lively website. Or, for a more guided experience, you can follow the prompts on the Lively app to sign up for whichever package you prefer. Then, use the Lively app on your iPhone, Alexa device, or Apple Watch to start using the service!

Lively also offers an excellent deal for customers who want a new Apple Watch. If you sign a one-year contract for the Premium package, you can get up to $100 off select Apple Watches at Best Buy.

Lively Video Review

While this review is full of prices, products, and other particulars from Lively, for a hands-on look at Lively’s medical alert systems, watch our Lively video review below. Here, you’ll see all of the Lively devices discussed in this review and hear some additional information about how they work and stack up to competitors.

The Bottom Line on Lively

Overall, l found Lively products to be user-friendly, easy to set up, and relatively affordable. However, prices can add up if you want access to all of Lively’s health and safety features, so you’ll want to pay close attention to monthly fees.

Choosing the right Lively device and plan can be confusing, but a quick call to customer support goes a long way in clearing up any questions. I applaud the company for its innovative efforts to fuse the protection of a medical alert system with the convenience and portability of a cell phone. I recommend Lively for older adults looking for senior-friendly gadgets and reliable mobile medical alert protection.

Our Methodology

As our team tests out medical alert systems, we evaluate several key decision-making factors that customers should consider when choosing a system. These factors include reliability, ease of use, customer service, value for money, average response times, and variety of features. We test every system by hand to give our readers an in-depth look at the product. We also collect feedback from older adults (like my grandma!) about the systems. We use all of our research, testing, and customer reviews, to give every provider a star rating out of five. Head to our medical alert system methodology guide for more information on our testing process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lively

  • How much do Lively medical alert systems cost?

    Equipment and service fees for Lively will vary based on the product and add-on package you sign up for. Upfront equipment fees range from $49.99 to $149.99, while health and safety packages cost anywhere from $24.99 to $34.99 per month.

  • Can you keep the same number when you switch to a Lively phone?

    Yes, you can keep your same phone number when you switch to a Lively phone. It is important to mention that you should not cancel your original service plan until the number transfer is complete.

  • How is Lively Urgent Response different from calling 911?

    Lively Urgent Response agents have access to your personal profile which contains pertinent confidential information that the agents can use to dispatch appropriate assistance when needed. The personal profile is customizable, so you can share information to help Lively agents understand your unique needs or concerns.

  • Does Lively require a contract?

    Unlike most cell phone companies, Lively does not require a long-term contract. This means you can end your service at any time without cancellation fees.

  • Does the Jitterbug Smart4 have GPS?

    Yes. Seniors who are still getting behind the wheel can access the Google Maps app on their Jitterbug Smart4 for turn-by-turn directions. The GPS feature on all four of Lively’s devices also allows urgent response operators to pinpoint your location in an emergency.

Citations
  1. Pew Research Center. (2021). Mobile Fact Sheet.

  2. International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). (2020). How It Works Best.

  3. Lively. (2022). Urgent Care.

  4. CDC. (2020). Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018

Written By:
Jeff Hoyt
Editor in Chief
Read About Our Panel of Experts
As Editor-in-Chief of the personal finance site MoneyTips.com, Jeff produced hundreds of articles on the subject of retirement, including preventing identity theft, minimizing taxes, investing successfully, preparing for retirement medical costs, protecting your credit score, and making your money last… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt