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Medical Guardian vs. Lively

$30/mo. Starting Price
6 Plan Options
Overall Rating:
5 of 5
View Packages
$10 Fall Detection
13+ Years in Business
Questions? Speak with a Medical Guardian Specialist:
855-919-4522

Highest Rated Brands

Lively Pros Cons
Lively
  • 24/7 access to medical experts with some plans
  • No long-term contracts
  • Can turn your smartphone into a medical alert device
  • Activity monitoring
  • No landline required
  • Can purchase online or in-store
  • No cancellation fees
  • Activation and device fees
  • Service may not be available in remote/rural areas
Medical Guardian Pros Cons
Medical Guardian
  • No activation fees
  • Discreet and high-tech equipment
  • Landline and mobile options
  • TMA Five Diamond certified monitoring centers1
  • No long-term contracts
  • Can be pricey
  • No free trial period

A medical alert system can alleviate caregiver concerns and give older adults the confidence to live independently. But how do you choose the right provider? Lively and Medical Guardian are two of our top recommendations. They offer reliable, discreet protection, and we are impressed with their long-standing reputations for excellent customer service, specifically tailored to older adults.

Lively is an ideal provider for seniors looking to turn their current mobile device into a medical alert system. You'll want to be aware of Lively's activation fees, which we will get into later. Medical Guardian offers high-tech features like a smartwatch-style device and discreet on-the-go systems, but the monthly service fees are some of the highest among leading medical alert providers. If you're wavering between the two companies, we've dug into the product details and analyzed the fine print to give you a comprehensive comparison. Let's dive in!

Getting Familiar With Lively and Medical Guardian

Lively

If you're familiar with the popular senior-friendly flip phone, the Jitterbug Flip2, then you've probably heard of Lively, formerly known as GreatCall.

The well-known company was established in 2005 by entrepreneur and investor Arelene Harris with the mission to make technology more accessible to seniors.2 Not only does Lively offer senior-centered cell phone service, but they also provide flexible, lightweight medical alert protection with their Lively Mobile Plus and Lively Wearable2 devices. In the last few years, Lively's medical alert devices and cell phones have become available for purchase in multiple stores nationwide, convenient for seniors who prefer to avoid online transactions.

We like that Lively also offers the chance for your caregiver or loved one to check in with you through Lively Link, a free smartphone app that lets them monitor the wearer's safety and health.

Medical Guardian

Geoff Gross, founder and CEO of Medical Guardian, was inspired in 2005 by his grandmother, who needed protection at home after experiencing multiple falls. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company provides medical alert protection to 200,000 U.S. customers. With high-tech features, sleek equipment, and highly-trained call center representatives, Medical Guardian checks all the boxes of a top-tier medical alert provider.

What do Lively and Medical Guardian Cost?

If you're budget-conscious like us, price is a major factor you'll want to consider when selecting a medical alert provider. Both Lively and Medical Guardian have competitive rates compared to industry standards, but Lively's basic plan is a few dollars cheaper than Medical Guardian’s base packages.

FYI: Keep in mind that Medical Guardian’s most inexpensive option is not a mobile system, which means it only monitors the wearer in the home. Since Lively's devices are all mobile, seniors have medical alert protection both in the house and on the go.

Lively vs. Medical Guardian Pricing Comparison

Lively Medical Guardian
Monthly service fee $19.99 – $39.99 per month $29.95 – $49.95 per month*
Device fee Yes, for all systems and phones Yes, for select systems
Activation fee $35 (one time) None
Shipping fee Free standard shipping $12.50 (waived on annual plans)
Automatic fall detection Available on Ultimate Plan at $34.99 to $39.99 per month $10 per month
Other available add-ons Choose from a Basic, Preferred, or Ultimate Plan, each with various features. Monthly protection plan, extra help buttons, On Guard emergency notifications, and wall help buttons.

*Monthly rates vary based on your chosen payment plan

Lively Pricing

Lively has three Health & Safety Packages to choose from: Basic, Preferred, and Ultimate. Each package comes with various health and safety features; we like that Lively offers different monitoring levels, so you can choose the plan that's right for your budget and lifestyle. Prices for each package will vary between phones and standalone devices.

FYI: You can purchase Lively devices in-store at Best Buy, Rite Aid, Amazon, or Walgreens. This is great for older adults who prefer in-person purchases as opposed to online!

  1. Lively's Basic Plan starts at $19.99 per month and gives wearers essential medical alert protection, including 24/7 monitoring and brain games to keep you sharp.
  2. The Preferred Plan begins at $24.99 per month and includes Urgent Care and Lively Link. The Urgent Care feature gives wearers 24/7 access to medical professionals, and seniors can even use it for refilling prescriptions in a pinch. As we mentioned above, Lively Link is a caregiver feature that can provide updates on a loved one via the Lively Link app.
  3. The Ultimate Plan, starting at $34.99 per month, includes all of the Preferred features, along with fall detection, which can detect a fall even if the wearer is unable to press their medical alert button. It's important to note that fall detection isn't available for Lively's two senior phones.

Medical Guardian Pricing

Though Medical Guardian costs slightly more, the company provides more variety in devices and add-ons than Lively. Medical Guardian has six systems to choose from and offers both on-the-go, in-home, and hybrid monitoring. When purchasing a Medical Guardian device, you'll have the option to select a monthly, quarterly, or annual payment option. The quarterly and annual options offer discounted rates, and we recommend going with the annual payment plan because you'll receive a free month of service. Plus, they throw in free shipping, a lockbox, and a second help button. What a deal!

Buyer's Tip: Lively and Medical Guardian run specials throughout the year. To make sure you're not missing out, call their customer service line and ask if they are currently running any special deals or discounts. Representatives will make sure you get the best rate and may even throw in some freebies!

Your monthly rates with Medical Guardian will vary depending on the system and payment plan you select, but they typically range between $29.95 to $49.95 per month before add-on features.

Equipment from Lively and Medical Guardian

Between Lively and Medical Guardian, there are eight medical alert systems to choose from. Lively also offers two cell phones that double as medical alert systems. We'll take a closer look at each system below.

A side-by-side look at Medical Guardian and Lively's mobile systems

A side-by-side look at Medical Guardian and Lively’s mobile systems

Lively Equipment

Lively's two alert systems, Lively Wearable2 and Lively Mobile Plus, are both mobile units, which means they can protect users within or outside the home. If you're looking for an affordable mobile system, then Lively may be the provider for you. Keep in mind that mobile options need to be charged regularly, and they rely on strong cell service. The Lively Wearable2 is a watch that allows seniors to track their steps and turn their current smartphone into a personal medical alert device, so it's great for active users.

In addition to their two alert systems, Lively also offers a smartphone (Jitterbug Smart3) and flip phone (Jitterbug Flip2) for users who don't want a wearable alert system. Since 81 percent of older adults ages 60 to 69 use a smartphone and 62 percent of those over the age of 70 use one, this is an excellent option for tech-loving seniors.

Lively Mobile Plus Lively Wearable2 Jitterbug Flip2 Jitterbug Smart3
Monthly price $24.99 to $39.99 per month $24.99 to $39.99 per month $19.99 to $34.99 per month $19.99 to $34.99 per month
Device fee $49.99 $49.99 $99.99 $149.99
GPS location tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fall detection available Yes Yes No No
Water-resistant Yes Yes No No
Battery life 80 hours 4 months Up to 12 hours of talk time Up to 12 hours of talk time
Best for Seniors looking for one-piece on-the-go protection Turning your smartphone into a medical alert device Seniors who want a basic phone with medical alert features Those who want a smartphone with safety features

Medical Guardian Equipment

Freedom Guardian

Freedom Guardian

Medical Guardian has a diverse lineup of systems ranging in features and prices. One that stands out above the rest is Freedom 2.0. The sleek smartwatch-style alert device is excellent for tech-savvy active seniors who want some extra protection. The wrist-worn gadget can send text messages, set calendar notifications, and track activity. One downside to the Freedom 2.0 is that it is the only Medical Guardian device without fall detection capabilities since it can’t be worn as a pendant. The Mini Guardian, another standout system, is Medical Guardian's smallest device and great for seniors looking for simple, sleek protection on-the-go with optimal battery life.

FYI: Medical Guardian has launched Freedom 2.0, the second iteration of Freedom Guardian. It's currently available for preorder on the company's website.

Mini Guardian Freedom 2.0 Active Guardian Mobile 2.0 Home 2.0 Classic Guardian
Monthly price* $39.95 $49.95 $44.95 $39.95 $34.95 $29.95
Device fee $124.95 $179.95 None 124.95 99.95 None
GPS location tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Fall detection available Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water-resistant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery life 5 days 3 days 7 days 5 days 32-hour backup battery 32-hour backup battery
Best for Discreet mobile protection Mobile protection for active seniors All-in-one mobile protection At-home and on-the-go protection At-home protection with no landline At-home landline protection

*Monthly rates will vary based on your chosen payment plan.

Accessories and Add-ons

When it comes to accessories and add-ons, Medical Guardian takes the cake compared to Lively. Medical Guardian's subscription packages are more customizable, while Lively doesn't have any add-on equipment per se. Instead, their add-on features are built into the three Health & Safety Packages. If you're looking for add-ons such as lockboxes, pendant jewelry, and wall buttons, then Medical Guardian is where you'll want to look.

Keep in mind that most of these add-ons will add a few dollars to your monthly service fee. For seniors who are content with simplified packages, Lively can deliver that.

Comparing the Fine Print

Below, we'll take a look at the fine print, including warranties, return policies, and cancellation terms you need to be aware of before subscribing to Lively or Medical Guardian.

Warranty

  • Lively's products are covered by a standard limited warranty for one year after the purchase date. The provider will replace or repair any defective devices, but the warranty does not cover damage caused by the user.
  • Medical Guardian offers a protection plan for $6.99 per month. If your equipment is damaged or lost, they will replace a base unit once per year and help buttons twice per year. Without the protection plan, you could end up paying $350 to replace a damaged or lost unit. With that in mind, we think the plan is worth considering!

Return Policy

  • Lively has a 30-day refund policy. If you are unsatisfied with your device or service for any reason, they will refund you the activation fee, the first month’s service charge, the cost of the device, and the applicable taxes. The shipping fees are not refundable, and you will have to pay a $10 restocking fee for the return.
  • Medical Guardian does not offer a 30-day return policy like Lively. If for any reason you need to return your device and cancel service, you will not be refunded for the device fee or used service, but they will refund any unused months of service that you prepaid.

Contracts and Cancellations

The good news is that neither provider requires a long-term contract. That means you can bow out of service whenever you need to without penalties. They will refund you for any unused months of service that you already paid for.

Money-Saving Tip: Medical Guardian and Lively have “refer-a-friend” reward programs. If you're a current subscriber and refer a friend who joins, you will receive $25. Ask a customer service representative for details.

Medical Guardian or Lively: Which is Best Suited for Me?

Comparing two of the providers' unique systems_ Freedom Guardian and the Jitterbug Smart3

Comparing two of the providers’ unique systems_ Freedom Guardian and the Jitterbug Smart3

We don't take on a one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to medical alert systems. Each senior has a unique budget, lifestyle, preferences, and reason for purchasing a medical alert system. Medical Guardian and Lively are both excellent providers with A+ ratings4 from the Better Business Bureau.5 Though we do think choosing one over the other leans heavily on what exactly you're looking for. Below we've listed out which provider we recommend for various seniors.

Lively is best suited for:

  • Seniors looking for a mobile system
  • Older adults who would like 24/7 access to a medical professional
  • Seniors who want to turn their current smartphone into a medical alert device
  • Those who have strong cellular coverage

Medical Guardian is best suited for:

  • Tech-loving seniors
  • Those who want a dedicated in-home system
  • Older adults who don't mind paying a little extra for all the bells and whistles
  • Those who want a discreet, smartwatch system

The Bottom Line

You really can't go wrong with Medical Guardian or Lively. Though we aren't big fans of Lively's device and activation fees, their monthly prices are very reasonable, perfect for seniors looking for mobile monitoring. Medical Guardian has various devices that cater to active seniors looking for sleek equipment, along with more basic systems for homebodies. However, you'll want to keep in mind the more expensive monthly subscription price of their high-tech devices. With no long-term contracts, both providers offer flexibility for customers, which we appreciate!

To take a closer look at these two providers head over to our hands-on Medical Guardian review and latest Lively review.

Citations
  1. TMA. (2020). Five Diamond.

  2. Wikipedia. (2020). Arlene Harris (inventor).

  3. AARP. (2020). Older Adults Keep Pace on Tech Usage.

  4. Better Business Bureau. (2020). Medical Guardian, LLC.

  5. Better Business Bureau. (2020). Great Call.