A Medical Response System That’s as Easy as 1-2-3
If you're in the market for a medical alert device, it can feel overwhelming with so many choices. Luckily, ResponseNow is a medical alert company that offers a simple, straightforward lineup of three medical alert systems to provide peace of mind for older adults and their children, like me.
I tested the Belle+, ResponseNow's on-the-go model with fall detection and GPS tracking, for this year's review. This is the company's top-of-the-line system, priced just under $50 per month. As you'll see, the Belle+ handles pretty much everything you need in a medical alert system with just one piece of equipment. We'll also take a look at ResponseNow's other two systems, and I'll give you the rundown on pricing, features, and my experience with the brand.
ResponseNow's systems can be easily purchased on its website or over the phone. While researching ResponseNow's systems, I gave its customer service center a call to ask about the differences between the Belle and Belle+ systems. The representative informed me that, while both are designed for on-the-go use, the Belle+ system adds fall detection and device tracking for another $10 per month. Each year, 3 million older adults are treated for an injury related to a fall, so these features are worth it in my view.1
Pro Tip: Want to compare providers that offer fall detection? Head to our list of the best medical alert systems with fall detection.
The Belle+ system is pretty pricey at $49.95, so I asked the representative if any discounts were available. He told me I could save 10 percent (or $60 a year) by paying upfront with an annual payment plan. Talk about solid savings!
After my call, I wanted to try out the live chat feature on ResponseNow's website. The representative was extremely helpful and answered all of my questions. I wanted to know which cellular network the Belle+ system runs on to make sure I'd have strong enough coverage to test it out in my neighborhood. The representative let me know that it runs on AT&T's network.2 Luckily for me, I have solid AT&T coverage, so I was all set!
Customer perk: ResponseNow offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for new customers, which means you can test out a system before committing fully.
ResponseNow provided an easy shopping experience, which was great. After chatting with customer service, I was ready to make my Belle+ purchase. Oh, and did I mention that shipping was free? I'm a sucker for free shipping, especially since there are typically shipping fees with other companies we've reviewed, like Bay Alarm Medical. During the checkout process, I was prompted to provide information for at least one emergency contact. You'll see why this comes in handy in the next section!
Setting up my Belle+ system was straightforward. The system came in one small box with a charging cradle, the mobile Belle+ unit, and a necklace strap. I plugged the charging cradle into an outlet and placed the Belle+ unit on the charger, and once it was fully charged (which took about three hours), I was ready to go. If you choose the basic Belle system, setup will be exactly the same.
To test out the system, I held down the black help button on the front of the device until it turned solid blue, which indicates it is connecting to the response center. Once I was connected to an operator, I used the device's two-way audio to let them know I was just making a test call. The operator knew my name and location (I was at home) based on the GPS tracking embedded in the device. She reminded me that she could send emergency services if necessary or simply connect me with the contacts I set up during the buying process.
Setup for the In The Home unit will be slightly different, but each system comes with all the hardware and instructions you need. To get started, connect your base unit to a phone jack (with a working analog telephone line) and a power outlet. ResponseNow recommends placing the base unit in a central location of the home, where you'll be more likely to hear the system in case you need to communicate with the operator.
To test the system, put on your wearable help button and press its blue button. The large red help button on the base unit will light up, and the unit will start to beep, which indicates that your system is connecting to the 24/7 monitoring center. Eventually, the beeping will stop, and you'll hear the system ring. Once an operator is on the line, just let them know you're making a test call, and you'll be set! The whole process should take about 45 seconds, which is right around the industry average for response times.
ResponseNow doesn't require long-term contracts, so you can cancel your service at any time. ResponseNow takes responsibility for service and repairs for faulty equipment, and all systems come with a lifetime replacement warranty. This is a top-of-the-line warranty for the industry, with some companies only offering a one- or three-year warranty.
|Product||Connection type||Features||Monthly rates|
– Built-in 2-way communication
– Shower-proof pendant
– Lasts 30 days on a full charge
|$39.95 per month|
|Belle +||Cellular (AT&T)||
– 2-way communication
– GPS tracking
– Fall detection
– Shower-proof pendant
– Lasts 5 days on a full charge
|$49.95 per month|
|In The Home||Landline||
– 500-foot base-to-button range
– Clear 2-way communication from console
– Spouse monitoring available
– Waterproof pendant available as necklace or wristband
|$29.95 per month|
Starting at $29.95 per month, In The Home is ResponseNow's least expensive system. However, it is slightly more expensive than some traditional in-home systems on the market. The company offers annual and quarterly payment plans to save you some money. The yearly plan costs $299.40 per year (breaking down to $24.95 per month), and you'll pay $83.85 per quarter (or $27.95 per month) with the quarterly option.
This system includes a base unit and waterproof pendant that can be worn as a necklace or wristband. The base unit offers crystal-clear two-way communication and has a range of 500 feet. It also has a 24-hour backup battery in case of power outages.
From the experts: ResponseNow's response times average around 45 seconds. For comparison, the average response times for medical alert systems across the industry are 15-45 seconds.
ResponseNow's In The Home system is ideal for those who spend most of their time at home and have a landline, as it connects to an analog phone jack. Whether you're cooking up a storm in the kitchen or reading a book in the living room, you'll be covered. All you have to do is press the help button on the wearable pendant during an emergency, and the base station will connect to the 24/7 monitoring center. You can also upgrade to a fall detection pendant for $11.95 per month. This feature is excellent for older adults at higher risk of falling.
Belle, ResponseNow's mid-tier option, costs $39.95 per month. If you choose the annual payment plan, you'll save $5 per month, and if you go with the quarterly option, you'll save $2 per month. These prices are comparable to other on-the-go systems, though Belle doesn't come with fall detection. Other similar options from providers we've reviewed, such as Medical Guardian, include fall detection in the cost.
The Belle unit is a small black pendant with a built-in speaker and microphone that connects users with a care specialist via two-way voice. It's lightweight (just under 2 ounces, or the weight of a tennis ball), shower safe, and about half the size of a playing card, with the thickness of a slice of bread. The small device's batteries can last 30 days after a fast three-hour charge, making it perfect for long vacations.
Quick tip: ResponseNow will send you a text or email when your system's battery drops below 20 percent, making it easy to remember when to charge it!
This mobile unit runs on AT&T's network and can be worn like a necklace, so it's a great option for those who are always on the go or don't have a landline at home. I'd also recommend Belle for older adults who spend time at home but don't want a base station that takes up counter space. If fall detection is important to you, go with Belle+, as Belle doesn't offer this feature.
Belle+ is ResponseNow's top-tier product, coming in at $49.95 per month. As with the provider's other systems, you can pay annually ($539.40 per year) or quarterly ($143.80 per quarter) to save $2 to $5 per month. Since this system is on the pricier side, I'd recommend one of these payment options if you can swing it, as they'll save you money in the long run!
Belle+ looks almost identical to the Belle system — it just weighs an extra half-ounce. Although the waterproof unit can easily fit inside a handbag, I'd advise wearing the system as a necklace for the most accurate fall detection. This system's five-day battery life is shorter than Belle's 30-day battery life, but five days is an impressive hold for a device that offers 24-hour monitoring and GPS services.
Belle+ is ideal for someone who spends time out and about or wants fall detection on the go. The pendant uses AT&T's cellular network for calls and GPS tracking, which is perfect for older adults who like to hike or go on road trips. As long as you're in an area with AT&T service, you'll be covered. The Belle+ also lets registered cell phones locate the Belle+ device by text, which is helpful if your loved ones live far away or want some extra peace of mind.
During a three-hour road trip, I tested out the system to see if the coverage was reliable, making test calls periodically by pressing the black help button. Each time, I spoke with a friendly operator using the two-way talk feature. I appreciate the system's reliability!
ResponseNow starts at a cost per month of $29.95 and prices range up to $49.95 per month for the Belle+ system.
When you sign up with ResponseNow, the call center will ask for your emergency contacts. When you press your alert button, an operator will ask you who you want to contact. If they don’t hear from you, they will dispatch emergency services.
While ResponseNow pendants are safe to take in the shower, they should not be submerged underwater.
Either the Belle or Belle+ would be great options for those who spend a lot of time at home but don’t have a landline, as they both use AT&T’s cellular network.
Once the user would like to terminate service with ResponseNow, they are responsible for returning the equipment. If the user is within the 30-day money-back guarantee timeframe, they will receive their refund once ResponseNow receives the equipment.