Medicare Annual Enrollment: Are your copays too high? Get free quotes on maximum savings for 2023!

Call 855-931-3507 | TTY 711

The Best Smartwatches for Seniors

SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews.

Best caregiver monitoring
Call for best price: Call to Order: 800-555-4807
Best for tech-averse seniors
Call for best price: Call to Order: 833-269-9430
Best health monitor
Scroll right for more options

If there was any doubt that seniors are into smart gadgets, AARP’s latest senior tech survey puts it to rest. In 2020, golden-agers spent nearly three times more ($1,114) on mobile smart tech than they did in 2019 Wearables such as smartwatches are part of the great senior tech shift, and many seniors already swear by them.

Older folks aging in place have found that tiny, lightweight smartwatches can double as health monitors and alerts, so they don’t have to rely on heavier, less portable smartphones. On-the-go seniors say smartwatches are great for staying connected. (You may miss a message on your phone, but a beep on your wrist? Never.) Retirees have even been using wearables to keep on top of fitness goals.

We tested a bunch of smartwatches this year, and found six that cover the gamut for tech-savvy seniors and caregivers. Read on for the best of the best. Plus, we have some extra pointers at the end that may help make sense of the senior smartwatch features you should keep an eye out for.

Fun Fact: Athletes and fitness buffs have been using GPS trackers since 1999, but it wasn’t until 2014, with the launch of the Apple Watch, that wearable tech went mainstream. You can now find smart gadgets just about anywhere, even around your neck in the form of wearable air conditioners like the Torras Coolify.

  • 1. Medical Guardian's MGMove
    Testing out the MGMove Watch

    Testing out the MGMove Watch

    Overview

    Medical Guardian’s MGMove is a well-rounded smartwatch designed specifically for older adults. It combines 24/7 protection, health features for active seniors, and caregiver monitoring. Caregivers and loved ones can send texts to the watch, set reminders for their loved one about important appointments, and view the wearer’s activity, including location data, call history, and activity tracking. These caregiving features can be accessed through the MyGuardian web portal and mobile app, making it easy for family members and loved ones to gain peace of mind.

    Older adults will enjoy the watch’s many features, including 24/7 monitoring, step tracking, weather notifications, reminders, and texts. During an emergency, the wearer simply needs to press the watch’s SOS button, and they’ll be connected to Medical Guardian’s emergency response center. An agent will answer quickly and send whatever help is needed. Plus, the watch looks just like a normal smartwatch; it’s discreet for those who don’t want others to know they’re wearing a medical alert device.

    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Robust caregiver features and portal
    • Medical alert features
    • 24/7 urgent response center
    • Texts and reminders
    • Easy to use
    • Discreet design
    • GPS tracking
    Cons
    • Less high-tech features than non-medical smartwatches
    • Some features cost an additional monthly fee
    • No fall detection

    The Bottom Line

    The MGMove smartwatch from Medical Guardian is an excellent option for seniors who want discreet protection and loved ones looking for robust caregiving features. Keep in mind: The watch has a one-time equipment fee of $199.95, along with a monthly subscription of $39.95. This subscription gives you 24/7 access to Medical Guardian’s monitoring center. While this is typical for medical alert systems, MGMove is a bit pricey for comparable systems. However, its health, wellness, monitoring, and caregiving features may be well worth the cost. Plus, you can save a few bucks per month if you pay for your system annually rather than monthly.

  • 2. Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch
    Bay Alarm Medical SOS

    Bay Alarm Medical SOS. Source: Bay Alarm Medical

    Overview

    Not a big fan of high-tech devices? No problem! The Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch is simple to use and doesn’t require pairing with a smartphone. It features icons with clear images, so you know exactly what to press, whether you want to call for help or check the weather.

    The $159 smartwatch is not your mother’s medical alert device. It’s so stylish your grandkids may pick it up and try it on. (True story.) If it’s time to invest in round-the-clock emergency medical monitoring and you don’t want to cart around the smartwatch equivalent of a Dutch clog, then a Bay Alarm Medical package is worth considering.

    Despite its slick styling, the Bay Alarm Medical SOS isn’t just a fancy emergency button. When we put the Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch to the test, we also found a step tracker to monitor our daily activity. (Remember, the CDC recommends 8,000 steps per ) Like the Fitbit Versa 3 (see below), the SOS Smartwatch doesn’t require smartphone pairing, which means you don’t need a phone to use it when you’re on the go. Not all best-in-class medical alert systems for active seniors are phone-free, so that’s a big plus.

    Senior Smartwatch Tip: Many experts agree that smartwatches aren’t the most accurate equipment for fall detection. Instead, they recommend a pendant worn around the neck.

    The SOS Smartwatch’s biggest selling point is its built-in GPS tracking. If you’re aging in place but want an umbrella of instant medical assistance in the event of an emergency, Bay Alarm Medical’s SOS button will put you in touch with medical professionals who have your exact GPS coordinates in seconds, 24/7. If you’re in real trouble, they’ll dispatch emergency services and contact your emergency contacts.

    Pros
    • Built-in GPS over 4G LTE
    • Instant emergency medical assistance 24/7
    • No smartphone pairing necessary
    • Can be bundled in with home alert system
    • Attractive, contemporary display
    • Water-resistant
    Cons
    • No fall detection
    • Needs frequent recharging
    • Emergency service is extra

    The Bottom Line

    There may come a time when a simple accident spells serious trouble, especially if you live alone. That’s when you’ll want a smartwatch with best-in-class medical alert capabilities — like the SOS Smartwatch — wrapped around your wrist. Bay Alarm Medical’s watch also doubles as a step tracker to help you maintain your fitness, and you won’t need a smartphone to use it.

    Some older people on fixed incomes may bristle at the idea of paying $34.95 per month for emergency medical assistance on top of a $159 smartwatch, but that’s par for the course. When we reviewed ​​Lively’s Jitterbug senior phones, for example, we found their Health & Safety Packages were just a few cents more per month. The Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch isn’t for every senior, but if you’re accident prone, you live alone, or you have a serious medical condition, you may find the peace of mind well worth the investment.

  • 3. WellBe Watch
    HandsFree Health WellBe Smartwatch and Speaker

    HandsFree Health WellBe Smartwatch and Speaker

    Overview

    Imagine a smartwatch that reminds you not only when to take your medication, but also when it’s time for a refill or when you’re due for your next doctor visit. The WellBe Watch from HandsFree Health is that smartwatch, delivering critical medical reminders via the WellBe Speaker ($189.99) or the free WellBe app.

    The $119.95 WellBe Watch also has its own (healthier) version of Alexa that pulls answers to your medical questions from a massive curated health database. Chatting with a “heath bot” isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but WellBe’s voice-activated search will come in handy if you struggle with mobility.

    The low-priced WellBe punches well above its weight for health features, with an emergency button for instant communication with health-care professionals, a pedometer for step tracking, and a heart monitor.

    Senior Medical Tip: Plenty of seniors juggling multiple medications don’t manage to keep to their regimen simply because they forget. That can lead to serious medical complications and preventable deaths. Something as simple as a reminder can literally save lives.

    As we discovered firsthand when we tested WellBe’s medical alert systems, daily use is pretty easy once you register via the WellBe app. If you’re the older, silent type, then just remember that, like all the best voice-activated medical alert systems for seniors, the more medical background you give, the better help you’ll get when you need it.

    Pros
    • Budget-friendly watch
    • Fast charging time
    • Curated health database
    • Voice-activated search
    • Medical reminders
    • Pedometer and heart monitor
    Cons
    • Costly monthly service
    • No phone calls or messaging

    The Bottom Line

    WellBe medical alert plans for seniors start at $29.95 per month, which is very affordable for medical alert watches. If you want a more advanced setup, the WellBe Smartwatch gives you all the tools you need to manage your health and fitness confidently and live fully protected in case of emergency.

  • 4. Alert1 On-the-Go Wrist Watch With GPS + Pedometer
    Alert1 On-the-Go Wrist Watch Medical Alert

    Alert1 On-the-Go Wrist Watch Medical Alert. Source: Alert1

    Overview

    If WellBe’s $44.95 monthly plan is over your budget and you don’t need health reminders or a “health bot,” then Alert1’s affordable packages with no frills may make sense.

    The $179 Alert1 watch tracks your steps to fight the ever-present threat of “senior sedentarism.” Big word, but it’s an actual fact. With seniors’ use of smart gadgets skyrocketing, older adults are spending nearly half their days in front of their screens, squeezing out healthier activities such as exercising and A little extra help clocking your daily steps may be just what you need.

    Did You Know: Alert1’s emergency-response agents speak over 190 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and Russian. If you or a loved one has trouble communicating in English, you can still get the emergency help you need.

    When we reviewed Alert1, we found that the On-the-Go Wristwatch was an affordable option, with subscriptions starting at $29.95 per month if you prepay for 10 months. With a subscription, you’ll have instant access to trained, U.S.-based emergency-response agents 24/7. There are also a bunch of add-ons you can purchase to build out your Alert1 system, including an in-home system and a fall-detection pendant.

    Pros
    • Stylish, easy-to-read, shower-proof display
    • Certified, U.S.-based emergency-response agents
    • 24/7 assistance with GPS tracking
    • Pedometer to stay on top of fitness goals
    • Pacemaker-compatible
    • Competitive subscription plan
    Cons
    • Activation fees if you pay month to month
    • Just a speaker (no phone calls or messaging)

    The Bottom Line

    The Alert1 On-the-Go Wrist Watch isn’t covering any new terrain, but it does give you complete emergency medical care around the clock without any frills to drive up the monthly fee. For a mere $179, the watch looks good, is a comfy companion, and is ready to use right out of the box without any complicated setup or app registration.

    Did You Know: Alert1 is one of our top picks for medical alert systems. To learn more, visit our list of the best medical alert systems for seniors.

    Alert1 won’t know you as well as, say, the WellBe Watch, which has its own mobile app, but you will have the incentive to stay on top of your daily fitness — and spend less time glued to your devices — with Alert1’s built-in pedometer.

  • 5. Fitbit Versa 3
    Fitbit Versa 3

    Fitbit Versa 3. Source: Fitbit

    Overview

    Fitbits ushered in the mobile health monitoring revolution by making it easy to see how much exercise we were actually getting. Fitbits still focus on fitness, but you can now use them as smartwatches too. As long as you have your smartphone nearby, you can receive and send text messages, take phone calls, and even play music via Spotify.

    The $229 Fitbit Versa 3 is the first Fitbit with built-in GPS, so you don’t need your phone for tracking steps, calories, heart rate, or blood oxygen levels when you’re exercising outside your home. Seniors who use their smartwatches as fitness trackers will likely find that hugely convenient. If you have trouble catching quality Zs, the Versa 3 also monitors your sleep so you can pinpoint, and correct, any unhealthy patterns.

    The water-resistant Versa 3 can hold its own against the Apple Watch, with serious battery life and a slightly larger hi-res display that is gentler on older eyes.

    A Closer Look: Fitbits come in a bunch of styles, prices, and degrees of sophistication — from basic trackers such as the Inspire, to the top-of-the-line Sense. For the whole story on Fitbits and how they can improve your quality of life, check out our 2022 Fitbit review.

    Pros
    • Built-in GPS (you don’t need to carry your phone anymore!)
    • Sleep and blood oxygen monitoring
    • 15 workout routines
    • Bigger, crisper display
    • Up to six days on one battery charge
    • Can be used with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
    • Answers phone calls and text messages
    Cons
    • On the pricier side
    • Advanced features require a subscription

    The Bottom Line

    At $229, the Fitbit Versa 3 is a comfy, stylish, super-equipped smartwatch you can now take out of the house for fitness without a phone. The Versa 3 has serious health-monitoring features, but it also doubles as a mini entertainment and communications system thanks to Google Assistant and watch-to-phone voice call and text features. If you want to enjoy all the perks the Fitbit has to offer, though, you’ll need a Fitbit Premium subscription ($9.99 per month).

  • 6. Apple Watch Series 6
    Apple Watch Series 6.

    Apple Watch Series 6. Source: Apple

    Overview

    Who would have thought an Apple device could actually save you money? The Apple Watch Series 6 may do just that, provided you’re willing to take the Apple plunge and spend the $399 up front.

    Price aside — and beyond its devastating good looks — the Apple Watch Series 6 made the cut because it offers older people with heart issues something no other smartwatch on the market does: It can generate an ECG (electrocardiogram). That may be a nonnegotiable health feature for seniors with heart arrhythmia.

    The Series 6 also has a one-tap emergency SOS button that puts you directly in touch with local emergency personnel if you need them. Apple’s Health apps — you use them directly on the watch; you don’t need an iPhone — include a sleep-quality tracker, a blood oxygen sensor, and fitness options with eight workouts just for older adults.

    FYI: As we all know, smartwatches aren’t the only gorgeous gadgets Apple makes. If you’re tired of your clunky big-button flip phone, we have a curated list of the best iPhones for seniors on the market today. It’s the perfect introduction to the World of Apple.

    If it sounds like the Series 6 could substitute for a pricey monthly emergency and health monitoring service, that’s because, for the right gadget-minded, independent senior, it could.

    Pros
    • Exquisite design with retina display
    • Blood oxygen sensor, sleep tracker, and ECG
    • Medical ID integration
    • Voice calling and messaging
    • Fitness tracker with eight senior routines
    • Super comfy, claspless band in nine sizes
    • No monthly fees for health apps
    Cons
    • Pricier than any other model on our list
    • Only 18 hours of battery life
    • A handful of apps to set up

    The Bottom Line

    The Apple Watch Series 6 does pretty much everything well. You can make phone calls, message contacts, listen to music, and work out. For older adults who want to age in place healthily, the Series 6 comes with the world’s most advanced wearable health-monitoring technology. If you go with the Series 6, you’ll nearly earn back your initial $399 investment in the first year, since monthly medical alert subscriptions typically run about $30 per month.

  • 7. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

    Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. Source: Samsung

    Overview

    If you’re an Android fan, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 plays a good second fiddle to the Apple Watch Series 6.

    Starting at $174.99, the cheaper Galaxy Watch 3 can’t go head to head with the Apple Watch Series 6’s more advanced health-monitoring tech, but it does track steps, heart rate, sleep, and even stress levels. Like the Apple Watch, the Galaxy Watch 3 is equipped with 4G LTE so you can stay connected with voice calling and texting. The Galaxy Watch 3 technically pairs with iPhones, but seniors who have experience with both say it works better with Android smartphones. If you’re shopping for one of those, we’re one step ahead of you: We’ve already tested and collected the top Android smartphones for seniors.

    Senior Smartwatch Tip: The Galaxy Watch 3 gives you a pretty wide display, but that may not be enough for older eyes. If things look blurry, try triple-tapping the screen to zoom in. You can adjust the amount of zoom by pinching with two fingers.

    One bonus the Galaxy Watch 3 provides accident-prone seniors is MIL-STD-810G protection. Translated into English, that means it’s impossibly durable. And with 56 hours of battery life, unlike the pricier Apple Watch Series 6, you’re good to go if you forget to recharge it for a day.

    Pros
    • Fall detection with emergency contact text alert
    • Suite of health- and fitness-monitoring features
    • Military-grade durability
    • 56 hours of battery life
    • Voice calling and messaging
    • No subscription required for special health features
    Cons
    • Available in only two sizes
    • No ECG feature

    The Bottom Line

    The Galaxy Watch 3 is a solid solution for independent older people who can still handle emergencies by themselves and want a stylish and intelligent wearable. The Galaxy Watch 3 doesn’t have as much power under the hood as Apple’s Series 6, but you’ll find fewer apps to juggle and a suite of easily accessible, modern health- and fitness-tracking options. Couple that with voice calling and texting, superior durability, and a whopping two days between charges, and that $174.99 price tag will give even the Apple diehards among us second thoughts.

How We Chose the Best Smartwatches for Seniors

Smartwatches have opened up new, exciting options for seniors to stay fit and connected, and to get quality medical assistance if they need it. All the smartwatches on our list had to meet the following criteria.

  • Health and fitness features: Not all older people need an SOS button on their watches and phones, but health is a major priority for most older adults. All our senior smartwatches had to offer either access to emergency medical services or the latest health-monitoring and fitness-tracking features.
  • Value: When choosing a quality smartphone, if we go cheap and end up with a lemon, then we learn our lesson and move on. When it’s our health on the line, we can’t afford to pick lemons. We selected smartwatches that deliver premium health features and reputable emergency services at reasonable prices, but we didn’t choose any models just because they’re cheap.
  • Ease of use: Smartwatches have been on the market for less than a decade, and some work with apps you have to download and set up — so expect a learning curve. That said, as far as we could, we chose equipment that was easy to set up with minimal headaches down the line.

Senior Saving Tip: We’re always looking for good value when we pick our devices. For the latest seniors-only deals on tech, entertainment, dining, travel, and leisure, check out our up-to-the-minute seniors discounts and savings guide.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Smartwatch for Your Needs

The last thing you want is to get stuck with a smartwatch that doesn’t do what you need it to, especially if you’re committing to a monthly plan. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should keep these three factors in mind.

Medical alerts and reminders

The first question you need to answer when shopping for a smartphone for yourself or a loved one is: Do I need to be able to contact emergency medical assistance? If yes, make sure your smartwatch has an SOS button that connects you to certified medical personnel 24/7. Some seniors will also benefit from an app that reminds them when to refill prescriptions or take their medications, which are surprisingly easy to forget.

Health monitoring

Most active older adults considering a smartwatch will want some form of fitness tracking, such as a step counter or pedometer. We also recommend blood oxygen sensors and ECG functionality for seniors who live with conditions such as adult asthma, an irregular heartbeat, or congenital heart disease.

Daily use

You need to decide how hands-on you want to get with your smartwatch. If you want a watch you can leave on your wrist and forget about, keep an eye out for smartwatches with long battery lives that don’t require smartphone pairing. A stroll on your favorite nature trail will be a lot better if you don’t have to lug your phone around to keep track of your steps or monitor your heart rate!

Funny Fact: Who knew fooling a step tracker was actually a thing, but apparently it is. The easiest way to lie to your smartwatch pedometer, according to experts? Swing your arms back and forth as if you were walking. You can even do this from a chair.

You should also consider how easy a watch is to take off and put on. Sounds basic, but sometimes we spend so much time fixating on the tech that we forget it’s just a watch. How many sizes does it come in? Is the material hypoallergenic? Does it come with a clasp?

How Does Fall Detection Work on a Smartwatch?

Falling down is no joke, and it happens to a lot more people than you’d expect — nearly 33 percent of Americans 65 years and up, according to the National Institute on Sensors worn around the neck were more accurate at weeding out false falls from the real McCoys in the past, but smartwatch fall-detection tech has gotten more sophisticated thanks to pioneering technological advances made by companies such as Apple.

Apple did two things that changed the fall-detection game. First, it taught its smartphone sensors to distinguish between different swimming strokes by recognizing telltale changes in motion and acceleration. Then it collected over 2,500 days’ worth of data from real-world falls involving 2,500 study participants at movement disorder clinics and assisted living facilities.

Did You Know: For smartwatch users 65 and over, Apple automatically toggles on fall detection.

The result was an accurate picture of how falling looks to your smartwatch’s motion sensors. With that tech under the hood, as soon as an Apple Watch detects a fall, it automatically pulls up a voice-activated emergency-contact button. If you don’t respond, your watch will call 911 for you.

Smartwatch Sleep Tracking: Benefits for Seniors

Getting eight hours of beauty rest — once the easiest thing in the world to do — gets more difficult with age. A busy bladder may disrupt your sleep or you may suffer from sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. How can you tell? Often you can’t. That’s where smartwatch sleep trackers, which measure sleep duration and quality, can offer some relief. The idea is pretty simple: Identifying our sleep patterns — or dangers in the case of apnea — may help us self-correct. Nice in theory, but does it work?

The experts at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center say sleep trackers don’t really measure sleep. They measure lack of sleep, or inactivity. In that sense, sleep trackers estimate only how much sleep you’re actually getting. For anything more than that, you’d need to do a proper sleep

On the positive side, sleep trackers can help you spot trends. If a nap at 2 o’clock leaves you feeling like Superman, your sleep tracker will give you hard evidence. If, on the other hand, you get up every night at 2 a.m. (and 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.) after you drink an espresso with dinner, you’ll be able to connect the dots. Ditto for exercise routines and even ambient conditions in your room, depending on how much data your sleep app collects.

Frequently Asked Questions About Smartwatches for Seniors

  • Do I have to pay a monthly fee to use my smartwatch?

    No, you don’t need to pay to use most smartwatches, but some medical smartwatches offer monthly subscriptions for extra emergency medical assistance.

  • What does a smartwatch SOS button do?

    When you press your emergency button, you’re connected to trained emergency personnel who will talk you through your situation. If you need EMS on the spot, they’ll dispatch help and get in touch with your emergency contacts.

  • Should my smartwatch have fall detection?

    Not necessarily. Apple Watches and Galaxy Watches now come with sophisticated fall detection, but some medical professionals believe fall detection is more accurate with devices worn around the neck.

  • Can I make phone calls with my senior smartwatch?

    If you have an Apple or Samsung smartwatch, you can make calls. Some models on this list, including the Fitbit Versa 3, allow you to connect via a nearby paired smartphone.

  • Do I need an in-home emergency button if I have a smartwatch?

    It depends on your health. If you live alone and have a pre-existing medical condition or you have used EMS during an emergency before, you should consider buttons placed around the house. It will also give you time to recharge your medical smartwatch, since they typically have shorter battery lives.

Written By

Taylor Shuman

Senior Tech Expert & Editor

For over five years, Taylor has been writing, editing, and researching products and services covering topics such as senior care and technology, Internet and the digital divide, TV, and entertainment, and education. Her research on media consumption and consumer behavior has been… Learn More About Taylor Shuman