Alternatives to Life Alert® Medical Alert System

May 10, 2021

One out of every five falls in older adults results in broken bones or a head injury. In the event of a fall, emergency attention becomes extremely important to reduce the severity of health outcomes. Medical alert systems were conceived to assist independent seniors get quick help in medical emergencies. One that Americans may be familiar with is Life Alert ®, which has been around for over 30 years. In that time, advanced at-home health monitoring systems have arrived to address seniors' unmet needs. They're focused on supporting seniors lead independent lives and alerting caregivers to falls sustained at home.

Why consider Life Alert ® alternatives?

Life Alert ® offers in-home systems and on-the-go protection services.

The in-home system comes with a base station that hooks up to your seniors' landline or cellular service, and a wearable help button that seniors use to request emergency assistance. The button connects them to the company’s call center who then call 911 to dispatch help.

Seniors can also opt for the in-home system with help buttons installed in various areas of their home, such as their bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. The help buttons are waterproof and according to Life Alert ® , have a battery life of ten years.

A third product package combines wearables, home help button installation and a mobile alert service based on GPS tracking for seniors on-the-go.

Life Alert ® has a TMA Five Diamond Certified monitoring center, assuring users that qualified dispatchers will attend to their call and send for emergency medical responders. Seniors can download the Life Alert ® app and contact the call center on their mobile phone.

On the flip side, the company’s monthly plans, which include a monthly fee and an activation fee, are expensive compared to other medical alert systems for seniors. Moreover, it locks users into a three-year contract, while competitors have a month-to-month payment policy. There are more affordable in-home medical alert systems that don't cost you a lot and have a flexible cancellation policy.

Life Alert ® does not offer fall detection while most other medical alert systems incorporate this useful feature. Upon identifying changes in motions that resemble a fall, a fall detection pendant automatically calls up the company's emergency response center.

Bay Alarm Medical

Far more affordable than Life Alert ®, Bay Alarm Medical offers a number of plans, which include fall detection and GPS tracking. The least expensive plan comes in at $19.95 per month. Seniors can choose between pendants and wristbands. On a single plan, the subscriber can cover their spouse or an additional family member living in the same house, a value-added feature. Unlike Life Alert ®, users don't have to sign lengthy contracts. Bay Alarm Medical connects to cellular or landline services.

LifeStation

Another cheap alternative to Life Alert ®, LifeStation plans starts at $19.95 per month. Fall detection and GPS tracking are standard features. Subscribers receive waterproof pendants and wristbands. The pendant can be worn as a necklace, carried in a purse, or on the belt, and pairs wirelessly via Bluetooth. The in-home system uses landline or cellular services. The base station range for the home landline is an impressive 500 feet. Like Life Alert ®, LifeStation has a well-resourced call center and quick response times.

Mobile Help

Mobile Help offers fall detection pendants, water-proof wall buttons and mobile GPS. Unlike LifeStation, the pendants are simple and cannot be disguised as a piece of jewelry. The entry-level plan of $19.95 per month is likely to be affordable for most seniors. Payments can be made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Two people can share one home base at no additional charge.

What to consider when choosing a medical alert system for your elderly parent

1. Landline versus cellular: If there's poor cellular reception in some areas of your home, it is better to use the landline system. In an emergency, your parent will find it difficult to get to an area that has a good signal.
2. Fall detection: Most falls in seniors are severe enough to require medical attention. Emergency help is imperative for frail elderly adults who may suffer a serious injury from falls. The fall detection feature in pendants initiates a call to the monitoring center even if seniors are unable to press the help button themselves.
3. GPS tracking: Seniors with degenerative neurological conditions tend to wander away from their home. GPS tracking medical alert pendants allow caregivers to pin point the exact location of their senior and get to them quickly.

Elderly monitoring sensors for activity tracking

Many senior Americans prefer to age in their own home. If you're looking to remotely monitor the activity levels of a parent living independently in their home, elderly monitoring sensors are the way to go.

Sensor systems for activity and health monitoring are increasingly being installed in seniors' homes. Monitoring systems that use sensors are able to detect seniors' activity levels in all areas of their home. This information is analyzed by sophisticated software to identify patterns of unusual activity and send appropriate alerts to caregivers' mobile phones.

The advantage of sensor-based elderly monitoring systems is that they allow you to easily and discreetly track your parent's activity levels. Your parent doesn't have to do the heavy-lifting himself/herself and depend on emergency medical services when they suffer a fall. To keep in touch with your parent's health on a regular basis and be there for them when they need you, a room monitoring system rather than a medical alert wearable is the right solution.

Instead of Life Alert ® or more affordable in-home medical alert systems, consider niche, sensor-based products like SentryTell that continuously monitor seniors' activities.