Life Alert – Reviews, Cost, Price Info
Life Alert is widely known as one of the largest companies of medical alert systems. Having been founded in 1987, the company has 8 offices that are spread across the U.S in Florida, New Jersey, California, New York and finally, their headquarters are located in Encino, CA.
Life Alert gained huge popularity for its now famous and successful “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” ad campaign for its Life Alert systems. Just like most medical alert companies, Life Alert systems can be divided into two categories: The first category is comprised of a less expensive home-based system that enables the user get help at the touch of a button and speak directly with agents at the monitoring center through a central console equipped with a speakerphone. The console uses either landline or cellular service.
The system is activated by depressing a help button on the console or a wireless pendant or a wristband.
The second category of Life Alert system is in form of a cellular pendant that does not utilize a console, thus allowing the user to contact the call center directly through a microphone and speaker, the size of a cell phone. It is equipped with cellular service and GPS service to pinpoint the location of the emergency.
The call center has well-trained personnel who can get in touch with the family members, friends or neighbors of the medical emergency victim. They can also dispatch local emergency responders if the situation requires an immediate medical response. Life Alert is known to a have highly experienced call center personnel with a great track record of responding effectively in medical emergencies.
Life Alert systems can be divided into two categories: The first category is comprised of a less expensive home-based system that enables the user to get connected to call center through a signaling device and a console that makes the call to a call center. This system comes in form of a pendant or a wristband.
The second category is in form of a cellular pendant that does not utilize a console, thus allows the user to call the call center directly through a microphone and speaker, the size of a cell phone.
The call center has well-trained personnel who can get in touch with the family members, friends or neighbors of the medical emergency victim. They can also get in touch with local emergency responders if the situation requires an immediate medical response. Life Alert is known to a have highly experience call center with a great track record of responding effectively in medical emergencies.
Life Alert Reviews – 2019 Summary
Facts and Features
- HSA Rating - 7.8
- Years in Business - 30+
- Upfront Costs - $95-$198
- Min. Monitoring Rate - $49.95
- Contract Length - 36 mo.
- Installation- Pro/DIY
- Cancellation - Hard
- Equip. Warranty - Lifetime
- Return Policy - NA
Life Alert Pros and Cons – Summary
- Experience – With a 30+ year track record in the medical alert device industry, they have a great deal of experience with both the product and service. Life Alert emergency response times are among the best in the industry.
- Professional Installation – A technician will come out to the home to ensure that the system is set up and functioning properly.
- Lifetime Warranty – The medical alert device is guaranteed as long as you own the system. Battery life is listed as 10 years, so, it is unlikely they would need to be replaced.
- Long Term Contract– Life Alert requires a three-year contract. it can only be canceled upon death or if one moves into a 24/7 nursing facility.
- No Trial Period – There is no 30 days trial period offered. If you are not comfortable with 3-year contracts, there is no way to try before you buy.
- Lack of Transparency – The website provides little to no product and service pricing information. If you want details on Life Alert costs, you have to call in and speak with a salesperson. Life Alert reviews cite complaints regarding high-pressure sales tactics.
- Leased Equipment – The customer does not retain ownership. The equipment has to be returned when the contract is up.
- No Personal GPS Tracking – While location can be tracked by the life alert emergency response team if the mobile unit is activated, there is no way for family members or caregivers to track location.
- No Fall Detection – None of the equipment offers “fall detection” capabilities. The victim must be conscious and able to depress the help button to activate the system.
- No Life Safety Capabilities – Life Alert no longer offers integrated smoke or carbon dioxide protection. However, in the event of a home invasion, monitoring personal could dispatch police.
- Price – Both upfront and monthly pricing is at the high end of the medical alert monitoring spectrum.
Life Alert Medical Security Review
Reputation and Credibility
Established in 1987, Life Alert has been a leader in the medical alert industry for over 30 years. Best known for their advertising slogan, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”, Life alert helps more than 150,000 seniors maintain their independence and provide peace of mind for families concerned about their well-being while living alone.
Life Alert has 8 offices that are spread across the U.S in Florida, New Jersey, California, New York and finally, their headquarters are located in Encino, CA. They have over 600 employees and use their own CSAA 5 Diamond certified monitoring center.
Life Alert maintains an A+ BBB rating and has fielded over 2,000,000 calls annually.
Life Alert Monitoring Packages
Unlike some of the competitive medical alert services, Life Alert maintains their own UL Listed 5 Diamond certified monitoring service. This enables them to provide the highest standards of service to their customers.
However, they do require a minimum 3-year contract which can be canceled in the event of death or moving to a 24-hour care facility.
Basic monitoring starts at a rather hefty $49.95 a month. This increases to $69.90 a month with the addition of Help Buttons…and $89.85 a month with the Mobile+ GPS plan. If you pay annually, one month is free.
It is an additional $10/month to add a second person to the account.
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
- Professional Installation
- Standard Equipment
Life Alert Basic
- Base Unit, Pendant
Life Alert + Help
- Base Unit Pendant Help Button Or Mobile GPS
- Base Unit, Pendant, Help Button AND Mobile GPS
Life Alert operators typically respond to a signal in 15-20 seconds. They can dispatch help and notify caregivers and family members and will stay on an open line until help arrives.
It should be noted that fall-detection is not available.
Life Alert – Pricing and Equipment
Life Alert Basic Package
The basic Life Alert medical system includes professional set up and installation for a $95 when you sign a 3-year contract.
The standard package consists of the Signature Main Unit and a Medical Alert Pendant. The base unit can work with a landline or cellular connection and is equipped with a 72-hour backup battery.
Life Alert claims that the pendant works within 800 feet of the base unit and has a battery which provides up to 7 years of service. It is waterproof an can be worn around the wrist or as a pendant.
Additional waterproof help buttons are available with a standard up-front cost of $198. These will also add $20/mo to the monitoring rates.
Life Alert Mobile
For additional protection for active seniors, there is the Life Alert Mobile- a GPS unit that can be activated outside of the rage of the base unit and provide GPS coordinates in the event of an emergency. This will also add to the standard initial cost and requires and brings the monitoring rate up to $85+/mo.
Life Alert does not provide equipment with fall detection capability. This means that the system requires that one is conscious and able to depress the help button.
Home Intrusion and Fire Protection
In the event of a home invasion, depress the help button and Life Alert operators can record intruders and alert them that the authorities have been notified.
However, while they used to offer smoke and carbon monoxide protection…Life Alert no longer offers these services.
If you are interested in life safety, home automation, intrusion AND medical safety services, you may want to check out our top home security companies.
Having over 30 years of industry experience, Life Alert offers a high level of customer service. Their agent to customer ratio ensures timely response times and their highly trained agents stay on the line until help arrives.
Members can provide medical histories and personal health information which can be relayed emergency responders to ensure optimal care on the scene.
And while the system carries a lifetime maintenance warranty, there is a 3-year contract required and no 30 day trial period offered.
Life Alert Medical Services Summary
Life Alert is one of the most experienced medical alert companies in the industry that offers systems and services that utilize user-friendly technology.
Their equipment is a bit dated and automatic fall detection is not available.
Life Alert monitoring centers are top notch and offer excellent response times. They have been praised by consumers for their professionalism and effective and quick response in the event of emergencies.
However, their services are at the top end of the spectrum, price-wise…and they are limited in the services offered.
Life Alert is a good choice for one who looking for basic services and doesn’t mind paying a premium for a stable company with a long track record in the medical alert industry.
Can Life Alert Compare to our Top Alarm Companies?
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Life Alert Reviews -Video Summary
Important Features of the Best Medical Alert Systems
It is important to understand the difference between waterproof and water resistant-especially if you plan to swim or even shower while wearing a portable medical alert device. Water resistant means that small amounts of water for relatively short durations will not harm the device. Waterproof medical alert devices offer more robust water protection and can be submerged under water for an extended period (up to a specific depth, i.e. 10 feet). If one intends to swim or wear it in the shower, be sure to understand the distinction and opt for a medical alert device which is watreproof.
GPS Mobile Tracking
Some portable medical alert devices are equipped with GPS tracking capabilities. This will enable the monitoring company to pinpoint the location of the person wearng it. Falls and medical emergencies can result in disorientation-making this feature invaluable if one is needs help away from the home. This can also be invaluable for locating one with Dementia or Alzheimers. The monitoring center can assist authorized family members or care givers by providing the exact location of one wearing the GPS equipped device.
Multiple Occupant Coverage
Top medical alert companies may have optional services available to provide coverage for the spouse or an additional occupant at the residence. This will ensure that both occupants get 24/7 protection-even when they are apart. Rather than having to set up an entirely seperat account, an additional beneficiary can be set up with a medical alert device. It may entail a modest upfront cost for the equipment and an additional monthly fee.
Mobile Cellular Coverage
The base unit of an in-home medical alert system can provide coverage that typically averages between 500-1500 feet from the base unit and the pendant device. This is usually sufficient for homebound individuals. However, active seniors may want to consider a device equipped with a cellular connection and a GPS tracking feature. This will ensure seamless coverage when one is away from the home. If GPS is included, it will enable emergency personnel to quickly locate the subject.
24/7 Emergency Response
Whether an automatic fall detection signal is triggered or an medical alert sensor is manually activated, it is important that someone is able to respond 24/7 to an emergency call. The best medical alert companies have sophisticated monitoring stations staffed 24/7 with highly trained professionals that can assess the situation and dispatch help immediately, if necessary. While self-monitored sysems are helpful, it is impossible to guarantee that caregivers or family members are available around the clock, 365 days a year.
Some medical alert system companies provide professional installation and set up. However, most systems are relatively easy to self-install. Top medical alert system companies provide straight forward instructions and manuals and offer outstanding phone support to assist the end user in setting up wi-fi, notification settings , etc.
Automatic System Testing
It is important that the system is checked periodically to ensure that it is working and communicating properly when an emergency arises. Most medical alert systems can do this automatically. Automatic system testing can be set for daily, weekly, or monthly checks. It is also recommended that one perform frequent self-checks to make certain that no problems are going undetected by the automatic system.
Wall buttons are a wonderful back up to medical alert devices traditionally worn by seniors. These can be strategically placed in higher risk areas like kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and stairways. In some cases, wall button units may be included with basic equipment packages or they may be purchased as an accessory. This might also require additional monitoring fees.
Falls are the number one cause of injury within the home, and the elderly population are at a much higher risk than the average person to suffer from a fall. Those with vertigo, mobility issues or susceptible to frequent seizures are particularly vulnerable. They may not always be conscious and able to activate the system. A medical alert system equipped with fall detection provides an additional measure of protection by automatically sending a signal in the event of a sudden fall. The best medical alert companies will offer this feature.
Some medical alert companies will provide multi-lingual support for those persons who may not speak English as their primary language. If the family or primary caregivers do not speak fluent English, it is important that the monitoring company has translation capabilities. Be sure to inquire directly about their ability to provide specific multi-lingual support to meet your needs.
Almost all personal monitoring alert systems come with devices that are equipped with speakers that enable vocal two-way communication. This enables the user to speak directly with monitoring center personnel to get assistance. Devices without 2-way voice cabability will only have a panic button to alert the monitoring center or care-givers, but they will not be able to offer any details concerning the nature of their emergency.
Medical Alert System Lockboxes
Some medical alert companies offer lockboxes. These are coded boxes that are installed near the entrance and provide a secure place to hold a spare key. The location and code can be provided to the monitoring center. In the event of an emergency in which no one can come to the door, this information can be provided to emergency responders so that they don’t have to break down the door to gain entry.
Life Alert Medical Alert vs Complete Security System
When evaluating the costs associated with helping the elderly maintain a sense of independence, in many cases, it makes sense to weigh the costs and benefits of a medical alert system to a comprehensive security system equipped with a panic button. Many families are surprised to find that the monthly costs can be about the same…and the security system can provide many additional benefits.
- Intrusion Protection
- Fire - CO Protection
- Environmental Protection
- Home Insurance Discounts
- Activity Monitoring
- Monitor Medications
- Home Automation
- Video Monitoring
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(See how security systems equipped with medical alert pendants compare to Life Alert cost)
Protects against break-ins and home invasions.
Security system can send notifications when one moves about the home.
System monitors for heat, smoke and carbon dioxide.
Get a text when the medicine cabinet is opened..or if it hasn’t been accessed by a certain time.
Get timely warnings of flooding or frozen pipes.
Lights, temperature and doors can be controlled through the alarm system.
Earn discounts up to 20% on homeowners insurance.
Allows one the ability to check in remotely and make sure everything is OK.
Life Alert Medical System Comparison Summary
Life Alert Medical System Comparison Summary
While both systems offer 2-way voice and medical alert capabilities, clearly a home security system offers far greater capability. The irony is that all of our top-rated alarm companies will actually save you money on a monthly basis, when compared with Life Alert.
To see if a home security system equipped with a panic alert makes more sense than a Life Alert Medical System for you and your family, check out our Top Home Security Systems.
Life Alert vs Security System- Added Benefit Detail
Life Alert Medical System vs. Home Security System
Both Life Alert and any of our top-rated home security systems can be equipped with medical alert pendants or watches. These allow the elderly or those with special needs to immediately summons help in the event of a fall medical emergency.
These wireless panic alert buttons will typically work within about 100’ of the base unit, and enable the user to speak directly with the monitoring company when equipped with 2-way voice communication.
However, for about the same monthly cost (or in the case of Life Alert…considerably less, in many cases) the home security system can be configured to provide a host of additional benefits.
It may require more of an up-front cost…depending on the desired features. However, Protect America does a great job of providing a substantial amount of equipment while keeping upfront costs minimal. (See Protect America Pricing)
Security System Added Value
• Protection Against Break-ins– Statistics indicate that you are 3 times less likely to be broken into with a professionally monitored home security system. Even the most basic security systems would typically provide multiple layers of defense.
• Safeguard Against Fire and CO -According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), a fire breaks out every 24 seconds in the USA monitored home security system ensures that heat, fire, CO, and smoke are detected at the earliest possible time and that authorities are immediately notified.
• Environmental Protection– Water sensors can be placed in the basement or laundry room to alert you of potential flooding issues from plumbing issues to leaking roofs to wet or flooding basements. Or a low-temperature sensor can protect against the prospect of pipes freezing if the heating system were to fail. The system will notify you if the temperature drops below 40 degrees.
• Reduce Insurance Costs– Insurance companies provide substantial discounts on Homeowner Insurance companies when the home is protected by a monitored home security system. Typical discount range from 5-20% depending on the type of system and the level of services that are provided.
• Activity Monitoring– Some security systems can be set up to report if there is no movement throughout the house. If motion is not reported by a pre-assigned time, it might be an indication that something is amiss.
• Take Stock of Medications– Sensor can also be set up to notify you in the event that they are not activated. For instance, a sensor could be attached to the medicine cabinet and set to notify you if the cabinet were not opened by a specific time. This helps you keep track of when medications are being taken…and apprise you if they are not…
• Home Automation– A wireless security system can control a variety of home functions from the convenience of the central panel. Many systems enable you to automate tasks such as turning down the temperature, shutting off lights and appliances and locking the doors at night.
• Keep an Eye on Your Loved Ones– Video cameras can be set up to observe child behavior and monitor child care remotely from any computer, tablet or mobile device through the same user interface that you use to control your security system. Some cameras even allow for 2 way communication so you can speak to one who might be in trouble.
Peace of Mind
You can’t put a price tag on it…but, the number one benefit most people are looking for when considering a home security and automation system is…Peace of Mind. They sleep better knowing the family is protected…and that they have total control of the home whether they are home or away.
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