Page Reviewed / Updated – October 20, 2020

Medical alert systems are a true lifeline for many seniors. Older adults living alone often worry about what would happen if they fall and are injured. These fears are not unreasonable. Each year, 3 million older people receive treatment for fall-related injuries. Devices such as those manufactured by Medical Guardian help seniors retain their independence and give them peace of mind that, should they suffer an injury or illness, help is just a button press away.

Medical alert systems are nothing new; the first such system was released in the 1970s. Early systems were pendants or wristbands with a simple push-button to summon aid. These systems had limited range and a much smaller feature set than modern systems.

Active Guardian is Medical Guardian’s most affordable all-in-one medical alert device. It’s a lightweight and durable medical alert system designed for seniors who are always on the go, and it offers unlimited nationwide coverage.

Active Guardian: What You Should Know

Active Guardian is one of several medical alert devices made by Medical Guardian. It’s a lightweight, portable device designed to be worn as a pendant. The system has unlimited nationwide coverage, meaning seniors can depend on it whether they’re at home, at the local stores or off on a weekend away.

The pendant comes on a breakaway nylon lanyard for maximum safety. It has a single, easy-to-press emergency button plus a built-in microphone and speaker for two-way communication. The device is water-resistant so it can be worn while in the shower, and the built-in battery lasts for up to five days on a single charge. Recharging the battery takes just three hours.

The front of the device has several lights to indicate the current signal status and remaining battery life. This means users can tell at a glance whether it’s time to charge their system.

One of the most useful features of the Active Guardian is its automated fall detection. If the device detects sudden movement that seems like a fall, it automatically contacts the company’s emergency operators. If the operators confirm that help is needed or the device user is unable to respond, assistance will be dispatched to the location detected by the device’s GPS. This gives users peace of mind that if they are incapacitated as a result of fall-related injuries, help will be on the way.

Falls may be the most common thing that people think of when discussing medical alert systems, but there are many other uses for them. For example, the Active Guardian can be used to summon help in the event of a break-in or a fire. It can also be used to reach nonemergency support from friends and family members through the Medical Guardian Care Circle, which allows users to send out notifications to a list of nominated contacts.

Active Guardian: Plans and Pricing

Medical Guardian produces several devices. Each comes with a different style of call button and has slightly different features. Medical Guardian’s plans include:

  • Classic Guardian: A low-cost home-based monitoring service
  • Home Guardian: A more feature-rich at-home monitoring service
  • Family Guardian: A system with three safety sensors to alert family members in the event of an emergency, if the senior deviates from their routine or leaves their home
  • Mobile Guardian: A portable device with GPS coverage
  • Active Guardian: GPS-enabled protection for those who like to travel
  • Freedom Guardian: A smartwatch-style system with advanced communication for active and tech-savvy seniors

The Active Guardian service plan starts at $49.95 per month for the most basic package. For this, seniors receive a charging station and a pendant. Discounts are sometimes available for those who purchase the device from partner retailers such as Costco.

There are several optional extras, including fall detection for $10 per month. A lockbox feature is also available for a nominal fee. The lockbox allows seniors to give emergency services or nominated caregivers access to their home in the event of an emergency.

Active Guardian Pros and Cons

Active Guardian is a robust system with features that make it quite competitive with rival medical alert devices.


  • Nationwide mobile and GPS coverage
  • Affordable pricing
  • Fall detection feature
  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof pendant
  • Care Circle system
  • U.S.-based monitoring


  • Fall detection requires an additional fee.
  • Some users report the microphone on the device is very quiet.
  • Billing terms and conditions can be confusing.

Eldercare Financial Assistance Locator

  • Discover all of your options
  • Search over 400 Programs


Does Active Guardian require an internet connection?

Active Guardian relies on its own cellular connection. It does not rely on Wi-Fi or a home broadband connection. The device does have its own Wi-Fi capabilities, however, and can detect nearby wireless hot spots. It uses this to allow the emergency operators to detect a caller’s location more accurately.

Are there any additional fees for using the Active Guardian cellular service?

There are no additional fees for using Active Guardian’s built-in cellular service to contact the emergency team.

Is it safe to use the Active Guardian if you have a pacemaker?

Active Guardian is similar to a cell phone system. Prospective users who have a pacemaker should review their pacemaker’s documentation and take any recommended precautions. In most cases, the Active Guardian is safe to use. If in doubt, seek professional medical advice.

Does Active Guardian have a contract or charge cancellation fees?

There are no long-term contracts for Active Guardian; however, the service has several billing options, including prepayment and month-to-month billing. If a customer prepays for the service, then decides to cancel and request a refund, they may have to pay a cancellation fee, which is taken out of the refundable amount.

Can the Active Guardian be used outside of the home?

Active Guardian is designed for seniors who like to travel. The pendant has an average battery life of five days and has built-in cellular and GPS features. Active Guardian’s cellular coverage is nationwide, meaning seniors can take the device with them when they go on holiday or are traveling to visit friends or family. Active Guardian gives people peace of mind that help is never far away, even when they are off on an adventure.

Is the Active Guardian worth buying?

Overall, Active Guardian is a good system. Nationwide coverage, call detection and low monthly fee, ease of use and ample features make it an appealing option for seniors. If the lack of a companion app or a smartwatch is not a deal breaker, Active Guardian is worth considering. Those who must have higher-tech features will need to pay more for them or opt for a different provider.