Getting older often means dealing with decreased mobility and multiple medical issues, and that can raise the risk of experiencing a fall or other medical emergency. Seniors and people living with disabilities are increasingly using monitored medical alert systems to ensure they can always call for help, even if they live alone or they’re not able to reach a phone.
To call for assistance, medical alert subscribers simply need to press the help button on their wearable medical alert device. These devices come in a variety of styles including medical alert watches, necklaces and pendants. Once a phone connection is established with the call response center, medical alert users can talk with an operator through a speakerphone in a base unit, or on the help button.
Medical alert system necklaces are lightweight, wireless help buttons that are worn around the neck on a lanyard or chain. This style of personal emergency response device is available with in-home and mobile medical alert systems, and necklace-style panic buttons can be worn by men or women.
In this article you’ll find in-depth information on the three best necklace-style medical alert systems. We explain the features of each system, along with the available options, costs and tips on how to choose the right device for yourself or your loved ones.
Bay Alarm Medical is a California-based medical alert company that consistently ranks high for customer satisfaction and competitive pricing. The company operates two U.S.-based monitoring centers that provide an average call response time of 45 seconds or less.
The In-The-Home System from Bay Alarm Medical is a basic, low-cost system that includes a speakerphone-equipped base unit and either a wrist-mounted or water-resistant necklace-style help button. Both buttons have a range of up to 1,000′ from the base unit, and the base unit is available with either a landline or AT&T 4G LTE connection.
The built-in battery in Bay Alarm Medical’s medical alert necklace is maintenance-free and rated to last up to 5 years. Bay Alarm Medical subscribers can add a Bella Charm to any in-home medical alert necklace. Available in a variety of colors, these fashionable charms conceal the help button while maintaining the functionality of the device.
Costs for the Bay Alarm Medical In-The-Home medical alert system necklace start at $19.95 per month and include use of the required hardware. Automatic fall detection is available for an additional $10 per month, and a second subscriber at the same address can be added to the account for a small monthly fee.
Headquartered in White Plains, New York, LifeFone has been in business since 1976. The company owns and operates its own U.S.-based monitoring center, and it maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The LifeFone At-Home and On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In-Necklace medical alert system is an all-in-one mobile system that works anywhere in the U.S. where AT&T or Verizon wireless signals are available. This lightweight, water-resistant medical alert necklace is equipped with a two-way speakerphone, GPS and Wi-Fi locator, and the button is marked with braille so it’s easy to locate in an emergency. The device measures 2.6″ x 1.57″ x 0.67″ and weighs 1.7 ounces, and it can be worn on the included lanyard or mounted to a belt clip.
The built-in battery lasts up to 30 days, and the system includes a wireless charging cradle. Users can upgrade to a necklace that also includes automatic fall detection. Note that the fall detection necklace is slightly larger than the basic version, and the battery is rated to last 5 days.
Costs for the LifeFone two-way voice pendant with GPS start at $43.95 per month when paying on a month-to-month basis, and automatic fall detection is an extra $5 per month. Subscribers can save on monitoring fees by choosing a prepaid quarterly or annual service plan.
Founded in 1974 by gerontologist Dr. Andrew Dibner and his wife Susan, Philips Lifeline is the oldest medical alert company in the nation. The company operates multiple response centers throughout North America that only serve Philips customers, and the average call answer time is just 12 seconds from the time a subscriber activates their help button.
The Philips Lifeline GoSafe 2 is an all-in-one mobile medical alert system necklace that provides coverage throughout the United States on the AT&T mobile network. The device is water-resistant, making it safe to wear in the shower, and subscribers can speak with an emergency operator using the integrated microphone and speaker.
The GoSafe 2 is equipped with advanced location technologies that use fast, accurate assisted GPS, nearby Wi-Fi access points and location “breadcrumbs” to pinpoint the exact location of a subscriber in an emergency. The help button is also equipped with an audio beacon that Philips Lifeline operators can activate to help first responders find callers.
Power for the GoSafe medical alert system necklace is provided by the built-in battery that lasts up to 72 hours between charges, while the integrated AutoAlert fall detection feature automatically triggers a call for help if the wearer suffers a sudden fall. Access to the secure Philips Cares app is included in the $49.95 monthly monitoring fee, and there is a one-time device purchase fee of $99.95.
Necklace-style medical alert systems are ideal for anyone who wants the added peace of mind that comes with knowing they can call for help at any time, even if they’re unable to reach a telephone.
Many of these pendant help buttons are equipped with special motion sensors that automatically notify the medical alert monitoring center when the user experiences a sudden fall, making these devices a good option for those who suffer from dizzy spells or medical conditions that increase their risk of falling.
A medical alert system necklace may also be ideal for those who dislike the idea of wearing a panic button on their wrist, or who have physical limitations that could make wearing a watch-style device difficult.
If you’ve decided that a medical alert system necklace is right for you or your loved one, take the time to consider which features and services are important to you. Necklace-style help buttons are often included with in-home medical alert systems that require a landline connection, however, there are some systems that utilize nationwide mobile phone networks.
Think about your monthly budget, and whether you’d like to pay your monitoring fees on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual basis. Keep in mind that most companies include use of their medical alert hardware such as necklace-style panic buttons in the monitoring fees.
Be sure to ask about any contract, activation and cancellation fees, and extra charges as these additional costs can add up quickly. Many companies let subscribers cancel at any time, although a few well-known medical alert providers do use service contracts that are exceptionally difficult to cancel.