Medical alert systems can help seniors and those living with disabilities remain independent by ensuring help is readily available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These high-tech systems combine a wearable panic button with a base unit that connects to a call monitoring center through either a landline phone or cellular phone service.
Traditional medical alert buttons must be pressed to activate a call for help; however, some companies now offer devices with built-in sensors that automatically notify the emergency monitoring center when the wearer has a sudden fall. These devices, commonly known as fall detection buttons, can provide extra peace of mind for those who are prone to falling due to advanced age, medical conditions or side-effects from medications.
Below you’ll find our picks for the three best medical alert systems with fall detection. We’ve covered the features and costs of each system, followed by practical tips you can use to select a fall detection help button that’s right for you.
MobileHelp is an industry-leading provider of monitored medical alert systems. Based in Boca Raton, Florida, the company maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and it uses two redundant call monitoring centers, located in Syracuse, New York, and Corona, California, staffed by experienced, screened operators who are fluent in English and Spanish.
The MobileHelp Classic medical alert system is an affordable, maintenance-free in-home personal emergency call system that uses the AT&T mobile network, making it ideal for users who don’t have a home phone line. This system includes a base unit equipped with a help button, cellular SIM card, and speakerphone that has a maximum range of 600 feet to the optional fall button.
MobileHelp’s fall detection device is a pendant-style button equipped with a non-rechargeable built-in battery and a user-activated help button. It’s noticeably larger than the standard MobileHelp pendant; however, it’s light enough to be worn comfortably around the neck. The device is water-resistant, making it safe to wear in the shower.
Monthly costs for the MobileHelp Classic medical alert system start at $19.95 and include the use of the equipment, cellular connection and 24/7 access to the MobileHelp call monitoring centers. Automatic fall detection costs an additional $10 per month, bringing the total monthly cost to $29.95. No contracts are needed, and subscribers can cancel at any time.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Medical Guardian is a Better Business Bureau-accredited company that specializes in monitored medical alert systems for seniors, active adults and people with disabilities.
The Medical Guardian Active Guardian medical alert system is a cellular-powered mobile device equipped with automatic fall detection, a GPS location tracker, a user-activated help button and a two-way speaker. It’s waterproof, making it safe to wear in the shower, and mobile service is provided on the nationwide AT&T mobile network.
The device is powered with a built-in battery that needs to be charged on the included charging cradle every five days or less. A red light flashes on the unit when the battery is low. To call for help, users simply press and hold the button on the front of the pendant. The fall detection feature automatically triggers a call to the monitoring center if a user has a sudden fall.
Costs for the Medical Guardian Active Guardian start at $44.95 plus $10 for automatic fall detection, bringing the total monthly cost to $54.95. This price includes the use of the equipment, 24/7 monitoring, and nationwide service.
Bay Alarm Medical is an established American medical alert provider that operates three CSAA Five Diamond Certified monitoring centers located in Utah, California, and Idaho. Unlike most other medical alert providers, Bay Alarm Medical’s products are geared toward users of all ages, and its devices are designed and built in the United States.
The Bay Alarm Medical 4G LTE GPS help button is a compact, all-in-one personal emergency call button that works on the AT&T 4G mobile phone network with nationwide coverage. It contains a speakerphone for hands-free communication with emergency operators and a GPS locator that allows emergency call operators to pinpoint the exact location of a subscriber in an emergency. The device is IPX7 water-resistant for use in wet environments.
The 4G LTE GPS help button is available in black or white and comes equipped with a rechargeable battery and wireless charging cradle. A small LED light on the device lets users know when it needs to be charged. The optional fall detection feature uses integrated motion sensors to identify when a subscriber has fallen, which triggers a call to the monitoring center.
Costs include a one-time $79 device purchase price and a recurring monthly monitoring cost of $39.95. The monthly fee includes 24/7 U.S.-based emergency call monitoring with GPS location tracking, a secure caregiver app that lets trusted users access information about the device and the automatic fall detection feature.
Given that accidental falls are one of the leading causes of death among Americans age 65 and older and one of the most common causes of non-fatal injuries and hospitalization among those under age 65, it’s easy to see why automatic fall detection is a popular option on medical alert systems. As with traditional medical alert devices, fall detection buttons are equipped with a button that users can press to connect with the emergency monitoring center.
Although no fall detection system can accurately detect 100% of falls, wearing a help button with fall detection can significantly improve the odds of a favorable outcome after a fall. These high-tech, lightweight devices may be especially useful for those who face an increased risk of falling, including seniors, people who take medication that impacts their balance, and anyone who has a history of falling.
To choose the best personal emergency response system fall detection for yourself or your loved ones, consider the following:
Once you’ve answered the above questions, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and find a medical alert system with fall detection that suits your specific needs and budget.