Seniors who live independently have special concerns about safety. Living alone makes it harder to summon help in the event of a fall or other medical emergencies. Wall-mounted medical alert systems fill that gap with a fast and incredibly easy way to signal for help from trained response teams. Having one of these lifesaving devices in the home can help keep a senior safe and preserve their independent lifestyle.
The purpose of this guide is to help seniors and their loved ones find a good wall-mounted medical alert system and to understand the options that come with them.
MobileHelp is one of the most well-balanced wall-mounted medical alert systems on the market. The system comes with an immediate month-to-month payment schedule, and no long-term contracts. The wall-mounted system can be activated with the push of a button or the pull of a cord, as well as by voice commands. The voice-activation option makes MobileHelp systems attractive for seniors who worry about being incapacitated after a fall and who might not be able to reach their call button.
The equipment MobileHelp provides has a sturdy plastic case that’s easy to wipe clean and has a large red button on the front that’s hard to miss when it’s needed. The pull cords underneath the units are tough and unlikely to break even when given a hard pull. When activated, the MobileHelp system connects with a USA-based response center that can rapidly dispatch medical teams to the address on file. The company also includes a complimentary lockbox for keeping a key outside with every order. The response operator can give the combination to rescue crews for fast access without forced entry.
Bay Alarm offers monthly subscriptions with no long-term contracts. The company’s call buttons are waterproof, so they can be installed in bathrooms and kitchens. Buttons are powered by five-year batteries, and the base unit carries a 32-hour backup battery. The Bay Alarm wall-mounted medical alert system is part of a comprehensive package that can be expanded with both landline and cellular systems, as well as a mobile GPS tracker and a car system for when seniors are out of the house.
Seniors can get a lot of extras with their Bay Alarm systems. Every order comes with a free Vial of Life membership, which stores prescription lists and other medical information in a prominent place for EMS crews to take with them to the hospital. The company offers a lockbox and caregiver tracking system for a nominal extra fee. Insurance is available in case equipment is lost, damaged or stolen.
Medical Guardian offers month-to-month service plans with no contracts or hidden fees. The company offers a range of equipment to choose from, including press and voice-activated systems. Expanded system options, in addition to the in-home system, include a cellular in-home system, in-home activity sensors and two types of mobile systems. One mobile system runs strictly on GPS, and the other can combine the wireless GPS network with any available Wi-Fi. Seniors who go with Medical Guardian can also get a medical alert smartwatch.
Optional features include extra alert buttons and a car charger that works with mobile units. Customers can also ask for a lockbox for the front door. Units connected to the base station in the home have an extended range of up to 1,300 feet.
Medical Care Alert offers budget-conscious seniors a very simple wall-mounted medical alert system with no frills and very few fees. The base unit works with any number of wall units, each of which requires a substantial equipment fee. The fee can be waived if the customer chooses to exchange one of the system’s wearable pendants for an extra wall unit. The monthly subscription fee is relatively low, but customers can expand service with optional fall detection and a sturdy lockbox.
The Medical Care Alert system connects with a response center located in the United States, where EMT- and EMD-trained dispatchers respond to calls within seconds. After making contact, the Security Industry Association-certified dispatchers evaluate the seriousness of the situation and dispatch the appropriate rescue service. Caregivers and family members can keep in touch with automated text messages and alerts from the company. Seniors can designate a list of approved family and friends to alert, as well as providing contact information for their chosen medical providers. Fees must be paid upfront, though monthly billing is available after the first billing cycle is complete.
Wall-mounted medical alert systems provide great peace of mind for seniors, and the help they summon can make a big difference in a medical emergency. Systems like this usually have a base unit and several wall units spread around the house. Ideally, wall units can be positioned close to spots where accidents and emergencies are likely to happen, such as master bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. Wall systems can often be expanded with the use of mobile units, usually pendants or smartwatches. Boxes may be activated by the press of a button, the pull of a cord or, less commonly, a voice command. When the closest unit is activated, most systems engage a two-way voice connection between the senior and a dispatcher in the company’s call center. Help is then dispatched from local ambulance or fire companies.
Seniors who are looking to buy a wall-mounted medical alert system have several factors to consider before they commit to a purchase. To be effective, a good system should have enough units, and those units should have enough range, to provide total coverage for the whole home, plus out to the mailbox if applicable. Extras, such as a smartwatch and outdoor lockbox, are nice to have, but they aren’t necessary.
Fees and other costs are another consideration. A typical wall-mounted medical alert system comes with an installation fee and upfront equipment costs, although Medical Guardian and a few others do not charge installation fees. Month-by-month contracts may be attractive for many seniors, though long-term contracts can often come at a discount. As a rule, seniors should expect to pay between $20 and $40 a month for their monitoring service, though fall detection and caregiver tracking generally cost extra. Many services also charge an equipment fee per unit. These fees are usually in the $2 to $5 a month range per unit. Thus, a base system with four wall units is likely to fall somewhere around $40 to $50 a month.
Seniors have a lot to choose from when looking for wall-mounted medical alert systems. Different companies offer different system configurations, which can meet different seniors’ unique needs. To find the one that’s best for you, identify your must-have features and review our findings.