LifeStation and Life Alert are two high-tech devices that provide emergency response systems, fall monitoring and other features to support seniors living independently. The idea behind these products is to give seniors and their loved ones peace of mind. The system helps seniors stay active and independent, confident that should they suffer an injury or fall, help is available.
While the brands are similar in their core services, there are some differences in terms of pricing and features. LifeStation is marketed as an affordable product with no contracts, while Life Alert is a more premium device that requires a three-year minimum contract.
Both systems do their core job of connecting the user to a 24/7 support service. The difference is in the optional extras (such as fall detection) and added features such as mobile apps or GPS tracking. LifeStation provides fall detection for an extra monthly fee, while Life Alert’s mobile app allows caregivers to get updates on the well-being of the device user.
Choosing between two reputable brand names for a medical alert system can be tricky, especially when there are so many issues to think about in terms of features, battery life, range and pricing. Each family will have their own opinions on those features, depending on how active the intended user is, how likely they are to need to be reminded to charge the device and whether having a help button with a long wireless range is important.
|Up-Front Fee||$50 activation fee||$95 – $198|
|Monthly Fee||$19.95 to $26.95||$49 to $89|
|Contract||Rolling month to month||3-year contract|
|Add-Ons||$10 extra for fall detection, nominal fee for other extras (see row 14)||N/A|
|Water Resistance||Yes||Pendant is water-resistant|
|Connection Type||Landline or cellular||Landline or cellular|
|Battery Life||Up to 5 days for Mobile+GPS device, 48 hour backup on In-Home Plus||72-hour backup for an in-home device, 7-year battery life on the pendant|
|Fall Detection||Optional extra add-on||N/A|
|GPS||Included with the mobile GPS device||Included with the HELP On-The-Go GPS device|
|Outdoor Cover||Included with the mobile GPS device||Included with HELP On-The-Go|
|Call Center||24/7 support, USA-based||24/7 support, USA-based|
|Range from Base Center||Up to 1,000 feet||Up to 1,000 feet|
|2-Way Voice Communication||Included as standard||Included as standard|
|Optional Extras||Lockbox, wall mount, extra alert button||N/A|
LifeStation is a senior medical alert system that works both in-home and outside the home. LifeStation is one of the most affordable providers, offering 24/7 US-based support with monthly fees starting from $19.95.
There’s no charge to purchase the device, and the activation fee is half that of the one charged by Life Alert. Another thing that may appeal to many families is that there is no minimum contract period. Seniors can pay for the device on a rolling month-to-month basis. This means they can cancel at any time if they don’t like the device or decide to move into an assisted living facility where the device would be unnecessary.
LifeStation offers a number of optional add-ons, each for a nominal monthly fee, that families can add or remove as they wish. Unfortunately, a companion app is not one of the optional extras, meaning it’s hard for caregivers or family members to get updates on the well-being of the alert system user.
This means active seniors who simply want access to emergency support 24/7 for peace of mind can choose the basic tier. Seniors who are worried about falling can add fall detection for an extra monthly fee, and there are other extras available too.
The main downside to LifeStation, other than the way so many features are add-ons that carry an additional fee, is the relatively short battery life of the portable alert systems. The backup battery in the home system is quite good, but the mobile and GPS system requires charging every few days.
Life Alert is another long-standing brand in the world of medical alert systems. The company claims to handle more than two million calls a year and save at least one life every 11 minutes from a potentially catastrophic outcome. Those are bold claims, but the company has a long history and a good reputation.
Life Alert’s systems cost more than LifeStation’s, with higher up-front activation costs, a higher monthly fee and a three-year contract to deal with. For the extra fee, users get a water-resistant pendant that promises a battery life of seven years. This may appeal to active seniors who don’t want to deal with the short battery life on the mobile and GPS devices provided by LifeStation.
There’s no fall detection system offered with Life Alert. The in-home unit has a respectable range of up to 1,000 feet, though, and the help center has a good reputation. It’s up to individual families whether the lack of fall detection is a deal-breaker. Many families may feel that it is, given every year falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries.
Life Alert systems come with some useful features for sharing information with caregivers. These features allow caregivers to check up on the status and location of the senior in question at any time. Sharing this information requires consent from the senior, so they can feel confident their privacy is being respected. This is one area where Life Alert beats LifeStation, as it doesn’t offer a companion app.
In most cases, LifeStation comes out on top thanks to its comparatively low cost and lack of a long contract. The option for fall protection services is also a big plus for LifeStation.
There are some cases where Life Alert may be worth choosing, however. The long battery life of the pendant is something that may appeal to some seniors, and the companion app is something that many families and caregivers appreciate. For some families, the peace of mind that the companion app provides is worth the extra fee and the contract.
Overall, both systems are promising and could be contenders for the crown of the best medical alert systems. They both have key features including good range, robust communication devices and access to patient, caring USA-based support 24 hours a day. The rest of the features are merely nice to have, and choosing between them comes down to personal preference.