Using technology to help seniors maintain their independence by tracking their health with an app has become a booming business. There are many different kinds of medical alert apps on the market, and selecting the best one can be complicated. User reviews vary, and while some apps are sensitive enough to detect a fall using precision technology, others may be cluttered with ads or just simply too confusing for the user to operate. Making a mistake when selecting a medical alert app can have serious consequences.
We’ve checked out some of the best medical alert apps and compared their advantages and disadvantages to help pick the one best suited for various needs.
Standalone medical alert apps can help summon medical attention, fast. They use GPS to pinpoint the location of the phone. These apps can also store contact information, making it easy to alert a friend, family member or caregiver. Some of these apps have a subscription to a monitoring service while others don’t.
Standalone medical apps don’t just protect users who need immediate medical help. These can also help seniors who like to digitally keep track of their health information, such as heart rate and medical conditions or can detect a user’s location to prevent wandering into unsafe areas.
Lifeline Response was created to help in situations where a senior in trouble may not be able to verbally tell 911 their location. It’s also a safety feature that can help protect the elderly living alone, as once the user removes their finger from the app screen, the app automatically communicates to emergency response the location of the user. This can help in any number of situations where the user isn’t able to give any details of their situation, either through incapacitation or if they’re in danger. The app uses both cell towers and GPS to accurately pinpoint the user’s location, which gives it greater accuracy than many medical alert devices.
This is a paid app, starting at $4.99 per month, or an annual option that includes two free months. The first 14 days of the app are free.
Fade uses the sensors on an Android phone to detect acceleration and motion that indicate a fall when the user is holding their phone. It then sends a text message or speakerphone phone call to pre-loaded contacts to come to check on the user. It’s a good app for people who have a higher risk and live in an isolated area where they may not be noticed for hours.
The alert also sends the GPS coordinates of the wearer, allowing assistance to readily locate the individual.
GreatCall has a line of separate medical alert devices, including cell phones with large buttons and a basic smartphone, but it has also created an app to install on any device. The 5-Star app uses the same emergency call center that the medical devices do, which means that these operators have the same kind of training that one would expect from a specialized emergency system.
In an emergency, simply press the big emergency button to connect to the IAED-certified agents. These operators stay on the line until help arrives and use GPS technology to determine where to send help. They also help evaluate the right level of response, from helping people who are lost to calling an ambulance. Plus, friends and family can also download the app and receive alerts.
iMedicAlert has several different features that help users in different urgent situations, from a fast alert alarm that indicates someone is in distress nearby to others nearby to calling emergency medical services or an ambulance to the appropriate location. The app can also send a text to pre-loaded contacts in the event of a fall or indicate that the app has summoned emergency response units. The app accesses the GPS function on a smartphone to direct help to the user.
When setting up the device, users can enter pertinent medical information, which is conveyed to contacts or emergency response teams. For example, if the individual is hypertensive, has diabetes, is at risk for heart attack or stroke, or has an allergy to certain medications, responders can adjust the treatment even if the user is unable to convey that information to paramedics.
The software is free, although iMedicAlert also sells medical alert bracelets as a back-up measure in the event a user is unable to access the app on their phone or if the phone dies.
The Senior Safety app is designed to remotely monitor the user’s location using the GPS location. It also has fall alert detection, both of which protect seniors who are prone to wandering. There’s a one-touch SOS button for immediate help, and once that’s pushed, a text is sent to designated contacts (the user loads these when setting up the app).
The app has other features that keep seniors safe, and it stands out among safety apps in this. The app protects users against instances of elder abuse and online fraud. This is done through remote monitoring app usage and history, which can be sent to a caretaker or family member to ensure that the user isn’t being taken advantage of online. Another unique feature is the inactivity alert. It’s based on aggregate usage data that notes what smartphone users do things, such as check emails, texts or otherwise interact with apps on the phone every few hours. The app can be configured to send an alert to designated contacts if the phone isn’t being used, which could alert family or friends that the user is in trouble.
The base app is free, although seniors have the option to install an enhanced version, with extra features including geo-fencing, around-the-clock location tracking and certain functional alerts such as fall detection, network change that alerts a potential phone theft, low battery and other programs.
The most important thing to bear in mind when choosing the best medical alert app is to select one with all the features needed to keep the user safe and one that’s simple for them to negotiate. Another thing to remember is that while some apps can be accessed from the lock screen of a phone, others require unlocking the phone and then accessing the app for services. If a loved one needs a faster response, consider purchasing a wearable device that contacts emergency services with just one button push.