Medical alert systems vary from simple two-way call buttons to more sophisticated systems with monitoring and fall detection. The best medical alert systems include apps for caregiver monitoring, medication reminders and other handy tools. These apps make it easier for loved ones to check on their seniors and help them monitor their own well-being and be more engaged with their care.
What To Look for in a Medical Alert App
Medical alert apps combine the power of smartphones with the simplicity of medical alert devices. The most important things to look for in a medical alert app are reliability, value and ease of use. It’s also important to consider the senior’s preferences. Some seniors wish to be highly involved in their day-to-day care and to have access to lots of information and features. Others may prefer something they can simply forget about until they need help.
The apps on this list run the full spectrum of features, including apps that pair with smartwatches, and ones included free of charge along with a more basic wearable. The GreatCall Lively app is a stand-alone application that users can subscribe to in order to make use of the health tracking and communication features. The Freedom Guardian app is an optional extra for Medical Guardian devices.
All of these apps are designed with the privacy and well-being of the user in mind. The device owner or app subscription holder remains in full control and can choose who’s included on their trusted caregiver list.
Top Medical Alert Apps to Consider
App Name: Freedom Guardian
Best For: Smartwatch wearable
Medical Guardian offers a wearable smartwatch-style device called the Freedom Guardian that comes with a handy companion app. This device is ideal for tech-savvy seniors looking for something more sophisticated than a standard help button.
The watch supports text-to-speech messages, location tracking, appointment and medication reminders and is quite discreet and stylish. The app allows caregivers to stay in touch with seniors. The device owner can add individuals to their trusted list, allowing them to get location updates and check in on their welfare.
There’s a fee of $8 per month for the app, on top of the base fee for the device. Medical Guardian’s app is one of the most comprehensive available in terms of features. This can make it worthwhile for tech-savvy seniors or caregivers who perhaps aren’t able to check in face-to-face every day but still want peace of mind.
App Name: Philips Cares
Best Feature: No additional fees
Philips Lifeline is a longstanding brand with a good reputation for robust hardware and helpful customer service. The Philips Cares app is available with the company’s medical alert products at no extra fee, and it’s a useful app for those who want to stay in touch with several caregivers with ease.
Philips Cares allows users to build what it calls a care circle. When the user triggers the alert button, the app sends a message to everyone in the circle. Users can also upload photos and short updates, keeping people in the circle informed on an ongoing basis. Caregivers can take advantage of a variety of collaborative features, so they can communicate with each other and the device user to manage the senior’s care.
Philips devices cost a little more than the basic products from some of the newer challengers in the medical alert space, but the app is free for all Philips Lifeline subscribers. Many families feel the simple nature of the pricing offers good value.
App Name: Lively App
Best For: Stand-alone app use
The GreatCall Lively app is a little different from the other products mentioned here, in that it’s a stand-alone app that can be paired with most modern smartphones, including the senior-friendly Jitterbug Smart2. This means there’s no need to purchase a separate medical alert device.
GreatCall’s Lively App is a good choice for seniors who want the peace of mind of having a medical alert system, but who don’t want to wear a pendant or carry a device with them. Seniors who are comfortable with using a smartphone may find having the app reassuring, and be more willing to use it than something they see as being for older people.
Those who opt for the Lively Wearable 2 can take advantage of extra features, such as fall detection and a built-in step tracker. The app is still useful even without the wearable, though. It supports GPS tracking and can be used with most smartwatches.