Medical alert systems help seniors feel more confident and safe as they age. These devices are particularly useful for seniors who live alone or older couples who want to make sure both they and their spouse are protected and have access to help whenever they need it.
Most medical alert systems use a pendant or wristband-style wearable. Seniors keep the wearable with them at all times and can simply push a button to speak to someone at a monitoring center if they’re distressed, unwell or have a concern. The services offered by monitoring centers vary, but many of the best medical alert system companies have highly trained operators who can act as virtual escorts for seniors who are scared while walking home, offer basic advice for a senior who’s concerned about how or when to take their medication or what to do about a minor injury or illness.
One in four seniors fall each year, and if a senior falls and is unable to get up, it’s vital they receive medical attention promptly due to the risk of hypothermia, dehydration and other complications. Medical alert systems allow seniors to call for help immediately, instead of having to wait for a caregiver to come check on them and discover they’ve fallen.
Most medical alert systems require a monthly fee, meaning a couple might struggle to afford the cost of maintaining two subscriptions. Here, we list medical alert systems that offer free or low-cost monitoring for couples, helping seniors save money on this invaluable service.
Medical Alert Systems to Consider for Couples
Bay Alarm Medical: Free Spouse Coverage
Bay Alarm Medical is a longstanding brand with a reputation for quality and reliability. It offers landline and cellular in-home monitoring systems that include a base station and wearable help button. The help buttons can be worn as a wristband or pendant, and are water resistant.
The monitoring service comes with several optional extras. Seniors can purchase an extra button for their spouse and have that button included in the monitoring service for no additional monthly fee. Users can also purchase a lockbox that allows EMTs to enter the property easily in an emergency, extra wall buttons and an insurance package that covers the cost of replacement devices in the event any wearables are lost, damaged or stolen. Fall detection services are available at an additional charge of $10 per month.
Bay Alarm Medical’s in-home monitoring packages are quite affordable, with the most basic package costing just $19.95 per month. This makes the service one of the best for seniors who are looking for an in-home monitoring solution that will cover themselves and their spouse without breaking the bank.
Medical Guardian: Affordable 'Family' Monitoring
Medical Guardian offers a variety of high-tech services, including fall detection, caregiver monitoring apps and voice-activated wall buttons that allow seniors to call for help even if they’ve forgotten to put their pendant on. The company offers landline and cellular at-home systems, and one of the premium packages includes activity sensors that chosen caregivers can monitor remotely.
Medical Guardian’s services are slightly more expensive than those offered by Bay Alarm Medical, with the most basic package costing $29.95 per month and a fee of $79.95 per month for the Family package. Users can add a spouse to any tier package for an additional $2 per month. Fall detection is optional and costs $10 per month.
Medical Guardian makes sense for families seeking a more sophisticated package with caregiver monitoring or voice activation and are willing to pay extra for the privilege. The hardware provided by Medical Guardian is among the best on the market, with a 32-hour backup battery in the base unit, a 1,300-foot communication range and water-resistant pendants. There are no contracts or up-front setup fees.
One Call Alert: Affordable Cellular Monitoring
One Call Alert is a brand that offers good value with its low-cost hardware and flexible billing. The company has been in the medical alert system business for 2 decades and offers in-home and mobile devices with no setup, installation or activation fees. Customers can choose between monthly, quarterly or annual billing, and those who opt for quarterly or annual contracts can add a second user to their plan for free.
One Call Alert’s most basic in-home package costs $32.95 per month on the quarterly plan, or $29.95 per month annually. This plan includes a waterproof pendant and a wireless base station with a 600-foot range. Because the base station is wireless, there’s no need for seniors to have a landline. As long as their home is in an AT&T coverage area, they can make use of this device.
As with the other providers on this list, One Call Alert offers optional automatic fall detection for a fee of $10 per month. The subscription offerings are fairly bare-bones, but they do include a personalized care plan that allows subscribers to nominate a list of approved caregivers and also provide their medical history. This helps EMTs provide the best possible service in an emergency.
Choosing a Medical Alert System for a Couple
It can be difficult for a retired couple to find the funds to pay for two medical alert devices. All of the above systems represent good value for a two-senior household. Medical Guardian is the obvious choice for those who are more tech-savvy and want extra features such as a mobile app with their plan. Bay Alarm Monitoring’s budget-friendly offerings are good for those who want a more basic system, and One Call Alert’s basic package is good value for those who need a cellular in-home system. Veterans and AARP members may be eligible for discounts on some medical alert system packages, so it’s well worth contacting the providers to check for any current special offers.