Medical alert devices help seniors who are nervous about falling or being taken ill feel safe and confident in their homes. These devices allow seniors to call for help with a press of a button, at any time of the day or night. Some devices include an automatic fall detection feature that will summon aid for the wearer in the event of a fall, even if the wearer is incapacitated.
Choosing the right medical alert device can be difficult, however, as there are so many plans and prices to consider. Some vendors offer low monthly fees for their basic package but charge for every extra feature. Others charge up-front fees that may make it difficult for those on a retirement income to afford the device. With such varied pricing plans and extras to consider, it can be difficult to see through the marketing hype to accurately compare systems and what they offer. This side-by-side comparison of Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical’s devices can help seniors make a more informed decision.
We discovered that both Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical have a lot to offer and are among the best providers of medical alert systems serving the market today. Bay Alarm Medical’s products are reliable, offer good value and would suit most households. Medical Guardian has some interesting features in its premium packages that may appeal to tech-savvy seniors and those who want more sophisticated monitoring.
|Medical Guardian||Bay Alarm Medical|
|Lowest Monthly Cost||$29.95||$19.95|
|Highest Monthly Cost||$79.95||$59.95|
|Up-Front Fees||$9.50 shipping (waived on annual plans)
Freedom Guardian device fee: $99
|$9.95 shipping (waived for the 6-month plan)|
|Fall Detection||$10 per month with certain devices||$10 per month|
|Optional Extras||Fall detection, lockbox, wall-mounted buttons, voice-activated buttons||Fall detection, wall-mounted buttons, lockbox, caregiver app|
About Medical Guardian
Medical Guardian is a company known for its sophisticated monitoring services. Its most basic offerings are fairly standard for the industry, including an in-home base station and an alert pendant. It’s hard to see the appeal of the basic package, however, since it costs more than similar packages from rival manufacturers.
Where the company stands out is in its higher-tier packages. The smartwatch-style wearable may appeal to tech-savvy seniors, and the Family Guardian package with its included in-home sensors and caregiver monitoring app is one of the most comprehensive monitoring systems on the market. The option to add voice-activated wall buttons is something that few other manufacturers offer.
There’s an up-front fee for the Freedom Guardian smartwatch, but no other up-front costs except for shipping. Monthly fees vary depending on the package chosen, with the most sophisticated costing $79.95 per month. Seniors who choose an annual or semiannual payment plan receive a discount on the monthly fees.
One glaring omission from Medical Guardian’s offering is device protection. Most manufacturers offer an insurance plan for a nominal fee that covers the cost of replacing lost, stolen or damaged devices. Medical Guardian doesn’t offer this coverage, in spite of having one of the most expensive device offerings with its Freedom Guardian smartwatch. Those considering signing up for one of the top-tier plans should investigate insurance separately.
About Bay Alarm Medical
Bay Alarm Medical is a reliable and trusted manufacturer that offers a variety of plans for seniors of different activity levels. The company’s in-home plans are affordable and robust, covering the basics for a reasonable monthly fee of $19.95, plus $10 for optional fall detection. Its on-the-go plans are appealing too, including an in-car system with GPS and crash detection.
Where Bay Alarm Medical falls down is in the lack of available extras. The wearable device range is bulky and doesn’t look as nice as some of the products offered by competitors, which may put some seniors off from using them. Additionally, Bay Alarm Medical doesn’t have door sensors, voice-activated wall buttons or other in-home monitoring products that less mobile seniors may need. The few add-ons the company does offer are fairly expensive, too.
Those considering the basic packages will find they’re priced attractively compared to Medical Guardian and many of the other major brands. In addition, the company offers support in 140 languages using real-time translation, giving seniors who grew up abroad an easy way to make themselves understood in their native language.
In terms of cost, Bay Alarm Medical is the clear winner. When comparing similar packages, Bay Alarm Medical’s monthly fees are lower than Medical Guardian’s, but the products still do the job well. Since both companies offer month-to-month billing and have modest shipping fees, it’s hard to justify Medical Guardian’s higher monthly fees for a simple in-home or on-the-go monitoring system.
The range offered by Medical Guardian does make sense for some families, however. Seniors who need a higher level of in-home monitoring, or who have caregivers who want to be able to check in remotely may find Family Guardian worthwhile. The Freedom Guardian smartwatch is an interesting option for seniors who are resistant to the idea of wearing a pendant but would benefit from the services of a monitoring company.