May 30, 2011

Medical Alerts: LifeWatch, Alert1, ADT

Medical Alert services such as LifeWatch, Alert1 or ADT Companion generate an alert to the monitoring center in case of a personal emergency and get help. They are very useful for people who may need help in an emergency, for example seniors or patients living independently.
Alert1 Medical Alert

ADT is the largest home monitoring service provider. An earlier ADT Companion review goes into the details of ADT’s medical alert service that utilizes ADT’s extensive monitoring infrastructure. A comparison of the three popular services, LifeWatch, Alert1, ADT Companion, is done here.

Each of the service has the following common elements
  1. A monitoring center that monitors the alerts 24/7 and in case of a medical alert, immediately sends the local emergency personnel (like a personal 911) and contacts the specified family and friends.

  2. A base-unit at the house that sends alerts to the monitoring center over a phone line.

  3. A necklace or wristwatch button.
    Upon pressing the button an alert is generated immediately and sent to the monitoring center via the base unit.
    The button is waterproof and can be worn in showers, it is battery powered.

  4. Additional emergency buttons that can be placed throughout the house.

LifeWatch Medical Alert with GPS

  • Price - $25/month with 1-year contract, No installation or activation fee
    $30/month – with no contract, $9 shipping fee
    Lockbox - $40
  • Range – 600 feet  (between base-unit and pendant)

  • Price - $35/month with 1-year contract. $75 installation fee, $75 activation fee
  • Range – 300 feet  (between base-unit and pendant)

  • Price - $30/month with 1-year contract and 13th month is free
    Lockbox – free
    Cellular medical alert with GPS - $35/month
  • Range – 600 feet  (between base-unit and pendant)
  • More LifeWatch plans and accessories are available such as
    • Base-units that use the cellular network instead of fixed-phone lines, which can be a great convenience to extend coverage.
    • Pendants with built-in GPS that enables the monitoring center to pinpoint the location.
    • Person fall detector

Other Alternatives
Other medical alert services such as from LifeLine,  LifeAlert and LifeStation are available.

Which one should I get?
As with home monitoring, there are a range of good services available for medical alerts. The price range and features from the providers are roughly comparable and they will each send your local emergency personnel (EMS) in case of an emergency.

Pick a provider that fits your budget and make sure that the devices used have a large enough range to cover your entire home. Devices using the 4G/3G/cellular network will provide coverage even when you are outside the home. And, make sure the devices used have rechargeable batteries with a long battery life. To get more perspective, also check LifeLine review.

What about iPhone, Android based Medical Alert services
A medical alert service using iPhone, iPod or Android as the alerting device will be very useful as the devices already have all the elements needed - cellular/3G connectivity, 2-way voice, GPS, tilt and fall detection, social connections to contact family/friends etc. However, three missing pieces are – the devices need to be small enough (like a small iPod) so that they can be worn as a necklace or watch, they need to be waterproof and the battery life needs to be longer.

But, look for robust medical alert services using these devices to start appearing.