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Medical Guardian vs Life Alert

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MEDICAL GUARDIAN

Medical Guardian was created by CEO Geoff Gross to address the need to help older adults live with greater freedom while still ensuring their safety, after seeing what his own grandmother went through after falling at home and needing assistance. As an A+ rated company with the Better Business Bureau and glowing reviews from thousands of satisfied customers, Medical Guardian has established itself as the nation's first choice for medical alert systems.

All plans include wearable, lightweight, waterproof panic buttons, as well as round-the-clock monitoring that is always based in the US. There are two main types of service offered by this provider: In-Home and On-the-Go. If you're primarily looking for protection at the user's residence, you'll be choosing among the following three plans:

  • Classic Guardian: starting at $29.95 per month, this plan uses a home landline to connect with Medical Guardian's 24/7 monitoring center. The button-to-base coverage is 1,300 feet - almost as long as four football fields, ensuring that the wearer can connect to the base station no matter where they are in the home. The system also has a 32-hour backup battery life, keeping the user connected even in the event of a power outage. Fall Detection is available for an additional $10/month.
  • Home Guardian: starting at $34.95 per month, this plan frees you from the requirement of a landline, because it uses cellular coverage to connect. You do sacrifice some of the coverage range, which is only 600 feet. On the other hand, because the system uses the AT&T nationwide network for its cellular coverage, you can bring the system with you if you're visiting family or going south for the winter. Fall Detection is also available with this plan, for the extra $10/month.
  • Family Guardian: starting at $79.95/month, this plan combines the extended range of the Classic plan with the cellular coverage of the Home plan. It also gives you the ability to monitor your loved one's activity levels through three in-home safety sensors and the Family Guardian mobile app. You'll be able to see that the person is up and active, or if they've left a door open or wandered during the night. Once again, you can add Fall Detection for $10/month more.

On the other hand, if you're looking for protection that goes with the user, you'll want to consider Medical Guardian's two mobile medical alert systems:

  • Mobile Guardian: starting at $39.95/month, this plan includes a portable device with a built-in speaker, small enough to be worn on a belt or tucked into a pocket or purse. Pushing the emergency button connects the user directly to the monitoring center. This plan also includes a smaller pendant or watch button, with a range of 350 feet from the portable unit. The portable device has a 24-hour battery life and comes with a charging cradle. The system also includes GPS tracking, allowing the wearer to receive help at his or her exact location There is no Fall Detection upgrade available with the Mobile Guardian plan.
  • Active Guardian: starting at $49.95/month, this plan includes the benefits of the Mobile Guardian plan and adds several benefits. You do have to wear the device as a lanyard, because the plan includes Fall Detection. This device also includes WiFi capabilities, allowing the emergency operators to pinpoint the wearer's location through hotspots in the event that the GPS isn't available (e.g. inside a building). The Active Guardian device features a 5-day battery life and recharges within 3 hours.

Medical Guardian also offers several add-ons you may want to consider. For example, if first responders may need a key to enter your residence, you can include a 4-digit lockbox for $2/month; the code is then given to the emergency personnel by the call center, so that they can get in as quickly as possible if the door is locked. You may also want to install a wall-mounted button in locations of frequent falls, such as the bathroom.

We found the pricing for all of Medical Guardian's systems to be very affordable and competitive with other services, especially given that there's no charge for the equipment itself. And, while you never have to sign a lengthy contract to use this company's services, you can save money by choosing a quarterly or annual payment plan. Also, at the time of our review, new customers could get two free months by using a promo code featured at the top of the site, so keep your eyes open for any special promotions that may be in place at the time of your order.

Another plus of using Medical Guardian for your medical alert system is their fantastic customer-friendly policies. If you're not happy with your device, coverage, or any other aspect of the system, you have 30 days from delivery to call Medical Guardian, and another 15 days to return your equipment - for a full refund of your service fees, with no cancellation charge. This is the most generous return policy in the industry.

It's no surprise that customers have glowing things to say about their experience with the service. Their comments say everything you'd want to hear about a medical alert system: "fast response time", "reliable coverage", "saved my life more than once", and much more.

Medical Guardian consistently outpaces other systems with respect to affordability, technology, and reliability of both equipment and emergency response. With their five different plans, available Fall Detection upgrade, and no required contracts or activation fees, Medical Guardian earns our highest rating among companies offering the best medical alert systems.

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LIFE ALERT

Life Alert may be the most well-known provider of medical alert systems: founded in 1987 and famous for the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" TV spots, this CA-based business has a large customer base and a solid A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Unfortunately, Life Alert continues to make it difficult for prospective customers to get information about their plans and costs. The only way to get current pricing information for Life Alert is by calling to request a brochure. If you're not willing to give them your address and phone number, you'll be transferred to a customer care representative instead.

The representative we spoke with was very pleasant and emailed us the brochure right away. But, once again, there was no pricing in the brochure. The rep said the reason they don't put their pricing on the website is because they design a package to meet every individual's needs. She did say that they have three programs that range in price from $49 to $89 a month; she made no mention of an activation or startup fee, but many customers refer to it in their comments.

According to the customer representative, "We are the most expensive, but there's a reason: we're the best." She went on to say that one of the reasons that Life Alert is the best is because everything is guaranteed and put in writing.

Life Alert offers five main areas of protection:

  • Medical
  • Fire
  • Help Button
  • Home Invasion
  • Mobile Help/GPS

It is worth noting that there's no specific service that detects fire. Life Alert has the traditional base unit / pendant or wristband help button system as most medical alert systems, and the wearer would still need to push the button to tell the monitoring station that there is a fire. Similarly, the home invasion protection assumes that the user pushes the help button and tells the dispatcher that there's a break-in in progress; the dispatcher can then hear activity within the home through the monitoring system, report an invasion in progress to the police, and warn the intruders over the base unit's speaker that help is on the way.

Customers can choose between landline or cellular base units, and the help button range is up to 800 feet.

Life Alert's "Protection on the Go" offers nationwide coverage via cellular networks and uses GPS to locate the wearer if needed. The help button can be worn, carried in a bag or purse, or even in a pocket.

We respect the fact that Life Alert is reliable and reputable. But, customers pay a lot for that name-brand value, for services that seem to be readily available through several other companies with solid reputations.

In today's age of buy-it-online, Life Alert is shooting itself in the foot by not being transparent with their pricing (and by having a website that looks like it hasn't been updated for at least a decade). If their service is truly head and shoulders above the rest, people will still be willing to pay higher prices. But, without the ability to see those prices right away and even to order a package directly through the site, we think many people will just move on to other companies offering medical alert systems.

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Best Medical Alert Systems

To help you find the Best Medical Alert Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Medical Guardian and Life Alert.

Who has the best Medical Alert Systems? As the US population ages, the need for medical alert systems grows. Given the increasing number of seniors who prefer to "age in place" - living in their own home as long as possible, rather than moving to an independent or assisted living facility for the elderly - it is easy to see why a medical alert system could make the difference between life and death.

Medical alert systems give users the ability to rapidly contact emergency services, typically through a button worn on the wrist or as a pendant around the neck. All it takes is a click of that button to get in touch with an operator who will help determine if a call to emergency medical services is needed. For added peace of mind, a number of companies offer equipment that can automatically detect when the wearer has fallen.

There are a wide variety of choices when it comes to medical alert systems: some services that have been on the market for many years, and others that are newer to the industry. When shopping around for the right product for yourself or for a loved one, you may find a straightforward, easy-to-use website that clearly explains your options. On the other hand, some companies still rely on pushy sales tactics that won't give you much information unless you speak with a representative.

As you compare the various medical alert systems currently available, there are several aspects to keep in mind:

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best medical alert systems on the market today. We hope these reviews give you the information you need to select the medical alert service that will give you or your loved one extra safety and peace of mind.



How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Each year many sick and elderly people encounter accidents and health issues that needlessly take their lives. Medical alert systems can make all the difference in the world for those living alone and in distress. In an emergency, medical alert units create a direct line of communication to needed assistance. If a person falls or becomes ill they simply press a button on a pendant or wrist transmitter to gain the attention of an emergency specialist. That person will immediately call the authorities to send help if needed. The fear of a loved one waiting hours or even days for assistance is no longer an issue with a medical alert system available.

If this is your first medical alert system purchase you may be looking for help with choosing the right device. Making a well informed decision will ensure you get the most for your money and are satisfied with the end result.

There are several important elements to consider when choosing a medical alert system. Some of these include:

Equipment
Not all equipment is created equal. The medical alert button needs to be easy to wear and use. Some may want a unit that's water proof and sturdy to handle showers. If hearing is an issue you'll want a unit that is easy to adjust and has adequate volume options. Knowing the size of the home and how far the transmitter will reach is also important. You'll want UL tested equipment with a good history. Look for products with a battery back-up should the power go out. Also look to see how often batteries need to be replaced. Some batteries last a few months while others last for years. Ask about installation and if a professional is required and how much that will cost.

Warranty
If something happens to the equipment you'll want to make sure it comes with a guarantee. Preferably, the company will replace any broken equipment at no cost. Also look for a company that regularly tests the in home system for good working . Are extended customer support hours available should an issue or question come up about the equipment.

Monitoring Center
In the event of an emergency you'll want a company that provides fast, top notch service. A monitoring company that utilizes its own employees, and doesn't outsource, will most likely provide the best overall service. One that is accountable and well staffed. Does the monitoring company have back-up power, during outages, and are they UL certified?

Cost and Contracts
All medical alert companies price their equipment and monthly monitoring fees differently. Some will sell you the equipment and then charge a monthly fee while others will allow you to rent the equipment and including the monitoring costs in the monthly charges. Some require a several year contract while others are more flexible. If you decide to cancel the contract early you may encounter an early termination fee. Make sure you understand any fees associated with a medical alert system you're considering.

 



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