Technology shows no signs of slowing down, and many adults rely on the convenience of digital devices for everything from keeping in touch with loved ones to tracking health concerns. A whopping 96% of Americans own a cell phone, and that number includes many of the nation’s elderly adults. Approximately 70% of adults aged 50 and older own a smartphone, and 40% of seniors own at least one tablet.
With statistics like this, it’s not surprising that many medical alert companies now offer apps for seniors. Some apps are free for subscribers and caregivers, while others cost $5 to $10 per month. Some companies also provide standalone medical alert apps, which means you don’t need a medical alert system to use the app.
Choosing a medical alert app can be as simple as downloading the app that’s compatible with your current medical alert system. If you don’t have a medical alert system yet, you may want to know which companies have the best apps before you commit to a device. We’ve compiled information about several trusted apps below, including standalone apps for seniors who don’t already own a medical alert system.
Medical Alert System Apps
Several medical alert system providers offer apps for subscribers and caregivers, including LifeFone, Medical Guardian, Life Alert and BoomerAlert. Of these companies, LifeFone offers one of the best options for app users. Current LifeFone subscribers pay $5.95 per month for app access, while new customers pay $7.95 per month.
LifeFone’s app functions as a medical alert device, but seniors can also use it as a virtual escort service. LifeFone encourages subscribers to reach out anytime they feel scared or uncomfortable, whether they’re nervous about potentially falling on a slippery sidewalk or fear that a stranger may harm them. U.S.-based agents are available 24 hours a day for support.
Seniors aren’t the only ones who use medical alert apps, so LifeFone also offers a caregiver portal. Caretakers can schedule medication reminders and track the location of their loved one for less than $10 per month. Medical Guardian provides caregiver access via its Family app, and QMedic and GreatCall also provide activity-monitoring portals for caregivers.
Stand-Alone Medical Alert Apps
Some seniors prefer standalone medical alert apps over apps that are linked to existing medical alert systems. These apps are ideal for seniors who want a digital record of their medical information, such as medication and appointment history, in case an emergency arises. Some standalone apps also provide caregiver access, but many are geared toward seniors themselves.
GreatCall offers an app for existing subscribers, but you can also download a standalone app on your Android or iPhone. The app stores medical information in a secure profile and offers an easy-to-click button for emergencies.
Consider iMedAlert if you want a standalone app packed with features. One button submits stored medical information to emergency contacts or medical professionals, while another texts saved contacts when an injury occurs. When a senior is unable to call for help, a loud alarm alerts loved ones or even strangers that an accident has occurred. GPS pinpoints the location of the senior who needs assistance, so emergency workers or loved ones can quickly provide care.
Choose Senior Safety App if you want an app recommended by medical professionals. This app offers automatic fall detection and GPS monitoring. Zone Alert notifies loved ones when a senior with dementia leaves a specific area, and inactivity alerts provide a clue that an elderly adult may need assistance.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medical Alert App
With so many options available, you may wonder how to choose a medical alert app. If you or your loved one currently have a medical alert system subscription, start by asking if the company provides a subscriber app or caregiver portal. You may also want to consider a standalone app as a backup for your medical alert system.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before selecting an app for medical alerts:
- How much does it cost?
- Can I afford this now as well as in the future?
- Is the app easy to use?
- Does the app drain battery life quickly?
- Who is the app geared toward?
- Is the app compatible with my smartphone?
- How can I protect my private medical information with this app?
- Does the app offer automatic fall detection?
Think about what you need from a medical alert app, and make sure it meets your requirements before you download it.
Do You Need a Medical Alert App and a Medical Alert System?
Many seniors feel safest when they have a medical alert app and a medical alert system. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Smartphones aren’t always waterproof, so elderly adults need a wearable medical alert system while bathing or swimming.
- Battery life often decreases quickly with smartphones, but medical alert systems often work for days — sometimes even months or years — without battery replacement or recharging.
- Medical alert systems often have automatic fall detection, whereas smartphone apps sometimes lack this feature.
- Smartphones can be difficult to navigate during an emergency, so a simple push-button device may work best.
Medical alert systems provide around-the-clock monitoring, so many seniors rely on them for peace of mind, even when they also have a smartphone app. Consider the level of care you or your loved one requires before determining that you may not need a medical alert system to complement a medical alert app.