According to the CDC, falls account for 3 million home-related injuries among those over the age of 65 every year. Various issues contribute to this, such as the fact that bone density, stability, and coordination deteriorate as we age. While a simple injury may not sound like a big deal, the truth is that after 65, seemingly minor hospital visits have the potential to turn into long-term stays, and even being in a hospital for a short amount of time can compromise the health of a person over the age of 65.
Fortunately, medical alert systems are available to help you or your loved ones remain independent in the home, despite advanced age. Medical alert systems are portable alarm buttons that, depending on the model, will ring an alarm at your caregivers’ receiver, or send a call to someone from a list of contacts, including 911. Others send a call to an emergency monitoring center, where trained operators can transfer callers to their personal contacts or send emergency services to the caller’s location. The style of device that one needs will depend on their personal preferences, living situation, and medical conditions.
Learn more about available medical alert systems by reading our review of the Best Medical Alert Systems
What is a Medical Alert System?
A medical alert system can be called many things, depending on the manufacturer. Some common names are Personal Emergency Response Services (PERS), fall or wandering monitors, life alert systems, and telemonitoring. Each manufacturer provides slightly different features as well as different forms of remote assistance, such as calling from a pre-set list of trusted contacts, or connecting you directly with a call center. A main determining factor in the up-front and long-term costs of a personal medical alert system is the level of customer service associated with the product.
Some devices are available as a standalone product, which do not require you to purchase any monthly services- these devices are perfect for those with a support network in-house. Other devices offer remote, around-the-clock monitoring with a call center for prices ranging from $20 and up per month. Those without a live-in caregiver or family members might find this option more comforting, but keep in mind where the call center is located- globally outsourced call centers can cause more confusion then help, as they are often under-staffed with people from other countries, posing language barriers as well as other potentially life-threatening misunderstandings. However, there are numerous reliable medical alert companies with monitoring centers located in the United States and Canada, many of which are even operated in-house by the device company. To ensure you or your loved one will be able to get the help they need in an emergency, check to make sure you’re comfortable with a medical alert company’s monitoring center practices.
Who Should Use a Medical Alert System?
For those that choose to age in place, the prospect of falling or having a medical emergency in your own home and not being able to get help is a terrifying reality- but it can easily be remedied with a simple personal emergency response system.
Caregivers or family members of seniors who are aging in place and may have dementia symptoms also benefit greatly from an in-house medical alert system. Instead of relying on hearing your loved ones calls for help, an alarm can ring throughout the house instead, ensuring that no-one has to yell through the house or wait for help.
There are a few questions that need to be answered when thinking about which medical alert system to invest in:
- Do you want to use the system both in and outside of your home, or inside only?
- Do you want a low down payment and small monthly fee, or no monthly fee?
- Do you want to connect with 911 or a trusted contact when you sound the alarm?
- Do you live alone and want extra security for yourself or do you want to have an easier way to reach your in-home caregiver?
The best medical alert system for you will depend on these questions- for example, if you want to be able to wear the alarm on a walk to the park, you’ll need an alert system that uses a wireless signal versus a wired phone line. Some systems have a wider signal range than others, which is great for those in a large home, and those in a smaller space might do better with a system designed with a shorter tange. An important aspect to note about medical alert systems is that many companies offer products at an up-front cost and require you subscribe to their monitoring services to use the alarm- which can cost hundreds of over the course of the year.
Paying for a Medical Alert System
A medical alert system, or Personal Emergency Response Services (PERS) as they are listed under Medicaid guidelines, can be very costly, depending on which features you are looking for and your budget. But, there are a few options for those who are unable to afford a high up-front cost, or another monthly bill. Long-term care insurance may offer discounts on medical alert services; however, a doctor’s referral may be required in order to receive the benefit. There may be discounts available through your membership to certain groups or banks you are affiliated with- asking around the businesses you frequent for senior discounts is always a great way to find unexpected savings!
Another option that may help with the cost of a medical alert system is federal or state-funded senior assistance programs. Medicaid Home and Community-Based Care (HCBC) or 1915 waivers may be available in your area and could potentially be used to help cover the cost of a medical alert system- reach out to your local area agency on aging to find the resources near you.
The best option for saving money on life-saving personal alarm systems is purchasing one that does not require any recurring, additional fees, so that the cost does not add up over time. Our researchers have found that there are many affordable options available that do not require any monthly service plans. Read on to see our list of the best 25 medical alert systems with no monthly fees.
You can also read our reviews on the best overall devices on our best medical alert systems page.
Budget Medical Alert Systems with No Monthly Fee
1.PushPoint Eco2 Expandable Wireless Doorbell with Battery Free Kinetic Self Powered Push-Button Transmitter
This affordable option is great for someone who doesn’t want to invest in additional expenses like batteries- this portable alarm system works off of kinetic energy. Pushing the button generates enough energy to ring the alarm, and both pieces can be carried around, set on a surface, or mounted on a wall.
- Base plugs into wall
- Pager button needs no electricity or batteries
- 32 ringtones and 4 volume levels ranging from 50-80 decibels
- 500-foot range
Top-rated by Amazon as one of the best options for emergency call buttons, the CallToU system features three house receivers, each with a 500-foot range, and easy attachment features like sticky backs as well as fixed brackets. These receivers are waterproof so they can be installed in washrooms, and the volume is adjustable at five levels, up to 100 decibels, ensuring even elders with hearing impairment will notice the pager going off.
- 55 customizable ringtones
- Full-house system has 500-foot range
- 5 levels of volume adjust from 0 to 110 decibels on each individual receiver
The Mace Alert 911 button is a good option for elders who spend time alone and may be injured without a loved one around to help. The button attaches to the included lanyard and when pushed, calls 911 and connects the user with an emergency responder. The unit comes with a battery good for one year, and reviewers recommend using a high-quality option when replacing the battery to ensure long-term use. As long as a cellular signal is available, the transmitter will reliably allow two-way conversation with a 911 dispatcher until help arrives. The cell tower-based service is free, and will work anywhere there is a signal, inside or outside of your home- feel free to wear the button anywhere, for peace of mind on the go.
- One-touch button
- Two-way communication to 911
- Batteries included
- Includes lanyard connection
The Secure SWCB-1 Wireless Remote Nurse Alert System is an in-home pager that can be worn in whatever way the user chooses, as a pendant, watch, or attached to a surface like a bedside table. Instead of relying on a caregiver to be able to hear your calls for attention, simply push the button on the pendant and the receiver will ring one of 32 customizable tones- the receiver can be in a caregivers pocket, on a lanyard, or mounted on a wall. Serving the industry with state-of-the-art caregiving technology since 1991, the Personal Safety Corporation is a trusted manufacturer of personal alarms, has hundreds of positive reviews for this alarm system, and this medical alert system is an Amazon top choice for elder security products.
- System range of 500 feet
- 32 alarm sounds to choose from
- Can be worn as a pendant or watch, and is wall-mountable
- Waterproof receiver is safe for use in wash rooms
Assistive Technology Services has created a more affordable whole-home system for elders who don’t require an expensive model with a long range. With only 100 feet of range, the SOS Medical Alert System is perfect for a smaller living space, and features both a wristwatch and a pendant alarm in addition to the easily mountable keypad intercom box. Your pre-recorded message will be sent to up to three contacts when the panic button is pushed, and both the watch and pendant alarms are pacemaker safe as well as waterproof.
- Two buttons included, with wristwatch and pendant options
- Water-resistant and pacemaker safe
- 100-foot range
- Uses home phone system (Bluetooth adapter available separately)
This medical alert system installs easily in your home with three wall-mountable receivers and two pagers on lanyards, with adjustable volumes, customizable ringtones, and a flashing LED backlight to help alert those with hearing impairment that the alarm button has been pushed. The waterproof alarm buttons have a 500-foot range when in an open area- with three receivers, this system is great for a larger living area.
- 3 receivers and 2 waterproof alert pendants
- Nightlight function on pagers with the ability to flash when ringing for hearing impaired
- 52 customizable tones with 4 volume levels from 25 to 110 decibels
- 500-foot range in open area
The InnoGear home medical alert system is perfect for the elder who is tired of yelling through the house and would rather simply push a button to alert their caregiver of an urgent need. The small battery-powered wireless receiver can sense the signal from 300 feet away in an open area, and reviewers note that this system works great throughout their entire homes, as long as the batteries are in good condition. The customizable ringtone has 32 options, and there are three operational modes available- light, light and sound, or just sound.
- 32 ringtones
- 3 alarm modes available
- 300-foot range
The Smart two pendant paging system comes with a single pager that can be placed on a surface or mounted on a wall, as well as two call buttons on pendants. Elders on a budget love the peace of mind they get knowing they can simply push the button on their lanyard and an alarm will sound throughout the house, alerting their caregiver that they are in need of help.
- Can be clipped onto a belt or lanyard, or carried in a pocket
- Two alarms to choose from
- Two call buttons
This budget-friendly alarm system is perfect for those who simply desire more peace of mind when caring for their elderly loved ones. When pushed, the call button makes a loud noise that can be heard throughout the house. Also, the receivers feature an LED light to help people see when moving around at night.
- Range is over 800 feet in open areas
- Two alarms on lanyards and wall-mounted receiver with LED light
- Adjustable volume ranges up to 110 decibels
- Nightlight function helps when you get up at night
This stylish choice comes in a variety of colors, including one design that you can paint with your loved one for a fun activity. This personal alarm system is perfect for those that don’t want the typical institutional feel of more plain PERS, and the fun colors can make it more appealing for seniors who are hesitant about wearing a medical alert system. With a range of over 1000 feet in an open area, this wireless system beats competitors in reliability, customizability, and price. It also has over 10,000 positive reviews on Amazon.com.
- 1000 foot range
- 52 ringtones
- Variety of LED flash modes for hearing impaired and nighttime help
- Waterproof and rated for outdoor use
This budget-friendly option from Sadotech features two modern doorbell shaped alarms with LED lighting and adjustable volume, as well as one pager button that can be worn easily in a pocket. Each receiver has a 500-foot range and is waterproof. Caregivers appreciate the convenience of having an alarm in their outdoor space as well as inside, ensuring their loved ones will be cared for, no matter where their caretakers are in the house.
- Two waterproof receivers and one personal mini-receiver which can be carried in a pocket or wall-mounted
- 500-foot range on each receiver
- 32 alarm sounds and four different volume levels
This home-based personal alarm system features a vibrating transmitter and is waterproof, so caregivers can bring it with them everywhere, even outdoors. For those who wish to only use the device indoors, it can be easily mounted on a wall. The system also includes a larger wall-mounting receiver and a small personal alarm that can be carried or mounted. The 500-foot range is perfect for a small to medium-sized living space,
- 500-foot range
- Vibrating and LED flashing pagers for hearing impaired
- 52 ring tones and four volume levels
- Receiver can be clipped to a belt, or mounted on a wall with included adhesives
This personal pager home-based system includes a motion sensor light and serves as a sleek, modern night light to help keep seniors stay safe if they move around at night. The personal alarm button is completely waterproof and immersible, perfect for carrying around outside or in the bath area.
- LED nightlight is motion-activated
- 450 feet range
- 42 ringtones
- 100% waterproof personal alarm
Designed with caregivers in mind, this medical alert system features a sleek contemporary watch and two personal alarms buttons that, when pressed, sends a signal to the watch. The caregiver is able to customize a variety of signal modes, with beeps, light, and vibration settings. The buttons can be worn as pendants, or mounted easily on a wall or flat surface.
- Includes watch receiver and two alarms
- Battery operated
- Adjustable volume and customizable ringtone
- Buttons are waterproof and designed to conserve power
Mid-Range Medical Alert Systems with No Monthly Fee
15. Silent Beacon
The Silent Beacon is a GPS-based device with a panic button that will, when pressed, send a message to contacts on the programmed list with your GPS coordinates. You’re able to hold a two-way conversation through the device, which easily fits into a pocket or attached to a lanyard, and you can reach 911 services with this device. The long-lasting battery will remain on standby for a full week without needing to charge, which is made simple with the included USB charging cable.
- Available in several bright colors
- GPS-based system is functional worldwide
- Features lost key finder
This medical alert system provides peace of mind by ensuring a connection with up to six different contacts. When one of the two panic buttons is pressed (either on the watch or lanyard), the system begins to call the list of contacts in the order they are programmed in, until someone picks up and pushes a number. The two-way system will then allow for clear communication, programmable up to 50 decibels for the hard of hearing. This device also features large 1” buttons and a large-text and LED backlit display designed for those with vision impairment.
- Two waterproof panic buttons included
- Hearing aid friendly and volume adjusts up to 50 decibels
- Easy-to-read Caller ID screen and large buttons
- Emergency dialer can call up to 6 pre-programmed contacts
The LogicMark Guardian two-way emergency communicator provides reliable assistance when it’s most important. When the emergency button is pressed for two full seconds, the system will connect you with your local 911 emergency operators for direct two-way communication. The company shows its determination to reliable services with regular system maintenance checks, including automatic system and battery testing. The wireless alarm can be carried around or worn as a pendant and works within 600 feet of the charging dock.
- One-touch emergency contact system
- 600-foot range
- 2-way communication
This waterproof personal assistance alarm is a perfect solution for a small space, providing a panic button that instantly connects you to your caregiver in a two-way conversation. The alarm is hearing-impaired friendly, as it flashes red as well as makes a loud ringing sound when the alarm is pressed.
- 150-foot range
- 2-way communication
- Store up to 30 numbers
- LED light flashes when ringing for hearing impaired
The state-of-the art SkyAngel911 is the perfect solution for an independent senior that wants to have the reassurance of an emergency lifeline in case of an emergency. This device easily fits in your pocket, or can be worn on a lanyard. Featuring automatic fall detection, this device will recognize if you’ve fallen and trigger a call to 911. It also sends your GPS coordinates to emergency services, so even if you are alone and unconscious you will have help on the way.
- Waterproof alarm even works completely submerged
- Can detect falls and will dial 911 automatically
- Works with any cell tower
- GPS-enabled so rescuers will always find you
This intercom system is a great option for someone looking to expand communication within their home, helping keep elders in constant contact with caregivers without having to be in the same room. These intercoms have a two-mile range in an open area, and use up to 20 communication channels to ensure that interference won’t inhibit the safety of this alert system.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Several communication options including monitor, intercom, group, and silent modes
- Uses lithium ion batteries
The Wearsafe personal alarm is a small key tag shaped device that, when pressed, will send a call to the first person on a list of pre-determined emergency contacts. You’ll be able to communicate with the first person who is successfully reached, whether that be your relative, neighbor, or local emergency dispatchers. Designed for those who need on-the-go security even when adventuring alone, this alarm works anywhere there is a cell signal.
- Available in white or black
- Works with existing cell towers
- Free three-year battery replacement program included
- Pairs with your smartphone to easily access contacts
High-End Medical Alert Systems with No Monthly Fee
Topping the list of premium features is live-video monitoring, which is exactly what the Home8 personal medical alert system provides. This system features personal monitoring for falls and other emergencies as well as records water intake, and outdoor activity periods with customizable activity logs.
- Live video streaming from 300 degree HD camera
- Two pagers with panic buttons as well as monitoring capabilities
- Activity monitoring to help seniors maintain a healthy lifestyle
The Assistive Technology Services home medical alert system is perfect for the person who lives at home and wants an extra lifeline in case of an emergency. This walkie-talkie style receiver can be put in a pocket or worn on a lanyrd, and operates up to 600 feet away from the home’s phone-line based system. When the alarm is activated, the device calls contacts from the user’s personal list, as well as 911.
- 600-foot open area range
- Calls 4 friends or family and 911
- Water-resistant and pacemaker safe
This state-of-the-art personal alarm system by ATS provides crystal clear communication between a caregiver and their loved one, as well as a reliable connection to emergency responders and a list of contacts in the case of an emergency. The sophisticated fall sensors on the personal alarm will dial from your preselected list of up to four contacts or 911 to bring you help when it’s needed the most, and the button is weatherproof- you can wear it in the shower or out in the garden. The main unit plugs into a wall outlet and has a backup battery system in case of power failure.
- Dials automatically if it detects that you have fallen
- Personal alarm can be carried or worn as a pendant, watch, or on a belt
- 2-way voice communication through personal alarm button
- Waterproof personal alarm can be worn in the shower or outside in bad weather
This system is the perfect solution for someone who cares for their elderly loved ones, and has a large home with many potential safety hazards. With ten easily mountable call buttons, which are also water-resistant, you can easily put a button in every room. Plus, the buttons can also be worn as pendants. With a 500 foot range on each button, caregivers will never be too far away to pick up an alarm signal from their loved ones, no matter how big the house.
- Includes 10 call buttons to be placed throughout the house
- Caregiver watch is a sleek silver color and features a full information panel
- Button standby time is from 6-12 months depending on the battery used
- The caregiver watch has a 3 day standby time