LifeFone provides the option for flexible payments. You can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, or annually. And while monthly payments are divided out into smaller chunks, you’ll pay less total when you choose the annual option. In our book, it’s one of the most affordable medical alert systems out there.
Fortunately, LifeFone will provide an additional pendant and monitoring for your spouse for no additional charge. Fall detection for spouses is an additional $5 a month, one of the many reasons it earned a top spot for medical alerts with the best fall detection.
Our favorite things about LifeFone’s pricing are no installation fees, no activation fees, no contracts, and no complicated cancellation policies. Pricing is listed right on the website (which means no pesky sales calls), and if you decide you don’t want the system anymore, you can cancel anytime by mail, email, or phone.
If you’ve already paid for a year up front and you cancel halfway through, all you have to do is return the equipment and LifeFone will refund the money for the unused months. If you do become a long-time customer, though, you can rest assured that LifeFone’s price lock guarantee will keep your monthly fees the same from year to year, unless you choose to upgrade your system.
Tech and equipment
The Lifefone’s at-home Medical Alert systems use a base station that plugs into the wall.
Once installed and ready to go, the base station provides a direct line to the monitoring center. When you press the emergency button on your pendant, wristband, or the base station itself, you’ll get a helpful monitoring pro to assist you with your emergency.
You can choose a cellular connection or one through your home’s landline. Either way, the system has a 32-hour backup battery to get you through power outages or electrical problems.
Pendant or watch
All systems also come with your choice of a waterproof emergency button pendant or watch that you can use up to 1,300 feet away from the base unit. If you choose a fall detection pendant, you’ll have a range of only up to 600 feet. When you press the help button on the alert device, it sends a signal to the base unit, and the base unit will call the LifeFone monitoring center for you.
All medical alert pendant and watch help buttons have batteries designed to last two to five years, and LifeFone monitors their battery life for you. When LifeFone agents detect that the battery life has dropped below 20%, they will send you a fully-charged replacement device at no cost, so you never have to worry about changing batteries.
The At-Home & On-the-Go GPS pendant from LifeFone gives you the freedom to leave the house, city, and state without being far away from help. It’s like a tiny wearable base station you can tuck under your shirt or into your pocket.
Just like the LifeFone base station, you can call for help directly from the device using two-way talk. It also has vibration feedback for those with hearing or vision impairments.
Its battery lasts up to five days, making it a good companion for day trips out of the house or short weekends away. Plus, it comes in two colors to match your style.
At $39.95 per month, it is more expensive than the other systems from LifeFone. But it’s a deal compared to similar GPS medical alert devices.
Add-on devices include fall detection, a pendant help button that looks like jewelry, lock boxes, a wall-mounted help button, a beaded lanyard, smoke/fire detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Add-on services include caregiver tools like check-in calls by LifeFone agents, medication reminders, and a mobile app.
LifeFone mobile app
LifeFone’s mobile alert app turns your phone into a medical alert device with a simple download.
This add-on feature is available for LifeFone users or caregivers. It includes a panic button and “Concern” mode to keep a LifeFone agent on the line with you like a virtual escort until you feel safe.
Like LifeFone’s regular services, if the monitoring center receives an alert from you and agents are unable to communicate with you for whatever reason, they will dispatch help to your location immediately.
The FamilyGuard mobile app also includes GPS location so you get arrival alerts to let you know when a family member has arrived at their destination, and the company has announced that this app will soon include geofencing and “lead foot” alerts to help you know when teens may not be driving safely. The individual mobile app is $7.95 for non-Lifefone subscribers, and costs $5.95 for current subscribers. The FamilyGuard app starts at $9.95.
Installation and setup
Setting up your LifeFone is as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet. All units come preprogrammed and ready to go.
Once you have your unit plugged in, you press the help button and an agent will walk you through the rest of the setup and testing process. Agents will make sure your medical alert button pendant or watch works in all areas of your home.
When we started researching customer reviews for LifeFone, we kept expecting to dig up some dirt, but LifeFone came up surprisingly clean.
It gets rave reviews from the majority of users, and the few who give it lower reviews are usually still pretty satisfied, with no major problems.
Like any product, there are a handful of decidedly unsatisfied customers, but we didn’t notice any recurring trends or major red flags with this company.1 It gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. LifeFone’s customer service is 24/7, and we like that you can pay your bills and update your customer care profile online or by snail mail.
Emergency Care Plan
Another LifeFone feature we like is the Emergency Care Plan.
Instead of an automatic call to emergency services or emergency contacts, you can create your own customized plans of action for various potential emergency situations.
For example, if you’ve just gotten into a tricky spot and need a hand getting up, LifeFone can call a neighbor or nearby family member to come assist you rather than calling emergency responders.
You can make changes to your Emergency Care Plan by phone, email, web portal, or through the mail. LifeFone never charges for false alarms.
Info current as of 10/21/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
LifeFone blends in when it comes to starting prices, but its price range is much tighter than the others. Companies like Bay Alarm Medical and Philips Lifeline start just under $30 but can cost up to $50 to $60 per month with higher-tiered packages.
Once you zoom out on LifeFone, its 1,300 ft. base station range is a little less impressive. This is about standard for other at-home systems in the industry, but this isn’t a bad thing. If your loved one prefers to stay cozy at home, they have plenty of options.
Where LifeFone really comes on top is with add-on features and fair prices. It charges half the price for fall detection per month, offers caregiver services and emergency packages the others don’t.
If we were to create our own medical alert system, LifeFone would be it. It’s simple to install, it has quick response times, and it’s easy to cancel at any time. We like the system’s straightforward pricing and wide variety of add-on options and devices. You can place a device in every room to help seniors with fall detection, smoke detection, and the mobile app.
Like any consumer, we always love a better deal, so we wouldn’t mind an even lower monthly price. Still, as it is you get a lot for your money, and LifeFone outperforms competitors on enough fronts to make the moderately higher fees worth it.
Can I take LifeFone with me when I move?
Yes. The LifeFone base station can use any landline connection. Just call LifeFone when you’re ready to move (or even just go on vacation) and agents will update the address on your account to ensure that emergency services can find you if you call for help.
Should I get an at-home service or an on-the-go plan?
It depends. If you’re still independent and like to go out on your own, but you worry about the risk of medical emergencies, an on-the-go plan with GPS is a good option. If you’re more of a homebody, or if you usually have a companion with you when you leave the house, then an at-home plan will be sufficient and cost less. Keep in mind that you can always transition between the two by subscribing to a combination plan.
How can I keep my aging family members safer?
In addition to getting a medical alert system with fall detection, it’s important to do what you can to reduce the risk of falls. Regular checkups to test hearing, balance, and vision are important, as well as frequent blood pressure testing and treatment of illnesses that may cause low blood pressure or muscle weakness.
At home you can look for and remove potential trip hazards like loose rugs and items on the floor. Add secure handholds and extra traction to areas that might be tricky to navigate, like the tub. Our Senior Safety FAQ can help you learn more about keeping your aging loved ones safe.
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more