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Best Safety Wearables for Seniors

Log location, steps, and health metrics with these trackers for seniors that you’ll want to wear all day.
Written by | Updated July 23, 2020
Best Overall
Apple Watch 5Apple Watch 5
  • Large, customizable screen
  • Automatic fall detection
  • High price tag, but no monthly cost
  • Large, customizable screen
  • Automatic fall detection
  • High price tag, but no monthly cost
Best for Active Seniors
FitBit Versa 2FitBit Versa 2
  • Health and location tracking
  • Six-day battery life
  • Built-in Alexa feature
  • Health and location tracking
  • Six-day battery life
  • Built-in Alexa feature
Smartwatch for Seniors
Medical Guardian freedom guardian watchFreedom Guardian
  • Voice-to-text messaging
  • Medication and appointment reminders
  • Step counter
  • Voice-to-text messaging
  • Medication and appointment reminders
  • Step counter
Best GPS Wearable
bay alarm mobile GPS help button charging in cradleBay Alarm Medical
  • Two-way communication
  • One-button operation
  • Fall detection costs extra
  • Two-way communication
  • One-button operation
  • Fall detection costs extra
Budget Pick
Lively Mobile MonitorLively Mobile
  • Affordable monthly subscription
  • Simple GPS tracking
  • No health tracking
  • Affordable monthly subscription
  • Simple GPS tracking
  • No health tracking

The Bottom Line: Apple Watch 5 Offers Comfort and Accuracy 

The Apple Watch 5 works for people of all ages and levels of tech-savviness. Its large screen, easy controls, and health monitoring apps make it easier to age gracefully at home. As long as you’re wearing the watch when you take a fall, it will act like a standard medical alert system. 

While the latest Apple Watch is expensive, older adults can use it to track almost any health metric. In addition to heart, diet, and activity monitoring, the Apple Watch has automatic fall detection for older adults. 

See how it compares to traditional medical alert systems and senior monitors in our reviews.

Best Senior Monitors and Wearables

Price
Battery Life
Subscription Required
Contacts Help
Detects Falls
Tracks Heart Rate
Best Overall
Best for Active Seniors
Best Senior-Specific Smartwatch
Best GPS Wearable
Budget Pick
Apple Watch 5 FitBit Versa 2 Freedom Guardian Bay Alarm Medical Great Call Lively Mobile
Apple Watch 5 FitBit Versa 2 Medical Guardian freedom guardian watch bay alarm mobile GPS help button charging in cradle Lively Mobile Monitor
$429.00 $199.95* $179.95 $103.95 $49.99
18 hrs. 144 hrs. 48 hrs. 72 hrs. 80 hrs.
No
X
No
X
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Yes
Yes
Yes
No
X
No
X
Extra $10/month No
X
Yes
Yes
No
X
No
X
No
X
View on Overstock View on Target Visit Medical Guardian Visit Bay Alarm Medical View on Great Call

Info current as of 07/23/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

 *Amazon.com price as of 07/23/2020 at 11:57 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Our Approach 

Wearable trackers need to be just that—wearable. So we prioritized comfort and easy wearing over bells and whistles. We looked for monitors with adjustable sizes that don’t get in the way of normal activities. The more comfortable the wearable, the more inclined users are to wear them. After all, wearable senior monitors aren’t helpful if nobody wears them. 

Tracking features are also important. GPS location features, health tracking, and fall detection are the most important types we considered. The devices with the most tracking abilities scored higher in our lineup.

Finally, we looked for devices with senior-friendly features like a big screen or button, easy fasteners that don’t hurt arthritic joints, and simple setup and operation. Take a look at our methodology to see how we reviewed this and other products.

Senior Wearables Reviews

Apple Watch 5: Best Overall

Best Overall
Apple Watch 5

The Apple Watch 5 is packed with senior-friendly features like health tracking, fall detection, texting, and calling. And while it costs a pretty penny upfront, it has everything we looked for. The good news is you won’t have to pay a monthly fee to keep it working like medical alert systems. 

Apple Watch Health Features

Sure, its sleek design, dozens of health tracking apps, and messaging features are attractive. But what turned our heads is the Apple Watch 5’s automatic fall detection. This feature is common in medical alert systems but unique among smartwatches like this one. When the Apple Watch 5 detects a sudden change in speed and altitude, it triggers an alert asking if you need assistance. If you’re unresponsive, it will call for help within 60 seconds. 

Just like your phone, the Apple Watch’s screen is customizable. You can download health apps based on your needs. Apps range from heart health and activity to sleep quality, dietary habits, and even glucose levels. 

Messaging and Video Calling 

Older adults can keep in touch with loved ones through text, video chats, and calling on their Apple Watch 5. This may come with a learning curve for anyone new to smartwatches. But if you can operate an iPhone, you can operate this smartwatch. 

The device itself is sleek with a clear screen that makes it easy to read. There are also tons of wristbands available users can change out based on their style or comfort level. And the battery lasts up to six days without charging. 

Apple Watch Price and Alternatives 

Unfortunately, the Apple Watch 5 is expensive (at least $300). If you’re interested in a  cheaper alternative and falls aren’t a concern, look into the Apple Watch 3. It has similar health and calling features but no fall detection.

Pros

  • Tons of health tracking apps
  • Automatic fall detection
  • Messaging abilities

Cons

  • Steep price tag
  • Learning curve for newcomers

FitBit Versa 2: Best for Active Seniors

Best for Active Seniors
FitBit Versa 2

The FitBit Versa 2 is a fitness tracker first, smartwatch second. It tracks steps, calories burned, sleep quality, and heart rate during activities like running, cycling, and swimming (so you know it’s waterproof).  

The Alexa smart assistant is built into the FitBit Versa 2, so users can set alarms and reminders for things like medications and appointments. 

This watch doesn’t have the messaging capabilities of the Apple Watch 5, but if your phone is nearby, it can use Bluetooth to make calls and send messages. Some features like quick replies and voice replies are exclusively available for Android users. 

The watch face is large enough for older adults to read easily. And it has an always-on option that makes it easier to access your information. Plus, the battery lasts up to six days, meaning you won’t have to charge it constantly. And like the Apple Watch 5, you can swap out bands based on your comfort level and style. 

Its health-tracking features, large screen, and built-in smart assistant make it a good starter monitor for older adults who want to stay active. But it lacks a few key features that could save lives—like location tracking and fall detection.

Pros

  • Health and fitness tracking
  • Built-in Alexa feature
  • Extended battery life

Cons

  • No fall detection
  • Limited messaging

Freedom Guardian: Best Senior-Specific Smartwatch

Best Smartwatch for Seniors
Medical Guardian freedom guardian watch

The Freedom Guardian is a smartwatch made with older adults in mind. Its large screen, simple buttons, and easy messaging features take the guesswork out of technology found in wearable tech like the FitBit Versa 2 and Apple Watch 5. It also offers location tracking through its app.  

Like other medical alert devices, you can use it to call for help during an emergency. But it also tracks steps, sends and receives messages, and even gives you a three-day weather forecast. Users can also choose a read-aloud option if they have trouble seeing. 

The Freedom Guardian uses three methods of tracking to locate your loved one when they’re lost. GPS, Wi-Fi positioning, and triangulation make finding them much faster, even when cell service is scarce. The watch also has a SIM chip to keep it connected. 

Family and caretakers can use the app to send messages and check up on activities, schedules, updates, and location. Messaging uses simple yes and no responses, so users won’t have to fiddle with a complicated keyboard. But unfortunately, messages and reminders cost an extra $5 per month. 

Other downsides include a shorter battery life. But at 48 hours, it’s not too shabby. This watch also lacks automatic fall detection, but it has an easy call button that can call for help after a fall. At $44.95/month for monitoring, it’s an investment, but one that can save a life and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Pros

  • Large watch face
  • Read-aloud option
  • Three methods of tracking

Cons

  • No automatic fall detection
  • Messages and reminders cost extra

Bay Alarm Medical: Best Wearable GPS

Best GPS Wearable
bay alarm mobile GPS help button charging in cradle

Bay Alarm Medical’s GPS wearable is a super simple, one-button device. Just push the button and get help—that’s it. When you call for help, the two-way communication connects you to the pros who can send help in cases like a fall, chest pains, or feeling lost. Plus, it uses 4G connectivity and three call stations, so you’re always covered.

You can show it off as a necklace or clip it onto a belt for easy wearing. We like the convenience of a wristwatch, but the necklace and belt clip-on are less likely to cut off circulation or irritate arthritis.

Bay Alarm’s wearable monitor is water-resistant, so you can wear it in the shower or bath to call for help in case of a slip or fall. But like most medical alert systems, automatic fall detection costs extra every month ($10 to be exact).  

Its most basic package costs a one-time payment of $79 for device, then $25 per month for monitoring, or up to $40 with fall detection and the caregiver app. The wearable GPS device  from Bay Alarm Medical comes with a 30-day free trial and you can cancel anytime. 

Bay Alarm gives older adults a lifeline to get help in any emergency situation. But it won’t track steps or any health metrics like the Apple Watch, FitBit Versa 2, or Freedom Guardian.

Pros

  • Great location coverage
  • Two-way communication
  • One-button operation

Cons

  • Fall detection costs extra
  • No messaging or health tracking

Great Call Lively Mobile: Budget Pick

Budget Pick
Lively Mobile Monitor

Lively Mobile is another one-button wearable tracking device designed to send help wherever it’s needed. It doesn’t require a landline (some medical alert devices do) and uses GPS tracking to find the user’s location. 

It’s similar to Bay Alarm Medical’s device and can be worn as a necklace or clip on a belt or bag. And the equipment costs only $49, compared to Bay’s $79 price tag.  These devices are similar, but Bay Alarm Medical uses 4G to connect your emergency device to monitoring professionals, while Lively Mobile still uses older, slightly less reliable technology.

Users don’t have to be in a life-threatening situation to use this device either. Of course, it’s helpful for older adults during falls or medical emergencies. But the 5Star Urgent Response agents on the other line can also help in cases where you want roadside assistance or need help contacting family. 

If you’re looking for a super simple senior monitor you or a loved one can wear without interfering with daily life, Lively Mobile is worth checking out. It doesn’t have the health tracking, messaging, or cellular consistency of other devices on our list, but it’s effective and affordable.

Pros

  • Affordable equipment and monthly price
  • No landline required
  • Simple GPS tracking and medical alerts

Cons

  • No messaging or health tracking
  • No 4G

More Brands We Considered 

Tango Belt

The Tango Belt is a discreet wearable airbag for your hips in case of a fall. It looks like a normal belt but wears more like a fanny pack. When the device detects a change in altitude and speed, it will deploy the cushions like the airbags in your car, breaking your fall instead of your hip. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet, but we’re watching for news on this cool device.

Mobile Guardian

The Mobile Guardian comes from the same company as the Freedom Guardian smartwatch. It’s more of a traditional wearable alert designed as a necklace. Its basic one-button design makes it easy to call for help in an emergency, and it’s waterproof, making it safe to wear in the shower. 

You can also opt for a stylish metal option that looks like normal jewelry. The only problem is it’s a two-piece wearable. You’ll need to keep the necklace and tracking device close (at most 350 feet apart) for this system to work, making it hard for active older adults to use.

Final Word on Wearables for Seniors 

None of these devices are helpful unless users wear them every day in case of an emergency. So prioritize comfort and convenience before flashy features like texting and video calling. Activity and fitness tracking are attractive too, but don’t choose them over essentials like location and emergency calling. The best wearable devices for older adults should help them live independently and safely.

Wearable Senior Monitors FAQ

What is automatic fall detection?

For older adults, a simple slip in the shower or trip on the sidewalk can cause serious injuries, even death. Automatic fall detection is a feature found in many medical alert devices that detects the speed and change in elevation that happens during a fall. When the device notices these changes, it automatically contacts emergency responders and gets help. 

Can I use these devices to call my caregiver?

Absolutely. As long as the medical alert device you use has messaging or two-way communication, you can add family, neighbors, and caregivers to emergency contacts to call for help. 

How are wearable monitors different from medical alert devices?

Not all wearables are medical alert devices and not all medical alert devices are wearable. Medical alert systems connect to emergency services and can be buttons or base stations as well as worn on your wrist. 

“Wearables” refers to anything you can wear on your wrist, belt, or around your neck. They can track steps and location, call for assistance, or both. Wearable medical alert devices are a smart solution if you’re worried about falls or health emergencies. 

Do these devices work for in-home care?

Yes, wearables complement in-home care by sending information to caregivers via app or email alerts. And you can track your loved ones whether they’re home or not, so they gain more independence thanks to the device’s mobility.

Disclaimer

Amazon.com list price as of 07/23/2020 11:57 p.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Written by Katie McEntire

Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more

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