Lively 2023 Review

From medical alert devices to mobile phones for older adults, we dig into Lively’s prices, products, and policies in this review.
Senior wearables and phones
lively logo
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$24.99
/mo
  • pro
    Excellent smart home integrations
  • pro
    Virtual doctor visits and fall detection available
Plan
Price
Fall detection
Includes
Basic Package
$24.99
/mo
Extra $9.99/mo.Pro monitoring, mobile app
Premium Package
$34.99
/mo
Extra $9.99/mo.Basic features + nurse on-call, care advocate

Info as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
January 19, 2023
SafeWise is an independent review site. We may earn money when you click links on our site. Learn more.

Lively (formerly known as Greatcall) is famous for the Jitterbug phone designed for older adults, but the company also makes medical alert devices and offers a professional monitoring service that works with the Apple Watch and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

The Lively Mobile Plus is the company's proprietary medical alert, but it's bulky compared to the competition. That said, Lively offers some cool extra features like virtual doctor’s visits, a caregiver app to keep your loved ones updated, and automatic fall detection that contacts help if you lose your footing. 

pro
Pros
pro Affordable monitoring
pro Comfortable wearable medical alert
pro No landline required
con
Cons
con No refunds after 30 days
con Must live in an area with Verizon service
con Shorter battery life

Lively pricing

The Lively Mobile Plus costs about $50, making it one of the most affordable mobile medical alerts on the market. 

Monitoring for the Lively Mobile Plus costs $24.99/mo. for professional monitoring and a caregiver app called Lively Link. For $34.99/mo., you also get access to an on-call nurse for medical questions and a dedicated care advocate. 

Fall detection can be added to either plan for an extra $9.99/mo. 

Bell
No refunds after 30 days

Lively doesn’t require contracts, but you may not get a full refund if you decide the system isn’t for you. The company only allows 30 days for returns. And if you do decide to return it, the device must be in “like new” condition. We dug into the details and found that you can receive most of your money back (excluding taxes and activation fees), but you’ll be subject to a $10 restocking fee.

How Lively stacks up

For our Lively review, we compared this company to the top medical alert systems. We noticed a few significant differences between Lively and our top picks. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Lively isn’t an at-home medical alert system. This system is the only one of the bunch without an at-home landline or cellular system, unless you opt for the Amazon Alexa integration. All the medical alert devices from Lively are GPS wearables designed without a base station. They work the same but give wearers more freedom to leave the house. 
  • Lively emphasizes personal care services like few other medical alert companies. Your loved one may appreciate having easy access to a nurse or care advocate through Lively.

Compare Lively to other medical alert systems

Brand
Best for
Lowest monthly price
In-home range
Backup battery
Landline option available
Learn more
Read review
Best overall1000 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best GPS tracking options1300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best value1300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon No  LightNo
Best for fall detection400 ft.Not available
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best at-home system1,300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best basic system1400 ft.24 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Lively tech and equipment 

In addition to Lively's medical alert device, you can also get a senior-friendly cell phone called the Jitterbug. Each device is designed with older adults in mind—with a comfortable wearable fit, loud two-way talk, and contact with real human operators trained to help in emergencies.

Overall, Lively is best for active older adults who leave the house frequently, travel domestically, and live alone. While pricing isn’t the lowest we’ve found, it’s still under $40 per month for features like fall detection, Urgent Care, and the Lively Link app.

Lively Mobile Plus

On-the-go medical alert
GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus medical alert
Lively Mobile Plus
Starts at
$49.99 + $24.99
/mo

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Lively Mobile Plus device is about the size of a business card. You can wear it on a lanyard and belt clip or carry it with you in a purse or bag. It’s small enough to take with you while you run errands, visit loved ones, or relax at home.

The Lively Mobile Plus has a single button that connects you to a 5Star monitoring professional when you find yourself in a jam like a lockout or a serious emergency like chest pains. Just press the button when you need assistance and a real person with emergency training will help you out.

For such a tiny device, the Lively Mobile Plus has a powerful two-way speaker, so you’ll be able to hear the folks on the other side loud and clear. If you need assistance from first responders, they’ll stay on the line with you until help arrives.

This device uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network to connect to the monitoring center and share your location with emergency responders (and your loved ones). You don’t need to be a Verizon customer to use it, but you do need to live in an area with Verizon coverage (which is most places, fortunately).

Jitterbug cell phones

Lively’s Jitterbug phone debuted in 2006 as one of the first of its kind—a cell phone designed with seniors in mind. Both the Jitterbug Smart 2 and the Jitterbug flip give you the freedom to call and message your loved ones without all the distractions and extras smartphones have.

Both phones come with large-text screens and buttons, making them easier to see and message friends and family. These phones are armed with powerful speakers and sensitive microphones that make it easier to hear the conversation. They also have a 5Star button that allows you to call the monitoring center for help just like a medical alert system.

We don’t recommend completely replacing a dedicated alert system with a standard flip phone or smartphone. But both versions of the Jitterbug are solid choices for older adults who want a no-fuss phone.

Smart features and compatibility 

New Amazon Echo and Apple Watch integrations

You can now connect to Lively's professional monitors through an Amazon Echo, iPhone, or Apple Watch on all Lively plans. No Lively devices are necessary for these integrations.

With the Amazon Echo integration, you can say, "Alexa, call for help." A Lively monitor will talk to you through your Echo device and can dispatch emergency responders if necessary. This seems basic, but voice-activated calls are rare among medical alert systems—Lively's now the fourth at-home option on the market aside from GetSafe, Aloe Care Health, and Medical Guardian.

For the Apple Watch and iPhone integrations, download the Lively App. When you need help, tap the icon to call the monitoring center. There are some caveats though—your Apple Watch must have cellular calling capabilities, for example, which costs extra.

Lively Link caregiver app

The companion app Lively Link is a big plus for caregivers looking for a system for their loved ones. Even if your parents or grandparents are open to using a medical alert device, making sure they keep it charged and stay in touch can be a different story.

Lively Link lets you pinpoint their location and check on their device’s battery. It also sends you alerts whenever they press their 5Star help button. Their information stays private, but it’s a helpful tool for keeping tabs on older adults who may wander or forget to charge their alert button.

The only drawback is you’ll have to subscribe to a Preferred plan to get access to the app, which means paying $29.99 per month instead of $24.99.

Urgent Care virtual doctor visits 

You probably don’t have time to visit a doctor every time your arthritis acts up or a medical question comes to mind. Instead of sitting in a waiting room and dealing with expensive copays, Lively connects you to medical professionals with the Urgent Care app.

This feature (available with the Preferred plan) connects you to real doctors and nurses for quick check-ins and medical questions you may have in mind. It isn’t designed to replace regular doctor’s visits, but you’ll get the answers you need fast. It costs a little extra each month, but costs come included with your monthly monitoring fee.

Thumbs Up
Check with your insurance

Many health insurance plans include virtual visits in their personal care plans. Check with your insurance provider to see if this service is already available to you.

Automatic fall detection

If you’ve been injured from a fall before, you know how scary it can be. For folks over 65, falls can be especially devastating. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in five falls results in serious injury, with more than 300,000 people hospitalized for hip fractures every year.1

Falls can be especially dangerous if they knock you unconscious. That’s why a feature like automatic fall detection is so important in a medical alert device. While it’s an extra paid feature, it allows the device to sense changes in speed and pressure during a fall. When it senses activity, it will automatically call the 5Star center, getting you help as soon as possible.

This feature costs a bit more from Lively than other medical alert systems (which usually charge an extra $10 per month), but it’s worth considering if you have conditions like osteoporosis, mobility issues, vision problems, or foot pain.

Lively customer service 

Whether you have questions or find yourself in a serious situation, the customer service pros need to be able to listen carefully and respond quickly. Lively uses monitoring centers from 5Star Urgent Response, a monitoring center with certification from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).

While we have no complaints about Lively’s monitoring skills, its return policy may leave customers unsatisfied. We recommend reading the fine print before purchasing. Lively doesn’t require a contract, so there’s no cancellation fee, but returns must be completed within 30-days of purchase and may include a $10 restocking fee or more depending on the condition of your device upon return.

Things to consider before you buy any medical alert system

Buying a medical alert system can feel like a huge decision. Thankfully, most systems don’t require contracts or charge for canceling. So if you decide the product you purchased isn’t for you, pressure is low. But if you weigh the right factors, you can get it right the first time without the hassle of returns and refunds. Consider the following:

  • How often do you leave the house? How far do you go? 
  • Are you comfortable with your phone? 
  • Are you comfortable wearing something 24/7?
  • If you’re a caregiver, how open to tracking is your loved one? 
  • If you’re buying for yourself, are you willing to let your loved ones keep an eye on you (they care about you, after all)? 

Learn more about how to choose a medical alert system or talk to your parents about a medical alert system before you tackle the next big decision.

Final word

The Lively Mobile Plus is a simple device with two-way audio that connects directly to 5Star monitoring pros. Whether you got a flat or slipped in the bathroom, it’s a compact device that will get you help quickly with the press of a button. It’s not as small as other wearable devices, but with so many ways to wear it, it’s easy to get comfortable with.

Lively FAQ 

What happened to the Lively Wearable 2?

The Lively Wearable 2 has been discontinued. It was a single-button wristband that looked like a typical watch but without a watch face. It used Bluetooth to place calls from your smartphone during an emergency.

Now that Lively offers an integration with Apple Watch, the Lively Wearable 2 is obsolete. 

Lively devices (Lively Wearables and Jitterbug phones) all use Verizon’s network. You don’t need to be a Verizon customer—you just need to live in an area with coverage. This may mean you could lose service if you travel or live in a rural area.

While this phone is designed for seniors (larger print displays and louder speakers), the Jitterbug flip is a simple phone without internet that’s perfect for kids.

Lively’s Urgent Care app comes included with Lively Mobile Plus Preferred and Ultimate packages. It only tacks on an extra $4 per month to your bill, and it gives you access to board-certified doctors and nurses.

According to a GreatCall/Lively press release, the 9100 Lively Mobile Plus alert device had an issue with the adhesive on the emergency buttons. The company has since recalled the device and offered incentives to make up for the issue to existing customers. The issue has been resolved since then, but if you’re still uncomfortable with purchasing a recalled product, we encourage you to explore your options.

Yes, Lively encourages users to call for non-medical emergencies too, such as if you get locked out of your home, need roadside assistance, or think you're being followed.

How we reviewed Lively

We started our research at the source, digging through Lively’s website to find details on equipment, pricing, and extra features. Then we searched through reliable customer review websites like Trustpilot to hear from older adults and their loved ones who have first-hand experience with Lively or the former brand GreatCall.

We found some mixed reviews over the Jitterbug phone, but the testimonials we found on the Lively wearables were glowing.

Once we could see the big picture, we compared Lively to popular medical alert systems we’ve reviewed before—think Bay Alarm Medical, GetSafe, and Philips Lifeline. This illuminated where Lively stands among competitors. Learn more about what goes into reviews like this one on our methodology page.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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