The Best Medical Alert Systems for Fall Detection

We’ve picked the best medical alert systems for fall protection. Find out how much they cost, whether you get protection at home or away, and why Philips Lifeline is our top pick.
Written by | Updated October 1, 2019
Best In-Home Fall Protection
Philips Lifeline logoPhilips Lifeline
  • AutoAlert fall detection included
  • Personalized response plan
  • AutoAlert fall detection included
  • Personalized response plan
Best On-the-Go Fall Protection
medical guardian logoMedical Guardian
  • 3 mobile options
  • Up to 5 days of battery life
  • 3 mobile options
  • Up to 5 days of battery life
Budget Pick
lifefone logoLifeFone
  • Fall detection for $5/mo.
  • 2 cellular networks
  • Fall detection for $5/mo.
  • 2 cellular networks

The Bottom Line on Fall Detection

Falls are the number one cause of injuries for Americans over 65 years old—and every 19 minutes, an older adult dies due to injury from a fall.¹

With those kinds of numbers, we don’t think the importance of fall detection can be overemphasized. Nearly every medical alert service offers some form of fall detection but it’s rarely included in the base monthly monitoring price. Because falls are such a risk for older adults, we gave preference to companies that make it easy to have fall detection technology as part of your medical alert system.

To pick the best medical alert systems for fall protection, we examined how many packages had fall detection included or the number of plans where fall detection was available as an add-on. Next we looked at the total monthly price, including any additional charges for fall detection. Then we considered how many fall protection options were available for both at-home monitoring and mobile, on-the-go options.

After making our top picks we looked at common questions about fall detection and tips for minimizing your risk of falling.

Compare the Best Medical Alert Systems for Fall Protection

Brand
Product Image
Lowest Monthly Price with Fall Detection
Fall Protection Cost
Trial Period
Learn More
Best In-Home Fall Protection Best On-the-Go Fall Protection Best for Your Budget
Philips Lifeline GoSafe 2 Medical Guardian LifeFone
Philips GoSafe2 alert system Medical Guardian mobile guardian system LifeFone medical alert system
$49.95 $39.95 $29.95
Included $10/mo. Starts at $5/mo.
30 days None 30 days
View Packages View Packages View Packages

Data effective 9/27/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Reviews: Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

Philips LifeLine: Best for In-Home Fall Protection

Philips is the only company that includes fall detection in the majority of its plans without extra monthly fees. Whether you want protection at home or when you’re out and about, Philips has a fall protection option for you.

Pros

  • Fall detection included in most packages
  • AutoAlert technology automatically calls for help
  • In-home and on-the-go options
  • Landline and cellular coverage available

Cons

  • Expensive monitoring fees

The Equipment

The best thing about Philips Lifeline’s fall detection is that it’s already built in to most of its equipment. A lot of medical alert systems offer fall detection only as an extra emergency pendant—that means you might have multiple pendants to wear around your wrist or neck. With Philips you need to worry about only one emergency device that covers any medical need, including falls.

image of auto alert pendant

Philips’s AutoAlert pendant automatically sends a signal to the monitoring center when a fall is detected. There’s no need to hit a button or use your voice to get help on the way.

  • Water-resistant design
  • Free battery replacement
  • 600-foot range from communicator base
HomeSafe with AutoAlert

The in-home communicator works like a speakerphone and connects you directly with a Philips Response Associate to verify an emergency and get you the help you need.

  • Two-way communication activated by help button
  • Landline or cellular connection available
image of Go Safe mobile button

The GoSafe 2 pendant combines AutoAlert features with multiple locating technologies to keep you safe no matter where you go.

  • Built-in two-way communication
  • 5 locating technologies
  • $99.95 device fee
  • Battery that lasts up to 3 days
  • Cellular coverage with AT&T
Philips GoSafe Alert

The GoSafe pendant combines the benefits of both in-home and on-the-go medical alert protection.

  • Landline or cellular connection available
  • AutoAlert fall detection
  • GPS location technology
  • Two-way communication in base unit and pendant

The Cost

One of the best things about fall detection from Philips is that there’s no extra monthly charge to add it. The price you’re quoted when you sign up is the price you’ll pay when you get your bill. The biggest difference in cost with Philips is the type of monitoring you choose—cellular monitoring costs about $10 more per month than landline monitoring.

Philips Lifeline Pricing for Packages with Fall Protection

PackageHomeSafe with AutoAlertGoSafe 2GoSafe
Landline Monthly Cost$44.95N/A$54.95
Cellular Monthly Cost$56.95$49.95$64.95
One-Time Cost$50 activation fee$99.95 device fee$149 device fee

The Bottom Line: Why We Recommend Philips Lifeline

Philips is the only medical alert system that builds fall detection into its devices and packages. Because there’s no additional charge for fall protection, you’re less likely to pick a plan that doesn’t include it. Plus, we like the AutoAlert fall detection technology that sends out a call for help when you might not be able to.

  • More than 40 years of experience with medical alert services
  • 3 packages with fall detection included
  • AutoAlert available since 2010

Medical Guardian: Best for On-the-Go Fall Protection

Medical Guardian has three different plans that offer fall protection when you’re away from home. You can get an all-in-one wearable device, medical alert watch, or a combo package that includes the mobile all-in-one device and a traditional medical alert button to wear at home.

Pros

  • Multiple mobile options
  • Landline and cellular monitoring
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No trial period
  • No fall detection with smart watch

The Equipment

Medical Guardian uses standard medical alert devices that are used by multiple emergency response companies. The good news is you know it works, but the bad news is that nothing really stands out. Where Medical Guardian breaks away from the pack is with its Freedom Guardian medical alert watch. MobileHelp is the only other company that offers a smartwatch, so Medical Guardian is on the forefront of that evolution.

image of medical alert fall alert pendant

You can add the Medical Guardian fall alert pendant to most packages.

  • Water-resistant design
  • Automatic fall detection
  • Emergency help button
Medical Guardian Home Guardian system

The Home Guardian base station has a built-in speaker that connects you to the monitoring center.

  • Two-way communication activated by help button or fall alert signal
  • Wireless connection
  • 30-hour backup battery
mobile guardian device in charging cradle

The Mobile Guardian all-in-one device uses GPS technology to make it easy for emergency responders to find you if something happens when you’re away from home.

  • Built-in two-way communication
  • GPS
  • Emergency help button
  • No built-in fall detection
Medical Guardian freedom guardian watch

The Freedom Guardian medical alert watch is a stylish alternative to traditional medical alert pendants and uses smartwatch technology.

  • Multiple location technologies
  • Medication and appointment reminders and alerts
  • Text-to-speech messaging
  • Companion mobile app
  • $99 device fee
  • No built-in fall detection

The Cost

With Medical Guardian you pay for fall protection on top of your regular monthly fees. It’s a $10 add-on to most packages. The only package you can’t add fall protection to is the Freedom Guardian plan with the smartwatch. For on-the-go fall protection, Medical Guardian’s prices aren’t too bad, and equipment is included in every package except the one that features the medical alert watch.

Medical Guardian Pricing for Packages with Fall Protection

PackageClassic GuardianHome GuardianActive GuardianMobile Guardian
Monthly Cost with Fall Detection$39.95$44.95$49.95$59.95

The Bottom Line: Why We Recommend Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian’s wide variety of packages gives you the freedom to live worry-free at home and when you’re away. Even though you have to add fall detection to your medical alert system, it doesn’t push the monthly fees too high. We wish the medical alert smartwatch came with the option to add fall detection, though.

  • Free online risk assessment
  • 5 packages with fall detection available
  • 3 on-the-go medical alert options

LifeFone: Budget Pick

LifeFone doesn’t include fall detection in its packages, but you have to pay only $5 a month to add it to most packages—that’s half as much as other medical alert companies charge. We also like that LifeFone uses two cellular networks to track its mobile equipment, which gives you extra coverage no matter where you go.

Pros

  • Cheaper fall detection add-on fees
  • No equipment or activation fees
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No multilingual support
  • No voice-activated buttons

The Equipment

Like Medical Guardian, LifeFone’s equipment is industry-standard—in fact, both companies use similar base stations and mobile buttons. But LifeFone provides a GPS necklace that’s fairly unique and includes two-way communication and cellular coverage from either Verizon or AT&T. It’s also the only mobile pendant other than Philips GoSafe 2 that lets you add fall detection without the hassle of an extra fall button to carry or wear.

Lifefone fall detection necklace

You can add the fall detection necklace to nearly every LifeFone package for just $5 per month.

  • Up to 600-foot range from base station
  • Automatic fall detection
  • Emergency help button
  • $10 per month with At-Home & On-the-Go package
Lifefone equipment

The At-Home & On-the-Go GPS base system has a built-in speaker that connects you to the monitoring center and an LED screen that displays the time, date, and temperature.

  • Two-way communication
  • Wireless connection
  • Long battery backup
Lifefone medical alert button

LifeFone’s medical alert help button can be worn around your neck or as a wristband.

  • Connected to base unit
  • Waterproof
Lifefone Voice in Necklace

The At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In Necklace extends your LifeFone medical alert protection beyond your home.

  • Two-way communication
  • Verizon and AT&T cellular coverage
  • 30-day extended battery life
  • Fall detection for an extra $5 a month

The Cost

LifeFone is our budget pick for a reason. It offers the cheapest fall detection add-on price and there aren’t any equipment or activation fees. LifeFone provides a 30-day, money-back guarantee and will prorate unused days if you need to cancel your service in the middle of the month. Plus, it’s lowest package price is $30 including fall detection—that’s $10 cheaper than Medical Guardian and $15 less than Philips Lifeline.

LifeFone Pricing for Packages with Fall Protection

PackageAt-Home LandlineAt-Home CellularAt-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In NecklaceAt-Home & On-the-Go GPS
Monthly Cost with Fall Detection$29.95$35.95$44.95$46.95

The Bottom Line: Why We Recommend LifeFone

LifeFone charges less for fall detection than most other medical alert systems, which makes it the most affordable option. It has fewer bells and whistles than other medical alert systems—no voice-activated button—but it gets the job done without busting your budget.

  • Fall detection for about half what you’ll pay with other companies
  • No activation or equipment fees
  • 2 cellular networks

FAQs about Fall Detection

How does fall detection work?

Fall detection pendants use the same type of technology that cars use to deploy an airbag. Fall detection devices are outfitted with sensors that measure things like speed and direction to identify when someone falls down. We recommend fall detection devices that automatically send out a distress signal when a fall is detected. That ensures that even if you hit your head or are unable to speak or press a button, help will still be on the way.

What about false alarms?

False alarms are a reality. Both my grandmother and my father-in-law have had false alarms from their medical alert buttons. The good news is that, unlike a home security system false alarm, you won’t be in danger of penalties or fees if your fall detection sensor sends out a false alarm. It’s better to risk a false alarm than to be left helpless.

The response center will immediately reach out to you through your two-way communication device to validate the fall. If there’s no response, the next step is to try to call your emergency contacts or send out emergency responders.

One of the best parts about fall protection from the companies we recommend is that the monitoring center operators are specifically trained to help you through both false alarms and real emergencies. If the fall is real, the operator will likely stay on the line with you until help arrives.

Why does my fall alert pendant also have a help button?

It’s common for fall detection pendants to include both automatic alert technology and a manual help button. This provides some backup in case your fall pendant doesn’t detect the fall for some reason. It also gives you a direct link to your medical alert company’s monitoring center if some other emergency happens while you’re wearing the fall alert pendant.

Tips to Minimize Falling Risks

Whether you’ve got a fall detector or not, there are things you can do at home and away to cut down your chances of falling.

Ways to Avoid Falls at Home

  • Secure rugs with nonslip carpet pads.
  • Install grab bars in bathtubs and showers.
  • Affix nonslip decals to slippery surfaces.
  • Add motion-activated night lights to halls and stairways.
  • Keep traffic paths free of clutter.
  • Make sure handrails are secure.
  • Wear shoes, slipper, or socks with nonslip grips on the bottom.
  • Keep up on landscaping and other outside maintenance like fallen leaves and snow removal.

Ways to Avoid Falls Away from Home 

  • Wear sturdy shoes with good traction that fit well.
  • Take your time. You’re more likely to trip or stumble if you’re in a hurry.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking and talking on the phone at the same time, and look out for cracks in sidewalks and other uneven surfaces.
  • Take care at curbs. Stop for a second and make sure you have a good sense of a curb’s height before stepping up or down.
  • Use handrails, a cane, or other mobility support to keep your movement steady and stable.
  • Leave your porch light on to make sure you get to the door safely when you get home.

How We Picked the Best Medical Alert Systems for Fall Detection

To choose the best medical alert systems for fall detection, we combined data from research, customer interviews, conversations with medical alert companies, expert and customer reviews, and hands-on testing. We also looked into the impact that falls have on older adults and other people at higher risk for falling.

Because falls are such a major contributor to injury and death, we prioritized companies that included fall detection or had lower prices if you added it to a medical alert package. In addition, we considered and compared overall pricing, ease of use, reliability, and customer satisfaction. To learn more about how we rank and review products and services, read our full rankings methodology.

 

Sources:
1. CDC, “Important Facts about Falls

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more

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