Medical Alert System Reviews

Medical alert services and equipment are used by many people to give them peace of mind in case someone who is elderly or ill needs emergency care and is unable to reach a phone. These are also known as personal emergency response systems (PERS). Choosing the right service and equipment for your needs and budget is important, and an important consideration is the contractual obligation involved. This varies by service provider. Many consumers complain about deceptive sales practices and have unwittingly signing up for long-term contracts that they later regret.

Key considerations when choosing a medical alert system
Monitoring Services
Equipment-only providers

Key considerations when choosing a medical alert system

According to one company, an estimated 1.6 million people use some type of medical alert system.LifeStation, Inc. (www.lifestation.com). Visited 2/5/09. For each user, needs may be slightly different, but the following factors should be carefully weighed no matter what your circumstances:
  • Does the provider have a high-quality monitoring center (often called a "central station")?
  • A good long-lasting battery backup for the console is important, especially in case of a natural disaster, when the elderly and disabled may need help the most. According to an industry trade association, 24 hours is more typical.Central Station Alarm Association, "Security Industry VoIP White Paper", available at http://www.csaaul.org/CSAAIssues.htm, visited 2/25/2009. Some systems we reviewed had far shorter battery backup.
  • Consider the battery life of the pendant/wristband. Battery life can differ significantly among providers, and a dead battery could have tragic consequences.
  • Using a service with a monitoring center will probably reduce the likelihood of false alarms, and provide trained help in resolving calls
  • Monthly fees can add up: $300-500 annually. Consider how and by whom these will be paid
  • Is there a long-term contract commitment?
  • Consider the layout of the home and the user's lifestyle, then look at the range of the monitoring device, which can vary widely by manufacturer (see ratings chart).
Another key decision when shopping for a medical alert system is whether to purchase an ongoing monitoring service, or simply monitoring equipment without any ongoing services. These two options are explained more fully below, along with ratings and reviews of medical alert providers and their agreements.

Monitoring services

With these services, there is a servicing agreement entered into between the customer and a company that provides ongoing monitoring of the alert system. With these arrangements, the monitoring service is notified when the alert device is triggered, and is responsible for investigating and notifying the appropriate persons and/or emergency responders.

These services are more expensive than alert products that simply dial pre-programmed numbers (see "Equipment-Only Providers", below). A monthly fee is charged for the service, often $30-$40. There may also be a one-time installation or "activation" fee ($50 to $100 is common).

With monitoring services, it is important to evaluate the quality of the "central station"-- the centers where alerts and reminders (if any) are handled. Some things to look for:

  • Are the centers UL-listed? Underwriters Laboratories examines equipment as well as staffing issues.
  • Are they certified by an outside agency such as the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)? Check here for a list of "Five Diamond" certified central stations from the CSAA.

Equipment-only providers

Some providers sell just the equipment necessary to pick up the alert signal from the alert button and place calls to pre-programmed phone numbers. They do not provide a monitoring center to receive and respond to calls, so there is no service agreement required. There is a small ongoing cost, however, of replacing the batteries in the pendant and monitoring device.

Note: RatingLab is not affiliated in any way with any providers of medical alert products or services.

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Medical Alert Reviews

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Related Articles: Medical Alerts

 Medical Alert System Reviews
 Background: Medical Alert Systems
 Choosing a PERS
Comments (60)add comment
very useful information, thank you
1

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September 26, 2009
Votes: +17
Ryan : ...
I bought my grandfather a monthly rental and i can cancel anytime. Their is no minimum time with that plan
2

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October 19, 2009
Votes: +4
Ryan: ...
With Rescue Alert... for $28.95/mo no minimum time required
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October 19, 2009
Votes: +0
Me: ...
You mentioned VRI has a few different pricing plans, so does Rescue Alert and a few others on your list. Probably a good idea to mention those companies as well. Rescue Alert has a purchase plan too. Just a few observations
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October 19, 2009
Votes: -4
Cesar: ...
I spoke with their customer service this morning and was informed that professional installation is an option for an additional $40 fee. There is no trail period or money back guarantee. You must also pay shipping fees to return the product when you no longer use the service. Their average response time is under 20 seconds, they have native Spanish speakers at their call centers and do not outsource.
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October 29, 2009
Votes: +1
Cesar: ...
The Walgreens Ready Response representative informed me that there is a 7 day return period and no charge is made until the system is activated. Their average response time is "within seconds" and their customer service line is available 24/7 to handle any problems/questions outside the scope of the med alert. They replace batteries/troubled units at no cost and cover shipping/handling fees for returns after termination. There is no contract but they require a 30 day termination notice - which is essentially a 30 day contract. The unit includes a separate dedicated wall mounted button intended for the bathroom. They offer 24/7 Spanish speakers at their call centers. All call center staff undergo background checks in addition to training and monitoring. Payments can be made by credit card, bank card or direct withdrawal.
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October 29, 2009
Votes: +13
Cesar: ...
The Lifestation representative stated that there was no activation fee and the average call response time was 20-30 seconds. Response center employees receive 6 weeks of training prior to handling calls and subsequent training and monitoring. Call centers do not have any foreign language capabilities, only English.
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October 29, 2009
Votes: +4
Cesar: ...
The ASSA representative stated that they offer a 30 day money back guarantee and no activation fee. Dead batteries will lead to a free unit replacement at their expense. They recommend the unit be connected on its own jack, rather then on same jack with land line phone. The average response time is approximately 3 minutes. They claim to be UL listed, FM approved and Department of Defense cleared, but could not provide any verification or instruct me on how to obtain verification. Likewise they were unable to explain to me how their call center staff were trained or monitored. This was also the case when I spoke to the supervisor at the call center, which is run under the name "get help now, inc."
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October 29, 2009
Votes: -1
For each user, needs may be slightly different, but the following factors should be carefully weighed no matter what your circumstances.
10

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December 11, 2009
Votes: +4
Jane: ...
Your valuable information will help me in making a wise decision. Thank you.
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December 13, 2009
Votes: +1
Geriatric MD: ...
The information was very helpful and I will inform my patients/family to review this data
12

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December 26, 2009
Votes: -1
I just got a new medical alarm for my mom at medipendant.com and it works great. They have no contract and their price is affordable. Best of all unlike her old unit my mom can now go outside because the operator talks directly thru the pendant.
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January 22, 2010
Votes: +4
Theda Davis: ...
A Life Alert agent called after sending me brochure. She was very "hard sell" and I found her questions offensive. She wouldn't stop and I finally hung up on her.
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March 07, 2010
Votes: +9
a senior housing/healthcare manager: ... http://Healthsense.com
We found Healthsense (not mentioned above) to provide far more features like: automatic fall detection, pendants identify your location throughout the entire apartment complex, monitors automatically know if your routine has changed and alerts someone. System calls residents with reminders and promts of any kind (mealtime, med-time, etc) We bought 24 units and expect to order 44 more soon.
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March 09, 2010
Votes: +4
Mary: ...
I called Phillips Lifeline today and do not understand the "middle man" statement according to the review here. I did not have to go through a healthcare provider or hospital. They quoted me a monthly charge with no contract - on a month-to-month lease. The initial set-up fee is $25; which I did not find costly as they have a representative come to the house and set up everything. What is the referral to middle man? I did like the "Carepartner telephone"; it seems easy to use with larger number buttons. The person who will be using this has a difficult time with the cordless phone they now have; small numbers and can be confusing for them with digital memory, etc. Has or is anyone using the Phillips system?
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March 11, 2010
Votes: +3
Jeff Miller, CEO Get Help Now, Inc.: ... http://SeniorSafety.com
I read Cesar's comments on our service. They are not correct. Our average response time is 20 to 40 seconds, however, we like to quote 40 seconds to be on the conservative side (3 minutes? Please...). LawServer is providing a fine service here by commenting on all of our sites. My opinion, take the time to order everyone's brochure and speak with their customer service representatives yourself. The good services will become apparent to you.
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April 10, 2010
Votes: +6
John Nunnally, President MedFirst Alert: ... http://medfirstalert.com
I agree with Jeff. Take the time to call each company and talk directly with their representatives. Ask for a brochure. Go with a company you feel good about after checking them out. -MedFirst Alert 1-800-595-0718
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April 26, 2010
Votes: +0
kellky: ... http://aol
I'm looking for the device with the longest range. The N/A status does not help me! Isn't there a device with a very long range-- the yard, down the block, in this high tech 21st century?
19

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May 16, 2010
Votes: +5
Dan: ...
Lifelink looked like a good bet because we live in apartment building with a desk that is manned (OK personed) 24/7. The package with the larm arrived promptly. We tried to install it but never got it to work properly. In addition, after a few tries, the alert button on the pendant stayed depressed and would no longer pop up. (by way of background, I have by successfully installed close to half a dozen PCs since 1985).
20

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May 17, 2010
Votes: -2
Mike S: ...
Like kellky, I need a unit with the longest range, because my mom is outside a lot, and in warm weather, even across the road in the garden. So any unit that doesn't even mention the range is immediately dismissed. So far, it's looking like VRI and RescueAlert are the best choices.
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May 19, 2010
Votes: +3
Mike S: ...
Another system not mentioned here that I've found is the Caresse/Caresse+ unit. Anyone have any experience with that?
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May 19, 2010
Votes: +0
Philps Lifeline has a very long range and when the installer comes to the house, they can do a range test and tell the personal exactly where their coverage stops. Lifeline is the #1 service of this kind offering the best service and equipment. They now have AutoAlert, a fall detector that will call for help if a fall is detected and the button isn't pushed!! And it 's affordable! Philips Lifeline is the #1 company.
23

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June 07, 2010
Votes: +0
My grandparents live in California and my family just set up a system for them from Bay Alarm Medical. We pay $26.95 per month and they went out to my grandparents house and installed everything for free. So far so good. As far as range goes, they said it really depends on the how the house is built but I was told that if there were no walls, the signal would be the length of a football field. Hope this helps.
24

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July 15, 2010
Votes: +1
SteveC: ...
I would like to steress the importance of what the two provider representatives said. This site is really good, and when I was looking for a system for my father-in-law, it helped me to narrow down the possibilities, but I still made sure to call each of the finalists and talk to them to get details. When I needed a unit for my mother, I repeated the search, as her situation is slightly different from my father-in-laws. I ended up with the same service, but I am glad I looked again, as several have changed in the last year. I chose Rescue Alert, but under different circumstances, I may have chosen differently. A big reason I did not look carefully at Lifeline is in this area they are sold through the local hospital, and the price was over $34 per month. That is a significant increase in cost over several years.
25

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August 29, 2010
Votes: +3
Robert Miller: ... http://www.TrueMedAlert.com
When choosing elderly alert or medical alert systems you have to take into consideration the size of the home. We strongly believe the pendant should have a microphone and speakerphone built-in the pendant (not just the base unit) like the medipendant or the life sentry, so the senior can alert and talk from anywhere around the home.
26

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September 21, 2010
Votes: +13
TheFreedomAlert.com: ... http://www.TheFreedomAlert.com
The Freedom Alert provides over 600 feet of coverage (2 football fields in open field) and No Monthly Fees plus a Pendant and an Optional Wall Mount two-way communication unit. You need to see this.
27

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October 25, 2010
Votes: -2
Nancy Baker: ... http://LifeStation
I ordered LifeStation Emergency Response System after being told by their customer service representative that I did not need a landline phone, as long as I had internet service. It arrived today and after following their directions word for word it failed to work. I received different directions each time I called customer service until the fifth call when I was told it will NOT work without a landline phone. I wouldn't trust this company if my life depended on it - - and it does.
28

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January 15, 2011
Votes: -2
Connie: ...
Sorry Nancy about your troubles--I relate. I asked Lifeline for a brochure and put my cell phone number in the order box; a rep called and was very nice, but I said I did not even get the brochure yet. Then he called a second time and I said I would call if I had questions, but then he just kept calling, sometimes 2X a day. Obnoxious!
29

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January 18, 2011
Votes: +2
Helen: ...
I am just writing to say that Lifestation is a great company and I couldnt be more pleased. Im actually a resident of Toronto Canada and I recieve excellent service even though thank God I didnt need to press the button.
30

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January 20, 2011
Votes: +2
Steve Tobin: ... http://Lawserver
ADT says they have also have the two way intercom system
31

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February 22, 2011
Votes: -1
Amy: ... http://none
My father had the lifeline medical alert system. I wasn't that impressed with it. He wasn't wearing it (not their fault), but I thought the system was supposed to be able to detect if he fell for a period of time. My father did fall, couldn't get up and was on the floor for some time until my nephew happened to come by. But the really bad experience has been with trying to return the equipment after his death. Twice during the three weeks I was in town taking care of things we requested a return label and box. Neither time did they send it to us, despite saying they would. When I returned home, as the contact person I had a phone message from a *different company* that handles the returns. When we had called Lifeline, they never told us we had to call someone else to get the return labels etc. They also never told us that someone could come by and pick it up. Now the equipment and I are in different states. Thanks a lot Lifeline - for bad customer service.
32

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April 04, 2011
Votes: +2
carol: ...
does anyone know which companies also provide a device that you can take with you in the car (not just converage at home)? Life Alert offers it, but they are harsh sales people and have a 3 year minimum contract with no trial period. contract begins once person tries on the pendant or watch and activates. not even 3 days are offered to try it out. just pitiful. they have a device that goes outside the home, but I am hoping another company does as well.

33

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June 24, 2011
Votes: +2
Patricia: ...
Thank you for providing a good forum site. The informative posts by others, triggered a good check-list for me to sort out in deciding which company to go with. A pendant microphone and speaker phone and the device's range of operation are the most important considerations and also a well-trained call center staff.I appreciate the time and information shared .
34

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June 26, 2011
Votes: +0
Doreece Harp: ...
Has anyone ever had any dealings wigth Response Link. My sister just purchased one for our Mother and the sales representative that came out to do the installation was very detailed and informative. There was no activiation fee and the monthly service fee is $30.00. I was just wondering if anyone else had used this device?
35

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August 02, 2011
Votes: +0
chf: ...
This site was very helpful. I liked the cost comparison table and I now know to include contract, battery life/replacement, monitoring center and pendant microphone to my list of considerations.
36

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September 08, 2011
Votes: +1
I think this website is terrific. Lawserver had fabulous starter info. Some of the detail on specific companies were not 100% accurate because the companies have different offers in different states & other reasons. But with these reader comments added, this is the best website info that I've found. Thank you so much!
37

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October 05, 2011
Votes: +1
Anonymous: ...
has anyone tried a self monitored alert system where the system calls the family member or friend instead of a monthly fee. do you recommend any systems?
38

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January 07, 2012
Votes: +1
Anonymous: ...
Many more states should allow medical alert systems to be covered by medicaid. As the owner of Medfirst Alert, I know how important these medical devices are to senior citizens and those with disabilities. Without them many seniors would not be afforded the luxury of remaining at home and would be forced into assisted living facilities.
39

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January 07, 2012
Votes: +1
Anonymous: ...
Definitely check with your local hospital or senior services first. Our hospital auxiliary handles a Life-Alert program. My grandma needed to use it. When button is pushed they attempt to call the person. If no answer, they use the contact list to reach family to check on them right away. I was able to get to grandma's within minutes after she had pushed the button (stroke). And a local service will probably be cheaper as they are not running it as a for-profit business.
40

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January 07, 2012
Votes: -3
Anonymous: ...
Some of these units lock you into a three year contract. These units go to a central station. My Telemergency Medical alert goes directly to 911 and then calls other important numbers.
41

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January 07, 2012
Votes: +0
Anonymous: ...
I would like feedback on the Medical Alert System ( home-based) and Alarm 911 ( GPS) please.
42

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January 07, 2012
Votes: +0
Anonymous: ...
Hey just wanted to say "thanks" for this well prepared review. My 79 yo father just came out from successful surgery to remove a subdural hematoma and is very independently minded. This is a great starting point toward getting some kind of alerting system for him.

Thanks again!

C.
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January 07, 2012
Votes: +0
John: ...
It look like all the company's supply equipment that will work but none of them are very professional in their marketing. They all seem to be refugees from used car lots. I have tried repeatedly to get LifeStation to give me a copy of the agreement and they won't. It is not on their web site and it is not in the brochure they offer that is supposed to answer all your questions. I have a problem with a company that won't let you see what you are signing up for before you commit.
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February 04, 2012
Votes: +0
Dan: ...
Do you have any information on Vivint,formally APX, medical alert system?
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February 11, 2012
Votes: +0
Samantha Cooper: ...
Thank you for sharing this information about medical alarm equipment.
46

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February 24, 2012
Votes: +0
Kathy C.: ...
Got the agreement from LifeStation but one clause says we will pay for any mistakes made by their personnel including harm to others. So if they send EMTs to the wrong address, break down the door and try to treat someone using my mom's medical information, my mom is responsible for the damages and even Lifestations attorney fees. Give me a break. Tried to call Lifestation but the operator didn't know anything about the agreement wording. We are sending ours back. Hope the next system doesn't have something that creepy in the agreement.
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March 23, 2012
Votes: +4
kate: ...
my grandma got Bay Alarm Medical and the system worked really good. My grandma doesnt speak english (they have got translators) and my grandma didnt want any kind of contract. We went with bay alarm because i did an online research and they were top rated and have been in business the longest. they have something called "UL certified" and i'm not sure exactly what it means - but im sure that means they're the best. their salespeople are not pushy, and the company is family owned. i like that. my grandma hasnt had to use the system yet (thank GOD! ) but bay alarm gives us peace of mind. no contract - least expensive price - in business the longest - free shipping and free euipment use - locked in price forever - all of these things matters to us. and they were rated #1 in the whole nation.
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April 08, 2012
Votes: +0
Amy Trenton http://www.rescuealert.com/pricing-plans: ...
While pricing plans can be from $300-500 per month it is also important to note that the Rescue Alert system plans over a one-time payment of $749 and $849 depending on the system and plan. This is often the most popular pricing choice.
49

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May 17, 2012
Votes: -2
Bryan: ...
We recommend that our clients look at three things when choosing a medical alert system:1) who is trained to answer the call when the button is pressed ; 2) what is the retun policy on the contract ( there should be no long term contract). ; and 3) what is the range of the system for the pendant to signal the base unit to make the call. Lastly you must consider if the senior will actually wear the button at all times. If they don't wear it, it won't help them. See our systems comparisons here https://www.medicalcarealert.com/devices-a/266.htm
50

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June 02, 2012
Votes: +1
Marie: ...
I called several companies and chose Lifestation for my mom's medical alert. They have 24hr customer service, no contracts, no penalties for cancellation, they refund a prorated amount back in the event of cancellation, and the reps that I spoke to were all very knowledgeable about their service. I read some of these reviews and felt compelled to write my own after doing my own research. They do service Canada, where my mom lives. They sent me an agreement within 10 minutes of me asking for it. They have language services in any language which was important to me because my mom speaks Italian. We got our system today and it took about 5 minutes to set it up. When we did our test, the operator came on immediately, and spoke to my mom in Italian which made her feel very comfortable with having it. I do feel that people should do their own research and go with the company they feel most comfortable with, and for me that company is Lifestation.
51

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June 14, 2012
Votes: +1
Forest Miller: ...
I sold for a Med. Alert company many many years ago. I'm looking to supplement our SS income.
Being retired from over 40 years in ministry and over 20 years sales experience (during years we worked PT in ministry) and therefore having high standards & values, can you recommend a reputable Med. Alert company I could sell for again, preferable from our home office?
Thank you . . Forest.. (313)-492-6872
52

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July 13, 2012
Votes: +0
Forest Miller: ...
BTW... So far (from my research) I'm leaning towards Alert1 Medical Alert.

Any other suggestions?
53

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July 13, 2012
Votes: +1
Ir: ...
Is anyone able to comment on LifeFone please....89 yr old mother living in a condo in Philadelphia suburbs, lives with daughter that works during the day. The mother does need this service. Thank you
54

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August 02, 2012
Votes: +0
Steven Daily: ...
Ir,
While we have not reviewed LifeFone, I can tell you that the equipment itself appears to be the same as that offered by LifeStation. The company seems to be extremely small, as it does not even appear on Google's street view:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=16+Yellowstone+Avenue+White+Plains,+NY+10607

According to one Internet post, it is operated out of a garage, but I have no confirmation of that:
http://www.consumercomplaintdepartment.com/index.cfm?method=complaint&complaint_id=2116

Lifefone claims to be a New York corporation, but New York State does not have any listing for such a company:

http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/bus_entity_search.html

Steve Daily, Editor
RatingLab.com
55

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August 03, 2012
Votes: +2
John: ...
When searching for a medical alert system for my mother I wanted to make sure the system had 2-way voice in the pendant. It seemed as though half of the alert systems had it and about half did not. I ended up choosing DependOne. I really liked their website and the sales person I spoke with was really helpful and patient with me. When I received the system in the mail I was able to set it up fairly easily and quickly. So far so good. Seems like a good system to me.
56

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August 22, 2012
Votes: +0
Sarah: ...
A big thank you to Kathy C. who alerted me to the weasel legal language that I discovered appears in virtually all the the medical alert devices that are connected to a service. Such language basically leaves the buyer potentially liable.

So when I found Freedom Alert, a wonderful device that is NOT connected to a service, I bought it at a local medical supply store for my elderly parent. It's easy for my parent to use. It has up to 4 programmable numbers as well as 911. It's U.S. made by LogicMark and their customer service is great. You do need a regular touch-tone home phone line. My parent has had the device for seven months.
57

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January 21, 2013
Votes: +1
Patrick B: ...
I like your list of key considerations for deciding on medical alert systems. Pricing is important, but there are other issues like how well the representatives are trained, the kinds of training and certification standards they comply with, if the equipment and battery life are good etc. I've been comparing systems, and I actually saw a site that was charging significantly less than others. Good price, but looking through their website and information, it looked like a company that could have been run from the kitchen table. So, buyer beware, but there are good firms out there, like some of the ones you mentioned. I also found this resource helpful for anyone interested: http://medicalalertsystemshq.c...rt-systems
Best to everyone.
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September 12, 2013
Votes: +0
gilda: ...
If you're looking for medical alert system with no hidden charges, no long term contract, cheap monthly fee, 24/7 customer service, easy to operate medical alert devices, BBB A+ rating. I would recommend Vital Link - Call Now today at 1-800-7520-5522 and dont' forget to claim your FREE Lockbox
59

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November 27, 2013
Votes: +0
KinneyNichole20: ...
I always write my academic essays utilizing my laptop but at this moment my computer is out of order and I need search for another one. Meanwhile I can turn to the essay service uk in order to purchase great term papers uk. Sometimes, that is better when experts aid you.
60

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December 17, 2013
Votes: +0

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