GreatCall Lively Review: Medical Alert Options In 2022

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Lively offers on-the-go medical alert devices, smartphones, and flip phones
  • Unique safety and wellness features include Urgent Care telehealth, the Lively Link app for loved ones and caregivers, and Lively Rides
  • You can cancel your Lively subscription at any time since there are no contracts, but you can’t return the phone if you’ve reached 30 minutes of talk time

Lively, previously known as GreatCall, provides medical alert devices and cell phones designed for older adults. What makes Lively stand out amongst its competitors is its price. Its cell phones, medical alert devices, and monthly plans are affordable compared to other options on the market.

We’ll explore Lively’s medical alert system that’s available on both its medical alert devices and cellular phones. We’ll compare Lively to other leading brands and explore who’s likely to enjoy Lively’s emergency support products.

top features:
  1. Both cellphone and mobile medical alert system options are available
  2. Connect virtually with a board-certified doctor or nurse with the Urgent Care feature for an additional monthly fee 
  3. Lively’s emergency monitoring services are compatible with Amazon Alexa smart speaker 

Pros and Cons of Lively

Pros

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • One-year device warranty

  • Discounts available for AARP members

Cons

  • Monitoring center not The Monitoring Association (TMA) Five Diamond Certified

  • No at-home landline option

  • You have to pay for shipping if you return the system

Design and Features of Lively Medical Alert Systems

Lively carries two medical alert devices. Lively Mobile+ is a wearable alert button with a two-way speaker that you can wear on a lanyard or with a belt clip. The Lively Wearable2 is a watch that pairs with your smartphone for support.

Unlike Mobile+, which needs nightly charging, the Wearable2 can last up to four months on a single charge. But keep in mind that you’ll need your smartphone with the Lively app for the smartwatch to work.

Type
Lively Mobile+Clippable Button
Lively Wearable2Smartwatch
Equipment Price
Lively Mobile+$49.99
Lively Wearable2$49.99
Activation Fee
Lively Mobile+$35
Lively Wearable2$35
Money-Back Guarantee
Lively Mobile+30 days with a $10 restocking fee
Lively Wearable230 days with a $10 restocking fee
Warranty
Lively Mobile+$2.50/month
Lively Wearable2$2.50/month
Contract?
Lively Mobile+No
Lively Wearable2No
Water-Resistant?
Lively Mobile+Waterproof
Lively Wearable2Water-resistant

Lively Health & Safety Packages

When you purchase a Lively medical alert device, you choose one of three monthly plans for emergency support wherever you go. These devices are GPS-activated and work over cellular networks that cover most of the United States.

All monthly packages come with Urgent Response. If you need assistance from either emergency services or your emergency contacts, you press the button on your Lively device to connect with Lively’s Urgent Response agents. An agent will talk to you through the device or your phone to see what kind of help you need, determine your location, and contact the right people to assist you.

In addition to Urgent Response, there are other services available depending on which plan you select:

  • Urgent Care: Speak with a doctor or nurse 24/7 for no additional fee. Think of this service as a remote doctor’s appointment. You can discuss medical concerns and receive prescriptions for certain medications.
  • Lively Link App: A smartphone app allows approved friends and family to see your location, your device’s battery life, and your daily activity (with the Wearable2 watch only). When you contact Urgent Response, these contacts receive a notification.
  • Automatic Fall Detection: Using motion-sensing technology in your medical alert device, Lively’s Urgent Care response team is notified when you fall. The agent will attempt to contact you and determine next steps, whether that’s sending an ambulance or having your emergency contacts check on you.

Here’s an overview of the services included with each of the three monthly Lively Health and Safety Packages.

Price
Basic Package$24.99
Preferred Package$29.99
Ultimate Package$39.99
Features
Basic PackageUrgent Response
Preferred Package


• Urgent Response


• Urgent Care


• Lively Link app

Ultimate Package


• Urgent Response


• Urgent Care


• Lively Link app


• Automatic fall detection

A Unique Offering: Cellular Service With Emergency Support

In addition to the personal emergency response systems outlined above, Lively offers cell phones for older adults. These phones are designed to replace your current cell phone. You also have the option to add a Lively Health and Safety Package.

The primary difference between the Urgent Response packages with the medical alert devices and the phones is that there is no automatic fall detection option with the Lively phones. Additionally, Lively phone users have access to Personal Operators and Lively Ride, which don’t come with the medical alert products. Personal Operators can help place calls or provide driving directions, and Lively Rides works with Lyft for affordable and simple transportation.

Lively has two cell phones: a smartphone and a flip phone. The smartphone is excellent if you like to browse the internet or send emails on your phone. But if you or your loved one prefer press-button phones and only plan to use the phone for talking and simple texting, the flip phone fits the bill.

Phone Cost
Jitterbug Smart3$149.99
Jitterbug Flip2$99.99
Phone Plan Pricing
Jitterbug Smart3$14.99–$49.99/month
Jitterbug Flip2$14.99–$19.99/month
Lively Health & Safety Price
Jitterbug Smart3$19.99–$34.99/month
Jitterbug Flip2$19.99–$34.99/month
Phone Type
Jitterbug Smart3Smartphone
Jitterbug Flip2Flip Phone
Calls, Text, And Data
Jitterbug Smart3Calls, Text, And Data
Jitterbug Flip2Calls and Text Only
Features
Jitterbug Smart3


• Large touchscreen


• Internet and email access


• Simple menu list


• On-screen Urgent Response button

Jitterbug Flip2


• Press button design


• Large buttons


• Easy-to-read screen


• On-screen Urgent Response button

Health and Safety Features

According to Leslie Branon, Account Manager and Outreach Strategist with MedVoice PR, “It’s important to consider using a medical alert system if you are at risk of falls, have a medical condition that may impact your ability to seek medical attention, you live alone or are left alone at times. Delays in emergency care can worsen injuries or ultimately result in poor outcomes, including death. Medical alert systems allow you the opportunity to be more independent with a safety net of knowing someone can help if needed.”

Lively provides customers with multiple products created to bring extra security and support for older adults. All Lively products, including the two medical alert devices and the two phone options, offer Urgent Response with every Health and Safety Package. With Urgent Response, you press a button on your phone or wearable medical alert device to connect with a trained emergency response representative.

Once connected, the Lively representative works with you to see what help you need—whether that’s an ambulance, reaching out to your emergency contacts, or simply staying on the line until they know you’re okay. And if you have automatic fall detection through a Lively medical alert device and you fall, this all happens without you needing to press the button. If you can’t talk, the Lively representative has emergency help sent to your location.

Lively Phones Vs. Wearable Devices: Fall Detection

When deciding between Lively’s phones or wearable medical alert devices, ask yourself whether you or your loved one needs automatic fall detection. With fall detection, Lively’s response team would be alerted automatically if you should take a fall, without you having to press a button.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 million older adults receive treatment in the ER for fall injuries every year. And with falls being the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, there’s no guarantee that you can make a call or press a button after you fall.

If you live alone or frequently leave the home alone, you may want to consider a medical alert device with automatic fall detection. Neither of Lively’s phones offers fall detection, but both the Mobile+ and Wearable2 do when you purchase the Ultimate Package.

But if you’re rarely on your own, the Lively cell phones and medical alert devices both have Urgent Response with the lowest-cost monthly plan. Just know that you’ll need to press a button for help from Lively’s Urgent Response team.

Mobile+Vs. Wearable2: Ease-Of-Use

Mobile+ and Wearable2 are Lively’s two medical alert devices. The Mobile+ can be worn on a belt clip or lanyard, while the Wearable2 is a smartwatch worn around your wrist. Because these products are the same price, it can be hard to decide which one’s best for you.

When we interviewed Melanie Musson, a Senior Health Expert with InsuranceProviders.com, she explained that “You might want to consider smartwatch options because watches are familiar to most seniors, and something familiar may not cause as much anxiety as something new.”

But there is another difference between these two products. Only the Mobile+ has a built-in two-way speaker that you use to communicate with Lively if you press the button. With the watch, you must have your smartphone with you. The watch connects to the phone, so if you fall or press the button, you can talk with a Lively agent through your phone.

Customer Support

woman working in call center

If there’s one area that concerns us with Lively, it’s customer support. When reading through customer reviews on Trustpilot, most customers gave a 5/5 star or 1/5 star rating—and poor customer service was the most common complaint. Customer service complaints included rude representatives, poor technical support, and billing issues.

We didn’t find many complaints about the emergency services, but there were very few reviews about this aspect of the company. We recommend trying out any product you buy within the 30-day trial period to ensure that the services work for you. Consider using the button to speak with an emergency support rep and trying out other features if you opt for them, such as the Urgent Care medical line.

Pricing and Plans In-Depth

Lively Health And Safety Packages

Medical Alert Systems (Lively Mobile+ And Lively Wearable2)
Basic Package $24.99
Preferred Package$29.99
Ultimate Package$39.99
Lively Cell Phones (Jitterbug Smart3 And Jitterbug Flip2)
Basic Package $19.99
Preferred Package$24.99
Ultimate Package$34.99
Features
Basic Package Urgent Response
Preferred Package– Urgent Response – Urgent Care – Lively Link app
Ultimate Package– Urgent Response – Urgent Care – Lively Link app – Automatic fall detection* – Personal Operator* – Lively Rides*

*Automatic fall detection is only available with the medical alert systems, while the Personal Operator and Lively Rides are only available with the Lively Jitterbug phones.

How Lively Compares to Other Medical Alert Systems

Medical Guardian Vs. Lively

Both Medical Guardian and Lively provide monthly medical alert plans for when you’re out and about, but in this regard, Lively is more affordable. With Lively, you pay as little as $24.99/monthly for a medical alert system that you take with you. But with Medical Guardian, the monthly rate for these plans starts at $44.95.

However, if you want a simple home-based system, you’ll need to opt for Medical Guardian. Medical Guardian has home plans with a base station connected to your landline, a wearable device, and emergency buttons that you can place around the home. Lively doesn’t have these types of plans, although Lively does offer unique cell phones designed for older adults with optional emergency support.

Another important difference between these companies is customer satisfaction. On Trustpilot, Lively has better ratings than Medical Guardian, which has some of the lowest ratings that we’ve come across for a popular medical alert company.

Bay Alarm Medical Vs. Lively

Bay Alarm Medical has more impressive customer satisfaction than Lively. On Trustpilot, Bay Alarm Medical has a 4.1/5 rating with nearly 1,000 reviews. In comparison, Lively has a 2.6/5 with 146 reviews.

Lively and Bay Alarm Medical offer GPS smartwatches and mobile help buttons for emergency support when you leave your home, and these plans have similar pricing. But only Lively’s smartwatch offers fall detection. So if you prefer a watch to a button and want automatic fall detection, Lively’s a better option.

Another difference is that Bay Alarm Medical has an in-home alert system, while Lively offers cell phones for older adults. Additionally, Lively’s Urgent Care doctor and nurse line is a unique offering that’s excellent for anyone who wants a simple and affordable telehealth provider.

MobileHelp Vs. Lively

MobileHelp is one of the medical alert companies with excellent customer reviews on third-party sites. On the Better Business Bureau site, MobileHelp has 4.7/5 stars and 60 customer reviews, compared to Lively’s mediocre 2.6/5 rating on Trustpilot. With this in mind, you may want to choose MobileHelp over Lively if you don’t want to struggle with mediocre customer service and billing issues.

But if your loved one would like a phone with emergency support designed for older adults, Lively provides a unique offering. Only Lively’s medical alert plans offer fall detection, which you can also get with the MobileHelp at-home or mobile medical alert systems.

As for emergency coverage outside of your home, Lively is slightly more affordable, with plans starting as low as $24.99/month. You’re looking at $29.95/month and up with MobileHelp. Another Perk with Lively’s medical alert devices is that the Mobile+ and the Wearable2 have fall detection built-in. With MobileHelp’s products, you’ll need to carry both the original button as well as a separate fall detection device if you opt for automatic fall detection.

LifeFone Vs. Lively

LifeFone is one of the best medical alert companies for add-ons and customer satisfaction. The LifeFone app is slightly more advanced than Lively’s, including perks like a first motion of the day alert to family or friends and texts that tell you when your battery is low.

Additionally, LifeFone is truly risk-free to try. With no activation fees or equipment fees and a fee-free 30-day trial period, you have less financial risk trying out LifeFone than Lively. Lively’s plans typically have activation fees, equipment fees, and a $10 cancellation fee. And with an incredible 4.6/5 customer review on Trustpilot compared to Lively’s 2.6/5, you’re likely to have a smoother experience with LifeFone.

But one big difference that may have you choose Lively is price. Lively’s on-the-go plans for active older adults are some of the most affordable that we’ve found, and they boast unique benefits like Urgent Care—which provides telehealth services for no additional cost. LifeFone’s on-the-go plans range from $39.95/month to $50.95/month, compared to Lively’s $24.99–$39.99/month price.

Medical Alert Vs. Lively

Medical Alert has a more robust offering if you want a medical alert device that works only in and around your home. When you pay annually, prices start as low as $19.95/month, or $29.95/month if you also want automatic fall detection. With Lively, there’s no home system but an on-the-go button, which you’ll need to charge from time to time when you’re at home. Additionally, Medical Alert has voice-activated home wall buttons that can help in the case of a fall or other emergency.

While Medical Alert is a great option for folks who spend most of their time at home, Lively is more affordable for on-the-go coverage. Medical Alert is $42.95/month for this service, with an additional $10/month for fall detection. In comparison, Lively’s similar coverage ranges from just $24.99 to $39.99/month. And Lively is the only company with medical alert services paired with easy-to-use cell phone plans.

Monthly Price
Lively $24.99–$39.99
Medical Guardian $29.95–$54.95
Bay Alarm Medical $21.95–$59.95
MobileHelp $24.95–$74.95
LifeFone$24.95–$45.95
Medical Alert $22.95–$42.95
Equipment Fee
Lively $49.99
Medical Guardian $0–$124.95
Bay Alarm Medical $0–$179
MobileHelp $0
LifeFone$0
Medical Alert $79–$229
Activation Fee
Lively $35
Medical Guardian $0
Bay Alarm Medical $0
MobileHelp $0 or $49.95
LifeFone$0
Medical Alert $0
Cellular Or Landline?
Lively Cellular
Medical Guardian Both
Bay Alarm Medical Both
MobileHelp Both
LifeFoneBoth
Medical Alert Both
Money-Back Guarantee
Lively 30 days ($10 fee)
Medical Guardian None
Bay Alarm Medical 30 days
MobileHelp 30 days
LifeFone30 days
Medical Alert 30 days
Customer Rating
Lively 2.6/5
Medical Guardian 1.3/5
Bay Alarm Medical 4.1/5
MobileHelp 4.7/5
LifeFone4.6/5
Medical Alert 1.1/5
Standout Features
Lively – Cell phones for older adults – Affordable for on-the-go support – Urgent Care remote medical visits
Medical Guardian – Discounts for spouse monitoring – Discounts for paying annually
Bay Alarm Medical – Attractive pendant charms – Smartwatch alert device – Positive customer reviews
MobileHelp – Affordable for couples – Health and activity tracking – Tablet-connected home device
LifeFone– Optional daily check-in – Discounts for spouse coverage – Long battery life
Medical Alert – Wall buttons with voice activation – Affordable home-based plans

What Customers Are Saying About Lively Medical Alert Systems

Customer Reviews About Lively’s Cell Phones For Older Adults

Purchased this phone for an emergency phone/backup phone. Lively uses a carrier that is very respected in the industry, and very reliable. We really like the simplicity of the phone, everything works as it should. Very easy to use. Highly recommend this phone. * 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Hank S.

I purchased this flip phone for my cousin who has never used any computer technology. And her memory is poor so it’s difficult to teach her a new device. This phone is very easy to use just for phone calls and she is getting it right away. I set everything up and put in her contacts. It was extremely easy for me to do. * 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Jo

Customer Reviews About Lively’s Medical Alert System

GreatCall Emergency Alert is very reasonably priced, lightweight, and easy to use and was easy to set up. I now feel safe going outside to walk around my yard or being in the shower so I can get help if I fall. 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Pam D.

My mom has fallen 5 times in the last 3 months and never once did the fall detection work. We found her in the yard laying by her walker last week. Thank God she had only been there a few minutes. When I hit the button after her last fall to see if it worked, they answered and told me that it had never shown all 5 times she fell and told me to insist they send a new pendant. They gave me a phone number to call and when I called I got the worst customer representative I have ever talked with, talking over me and not letting me tell what happened, just went on the defensive immediately. This is the worst company I have ever dealt with. * 1/5 stars on Trustpilot

Joyce H.

Best thing I ever owned! One day I stubbed my toe and fell in my yard. Within seconds I had a call that a fall had been detected and the medic office had been informed of my fall, but if I wanted to cancel, just press the white button, which I did. I was not hurt, only being clumsy. It was nice to know somebody out there was ‘looking out for me.’ Gives me a real feeling of security. * 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Upstate NY long-time customer

Customer Reviews About Lively’s Customer Service

Horrible product that won’t hold a charge. Bad customer service and offer no help to get a replacement. Told them to cancel my account and they proceeded to charge me for 8 months saying they would send it to collections if I didn’t pay. * 1/5 stars on Trustpilot

L.G.

Three different customer service people were so breathtakingly rude they left me speechless, and two of them actually hung up on me! I’m sure they are used to dealing with confused seniors, which I am not–I was helping my mom. * 1/5 stars on Trustpilot

Jessica

Bottom Line

Lively sells products designed to help improve safety for older adults. Both Lively’s medical alert devices and cell phones boast emergency support when you buy a Lively Health & Safety package, which costs between $24.99 and $39.99/month—less than most competitors in the space.

There’s a lot to love about Lively’s products besides price. The phones have a senior-friendly design and come with unique perks like a personal operator and help with scheduling Lyft rides. We also appreciate the Urgent Care feature that comes with some of Lively’s monthly plans, which provides unlimited telehealth visits with doctors and nurses 24/7.

While Lively provides excellent products for the cost, one downside is hard to ignore: poor customer reviews. On both Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau, there are a lot of complaints about poor customer service. Because of this, we only recommend Lively if cost is one of your biggest priorities. And if you choose Lively, consider testing out all of the features in the first month to be sure that everything works well for you.

For other leading medical alert companies, head over to our list of the Best Medical Alert Systems for 2022.

Where to Sign Up for Lively Medical Alert Systems

You can find Lively’s phones and medical alert devices online at Lively.com or at select Walgreens stores. Visit Lively’s store locator if you prefer to shop in person.

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review

You deserve the best products for a better quality of life. As such, we strive to create honest, helpful reviews. Our experts independently research and recommend products we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. 

We’ve spent collectively more than 1,700 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. Our content is medically reviewed and unbiased to help you choose the right medical alert system for you or your loved one.

We did the following when researching Lively’s medical alert systems and phones: 

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Consulted with geriatricians and adult caregivers
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed medical alert system users
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports

Frequently Asked Questions

To pay your bill, you may sign up for automatic payments, log in online and pay each month, or pay by phone using a credit or debit card. In addition, Lively accepts checks through the mail (P.O. Box 660688, Dallas, TX 75266-0688); be sure to include your payment slip to ensure that the payment goes to the correct account.

Other Medical Alert Systems That We Have Reviewed

Our Comparisons Of Medical Alert Systems

WRITTEN BY

Nicole is a freelance writer with a passion for health, wellness, and fitness. Before entering the writing field, Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Organismal Biology from Scripps College and spent time as a nutrition coach. For the past seven years, Nicole has been a health writer for various wellness experts and publications, including Everyday Health, Health, and fitness icon Thomas Delauer.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Jenny is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner in NYC with a passion for working with aging adults and their family members. Prior to her clinical training at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, she worked in business and medical research at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Caregiving Coach at Givers, Jenny helps family members manage the financial, emotional, and educational stresses of caring for their loved ones who are aging in place.