LifeStation Medical Alert Review: What You Need To Know

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Updated onMay. 24, 2022

Even though they may have health or mobility problems, older adults who choose to live independently in their homes often face a dilemma: how do they get emergency medical help if they need it?
This is particularly true for people who don’t like asking family for help, a common feeling among seniors, according to research in Ageing and Society from Cambridge University Press.

One solution is to install a medical alert system. Designed with technology that allows a person to press a button and speak to a trained dispatcher in case of a fall or other medical emergency, such systems can be life-saving.

But among those on the market today, which medical alert system is best for you or an older family member?

This article reviews the LifeStation medical alert system and provides all the details you may be wondering about, including product options, features, and monthly costs, so you can determine if it’s the right one for you.

The LifeStation Medical Alert System: Overview

LifeStation, Inc. has been in business for 18 years, according to the Better Business Bureau, which gives it an A+ rating. Consumers also rate it highly on the BBB website, giving it a 3.76 out of a 5-star rating. In comparison, consumers gave LifeStation a 4.6 out of a 5-star rating on the Consumer Affairs website.

What sets LifeStation’s medical alert system apart is its 24/7 monitoring service, staffed by its own trained dispatchers located at headquarters in Texas and New Jersey.  LifeStation claims their dispatchers respond in about 20 seconds to anyone who presses the emergency button on their medical alert device.

LifeStation provides its medical alert equipment for a monthly, quarterly or annual fee, and there are no long-term contracts. The devices can be used in and out of the home and include the following:

  • An in-home base unit that connects to your telephone landline or AT&T cellular service and comes with a wearable pendant button and wristband button.
  • A mobile device in the form of a wearable pendant with an emergency button that can be used anywhere, in or away from home, using GPS technology.
  • A mobile device in the form of a watch-like wristband that has GPS and Find My Loved One technology (enabling a family member to track the person wearing the device). This too can be used in or away from home and also has a heart monitor and built-in step counter.

How Does the LifeStation Medical Alert System Work?

Home unit that connects to a telephone landline or cellular service (a pendant and wristband are included).

Home unit that connects to a telephone landline or cellular service (a pendant and wristband are included).

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This is a base unit—a 6-by-6-inch console—that can be placed on a shelf or countertop in a convenient location in the home. It connects with a telephone wire or your cell service. It comes with a wearable pendant and wristband. If you have an emergency (within 500 feet of the base unit), pressing the button on the wristband or pendant will activate the base console. A dispatcher from a LifeStation monitoring center will answer you (the home base unit has a sensitive microphone and loudspeaker). The dispatcher will determine the type of help you need and call local EMS or ask a family member to go to your house or apartment. Note: The LifeStation dispatcher will stay on the line until help arrives. “We use two operators, one to stay online, while a second operator calls for help,” a LifeStation customer service representative explained.

Sidekick mobile 4G LTE pendant with GPS.

Sidekick mobile 4G LTE pendant with GPS.

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For more active people, LifeStation’s two mobile devices may be a good choice. They both come with a charging station. The LifeStation Sidekick is a small, water-resistant pendant (1.4 ounces) with a help button with built-in technology for two-way communication between you and the dispatcher. It has GPS so that the dispatcher can direct help to your location. Some packages offer fall detection and Find My Loved One technology so that caregivers can track and locate the pendant wearer.

Sidekick Smart wristband.

Sidekick Smart wristband.

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This water-resistant device can be used anywhere as well. It has an emergency call button, GPS location, and Find My Loved One technology. It also includes a step counter and heart rate monitor and displays the time.

Features and Accessories

  • Fall Detection
    Fall detection technology is included in the more expensive LifeStation packages and only works in the pendant. This means that if you fall, sensors in the pendant recognize the abrupt movement and immediately connect to a dispatcher who will speak to you via the pendant. The dispatcher will automatically send help to your location if you do not answer. No fee is charged for false alarms. Note: LifeStation states that fall detection does not detect all falls.
    Not getting enough sleep, taking certain medications, and changes in eyesight or hearing can all cause an older person to fall and get hurt, according to the National Institute on Aging. While falling is a danger, fear of falling is also a hazard. The fear of falling may lead to falls, according to a 2018 study reported in the journal PLOS ONETherefore, fall detection technology can be a big help.
  • Find My Loved One Technology
    The Find My Loved One technology is included in the pricier packages. Using GPS and Wi-Fi, the exact location of an older adult wearing the mobile device can be texted to a concerned family member or caregiver at any time.
  • Your Emergency Call List
    When setting up the LifeStation Medical Alert system, you create a list of family members, neighbors, and friends you want the dispatcher to contact—in any order you wish—during or after an emergency. 
  • Lockbox
    If an EMS team or loved ones need to get into your house to help you and you cannot come to the door, a lockbox placed near the outside of an entrance can be a time-saver. This service can be added for an additional monthly fee.
  • Wall Button
    A wall button that connects to your medical alert system can be attached to any wall in your house near high-trafficked areas—in the bedroom or bathroom, for instance. Press the button, and you’ll activate two-way communication so that a dispatcher can send help.

Pros and Cons of LifeStation

Pros
  • LifeStation owns two US monitoring centers, staffed by trained dispatchers. It claims to have the fastest response times of any medical alert system—about 20 seconds after an emergency button is pressed. Another benefit: When a person presses the button for emergency help, a LifeStation dispatcher will stay on the line until help arrives. Fall detection and Find My Loved One technology offer extra protection.

Cons
  • LifeStation does not guarantee that every fall will be detected by fall detection technology. Another downside: The pendants and wristbands are clunky. “Medical alert systems are often easy enough to use, but there is a stigma where many older adults don’t want to have it or appear to need it,” said Helen Henglein, product advisor at Speak2 Family, and senior occupational therapist at New York Therapy and Wellness. “People who are aging are often resistant to needing help, no less broadcasting their vulnerability by wearing a necklace.”

Health and Safety Features

The whole point of a medical alert system is to keep the user safe, and the fall detection and GPS tracking technologies enhance that protection. But nothing replaces the personal attention of a family member or caregiver. “Technology is not a substitute for human care,” said Henglein. “In fact, the only way any technology remains valuable is if there is someone reinforcing usage and making sure it is maintained and monitored. Technology should never be thought of as the end of the solution, just as part of it.”

Customer Support

The LifeStation website contains some outdated information but calls to the patient and knowledgeable customer service representatives cleared up any confusion and answered questions thoroughly for us with no sales-pitching.

Customer Service

How Much Do LifeStation Medical Alerts Cost?

You cannot purchase LifeStation equipment; instead, you lease it on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The monthly fee includes access to the 24/7 monitoring service by trained dispatchers. The more expensive packages include extras such as a protection (insurance) plan for lost or damaged equipment. Here’s the breakdown:

Home Unit Powered By Telephone Landline (Includes Pendant And Wristband)

  • Standard Package
    $21.95 per month—includes equipment, wristband, and pendant.
  • Select Package
    $26.95 per month—includes equipment, wristband, and pendant, as well as a protection plan.
  • Supreme Package
    $36.95 per month—includes equipment, wristband, pendant, protection plan, and fall-detection technology.

Home Unit Powered By Cellular Service (Includes Pendant And Wristband)

  • Standard Package
    $30.95 per month—includes wireless equipment, wristband, and pendant.
  • Select Package
    $35.95 per month—includes wireless equipment, wristband, pendant, and protection plan.
  • Supreme Package
    $45.95 per month—includes wireless equipment, wristband, pendant, protection plan, and lockbox.

Sidekick—Mobile Device Pendant

  • Standard Package
    $37.95 per month—includes GPS and Wi-Fi, as well as Find My Loved One technology. A one-time activation fee of $50 is required.
  • Select Package
    $43.95 per month—includes free activation, GPS and Wi-Fi capability, Find My Loved One technology, and fall detection.
  • Supreme Package
    $47.95 per month—includes free activation, GPS and Wi-Fi capability, Find My Loved One technology, fall detection, and protection plan. 

Sidekick Smart Wristband

  • Starting at $43.95 per month—includes GPS, heart monitor, and step counter.

Accessories And Insurance

  • Lockbox—$2.99 per month
  • Wall buttons—$2.95 per month, each; these work with in-home systems only.

Installation and Setup

No installation is necessary beyond plugging in the home unit, according to a LifeStation customer service rep. Equipment comes already programmed and requires only a call to LifeStation to complete the setup and a test to ensure everything is properly working.

How Does LifeStation Compare to Other Medical Alert Systems?

All medical alert systems use similar equipment, so the differences lie in the quality of the monitoring and services. LifeStation claims its dispatchers respond faster than any other company and stay on the line with a customer until emergency help arrives, two important benefits. LifeStation package prices are similar to other companies. For instance, LifeStation prices for an in-home system start at $22.95, while the in-home Bay Alarm Medical systems start at $19.95. Medical Guardian and Bay Alarm Medical offer the option to purchase equipment; LifeStation equipment can only be leased on a month-to-month basis. The 30-day trial period and no-contract feature offered by LifeStation are also common among other brands, such as Medical Alert.

Warranty and Refund Policy

Since the equipment is rented and not purchased, it does not come with a warranty. But if you decide that you don’t like or need it, you can return LifeStation medical alert equipment at any time and will be refunded after LifeStation receives it.

Does Medicare Cover LifeStation?

No, it does not, according to a LifeStation customer care rep. However, he noted that some Medicare supplement plans cover medical alert systems, so check your or your loved one’s plan to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • LifeStation claims its dispatchers respond quickly when the help button is pressed. And dispatchers will keep speaking to the person with the emergency until help arrives—big pluses. 
  • LifeStation medical alert devices are great for all lifestyles, homebound and active, often out and about. They all connect to the 24/7 monitoring service.
  • Equipment can be leased on a month-to-month basis, so the arrangement can be ended at any time.

What Customers Are Saying

Customer reviews on the Consumer Affairs and Better Business Bureau websites range from favorable (affordable prices, quick response times of operators) to negative (erratic fall detection service, being billed for service after equipment was returned). Several customers wrote about the peace of mind they gained from their LifeStation medical alert system. One individual shared about getting stuck in her wheelchair, and by using her Life Station alert system, someone arrived quickly at her house to help.

Bottom Line

LifeStation is an established US company that offers a comprehensive choice of easy-to-use medical alert devices. The equipment is leased on a month-to-month basis, so service can be canceled at any time. LifeStation’s trained dispatchers are located in the US and claim fast response times.

Frequently Asked Questions

For home systems, you press a button on the pendant worn around your neck or on a wristband, immediately activating two-way communication in the home console. A dispatcher will come on and ask if you need help; a sensitive microphone will pick up your response in the console. If needed, the dispatcher will then call 911 to send an EMS team to you. The LifeStation Sidekick mobile devices—the pendant or wristband—are built with the speaker and microphone inside. When you press the button on the device, the dispatcher will speak to you through the speaker to determine the type of help you need.