4 Best Medical Alert Pendants
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4 Best Medical Alert Pendants
Feeling safe and secure while at home and on the go is a priority for many older adults. Unfortunately, a significant number of seniors worry they won’t be able to call for help during a medical emergency. This is where having a medical alert system comes in handy. These wearable devices allow users to connect with a monitoring center or loved one simply by pressing a button.
We looked at several medical alert pendants and compared costs, features, and customer reviews. We then eliminated the ones that didn’t quite make the cut and settled on four systems that we think are worth considering. Here are our top picks of the best medical alert pendants in 2022.
- Medical alert pendants are wearable help buttons that come with a medical alert system. They hang on a lanyard that you wear around your neck.
- Medical alert pendants that are part of an in-home system will not work when you leave the base unit range.
- If you want to use a medical alert pendant while away from home, look for a system that uses cellular service to connect with the monitoring center and has GPS-tracking abilities to pinpoint your exact location.
- Not all medical alert pendants come equipped with automatic fall detection. Read the fine print to see if the pendant you are purchasing offers this feature.
- Medical alert help buttons that connect to a monitoring center require a monthly subscription. This service gives you access to an operator who will connect you to a designated caregiver or an emergency responder if needed.
What is a Medical Alert Pendant?
Medical alert pendants are part of a comprehensive medical alert system. A monitored medical alert system provides 24/7 access to a response center that can summon help during a medical emergency. These systems come with a wearable help button that connects to a monitoring center when activated. One benefit of a medical alert pendant is you’re not limited to wearing it around your neck.
How to Wear Medical Alert Pendants: Many traditional models give you the option of wearing the help button on a lanyard like a necklace, bracelet, or wrist button. However, if you opt for a stylish jewelry-style pendant, you may be limited to wearing it around your neck. You can attach the pendant to a lanyard, which helps make wearing it around your neck easier. This device style is popular with seniors looking for a product that is easy to access and simple to put on and take off.
Medical Alert Pendant Capabilities
You can activate the help button by pressing it, or if it’s voice-activated, you can talk into it. Also, if the medical alert pendant comes with automatic fall detection, it will connect you to the monitoring center even if you do not activate the button. Once activated, an operator will respond to your signal and determine if you need emergency services or if a designated caregiver can be contacted instead. Oftentimes, the operator will remain on the line with you until help arrives, which is a comforting feature for many seniors.
A medical alert pendant with cellular service can work at home and on the go. If it has GPS-tracking and location services, an operator or loved one can identify your exact location, even if you’re unable to do so. For many seniors, having the freedom to do things themselves contributes to a greater quality of life. If you opt for an at-home model, you will connect to the monitoring center via the base station. This station can work with an existing landline or cellular service. All base stations have a maximum range you must stay within for the medical alert pendant to work. In general, this range can be between 200-1,400 feet, depending on the system.
There are a lot of reasons to consider a medical alert pendant, but one of the biggest benefits these devices provide is peace of mind to the families, loved ones, and caregivers of older adults who choose to live independently. Plus, the medical alert pendants featured in this roundup are stylish and designed to dress up an outfit or make the device appear less like a medical alert help button. With that said, some people may prefer the traditional pendant that comes with a medical alert system. What makes a pendant a great purchase is that you can start with the basic design and then purchase a jewelry-type pendant later on if you desire.
Choosing the Best Medical Alert Pendant
- Medical alert pendants are worn around your neck. Sometimes, they can get caught on clothing or objects when you lean over. For this reason, consider lanyard length and pendant size before settling on a model. An adjustable lanyard will provide the most flexibility.
- As budget is an important deciding factor when choosing a medical alert system, compare the monthly monitoring fees for each. You can save a lot of money by going with a basic package over one with premium features. Several companies have add-ons that you can bundle at any time.
- In-home and mobile medical alert systems offer different features. If you need a medical alert pendant that you can wear when away from home, look for certain keywords in the device description, such as GPS, mobile, Wi-Fi, and cellular service. Those words will help point you to a pendant you can use on the go.
Best Medical Alert Pendants
Cost: $24.95 per month for In-Home Basic; $29.95 per month for GPS Help Button or SOS Smartwatch; $39.95 per month for a bundled plan of at-home and on-the-go systems
Equipment fee: $79 for GPS Help Button and $159 for SOS Smartwatch
Extra pendant fee: $25 per pendant or $90 for all four Bella Charms (one-time fee)
Fall detection: $10 per month
Bay Alarm Medical takes a traditional neck help button and turns it into a fashionable medical alert pendant with its Bella Charms line. The handcrafted charms clip to the back of the help button, allowing you to dress up your medical alert pendant for any occasion. Plus, there are four colors and styles to choose from, making this a great option for seniors looking for a more fashionable medical alert device. Each charm costs $25, or you can buy all four for $90. Having more than one style to choose from is one of the reasons we like the Bay Alarm Bella Charms. Another plus is that they are easy to swap out. Simply snap them onto the traditional pendant that comes with the system, and you’re ready to go.
It is important to note that you can only use the Bella Charms with the In The Home system. However, the company does have two mobile options—an on-the-go help button and the SOS Smartwatch—but they are not compatible with the Bella Charms. If you’re looking for complete coverage, you can opt for the bundle package, which allows you to bundle the In-Home system with the SOS Smartwatch or the GPS button. This also gives you access to the Bella Charms.
Another benefit of Bay Alarm Medical is the Splitsecnd® In-Car Alert. Even though it’s not part of the at-home or mobile medical alert pendant, it is a unique feature worth mentioning. This alert gives you 24/7 in-car monitoring with location tracking and automatic crash detection. It costs $24.95 per month for this add-on feature.
See Our Full Bay Alarm Medical Review.
Investing in a medical alert can be costly, so it’s nice to find a budget-friendly system. MobileHelp offers three in-home and two on-the-go medical alert systems, each with monthly monitoring fees starting as low as $19.95 and no equipment fees. That means you can get into a medical alert system for less than $20 per month.
The in-home systems connect to the monitoring center via cellular signal or landline, while the mobile systems use AT&T cellular service and GPS tracking. The MobileHelp at-home systems come with a standard neck or wrist pendant. However, you can dress it up with the TRELAWEAR add-on pendant.
The TRELAWEAR pendants are available in black onyx and come with a 30-inch length chain. The pendant case and necklace are offered in gold or silver finishes. Like other systems with jewelry upgrades, the TRELAWEAR pendant is what you see. The medical alert help button is concealed on the backside of the pendant. This stylish medical alert pendant is compatible with MobileHelp Cellular Base Station, MobileHelp Device, and Tablet Base Station. The pendant can connect to your system from up to 600 feet from the Mobile Device and Cellular Base Station, and up to 250 feet from the MobileHelp Touch. Also, it has a battery life of up to three years. However, it is not waterproof, so you will need to wear the traditional neck or wrist pendant when showering or bathing.
Cost: $39.95 per month for Mini and Mobile; $39.95 per month for the MGMove Watch.
Equipment fee: $124.95 one-time fee for Mini Guardian and Mobile 2.0
Extra pendant fee: $2.99 per month for Limitless Icons
Fall detection: $10 per month
Medical Guardian is a leader in the medical alert system industry. The company is known for providing a quality emergency response service with a variety of products for use both in-home and on the go, including two at-home systems and three mobile medical alert systems.
If you’re in the market for an at-home system, the Medical Guardian Home 2.0 is a great place to start. It features an interchangeable help button for the neck and the wrist, and it uses 4G LTE cellular service and Wi-Fi to connect to the monitoring center. No landline is required. If cell service is spotty where you live, you may want to opt for the Classic Guardian system that connects to the monitoring center via landline.
Both systems come with a traditional neck or wrist button, but you can dress up the neck help button with a jewelry-style pendant inspired by some of Hollywood’s greatest actresses, including Audrey Hepburn, Farrah Fawcett, Dolly Parton, and Tippi Hedren. The Limitless Icon Collection is Medical Guardian’s line of fashion-forward accessories for the medical alert pendant. All pendants are made with lightweight, hypoallergenic brass, and they are available in gold and silver finishes. The pendant colors depend on the actress: Audrey comes in black onyx and gold, Farrah in white mother of pearl and gold, Tippi in black onyx and silver, and Dolly in turquoise and silver.
Not only are the pendants gorgeous, but they cost only $2.99 per month. These jewelry-style pendants are compatible with the Home and Mobile Guardian plans. It’s important to note that the Limitless Icon pendants are not waterproof. If you need to shower or bathe while wearing a help button, you will need to swap out the jewelry pendant for the traditional pendant that comes with the system.
If you’re interested in having coverage while away from home, you can compare the costs and features of the Mini Guardian, Mobile Guardian, and MGMove Watch. All three wearable mobile devices come equipped with GPS tracking abilities, making them ideal for active seniors. However, only the Mobile Guardian 2.0 is comparable with the Limitless Collection—something to keep in mind if you want the stylish look of the jewelry-style pendant. The Mini Guardian and Mobile Guardian require a one-time equipment fee of $124.95. Finally, the MG Move is Medical Guardian’s newest device. It is a smartwatch device that also works as a help button. In addition to the monthly monitoring fee, the MG Move requires an upfront fee of $199.99.
See Our Full Medical Guardian Review.
LifeFone has several high-quality at-home and mobile medical alert systems available, including at-home landline and cellular systems, an at-home and on-the-go mobile unit, and a high-tech Voice-In-Pendant device. LifeFone has one medical alert pendant upgrade—the Vanity Pendant. This stylish jewelry pendant is oval-shaped and has pearl white, gold, and silver rings encircling it. The pendant comes with a gold chain.
Like other systems, the Vanity Pendant only works with the at-home landline and at-home cellular systems. This means if you want coverage while away from home, you’ll need to purchase the mobile system, too. The good news is that the Voice-In-Pendant (VIP) mobile systems from LifeFone are some of the best in the medical alert market. They are both GPS-enabled and work with either Verizon or AT&T to connect to the monitoring center. Plus, you can upgrade to the VIPx and get fall detection with the medical alert device.
The VIPx is one of the smallest and most lightweight mobile buttons, making it a great option for seniors looking for a discreet device. LifeFone’s monthly fees are on the higher end, so we advise pricing the plans to ensure they fit your budget.
See Our Full LifeFone Review.
Why Wear a Medical Alert Pendant?
If you’re new to medical alert systems, you might be wondering why you should wear a medical alert pendant. While your reasons may differ from those of someone else, in general, a medical alert pendant gives you an extra layer of protection if you live independently or spend time outside of your home. It also provides loved ones, caregivers, and family members peace of mind to know you have a way to reach out for help in case of an emergency. Some of the reasons to consider a medical alert pendant include:
- Seniors wishing to age in place
- Older adults living alone
- People with a history of falls, an unsteady gait, or weakness
- People recovering from surgery that impacts their mobility
- People experiencing side effects from medication that may impact balance and mobility
- People wanting peace of mind while on the go
Finding the right medical alert pendant to fit your budget, needs, and style might feel overwhelming at first, especially with so many options on the market today. However, purchasing a device you like and feel comfortable wearing is critical. After researching several medical alert pendants, we settled on four companies as top performers, including Bay Alarm Medical, MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, and LifeFone.
Seniors in the market for a stylish pendant will like the classy options from Bay Alarm Medical. However, if budget is a priority, you may want to consider MobileHelp. This company offers affordable monthly fees and only requires an upfront cost for the TRELAWEAR pendant. If variety tops your list of wants, then Medical Guardian is the way to go. The company has several plans and devices, and the Limitless Collection has four pendants available in gold and silver finishes that are compatible with at-home and mobile plans. Finally, seniors wanting a classy medical alert pendant that comes with a very generous home base unit range should check out LifeFone.
Remember, this roundup is just a starting point. You may want to do your own research and make a few phone calls to the customer service departments of each company to see how you’re treated. This is also a good time to ask specific questions that are not answered on the website. Also, consider reading online reviews from current and former customers. You can find medical alert pendant reviews on popular, trusted websites like the Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, Google Reviews, and Best Company.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pressing the help button on a medical alert pendant will connect you to an operator or dispatcher at the company’s monitoring center. This person will help you determine if you need an emergency responder or if a caregiver can be contacted instead. If the pendant has GPS tracking abilities, the operator will be able to see your exact location, even if you cannot identify it yourself.
A GPS, or global positioning system, allows emergency responders, caregivers, and monitoring center dispatchers a quick and easy way to identify your location anywhere there is a cellular connection. Not all medical alert pendants come GPS-enabled, so ask the customer service department if the pendant you’re considering has this feature.
If you have an in-home medical alert system that is connected to a base station, your medical alert pendant will work within the designated range. This range can vary between 200-1,400 feet from the base station. However, if you have a mobile medical alert pendant, it will work anywhere there is a cellular connection.
Yes, you can wear a standard medical alert pendant in the shower. Medical alert pendants are either water-resistant or waterproof. However, most jewelry-style pendants are not waterproof or water-resistant, so you will need to wear the standard help button when bathing. A water-resistant pendant can withstand a certain amount of dampness, but it cannot be totally submerged underwater for an extended period of time. A waterproof pendant is slightly more durable and able to go underwater. That said, you’ll want to know the maximum water depth and water exposure time limits regarding your pendant before submerging it.
According to the company’s website, the battery in a Bay Alarm pendant can last up to five years. The automatic fall detection pendant has a battery life of 12-24 months.
*Pricing accurate as of March 31, 2022.
Other Medical Alert Guides And Medical Alert Systems That We Have Reviewed
- Best Medical Alert Systems
- Best Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection
- Best Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
- Best Medical Alert Systems With No Monthly Fee
- Best Medical Alert Watches for 2022
- Best Medical Alert Bracelets for Seniors
- Best Medical Alert Systems with GPS
- Medical Guardian Review
- Aloe Care Health Review
- MobileHelp Review
- Bay Alarm Medical Review
- Medical Alert Review
- GreatCall Review
- LifeStation Review
- LifeFone Review
- Philips Lifeline Review
- MobileHelp Smart Review
- Alert1 Review
- ADT Medical Alert Review
- Apple Watch Medical Alert Review
- GreatCall Lively Mobile Reviews
- Rescue Alert Medical Alert Review
- Life Alert Review
Learn More About Medical Alert Systems
- Does AARP Cover Medical Alert Systems?
- Is a Medical Alert System Tax-Deductible?
- Medical Alert Systems Covered by Medicare
- Who Should Wear a Medical Alert System?
- Pros and Cons of a Medical Alert System from Wal-Mart
- What Is The Cost of Medical Alert Systems
- Medical Alert Jewelry Options
Sara Lindberg is a freelance writer specializing in health, fitness, senior care and nutrition. With a master’s in education and bachelor’s in exercise science, she has worked as a personal trainer and group exercise specialist for older adults. Her work has appeared in several national print and media publications. In her own life, caring for a parent with health issues has allowed her to see firsthand how critical it is for seniors and their families to have accurate, compassionate, and relatable information as they make decisions about aging in place.View Author
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