We may receive a commission if you click certain product links below. This helps support our independent testing and research to provide free, unbiased product and service reviews for our readers. Learn More about our ad policies.

Written by
Updated onJun. 27, 2022

UnaliWear Review: A Medical Alert Watch With Fall Detection

Key Takeaways

  • UnaliWear’s Kanega Watch is the only medical alert smartwatch with built-in fall detection that connects to a 24/7 emergency monitoring center. 
  • The monthly monitoring fee is $59.95 (annual plan) or $69.95 (quarterly plan), with a one-time set-up fee of $199 (annual plan) or $299 (quarterly plan). 
  • Older adults who are housebound or need frequent supervision may not be a good fit for the Kanega Watch, as it doesn’t include GPS tracking or other communication tools for caregivers. 
  • There’s no setup required; the watch is ready to wear right out of the box.
senior woman exercising

Mobile medical alert systems are compact and lightweight compared to earlier models (some barely weigh more than two AA batteries). Many popular brands, like Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian, have even added a smart watch to their medical alert system lineup. 

These discreet watches connect the wearer to a 24/7 monitoring center during an emergency via voice command or a button. For many, wearing a medical alert watch lessens the stigma often felt when wearing an obvious lanyard or clip-on button. Unfortunately, most medical alert smartwatches don’t offer fall detection—a crucial safety feature since falls were the cause of more than 34,000 deaths in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

“It’s fairly straightforward: a good fall detection system may help save lives,” Jenny Sanford, an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Caregiving Coach in New York City explained. 

The Kanega Watch by UnaliWear is the only medical alert system watch with fall detection that connects to a 24/7 emergency monitoring center. 

Annual plan cost: $199 one-time set-up fee and $59.95 monthly monitoring fee

Quarterly plan: $299 one-time set-up fee and $69.95 monthly monitoring fee

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Verizon cellular network, and GPS 

Coverage range: Throughout the U.S.

Bluetooth compatible: Yes  

Fall detection: Yes, and it’s included in the monthly cost

Warranty: 30-day money-back guarantee trial period and one-year warranty 

Top features
  1. Artificial intelligence (AI) fall detection technology learns your movements, continuously reducing false fall alerts
  2. Multiple rechargeable batteries allow you to wear the watch at all times—even when it’s charging
  3. The watch connects to both Wi-Fi and cellular service—if one goes out or has poor reception, the other one kicks in

Kanega Watch Pros and Cons

Pros
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • The Monitoring Association (TMA) Five Diamond Certified monitoring center

  • White-on-black screen is easy to read, especially for users with with low vision, macular degeneration, or glaucoma

  • Medication reminders available

Cons
  • Monthly monitoring fee ($59.95–$69.95) and one-time set-up fee ($199–$299) are more expensive than most mobile medical alert systems

  • Caregiver tracking and monitoring tools not available

UnaliWear Kanega Watch Overview

UnaliWear’s founder, Jean Anne Booth, was motivated by her aging mom to create an attractive medical alert system that her mom would actually want to wear. She ran every design and feature by her mom so that the Kanega Watch would be as wearer-friendly and helpful as possible in the real world. The Kanega Watch is a simple, discreet watch that connects to a 24/7 emergency monitoring center without looking like a bulky personal emergency response system.

Richard Hirsch, Chief Marketing Officer of UnaliWear, explained to us that the Kanega Watch is connected to the Cloud, so the company is able to accurately report how often users are wearing their watches for constant protection. According to Hirsch, “Almost 90% of our wearers are wearing their watch every day…a vast majority of those people are never taking their watch off.” 

The Kanega Watch is a sleek, black watch with accent colors available in black, champagne gold, and rose gold. You can contact the 24/7, U.S.-based monitoring center from your watch using three different methods: voice command, a button, or if the fall detection is triggered. 

UnaliWear encourages users to contact the monitoring center for both big and small issues. From major medical emergencies to accidentally getting locked outside of your home, monitoring center agents are ready to help. The agent will either dispatch emergency services to your location, reach out to your personal emergency contact list, or do both, depending on the situation. 

The Kanega Watch is best for active older adults or those with an increased chance of falling due to a medical issue. If your loved one is homebound or needs more intensive supervision, a standard at-home medical alert system may be more fitting.

The Kanega Watch is best for active older adults or those with an increased chance of falling due to a medical issue. If your loved one is homebound or needs more intensive supervision, a standard at-home medical alert system may be more fitting.

Our team rates MobileHelp’s at-home medical alert systems as some of the best in the industry.

Older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia who are prone to wandering may not be the best fit for the Kanega Watch since it doesn’t have GPS monitoring or tracking tools for caregivers. While the watch does have GPS capabilities, your location can only be seen when you contact the monitoring center for emergency dispatch services.

pill

Features of the Kanega Watch

Fall Detection

Automatic fall detection is one of the Kanega Watch’s most impressive features. The only other device to offer fall detection that can be worn on the wrist is the Apple Watch. However, unlike the Apple Watch, the Kanega Watch connects to an emergency monitoring center when fall detection is activated—not 911.

Most medical alert smartwatches and wrist pendants don’t include automatic fall detection due to false alarms caused by day-to-day arm and body movements. So why would the Kanega Watch be any different? The watch uses AI technology to actively learn what is—and isn’t—a fall for each wearer.

According to Hirsch, UnaliWear’s fall detection algorithm is unique from other medical alert systems that use set, static algorithms to detect falls. “Because our device is connected to the Cloud, we are constantly updating our algorithm with real fall data,” he explained. 

If the watch suspects a movement is a fall, it will ask for confirmation by posting the words “Is this a fall?” on the watch screen, and then you’ll be able to confirm or deny. The watch stores this information to improve fall detection and to help it learn your unique movements. The watch will automatically connect to the monitoring center if you don’t respond to the fall detection prompt. An agent will try to speak to you through the watch, but if you’re unresponsive, they’ll dispatch emergency services to your location.

Voice Control

The Kanega Watch uses voice control instead of a standard smartwatch touchscreen. Like Alexa, Siri, and other voice-activated devices, the Kanega Watch also has a name: Fred Astaire. You’ll activate voice command by saying “Fred Astaire”, followed by one of the four voice commands: 

  • Get help
  • Call the operator 
  • What day is it? 
  • What time is it?

The Kanega Watch’s voice control and simple black-and-white screen are two key design features that make it easier for older adults to use it.

Wi-Fi and Cellular Connectivity

The Kanega Watch can connect to both Wi-Fi and cellular service for complete coverage. If one goes out or has poor reception, then the other one kicks in to keep the watch connected to the monitoring center at all times. 

Some medical alert systems only use cellular connectivity, which means that if your home has poor cell service, you’re not getting full protection.

Quick-Swap, Rechargeable Batteries

Most wearable medical alert systems are taken off at night to charge or are too uncomfortable to sleep in, but the Kanega Watch is designed to be worn at all times so there’s no lapse in protection. The watch comes with a battery charger and four rechargeable batteries. When the two batteries powering the watch need to be charged, you just switch them with the two charged batteries.

You’ll get a message on your watch screen to alert you when it’s time to change the batteries. The batteries snap in and out of place on the band and don’t require any tools to change them out.

No Setup Required

Each Kanega Watch includes a “white glove” onboarding experience. We confirmed with a live chat agent that your Wi-Fi and emergency contacts are already programmed into the watch when you receive it. All you have to do is charge the batteries and put them in, and your watch is ready to wear.

How Much Does the Kanega Watch Cost?

The Kanega Watch has a one-time set-up fee and a monthly monitoring fee. The exact cost will depend on whether you choose the quarterly or annual plan:

  • Quarterly plan: $299 set-up fee plus $69.95 monthly monitoring fee 
  • Annual plan: $199 set-up fee plus $59.95 monthly monitoring fee 

The equipment and monthly monitoring fees for the Kanega Watch are more expensive than those of other popular medical alert watch brands, like Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical, and Lively, which have equipment fees that range from $49–$199.95 and monthly monitoring fees that fall between $24.99–$39.99. While these brands´ prices may be lower compared to the cost of the Kanega Watch, Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical, and Lively don’t offer fall detection.

You’ll receive a full refund if you return your watch within the 30-day free trial period, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. We confirmed with a live chat agent that you’ll receive a prorated refund when you return your watch after the trial period. You’re also protected by being “locked in” to your original monthly rate—if the monthly monitoring fee goes up, you’ll still pay the same rate you did when you first purchased your watch.

Discounts Available

UnaliWear offers a free month of service for every 12 months if you qualify for one of the following discounts: 

  • Two people with a Kanega Watch living in the same household 
  • Active duty military, veterans, and their family members
  • AARP members

There’s also a referral program that rewards both the referred customer and the current customer with a free month of service. 

Like all medical alert systems, the Kanega Watch isn’t covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). If you have Medicare Part C, the cost of your watch may be fully or partially covered. Check with your plan provider to make sure you know exactly what is—and isn´t—covered. 

What Customers Are Saying About the UnaliWear’s Kanega Watch

Smile

UnaliWear has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with a high customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Many positive reviews cite how easy UnaliWear´s watch is to use, and also praise the company’s excellent customer service.  

“After researching personal medical alert devices, my daughter and I selected the Kanega device. When the device itself and the batteries and charger arrived, we worked with customer service to initiate options and run tests with operators to make sure all was in order. I appreciate that I am encouraged to make a test monthly of the “help” call and have the operator ensure that all is well…The operators and representatives are well-informed and kind; they offer to do research or to provide another resource if they are unable to address an issue immediately. Calls back are timely and appreciated. Congratulations, UnaliWear, on a fine product and great personnel!”

– Carol S.

“I’m a very proud owner of Kanega Watch, you people are awesome, I lost mine and you tracked it down!!! You knew exactly where and when it was lost. Thank you very much! You deserve 5 stars and more. I was lost without my watch. Thank you!”

— Sherry K.

You can even speak with a customer about their firsthand experience with the Kanega Watch from UnaliWear. The company’s online form has an option to indicate if you’d like to be contacted by a current customer.  

There was only one single-star review (seen below) for the Kanega Watch on the Better Business Bureau´s website. The company responded and apologized that the customer had so many issues, and even issued a full refund.

“The Kanega Watch is a great idea, but unfortunately it has several flaws that make it a poor product. The watch band broke while trying to attach battery. Customer Service told us they would restart the 30 day trial period and send a new watch. After a short time, there was a battery issue that had to be replaced, and then battery would not attach to band. Company only returned partial refund for this faulty medical alert device although it was continually unuseable during the trial period.”

– Doris H.

Bottom Line

The Kanega Watch by UnaliWear is the only medical alert watch with automatic fall detection that connects to a 24/7 emergency monitoring center. The fall detection technology is constantly updated with real fall data that allows it to learn your movement patterns to help prevent fewer false alarms. 

We like the watch’s simple black and white screen, medication reminders, and quick-swap rechargeable batteries. However, the Kanega Watch may not be the best fit for older adults who need more supervision or are more likely to wander since there are no active GPS tracking or caregiver tools.

Why You Can Trust Our 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 the Kanega Watch and other medical alert systems: 

  • 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

UnaliWear’s Kanega Watch has voice activation and a call button you can use to contact the company´s five-star emergency response center. If you fall and cannot m

*Pricing accurate as of June 10, 2022.