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Life Alert vs. Medical Alert: Which System Will Keep You Safest?

Last Updated: January 27, 2022

There may come a time when you realize that you or your loved one are at a heightened risk for falls or medical emergencies. This can bring you to a crossroads: should you consider an assisted living facility, or is there a way to age in place safely?

The best medical alert systems enable people to remain in their homes, by providing instant access to help at the push of a button. With a medical alert system, you can reach help even if a phone is not nearby. Medical alert systems also provide on-the-go options for active folks. Some include fall protection, a key feature.

You may be considering two well-known medical alert systems, Life Alert versus Medical Alert. Both companies are well established and have been helping keep people safe at home for many years.

There are some very significant differences between the services provided by Medical Alert and Life Alert. Read on to learn all about the systems these companies offer, including costs, features, and more.

In-Home System + Help Button

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In-Home System + Help Button + GPS System

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Life Alert has one system that can be purchased as a standalone or with added GPS tracking.

If you don’t purchase GPS for outdoor protection, your package will include:

  • A base unit that can be operated through a landline or cellular service
  • A wearable help button that can be worn in a pendant or wristband
  • A waterproof wall button

If you add on GPS tracking for outdoor use, you will also get:

  • A mobile GPS unit that is about the size of a travel-size bar of soap

The base unit can be run through a landline, or through Life Alert’s cellular service. The at-home help button can be popped into a necklace or wristband. It has an 800 feet range and a 10-year battery life.

The waterproof wall button can be placed in the bathroom or in any room where you think it might be needed.

The GPS tracking unit can be worn or carried.

Home System

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You can connect Medical Alert’s home system through your landline or through AT&T cellular service. The base unit is plug-and-play, and it doesn’t require professional installation. Just plug it into an electrical outlet. If you run your system through a landline, it will need to be connected to a phone jack. The base system has a 30-hour backup battery that will keep you connected if you lose power.

The home system comes with a help button that can be popped into a pendant or watch. The help button has an 800-foot range, about the length of two and a half football fields. The help buttons are waterproof and can be worn while showering.

This system includes access to the Medical Alert Connect Mobile app. Through the app, you can contact support, manage your contact list, and test your system.

You can add fall detection to your system for an additional $10 monthly. If you choose annual billing, a free month, lock box, and protection plan will be included in your package.

Mobile System

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The Mobile system will work anywhere that AT&T cellular coverage is available. The package comes with:

  • A handheld mobile device
  • A waterproof help button
  • A pendant or watch
  • A carrying pouch
  • A charging cradle
  • A power cord
  • A medical information card

You can add fall detection to the mobile system for an additional $10 monthly.

The mobile system includes access to the Medical Alert Connect Mobile app. Through the app, you can contact support, manage your contact list, and test your system.


Cathy, Life Alert call specialist. Telephone interview. December 17, 2021

Facts about falls. (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html

Fainting. (n.d.). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21699-fainting

Garrett, Medical Alert call specialist. Telephone interview. December 17, 2021

Losing your English: ‘reverting’ to your mother tongue as dementia progresses. (n.d.). https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementia-together-magazine/june-july-2019/losing-your-english-reverting-your-mother-tongue-dementia

Nancy, Medical Alert call operator. Telephone interview. December 18, 2021.

Yoshida, S. A global report on falls prevention epidemiology of falls. (n.d.). https://www.who.int/ageing/projects/1.Epidemiology%20of%20falls%20in%20older%20age.pdf

Author:Corey Whelan