Brand Review: Brand: Life Alert Company: Life Alert Emergency Response Inc. Known by many through their radio and TV ads, Life Alert is a very popular emergency and medical alert system that seems to have developed a good following. The brand has iconic ads and a basic package for their home medical alert systems that allow them to provide the services needed as well as more advanced packages for those who need more assistance. The system has a little higher price tag but offers a good service for their users. Our review: Reliability: Life Alert utilizes an onsite dispatch center which boasts twice as many medical alert service dispatchers per member as other alarm companies. If something happens to you they also stay right on the line until the emergency is over, get in touch with the emergency services team with your medical history and notify your family of what’s going on so you don’t have to worry about anything or worry about being alone. The service is UL and CSAA 5-Diamond certified to a high standard and quality. Even more, they are the only company endorsed by the Former U.S. Surgeon General, Everett Koop. The company behind the Life Alert service itself boasts that it saves over 46,000 lives from catastrophe per year, averaging approximately one life every 11 minutes. With catastrophes categorized as any time an individual activates the button with an emergency where they are alone and cannot get to the phone, there are definitely plenty of situations that Life Alert has averted. They also claim a total of over 2 million calls each year for a variety of different reasons. A study in 2004, by ACNielsen, even showed that as many as 87% of users attest that having their Life Alert protection is the most important or at least an important feature in them staying in their own home by themselves. Available throughout the country, the company offers a total of eight different offices that are located on both the east and west coast. This allows Life Alert to quickly and easily respond to concerns in a variety of different areas and to remain a more local business for those who use it. In business for over 30 years, Life Alert has been the face of home alert systems for many years. They were one of the first available and have become nearly synonymous with the field, claiming approximately 150,000 monthly users.They advertise thousands of reviews and testimonials from users as well as those who have had emergency situations that Life Alert has responded to. These include anything from slips and falls to home intrusion, shower emergencies or even emergencies that occur while they are on the go. Our rating:10 out of 10 Hardware, Features, and Services Hardware: So, just what are you going to get for your money? Let’s talk hardware first. You will get an in-home base unit which serves as the console for everything else that goes along with the system. The console itself has a speakerphone so you can communicate easily with the agents on the other end, without needing to pick up a phone. The device itself projects everything that you need to hear and you’ll be able to communicate back at the same time, which is definitely important if you have an injury or a fall and you need help right away. The system also comes with a wristband or necklace that you can wear, keeping you connected to the base when you’re moving about your house. These devices only work when you are within your own home, however, as they must be within signal reach of the base (maximum 800 feet). The response team will be dispatched only to the address and not to a specific location in the home. If you are going to be traveling there is a separate mobile pendant available if you request assistance. These use cellular phone coverage and GPS to help you get the help that you need exactly where you need it. You also don’t need to charge the portable unitsas the battery will last up to 10 years so you don’t have to worry about being away from home and having to set up your base again or take it with you. Another benefit is that the button itself is waterproof so you don’t need to worry about it when you’re taking a shower or when you’re out somewhere that it might get wet. You can get an exclusive shower help button as well, which will stay in your shower and provide you with immediate assistance if you find yourself injured or if you fall and need help. One wristband or necklace comes with the system, and the other pendants, as well as the shower button or a second button for another member of your household are available at an extra cost. In case of a lost pendant, they can be purchased individually as replacements as well. Features and Services: One of the benefits of this system is that the base system works as a speakerphone so that it’s entirely hands-free. If you have an emergency you have a help button right on the wearable device that will immediately contact the emergency response team to make sure that you are okay or to get you the help that you need. They communicate immediately with 911 and your family, as needed, to make sure that you get help and to keep everyone knowledgeable about what’s going on. The Life Alert system itself has several plans that provide different on the go options as well as the basic packages that offer services. Add on’s can also cost extra. In case of a loss of power, the base and system have a backup power supply that provides up to 72 hours of continuous monitoring, which will allow you to reach the help center if you have an emergency. After this time, Life Alert needs some type of power connection or the base will no longer be operational. If you have another person living in your home you can purchase a second button for them at the same price as the first, but there is no additional monthly fee. This makes it a good choice for seniors who live with a spouse, significant other or elderly friend who also might need the ease of an emergency button. For an additional cost, you are also able to get a carbon monoxide and fire/smoke monitoring system. This system monitors the air in the home and determines when there is potential danger. It will then send an alert to a call center dispatcher who will then respond immediately to determine the threat, making sure you are safe and alerting emergency services as needed. A burglar or home intrusion alarm is also available which provides audio monitoring and connection to a security dispatcher by pressing a separate help button. They will be able to use the system as a speakerphone (which may aid in scaring the intruder away), record information occurring in the home and contact police. They also stay on the line until you feel safe. If you’re interested in additional tools to help you feel safe, a 911 phone is available which connects you directly at the press of just one button. There is also a cell phone for Life Alert which provides you with a feature phone or smartphone and allows you to use it as you like or to contact Life Alert emergency services. Our rating: 6 out of 10 Technical support and Transparency: Technical support: If you have any kind of difficulty with the unit or the service you can contact their customer support team at any time, 24/7. You will be able to get support directly and can send in devices that are not working for repair. Repairs are done at a service center, but new units will be sent out quickly. A non-working unit will be replaced with free shipping. If a pendant is lost the customer must pay the $49.95 to replace it. Installation is required, which can be a benefit in that you can get any questions answered as needed and you don’t have to worry about mistakes with the process. Unfortunately, you must pay extra for installation services. These can be quite expensive, with some saying they have paid over $200 just to have the device installed in their home. Transparency: When it comes to any kind of service you want to know what they have to offer, how much it’s going to cost and a whole lot more. You want to make sure that you get what you’re paying for. Life Alert provides a lot of information about their services and about the capabilities that they have, but when it comes to things like pricing Life Alert makes things a lot more difficult. Much of the basic information is available directly on their website, but if you’re looking for those prices, you’re definitely going to need to give them a call to get the information. That’s not always something you want to do when you’re still in the research phase of deciding what you want, especially since many have reported receiving a lot of sales calls after they called Life Alert even once. Our rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: Overall, most people seem to be satisfied with the quality of the service and the ability to get help when they need it. A lot of services are add-on and there are a lot of costs involved in getting set up including installation and the equipment. Customers aren’t always happy about the 3-year contract or the fact that there is no fall detection available with Life Alert at any of their plan levels. Instead, the system requires the individual to physically press the button if and when they need assistance, which can be difficult for seniors who might suffer seizures or unconsciousness where they are incapable of pressing the button themselves. Richard of Cleveland, OH Verified Reviewer Original review: March 29, 2017 My father lives alone and he fell in the house. He pressed his Life Alert pendant and Life Alert called myself and my sister who are on the call list. The ambulance arrived and he was taken to the hospital. Life Alert notified us each step of the way—which was great since it took me some time to get to the hospital. Mary of North Liberty, INVerified Reviewer Original review: March 20, 2017 I woke up about 4:15 to 4:30am to go to the bathroom. My phone was too far from my bed. My arms and legs were limp I couldn’t even hold on to my walker. I didn’t want to fall. So, I pushed my Life Alert button. EMTs were here very quickly! My sugar was very low! EMTs gave liquid glucose; it helped. I found out later I had infection. I live alone. Life Alert saved my life. It has paid for itself! Our rating: 5 out of 10 Costs: The cost of any service is going to be important so you know what you’re getting into. You want to make sure that you are paying for a service that you want and not for additional services that you might not want. With Life Alert, you’re going to pay for the individual unit as well as for installation and for the monthly service. You will also be required to sign a contract which creates a 3-year commitment to the company. This contract is standard and required of everyone who signs up for the system. The only way out of this contract is by meeting certain very strict regulations, such as moving into a nursing facility. If you decide to sign up for Life Alert the installation costs run between $100 and $200 or more, with quotes being different in different locations and for different services. There are also fees for additional services that you might want and you will have very basic capabilities without these add-ons or higher packages. There is a discount for adding devices to your primary device, which means that a spouse or other individual in the home would be able to purchase the device and then would need no additional monthly cost. Life Alert Basic: $49.95/month Equipment and installation: $95–$198, one-time fee Cellular network: $10/month If you want to get additional services you’ll need to purchase one of the higher priced plans that are also available. These plans include things like an on the go button or a shower button which can be used for immediate assistance in the shower. It also includes things like the home intrusion system, which allows you to reach security dispatchers in case of an emergency or break-in at your home. The high cost of the system and the cost required to access a cellular network as well as get equipment and installation makes it a little over the budget of some seniors. The requirement for a 3-year contract and the difficulty in getting out of that contract may not be that easy for some, which is something important that you will want to take a look at. Our rating: 7 out of 10 Overall rating: Overall, Life Alert seems to be a somewhat average option for those who want a home alarm system and are able to pay a little higher price for the service and add-on features. 7.2 out of 10.