2017’s Best In-Home Medical
Alert Providers

An in-home medical alert system is an emergency communication system that works exclusively inside your home.
2017’s Best Mobile GPS
ALERT Providers

A mobile GPS alert system is meant for the active senior or user that’s frequently out and away from home.
2017’s Best Automatic
Fall Detection Providers

Automatic fall detection technology calls for help without the need for the user to push their help button.

Automatic Fall Detection Systems / Medical Alert Reviews

Florence Henderson, senior safety advocate for Medical Guardian, fall detection systemUpdated 11/28/2016

Automatic Fall Detection Systems has been one of the most talked about senior care devices in the last 5 years. The concept is genius and allows a user to get help even if they’re knocked unconscious after a fall.

Most mainstream medical life alert providers now offer some type of automatic fall detection add-on with their service offerings. If you prefer the GPS route, many mobile help buttons now have fall detection built-in and ready to go.

While the concept of automatic fall is sound, it’s our job here at InHomeSafetyGuide to educate our users of the pros and cons. Although the theory is sound, there are a few drawbacks that should be mentioned.

If you do decide that an automatic fall detection system is right for you, here are five factors that you should look for prior to purchasing.

  1. Buying Experience

medical-guardian-buying-experience-call-monitoring-center-300x200All of our medical alert system reviews starts with the buying experience, and automatic fall detection systems should be treated no different. As we mentioned in our in-home medical alert systems buyer’s guide, be cautious when talking to the sales staff and never accept heavy-handed sales tactics.

InHomeSafetyGuide Top Tip!

Automatic fall detection systems, although great in theory, will never be 100% accurate. We’ll discuss this in detail below in the equipment section.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • Automatic fall detection systems aren’t 100% accurate. If a sales rep tells you it is, hang up and look elsewhere
  • Look for a sales rep that asks you questions about your lifestyle (e.g., how active are you?, do you exercise or move around often?, have you suffered a recent fall?, etc.) Questions like these usually mean that the sales person is really trying to see if you actually need fall detection.
  • Overall friendliness of staff

  1. Equipment

Premium Guardian with fall detection, reviews on Automatic Fall Detection SystemsAutomatic fall detection systems have sensors inside the button that’s triggered by unusual and erratic movement. The technology has improved greatly over the years and with new advancements in accelerometers, gyros, and software, the sensors are only going to get better.

Having said that, the technology still isn’t 100% accurate. False alarms can still happen during daily routines like sitting or walking down the stairs and there’s also a possibility that the button doesn’t activate during a real fall.

If you or your loved one is looking for a medical alert system, chances are high that they’ve already fallen or had some type of accident not too long ago. If this is this case, having an automatic fall detection system may be a good idea. Medical alert systems should be treated as inexpensive insurance policies and an automatic fall detection system is like an umbrella policy to that plan.

Top 3 things to look for

  • Go with a company that has a long-enough trial period so you can test the system. At least 14 days from the day the unit arrives to your doorstep is usually sufficient time to test
  • Automatic fall detection systems work best when worn on the person at all times. Make sure the wristband, pendant or GPS device is comfortable enough for everyday use
  • Make sure to test battery life and water resistance

  1. Pricing & Value

Price & Value for Automatic Fall Detection Systems, Medical Alert ReviewsA medical alert system with automatic fall detection will always be a bit more expensive than a system without. The added costs are usually around $10-$20 extra per month. Overtime this will add up, but it’s still much less expensive than the alternative: ambulances, hospital stays, and costly medical bills.

Similar to our in-Home medical life alert buyer’s guide, look for companies that offer a variety of pricing options. Most importantly, regardless of how much they charge, make sure they’re absolutely 100% upfront with their pricing, terms, and refund/cancellation policies.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • A variety of pricing options
  • Simple, easy to understand terms and conditions
  • No hidden fees or contracts (easy refund and cancellation policies = customer satisfaction guarantee)

  1. Customer Service

Customer Service for Automatic Fall Detection Systems, Medical Alert ReviewsIt goes without saying that customer service is tremendously important in the medical alert industry – especially when we’re dealing with seniors. This is usually the x-factor that separates the best companies from the rest.

And don’t confuse customer service with buying experience. It’s easy to be friendly and charming during a sales call, but a company’s true character is during a customer service call when you’re no longer expected to buy anything.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • During your trial period, call the provider’s customer service center and have a representative walk you through the installation process and anything that you may have an issue with. Don’t be afraid to test a company’s patience
  • Willingness to help with difficult problems
  • Long customer service hold times

  1. Reputation

Conversation with Geoff Gross - CEO of Medical GuardianWe’d like to think that we’re the best medical alert review site on the Internet (and we hope you do too). Still with any buying decision, we recommend that you look for reviews, testimonials and buying experiences from existing and past customers.

Customers will talk about different aspects of a company so look for a variety of comments about the service, billing, response times, buying experience, and especially when you need to cancel service.

At the end of the day, companies are made up of humans and it’s completely natural from time to time to make mistakes. It’s how a company responds to these mistakes that truly matter.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • Too many negative complaints
  • An unnatural amount of positive comments
  • How easy it is for a customer to submit medical alert reviews

In addition to the above tips, we’ve researched the best medical alert system providers in the nation and have organized them based on equipment type (in-home, gps, fall detection).

2017’s Best In-Home Medical
Alert Providers

An in-home medical alert system is an emergency communication system that works exclusively inside your home.
2017’s Best Mobile GPS
Alert Providers

A mobile GPS alert system is an emergency communication system that works in or outside the home.
2017’s Best Automatic
Fall Detection Providers

Automatic fall detection is technology that detects when a fall occurs and is included in an in-home medical alert system or a mobile GPS alert system.

Top Ten FAQs – Fall Detection Alert Systems

Q1: How does automatic fall detection actually work?

A: Automatic fall detection pendants are quite sophisticated. Advancements in accelerometers, gyros, and software have made it possible for a small, portable pendant to detect an actual fall and alert emergency services.

The technology is advanced enough to know the difference between many different kinds of movements. For example, the pendant knows if you’re laying or sitting down, or if the abrupt movement is the result of a fall. With an automatic fall detection pendant, you don’t have to worry about speaking with an emergency representative every time you sit down to watch your favorite TV show.

One of the newest features is movement monitoring. Not only does the pendant register if there’s been a fall, but it will continue to monitor your movements for up to 30 seconds afterward. If no additional movement is detected, it is assumed that you’re in need of assistance and the call is placed. If additional movements are detected, it’s assumed that all is well and no call is needed. This prevents false alarms if you drop or accidentally bang your pendant on the edge of the counter.

Q2: How much does automatic fall detection cost?

A: Cost is always an important consideration, no matter what kind of features you want to add to a medical alert system plan. Fortunately, fall detection is pretty affordable.

In most cases, the addition of fall detection will only set you back about $10 to $20 per month. Although that can definitely add up over the cost of the year, it’s nothing compared to the steep fees you’d pay in hospital stays or nursing home visits.

Q3: If I fall and I’m able, should I push the button?

A: The beauty of automatic fall detection is that a call is placed in an emergency, whether or not you push the button. There are fewer and fewer false alarms as the technology gets more sophisticated, but no fall detection pendant is 100% accurate. Not only might the pendant register a fall when there wasn’t one, the possibility also exists that it won’t register a fall when you really need help.

You should always push the button if you’re able. This ensures that you’re connected with an emergency representative. Consider the automatic fall detection mechanism a backup for if you’re unable to push the button.

Q4: What happens if I fall and I’m unable to push the button?

A: If you fall and are knocked unconscious, or if you’re unable to push the button for any other reason, the pendant will register the activity and contact emergency services. Although the pendants aren’t 100% accurate, they are very good at detecting real emergency situations.

When emergency services are notified, they will likely get in touch with you on the base unit to see if you require assistance. If you’re able, talk to the representative. If you are unconscious, the representative will assume that you’re experiencing an emergency and send medical professionals to your location right away.

Q5: What kind of automatic fall detection equipment is available?

A: Automatic fall detection pendants vary very little in appearance. They are all relatively small and lightly colored with a large dark colored button. Fall detection pendants are always worn around the neck. A wrist pendant wouldn’t be accurate since your arms are much more active that your actual body.

If you’re not a big fan of the way the pendant looks, consider jazzing it up with a decorative lanyard. Some seniors even prefer to wear the pendant under their shirts to keep it concealed.

Q6: Do I have to have a traditional in-home unit in order to have automatic fall detection?

A: There are many options when it comes to medical alert systems. Gone are the days of having to have a traditional in-home unit to get the benefits of an automatic fall detection pendant.

You can definitely choose a landline unit, but cellular in-home units are also available. If you’d like automatic fall detection protection wherever you go, consider a GPS unit. Some of these devices have automatic fall detection built right in.

Q7: Do you have to purchase the automatic fall detection equipment, or do you lease it?

A: There are lots of options when it comes to medical alert equipment, and fall detection equipment is no different. In some cases, you simply lease the equipment. Providers are usually willing to replace the batteries for free when necessary, but you may notice that monthly fees are a bit higher.

Other providers prefer to sell the equipment to you, which means you’ll enjoy a lower monthly fee. However, you will be required to maintain the unit yourself. If it ever needs to be replaced, you’ll have to purchase another one.

One option is not necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to what you’re most comfortable with.

Q8: What’s the range of an automatic fall detection with an in-home medical alert system?

A: Automatic fall detection is no good if you fall while you’re out of range! Unfortunately, this question is a bit difficult to answer because each system (that’s specific for in-home use) has its own range of operation.

The best in-home medical alert systems with fall detection offer a coverage range of at least 1,000 feet, which means you’re protected even if you fall down in the yard. However, it’s all about making sure the range covers your entire property. If you can get away with a smaller coverage area, you may find that another provider is a better option for you.

If you’re really worried about the coverage range, consider a device with GPS capabilities. These devices work anywhere, which means you’re protected both inside and outside your home.

Q9: How do I know if I need automatic fall detection?

A: If you’re asking, chances are, you could benefit from automatic fall detection!

If you’ve fallen in the past, you should definitely look into automatic fall detection. If you haven’t fallen, you may want to consider automatic fall detection just for your peace of mind.

Speaking with a doctor can help too. They can help you determine your likelihood of a fall, and exactly how long it might take you to recover if you do experience a fall.

Q10: What other equipment is included in an automatic fall detection system?

A: The equipment varies depending on the particular system you choose. If you don’t want the hassle of dealing with a lot of equipment, consider a GPS unit. Some of these units are all-in-one, so you don’t have to worry about separate pendants and in-home base stations.

If you’re looking for a more traditional system, you’ll end up with an in-home base unit and at least one fall detection pendant. Most providers will allow you to add additional pendants to your plan. Some even provide additional pendants for free, but additional fall detection pendants are likely to cost extra.

You also have the choice of adding other equipment to your plan. Lockboxes, voice extenders, medication dispensers, and even smoke and CO2 detectors are often available for an additional fee.