The potential negative effects of falling for seniors are compounded when living alone; if there is nobody nearby to help you, a simple fall can be very dangerous.
There are many products designed to help seniors live on their own without facing these types of risks, the most common among them being medical alert necklaces. These simple devices can potentially save your life, so take a few moments to learn the best medical alert necklaces for seniors in our complete guide!
What is a Wearable Medical Alert Necklace?
Medical alert necklaces are a type of wearable technology that provide seniors an added layer of safety when they are alone. If a senior falls and cannot reach their phone, a simple accident can turn into something far worse. Approximately 25% of seniors fall each year, and many of those falls turn fatal.
The reality is that many of those fatalities could likely have been avoided if the victim had the ability to call for help. That’s exactly what a medical alert necklace does: it gives seniors a way to get medical assistance when they need it most.
How Does a Wearable Medical Alert Necklace Work?
These necklaces use Global Positioning Systems (GPS), cellular networks, and two-way voice functions to put you in touch with a 911 dispatcher and give them a precise location when you press the SOS button.
Many necklaces also have accelerometers - sensors that can detect tiny changes in motion. These sensors can detect falls, triggering an automatic dial out to a 911 dispatcher to bring help.
Key to the functionality of most necklaces is a 4G cellular connection. This connection is what allows the device to contact emergency services and notify loved ones, as well as a key part of locating you when you need help. Unfortunately, this also means that most necklaces also require a monthly subscription to a data plan.
Pros and Cons of Wearable Medical Alert Necklaces
The Best Medical Alert Necklaces of 2021
1. Best Wearable Medical Alert Necklace (Overall): Medical Guardian Mini 4G
Medical Guardian is one of the most popular makers of these devices, and the Guardian Mini is an excellent and affordably-priced alert necklace that can meet just about any need. It uses GPS, 4G LTE, and WiFi (when available) to provide a precise location to EMS dispatchers whenever you need assistance.
The battery lasts for up to five days, letting you go anywhere you choose- even on weekend trips- without worrying about losing your protection. The Guardian Mini also has a fall detection sensor, automatically calling 911 when you fall.
This necklace has all of the features you could want from a necklace but packed inside a smaller and less noticeable device. It’s small, effective, and a potential life-saver. No matter what your living situation is, you can benefit from the Medical Guardian Mini 4G necklace!
2. Best Medical Alert Necklace for Home Use: 321 Alert Home Medical Alert System (No Monthly Fees)
What’s better than a medical alert device that doesn’t have any ongoing monthly costs? This home-based alert system plugs directly into your landline and has both a wristband and necklace with a 300-foot range.
No matter where you are in your house, help is only a button-press away when you need it. While it won’t be much use to people who like to be outside exercising, shopping, or visiting with friends, it’s a great way for the homebodies out there to be safe and protected at all times.
The upfront cost (roughly $110) of this necklace is similar to the upfront cost of other necklaces, but it’s the only cost. Without ongoing fees, this necklace easily becomes one of the most (if not the most) affordable devices on the market! If you like to stay at home and you’re working on a tight budget, this is the best alert device for you, hands down.
3. Best Stylish Medical Alert Necklace: thriivePRO Medical Alert Necklace
Available in 14 colors and powered by the Verizon 4G LTE network, this necklace is the ultimate combination of style and performance. It works just as well as(in some comparisons, better than) any other alert device on the market, but looks much better. After all, you are wearing a necklace- the least you could do is find a color you like!
The thriivePRO has fall detection, two-way voice, and high-precision GPS service that would make it good enough to land a spot on our list even if it were ugly. It even has a live tracking feature that lets caregivers and family members check in on the user in case they’ve gone missing- perfect for people caring for Alzheimer’s patients.
If you need a high-performing medical alert device, you won’t be disappointed by this necklace. The biggest drawback is that the subscription plan price is on the high end of normal ($46/month). Outside of that, though, there should be nothing stopping you from putting this alert necklace near the top of your consideration list.
4. Best Electronic Medical Alert Necklace for Alzheimer’s: Lively Mobile Plus All-in-One
If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, one of the biggest fears you have is what could happen if they wander without knowing where they are. The Lively Mobile Plus has a live tracking feature on its smartphone app that lets caregivers and family members keep track of the user at all times. If they wander, they can be found quickly before any potentially unsafe situation arises.
The Lively Mobile Plus is also very affordable- the upfront cost is under $50 and the monthly fee is only $25. Over time, you will save hundreds compared to more expensive models. If you are shopping for a medical alert necklace for an Alzheimer’s patient, get the Lively Mobile Plus, download the smartphone app, and experience peace of mind knowing they are safe at all times!
5. Best Cheap Medical Alert Necklace: SkyAngel 911FD
If you judge this necklace based solely on the purchase you might think it crazy to call this a cheap alert necklace. That would be true, if the necklace required a monthly plan to use. That isn’t the case with the SkyAngel 911FD, though- you pay one price and it’s yours to use for life.
It uses GPS and cellular data to provide accurate locations and signals that never fail, so you can get help quickly no matter where in the country you are. It performs just as well as any other alerting necklace, and saves you hundreds over time in subscription fees. If you have a bigger shopping budget and want to save money in the long term, there is no better “go anywhere” alert necklace than the SkyAngel 911FD.
6. Best Medical Alert Necklace With GPS: Home & Wellness Medical Alert Device
This necklace leverages GPS and Verizon cellular network to provide a very precise and reliable location no matter where you are. Both the SOS button and fall detection sensor will put you in touch with EMS, bringing help to your location as quickly as possible. It’s small, light, and hardly noticeable around your neck- it’s there when you need it, but doesn’t get in your way.
This necklace is very similar to others on our list; there isn’t much to differentiate it from Medical Guardian’s products. The biggest differences are that the GPS location is usually more accurate than other devices and that 4 months of service are included for free. If you need a reliable GPS because you live in a rural area or you don’t like the idea of paying $35/month the moment you open the device, the Home & Wellness Medical Alert Necklace is perfect for you.
FAQs: Medical Alert Necklaces for Seniors
Medical Alert Bracelet or Necklace - Which is Better for Seniors?
Basic medical alert bracelets work in exactly the same way that necklaces do- they just sit around your wrist instead. Some bracelets, however, have additional features like vital sign monitoring that can be very valuable to people with cardiovascular diseases.
Necklaces, on the other hand, are a better choice for most seniors because they are simpler and therefore usually cheaper. If you prefer wearing something on your wrist or desire additional health tracking data, look for a good bracelet/watch. Otherwise, you can save money on the same functionality by getting a quality medical alert necklace!
Where to Buy a Medical Alert Necklace?
The best place to get a medical alert necklace is on Amazon. They have the largest selection of these necklaces anywhere on Earth, and they’ve worked hard to earn their reputation for fast shipping and easy returns. You can find the best deals on Amazon, hands down- and you can always return a necklace that isn’t a good fit.
You can also find necklaces in your local pharmacy, though the selection is not going to be anywhere near as large. Still, though, it’s very convenient to pick up something while you are getting your prescriptions- but there is no guarantee the necklace will be of the same quality!
Does Medicare Pay for Medical Alert Necklaces?
Medicare does not pay for medical alert necklaces. They aren’t considered medically necessary, so there is no coverage or reimbursement for them under Medicare Parts A or B.
If you have supplemental coverage with Medicare Part C, however, there is a chance you can have the cost of these devices reimbursed. The final decision is up to your provider, but it is always worth a shot to get something for free!
Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Wearable Medical Alert Necklace for Seniors
What is the Price Range of Alert Necklaces?
Alert necklaces, like other medical alert devices, have costs that can be split into two categories: upfront and recurring.
The upfront cost of a medical alert necklace ranges from $40-$180, with most devices falling between $50 and $100. Recurring costs (monthly subscription fees), typically start at $25/month and get as high as $45/month.
That may seem like a lot at first, but the devices pay for themselves the first time you have a fall or medical emergency. And, they’re far cheaper than paying for in-home care or moving to assisted living.
GPS vs Home-Based
Getting a home-based medical alert system that plugs into your landline is a great way to avoid the cost of a monthly plan. These systems are perfect for homebodies and people who only leave the house with company and therefore don’t need an alerting device outside the home.
GPS medical alert devices, on the other hand, are more expensive due to monthly fees but far more versatile. If you run errands, exercise, or travel alone, get a GPS/cellular-powered necklace- you won’t regret it!
Conclusion: Alert Necklaces for the Elderly
Getting a medical alert necklace as a senior is just common sense- they can save your life, are much cheaper than human care, and require very little maintenance. Which necklace from our list piqued your interest? Do you have any experience with these products that you’d like to share with other readers? We’d love to see your thoughts in the comments section below!