- Reliable monitoring service
- Support even in non-emergency
- Fall detection
- Mobile button with GPS
- Native speakers of languages other than English
- No live chat support
- The short plans are rather pricey
Connect America is a nationwide company providing personal emergency monitoring and home alarm services for older adults and people who are home-bound because of a medical condition. The company offers numerous brands and services for residents of the United States, Medical Alert being one of them.
This service aims to bring the classic medical alert formula to seniors who wish to maintain their independent lifestyle without putting themselves in harm’s way. Medical Alert by Connect America offers peace of mind for both the elderly residents and their family members through a one-touch help button that connects the user to a helpful monitoring agent. And with a portable alarm system with GPS tracking and a fall detection pendant, every aspect of the elderly’s lifestyle can be covered, made all the better with the company’s intention to be a budget-friendly solution, a point proven by its cheapest fee of $18.29 per month.
Medical Alert is well aware that compassionate monitoring is the key to a successful personal emergency response system. When pushing the button, the central unit forwards the distress signal to the company’s closest monitoring center, where highly trained agents are eager to handle incoming calls regardless the time of the day. The headquarters are staffed during the holidays too, ensuring immediate access to help when you need it the most.
After communication is established over the phone or via the two-way home unit, the agents carefully assess the caller’s status. Depending on the situation, they either dispatch the ambulance or notify friends and family members, while remaining on the line to help comfort the worried senior.
Medical Alert monitoring agents even go one step further, providing the elderly person the option to call the agents in non-emergency situations too. So if user ever feels confused, needs advice on medication or is just lonely, the response staff is always there for a friendly chat.
Certified Monitoring Stations
Since the company operates with an extensive monitoring service, they have established several headquarters across the country, all of which are UL certified. Connect America enforces a strict quality regulation on all of its brands – including Medical Alert – meaning that all agents must undergo strict training. There is also a high emphasis on employing operators who are native speakers in languages other than English. But even if you contact them in a language outside of their field of expertise, the agents also combine the use of International Language Line and are therefore able to offer help in more than 140 languages.
Living in a constant fear of falling is one of the biggest sources of stress for an elderly person that hopes to remain independent in their old age. In order to answer their problem, MedicalAlert.com has implemented fall detection technology into the MobileElite help button. Operating under the same laws as the normal button, the fall detection pendant actually houses sensors that pick up on drastic changes in the wearer’s elevation and speed. When a fall is detected, the pendant sends an alarm signal hands-free, therefore protecting the senior even if they have become unconscious or are unable to move. It’s important to mention, though, that the fall detection technology still has its blind spots, and therefore 100% accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
Medical Alert by Connect America offers three types of medical alert systems: two for indoor use and one to accompany the seniors on their travels. The two At Home devices are almost parallel of one other, the only difference between them being the need for a landline connection or not.
The landline version is recommended for old-fashioned seniors who still prefer having their reliable wired phone instead of a smartphone. The central unit auto-dials the monitoring center and calls the toll-free number, and as such using this medical alert system won’t increase the phone bill. The base station covers a large range , being able to pick up the help button’s signal from the far end of a building, and even from the garden or front yard. The system can also remain operational during a power outage for up to 36 hours, thanks to the reliable backup battery.
Additionally, the help button is water resistant, meaning seniors can wear it while taking a shower or washing the dishes. The version without a landline is almost identical, except instead it relies on a cellular network for establishing a connection with the monitoring team.
On The Go Protection
With the latest version of the MobileElite medical alert button the personal safety net follows the seniors wherever they go. As the most feature-rich of the three products, the on-the-go version offers a stylish black wristwatch or neckwear button, while the base station is fully portable. After removing the wireless main unit from the cradle charger, just put it into your bag or pocket.
When pushing the help button, the remote MobileElite station not only calls the monitoring HQ as with the indoor version but also provides your current GPS data, making it easier to pinpoint your current location for the ambulance. Last but not least is the fall detection, an integral part of the package that provides another layer of relief for both the user and their relatives.
Installing any of the three Medical Alert devices is child’s play, really. No matter which version you’ve purchased there is a step-by-step tutorial included that explains the process needed for a successful system setup. Basically, simply connect the base station to a power outlet and plug in a landline cable (for corresponding versions that require this). When done right, the system will take a few seconds to boot up and audibly announce whether it’s ready or not. The only thing left to do is to call the customer support over the phone to temporarily put your account into ‘Test Mode’, at which point the button can be pressed to verify the connection status.
MedicalAlert.com offers great flexibility in terms of pricing. You aren’t forced into long-term contracts against your will, but choosing a longer commitment does offer extra perks. The company provides month-by-month, semi-annual and annual plans. The jig is simple: the longer the subscription is, the better the value is. If you roll with the shortest agreement, then you will be charged $19.95 per month with the At Home Landline plan, $37.99 per month with the At Home No Landline plan and $42.99 per month for an On The Go plan.
The semi-annual plan raises the stakes with free shipping while striking a balance between commitment time and discounted rates: the Landline plan costs $19.95 per month, the No Landline plan is $34.99 per month, while the On The Go plan is reduced to $39.99 per month.
If you commit yourself for a whole year, then you’ll claim the lowest monthly fees, free shipping, and one month of service for free. In this case, Medical Alert charges its cheapest prices of $18.29 per month for the Landline plan, $32.07 per month for the No Landline plan and the best value package being the On The Go plan at $36.66 per month.
It’s important to mention that there are no hidden fees associated with the service, and the company doesn’t ask a dime for activating your system either. The equipment itself also comes without any upfront payment, but bear in mind that you’ll only be renting it; losing or damaging the hardware involves a hefty fine of $350. As such, if you or the aging relative the alert system is for are prone to losing stuff, it might be better to cover the investment with a special insurance. By increasing the monthly fee by $5, you won’t be penalized for any loss or damage done to the equipment. And since we are on the topic of upgrading your plans, for an extra $9.17 per month you receive a fall detection pendant with your At Home package.
As mentioned earlier, choosing a longer commitment entitles you to additional benefits. Opting for the semi-annual plan means that your order is shipped for free, while settling on any of the annual plans rewards you with a free lockbox.
The company received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, a clear indication that they care for their customers. The support team can be reached over the phone or by sending an email, but a large chunk of your questions can be answered by digging through the site. Although the FAQ is meant to advertise key benefits of having a medical alert system, there is also system-specific information available in the medical support section with several explanatory videos sprinkled across the site. If you wish to get further information, though, then take your chances by visiting their social media page on Facebook or Twitter.
Medical Alert by Connect America is definitely worth checking out if your senior relatives would rather age in place with peace. The strongest point of the service is without a doubt their monitoring service, for several reasons. Their headquarters have received UL certifications and the operators are well-trained and native speakers of several languages, but most importantly the comfort comes from knowing that the elderly users can call the agents in non-emergency situations as well, the ultimate peace of mind for an aging person who may feel lonely and abandoned.
The medical alert equipment has some variety, too, although the On The Go version is by far the superior choice. The installation process is easy enough even for less tech-savvy people, while the fall detection is always a welcome addition. The pricing is a mixed bag, though, since the annual plan offers very attractive monthly prices – especially for the mobile system – but adding some extra services such as equipment insurance or fall detection will equate to a heavy toll on your monthly budget. It’s also a letdown that a longer commitment is needed to receive free shipping. As such, in our opinion the decisive factor for Medical Alert’s service depends entirely on whether or not you are willing to bind yourself into for a whole year.