LifeFone Full Review – Top 5 Medical Alert Systems for Seniors | Reviews & Comparison
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LifeFone Full Review

  • Estimated Price: $24.95 – $49.95/month
  • Official Site:  LifeFone.com
  • Hours of Operation
    M-F 8:00-24:00 EST
    Sat-Sun 8:00-24:00 EST

LifeFone’s motto is, “Saves Lives When Seconds Count®”. When an emergency occurs, you need help fast. With LifeFone, you simply push a lightweight, wearable button, and you’ll be connected to an operator who’s trained to get you the help you need quickly.

LifeFone has an extensive line of emergency response systems to fit the needs not only of seniors who value independent living but of people of all ages, including latchkey kids, women who live alone, parents with young children, and those who have chronic illnesses or mobility issues.

LifeFone has basic options that are used only in the home as well as plans for on-the-go, so you or your loved one can easily get help wherever they may be.

LifeFone’s Uniquely Consumer Friendly Policies Are a Big Plus:

  • Cancel at any time & pay only for the time you’ve used
  • No Activation Fees
  • No Equipment Fees
  • 30-day Money Back Guarantee
  • Lifetime Subscriber Price Guarantee
  • Lifetime Subscriber Equipment Guarantee
  • Spouses Protected For Free With Basic Service. (Just $5-10 More Per Month To Add Automatic Fall Detection).

 

How does LifeFone work?

When you push a LifeFone alarm button, you’ll be connected to their emergency response center within 45 seconds. The LifeFone operator will talk with you through your two-way base unit to find out about the problem you’re experiencing.

They’ll ask you:

  1. Is this a medical emergency? If yes, they’ll call an ambulance.

If it’s not a medical emergency, they’ll ask you:

  1. How would you like us to assist you?

You can ask them to call a family member, friend or neighbor to help you out. When you sign up, you give them a list of contacts to keep on file. If you can’t communicate for any reason, local emergency services will be dispatched immediately.

LifeFone will let medical staff know about any allergies you have or medications you’re taking.

 

 

LifeFone Products

LifeFone gives you a choice of five distinct medical alert systems: Three of them are used only at home, and two of them can be used anywhere.

1. At-Home Landline with Optional Fall Detection (Telephone Landline Required)

This is the classic LifeFone plan that can only be used if you have a telephone landline in your home. Plug the base unit into a phone jack and then carry the lightweight, waterproof alarm button with you at all times. You can wear the alarm button around your neck as a pendant or on your wrist with a wristband.

This LifeFone base station picks up the signal from the alarm button from as far as 480 feet away. If you need the range to be larger than that, you can buy an extension that gives you a signal range of up to 1,500 feet. That’s handy if you have a sprawling home or a large yard. In addition to plugging this unit into a phone jack, it also needs to be plugged into an electrical socket for power. The unit comes with a 32-hour backup battery, so it stays on if you have a power outage.

 

Included with this plan:

  • A base unit with a signal range of 480 to 1,500 feet
  • A waterproof pendant or wristwatch alarm button
  • 32 hours of backup power on the base unit

 

Fall Detection Add-On

You can add fall detection to this plan for an extra $5 a month. You’ll receive a waterproof pendant that can tell if you fall. If so, it automatically calls the LifeFone emergency response center. Fall detection works up to 600 feet from the base station.

 

Other Add-Ons for this plan:

  • Activity assurance
  • Daily check-in calls

 

Cost:

  • $24.95 per Month Billed Annually (free shipping)
  • $27.95 per Month Billed Quarterly
  • $29.95 per Month Billed Monthly

No landline? No problem!

LifeFone has plans that work using cellular service, just like cell phones do. However, you don’t need a cell phone or a cell phone plan to use them. You just pay your regular LifeFone monthly fee. LifeFone uses AT&T’s 3G Cellular Network. To check if you have AT&T cellular coverage in your area, use the AT&T Coverage Viewer.

2. LifeFone 3G Cellular System (No Landline Required)

As its name spells out, no landline is required with this plan. You receive a base unit and a battery-powered alarm button that you wear either as a wristband or as a pendant that hangs around your neck like a necklace.

The base station will pick up a signal from the alarm button from as far as 600 feet away. This base unit has a supercharged backup battery that can last for 60 hours in the event of a power outage. The unit is set at its highest volume to maximize the unit’s voice range. This is particularly helpful for people who are hard of hearing.

This unit provides an audible cellular coverage notification: When you turn on your unit, a voice announces the cellular signal strength, for example, “Two bars. System ready.” If the signal strength isn’t strong enough, it’ll say, “Insufficient cell service.” If that’s the case, you have to move your unit to another location in the home and hit the reset button on the back panel. Again, the unit will let you know how many bars of signal you have.  You need at least 2.5 bars of signal strength for the LifeFone 3G to work as intended.

 

Included with this plan:

  • A base unit with a range of 600 feet
  • A waterproof pendant or wristband alarm button
  • 60 hours of backup power on the base unit
  • Audible cellular coverage notification

 

Add-ons for this plan:

  • Daily check-in calls
  • Medication reminders

 

Cost:

  • $32.95 per Month Billed Annually (comes with free shipping)
  • $34.95 per Month Billed Quarterly
  • $37.95 per Month Billed Monthly

3. LifeFone’s At-Home Fall Detection – 3G Cellular Service (No Landline Required)

If you’re concerned that you or your loved one might fall and not be able to press the alarm button, LifeFone’s At-Home Fall Detection system is for you. The fall detection pendant has motion-detection capabilities to send out an alarm automatically if you fall.

There’s also an alarm button on the pendant that you can press for help, too. LifeFone says that, whenever possible, you should press the alarm button if you need help; don’t depend on the fall detection feature, just to be on the safe side. According to LifeFone, no fall detection system can detect 100 percent of falls.

This works without a landline using AT&T’s cellular network.

The base unit can detect the press of the alarm button within a range of 600 feet. Its backup battery lasts for 30 hours in case your power goes out. The fall alert/alarm button is battery operated but as with all LifeFone pendants and wristbands, LifeFone keeps track of your battery level and lets you know if it’s running out of juice so you can change it in a timely manner.

The base unit has a sensitive microphone, and you can turn the volume up or down to suit your needs.

 

Included in this plan:

  • A base unit with a range of 600 feet
  • A waterproof pendant alarm button
  • Free monitoring for your spouse (if your spouse wants fall detection, it will cost an additional $10/month)
  • Display of room temperature on the base station
  • Visual notification of cellular signal strength
  • 30 hours of battery backup power

 

Add-ons for this plan:

  • Daily check-in calls
  • Medication reminders

 

Cost:

  • $38.95 per Month Billed Annually (comes with free shipping)
  • $41.95 per Month Billed Quarterly (comes with free shipping)
  • $43.95 per Month Billed Monthly

Free Additional Help Button On All LifeFone’s At-Home Fall Detection – 3G Cellular Service Plans

4. LifeFone’s At-Home and On-the-Go Emergency Response GPS Service (No Landline Required)

This service gives you a base unit and portable alarm button to use at home like the other LifeFone plans, plus a mobile device that you take with you everywhere you go. It works anywhere in the United States.

You don’t need a landline or a cell phone plan to use this service. The one condition to that is the area you’re in needs to have AT&T cellular network coverage.

This plan comes with a standard base unit and a mobile unit. The mobile unit is essentially a small, portable base unit. You carry it with you like you would carry a cell phone. To use it, press the button on your LifeFone pendant or wristband. You could also press a button that’s on the unit itself. Pressing either button will call the LifeFone emergency response center, and an agent will speak to you through the mobile unit.

The mobile unit provides your GPS coordinates to them so that you can be easily found by either emergency medical responders or the contact of your choice.

The mobile unit covers a range of 350 feet. The battery lasts 24 hours and needs to be recharged. The mobile unit works while it’s being charged and has a visual cellular strength notification.

 

Included in this plan:

  • A base unit with a range of 600 feet
  • A mobile unit with a 350-foot range
  • 30 hours of battery backup power on the base unit
  • 24 hours of power per charge with the mobile unit
  • A waterproof pendant or wristband alarm button
  • Free monitoring for your spouse
  • Display of time, date and room temperature on the base station
  • Visual notification of cellular signal strength

 

Add-ons for this plan:

  • Daily check in calls
  • Medication reminders
  • Location service

 

Cost:

  • $36.95 per Month Billed Annually (comes with free shipping)
  • $39.95 per Month Billed Quarterly (comes with free additional help button and free shipping).
  • $39.95 per Month Billed Monthly

5. LifeFone’s At-Home and On-the-Go Emergency Response GPS Service with Fall Detection (No Landline Required)

This product is very similar to their other On-The-Go System with GPS except that the alarm button pendant has fall detection capabilities. If you fall and can’t press the button on your pendant for any reason, a call will still automatically go out to the LifeFone emergency response center.

You’ll receive a base unit that stays at home, and a mobile unit to carry with you. The mobile unit acts like a mini-base unit that lets you press your alarm button to connect with LifeFone anywhere you are in the United States. This mobile unit will also connect with LifeFone if it detects a fall.

You don’t need a landline or a cell phone to use this, but make sure to confirm that the AT&T Cellular network covers your area.

Included with this plan:

  • A base unit with a range of 600 feet
  • A mobile unit with a range of 350 feet
  • A waterproof pendant alarm button with fall detection plus a standard, waterproof help button
  • Free monitoring for your spouse (if your spouse wants fall detection, an additional fall detection pendant can be added for only $10.00 per month).
  • 24 hours of power per charge with the mobile unit
  • 30 hours of backup power on the base unit.
  • Visual cellular strength notifications on the base station and the mobile device.
  • Time, date and indoor temperature are displayed on the base station.

 

Add-ons for this plan:

  • Daily check in calls
  • Medication reminders
  • Location service

 

Cost:

  • $46.95 per Month Billed Annually (comes with free shipping)
  • $49.95 per Month Billed Quarterly (comes with free shipping)
  •  $49.95 per Month Billed Monthly

Other LifeFone Products

* LifeFone’s Mobile Alert App *

If you own a smartphone and don’t want to wear a medical alert pendant, you can use LifeFone’s mobile app on your phone.

LifeFone Mobile Alert App works in three ways:

  1. As a panic button when you need help ASAP. A LifeFone emergency response operator will verify your location and get help on the way immediately.
  2. As a virtual safety escort. If you’re in a situation where you feel unsafe or concerned, use the Concern Mode to have a LifeFone operator stay on the line with you until you feel safe and secure. If you need help, they’ll get it for you.
  3. Medical alert. This mode of the app gets you emergency help quickly when you have a condition that makes it difficult for you to communicate.

LifeFone claims that its location-finding capabilities through this app are even more accurate than 911’s.

Cost:

  • $5.95 for existing LifeFone members
  • $7.95 a month for customers who don’t already have a LifeFone system

 

* LifeFone’s Complete Home Package *

This package from LifeFone includes an At-Home LifeFone Medical Alert System plus around-the-clock monitoring for fire, smoke and carbon monoxide that’s all tied into your LifeFone plan.

Contract required

Unlike LifeFone’s other products, their complete home package DOES require a one-year contract. They do offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

What’s included

This comes with a base unit, a wearable alarm button, a large help button that you mount on a wall, fire and smoke detector and a carbon monoxide monitor. You’ll also get free monitoring for your spouse.

When any of these alarms go off, the LifeFone call center is notified immediately, and a Care Agent will call you right away and send emergency response teams if needed.

Cost:

$42.95 per month with annual billing. A contract for one year is required.

 

 

About the Add-On Options

The add-on options aren’t included in the basic cost of each plan but have to be purchased separately for an additional monthly fee. Add-on options include:

 

Activity Assurance (LifeFone Landline Plan only). Press a button on your base unit to check in with LifeFone and let them know that you’re okay. The base unit will beep at a time you select to remind you to check in. If you don’t respond to the beep reminder, a LifeFone agent will call to check on you. Cost: An additional $6 a month.

 

Daily Check-in Calls (All Plans). A care agent will call you every day to make sure you’re alright and to give you any type of reminder that you need, such as to take your medication. Cost: An additional $19 a month.

 

Medication Reminders (All Plans Except the Landline Plan): This service uses the base unit to give you pre-programmed reminders. When it’s time to take your medication, the base station will announce, “Medication reminder, please press reset to accept.” The screen on the base unit will show which medication to take. The unit will repeat this message once a minute for 30 minutes until the button is pressed. Cost: An additional $6 a month.

 

Location Service (Mobile GPS Plans Only). This service shows you the location of the subscriber’s LifeFone mobile device when you log into the LifeFone Caregiver Portal,. This is an excellent tool for caregivers who need to find a subscriber that they can’t reach on the phone. You can only use this service 30 times a month. If you go over 30 uses, you’ll be charged an additional $5 for another 30 uses. Cost: An additional $9 a month.

 

Additional information about LifeFone’s Products (not including the Mobile App).

LifeFone’s Emergency Response Systems:

  • Provide 24-hour service/365 days a year
  • Allow for an unlimited number of calls to their Emergency Response Center
  • Include a lightweight alarm button that you wear as a pendant or wristband. The alarm button weighs 1 ounce: the same as a slice of bread.
  • Are easy to install yourself
  • Include a base station with two-way voice capabilities
  • Have built-in backup battery power
  • Allow you to answer your phone remotely by pressing the alarm button
  • Provide battery monitoring. You don’t have to worry finding a dead battery when you need help the most: LifeFone monitors the battery level for you and contacts you when it’s getting low and needs to be replaced.
  • Have a 100% lifetime warranty
  • Have a lifetime price guarantee
  • Include the equipment free of charge (add-ons may have fees)

 

 

About the Company

LifeFone has been around since 1976 and maintains a top rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Hospitals, home health aides and geriatric care managers have all gone on record to recommend LifeFone.

 

 

About LifeFone’s Call Center

When you press the alarm button on your LifeFone, you’ll be connected to an emergency response agent at their US-based call center.

LifeFone has:

  • Two in-house call centers: the main center operates out of White Plains, NY. A backup call center in Syracuse, NY takes over if needed. If the power or phone lines went out at the White Plains call center, there’d be no interruption to your service.
  • Their customer care agents go through an intensive two-month training program before being certified by LifeFone to respond to emergency calls. This training program teaches them the essentials of emergency care with specialization in the needs of the elderly. On an ongoing basis, LifeFone monitor and review calls as part of our quality assurance program, and our customer care agents participate in continuing education.
  • Agents available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • The option to choose your language preference. LifeFone can support 159 languages with its At-Home and On-the-Go Emergency Response GPS Service with or without Fall Detection systems (No Landline Required). You can tell them your preferred language in your emergency contact profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a penalty if I cancel my LifeFone service?

No, you can cancel your LifeFone service at any time without incurring any fees. However, LifeFone doesn’t stop billing you until they get their equipment back from you. You have to mail it back to them at your own expense.

Does it take long to install?

LifeFone says their customers typically install their system and test it within 10 minutes. You’ll receive some simple instructions that have pictures of each step. You can also call their customer service center, and they’ll walk you through the setup.

Is there a charge for shipping?

You’ll pay for shipping unless you select the annual billing option. There’s no charge for the LifeFone equipment, but when you no longer need the service, you’ll have to send the equipment back to LifeFone at your own cost to cancel.

If I fall and can’t get up, how will my contacts or an EMT get into my house?

LifeFone recommends that you buy one of their lockboxes that hang on the outside of a door and securely holds a house key. LifeFone will have the combination to open the lockbox and will give it to your designated contacts if it’s required.

Customer Feedback

On the whole, the feedback for LifeFone is good.  People say the agents are courteous and helpful. The batteries last long, and it feels good to know that LifeFone is there if you need it. There were some complaints that it took too long to get answers to general customer service questions. Other than that, many users say that they’d recommend LifeFone to a friend.

Pros & Cons

The Good:
  • LifeFone has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • They’ve been in business since 1976.
  • Their equipment is free.
  • There’s no penalty to cancel your service at any time.
  • The mobile option with GPS gets you help fast when you’re away from home.
  • You can add a second person to your LifeFone coverage for free.
  • LifeFone offers a range of options to suit your needs.

The Bad:
  • The call center staff isn’t required to have EMT training.
  • If you decide to cancel, LifeFone doesn’t stop billing you until they receive your returned equipment, and you have to pay your own postage to mail it back.

Final Recommendation

It’s really hard to go wrong with LifeFone. Their pricing is reasonable, and you can customize your plan to suit your needs. You can keep it very basic and just use it as a panic button in case of an emergency, or increase your coverage to include daily welfare checks and reminders over the phone. These are all excellent solutions that deliver not just emergency service when you need it, but peace of mind.

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