The Lifewatch-USA Cellular Medical Alarm with GPS is a cellular based medical alert that dials a dedicated monitoring center. The GPS location of the device is transmitted to the monitoring center so the staff responding to your emergency knows where you are.
All you have to do is press one button to be connected to the monitoring center. The unit is half the size of a deck of cards and can be carried inconspicuously.
In addition to calling the medical alert center, the system can apparently be programmed to dial one other number. For example, if you’re setting this up for your parent you could program in your own cell phone number so they could easily reach you when they have a non-emergency situation that requires your attention but isn’t worth calling the monitoring center for. However, it’s not clear to me whether you have to pay extra for this feature, or how you are charged for airtime.
The unit is waterproof and the battery lasts for 48 hours between charges.
For the loved ones of a senior, this cellular medical alarm also provides other benefits. For a small additional cost each month you can use a special website to locate the alarm unit on a map. You can also get the location by calling a number on your phone or cell phone. Additionally, you can set up alerts that get triggered if the unit moves outside of a predefined area.
With the location option the monthly cost is a flat fee of $39.95 with no hidden charges or long-term contracts. Without the location services it’s $34.95 (the GPS location still gets sent to the monitoring center).
How is this better than just using your cell phone?
First off, the big difference is that you’re dialing a medical alert monitoring center rather than the 911 service like some other units (like the Alert 911 I review on this page). A monitoring center provides a different level of response than either the 911 center or your friends and family. I go into this in detail on my pages about monitored medical alerts.
Second, the unit is much faster to use than a cell phone. There’s only one button to push. This is good in an emergency.
The location monitoring aspects of this unit give me a little concern in terms of privacy for the person who is using it. This is something you’ll want to discuss in advance with the person who will be carrying the unit.
What I like about this unit:
On the whole, I like this unit a lot. It’s been designed to solve a particular problem, and it seems to do that well. I particularly like the fact that you can dial either the monitoring center or a pre-arranged contact. For some things that happen we don’t really want to have to explain our problem to a stranger. And for other things we might not want to have to explain them to our child!
I don’t have information about the quality of the monitoring center at Lifewatch.
The product comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and since it’s month-to-month you’re not tied into a long-term contract if you realize later you don’t like it, or if a better unit comes on the market.
What do you think? Tell me about it in the comments.
Head back to the Mobile Medical Alerts page for more reviews of cellular medical alarms