Mobile medical alerts are medical alerts that free you from being stuck at home if you want to be able to get help in an emergency.
(Links to reviews are at the bottom of this page.)
As discussed in my ultimate guide to buying a medical alert, mobile medical alerts are best for people who are still active.
Instead of having a base station and panic button, like the older systems, the panic button and the system that calls for help are all in the same small unit that you carry around with you.
They work anywhere you have a good cell signal. Most seem to be on the AT&T network.
The units vary in size from a little larger than a quarter to bigger than a pack of cards.
In an emergency, you press the button on the unit. It dials the monitoring center through the built-in cell phone. If you have a unit with GPS, it gets its location and sends that data along, too.
When the monitoring center answers the call, you talk to them through the speakerphone in the unit. Just as if you were using a regular cell phone in speakerphone mode.
Protection everywhere. One unit protects you everywhere you go. As long as you carry it and it’s charged, you’re protected at home, in the yard, or on your trip to town.
No need to shout. Because you’re carrying the unit with you and it has a small speakerphone, you don’t have to shout to be heard by the responder at the monitoring center. If you live in a large house or spend time outside, this is a particular advantage over a home-based speakerphone model.
GPS. Units with GPS can share your approximate location even if you can’t talk.
Limited battery life. Unlike a standard system (with all its limitations), the battery life of a mobile medical alarm is limited. Expect 24-36 hours between charges. This means you need to remember to charge it every night. And remember to grab it off the charger if you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Bulky. These units are a lot bulkier than the lightweight wrist or pendant panic buttons of older systems.
Watch out for
Long term contracts. I actually don’t know of any companies selling standalone mobile systems with a multi-year contract, but you still want to watch out for this.
Bad return policies. Some companies offer very good monthly rates, but the trade-off is that if you pre-pay to get those good rates and then cancel, you lose any unused pre-paid months. If you’re saving $5 a month by prepaying for a full year but might lose $200 if you have to cancel three months in, that might not be worth the risk (but it’s up to you). Other companies offer good rates and also refund unused pre-paid months.
Initial purchase term. Some companies have a 30-day money back guarantee. Others require an initial 3-month commitment.
Emergencies only or concierge service. Companies vary as to whether they expect the system to be used for emergencies only or if they welcome non-emergency calls as well. I don’t include this in the reviews, but it’s worth asking about if it’s important to you.
Reviews of mobile medical alert systems are now on my homepage.