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LifeFone Review8 minute read

8 minute read

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Updated for December, 2018

Among the many medical alert options, LifeFone stands out for its thoughtful extra features. Their systems nail the basics — like attractive hardware and a wide coverage range — and then go above and beyond with their additional services. These include medication reminders and daily check-ins, plus an online portal for caregivers to change or update their care instructions. More than the other brands, their products are geared toward making life easier for seniors and their caregivers. 

Pros
  • Attractive design
  • 30-day trial
  • Caregiver-friendly
  • Extra features
Cons
  • Misleading prices on website
  • Some devices are “water resistant” rather than waterproof

At a Glance

A checklist of standard features.

Pricing Classic Solo Duo
Monthly Fee $29.95 $37.95 41.95
30-day Trial
Long Term Contract
Cancellation Fee
Cellular Base Station
Mobile GPS Device
Range Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

LifeFone Review

LifeFone was founded in 1976 and has specialized in medical alert systems for seniors exclusively. Like most companies in the industry, they offer plans for seniors who want coverage primarily for their home, and those who want the added peace of mind of having mobile support. Their At-Home models come with a signaling device – usually worn on a watch or necklace – and a corresponding base with a speaker. When the user presses the emergency button on their pendant, the base will contact the call center, where a call center agent will assess the situation. The On-the-Go models work similarly, but instead of covering a few hundred square feet, they use cell phone networks so users can access help wherever they go. While the systems themselves are fairly straight forward, LifeFone’s long-time dedication to the field of medical alerts shows in some of their add-on services.

Every package comes with free access to standard-level MobileHelp Connect apps, but it should be noted that some of the nicest features of MobileHelp Connect, such as medication reminders and location services require additional charges on a monthly basis.

Equipment

Signaling Devices

 LifeFone’s signaling devices can be worn on the wrist or around the neck. Their design is clean, streamlined, and slightly less bulky than some of their competitors’ signaling devices. What’s more, the company monitors their pendants’ battery lives remotely and alerts users when they’re low. Each pendant is equipped with a small emergency button, which alerts the base device when pressed. From here, the user will speak to a LifeFone representative through the base device. In their range of systems, the At-Home & On-the-Go Voice-In-Necklace stands out. Unlike the other pendants, it does not require a base device but can be used to speak to the call center directly through its small microphone and speaker. This plan is the most expensive option, but it may handy for seniors who don’t want to carry two devices.

Base Devices

The LifeFone base units feature a clean and intuitive design, plus an impressive 1,300 ft. range in their At-Home models, which is significantly higher than many of their competitors. If the customer presses their emergency button, the base center will then contact the call center. A LifeFone representative will then attempt to speak to the senior. If there’s no response, they will follow the emergency protocol arranged by the caregiver. The base unit is also designed specifically around a senior’s needs. Its microphone is highly sensitive so that a senior can communicate even if they’re in another area of the house. The volume is also adjustable in case the user is hard of hearing. And just like with the signaling devices, the company monitors the base unit batteries, so that you never have to worry about losing power unexpectedly due to a dead battery. Customers can choose either the cellular or landline options, depending on their needs.

In addition to helping in emergencies, LifeFone seems committed to making everyday life easier for older adults and their caregivers. This approach is evident in their helpful caregiver tools. For example, caregivers can arrange for medication reminders several times a day, for up to 10 medications. The base unit will announce when it’s time to take a medication and the user can press the reset button to signal that they’ve taken it.

Beyond that, caregivers can also set up “activity assurance,” location services, or a daily check-in call to help them monitor their loved one. The activity assurance tool will set off a beeping noise on your base monitor once a day, which the user will need to silence. If no one presses the button to silence it, the call center will follow the caregiver’s instructions. This feature helps reassure caregivers that the user is active and responsive. Another great feature, location services help the caregiver find the pendant – and the person wearing it – if he or she should ever go missing.

The caregiver can also set up daily check-in calls. These can be customized to fit the customer’s need; whether that means ensuring the loved one is awake and active or just providing a friendly voice for companionship. LifeFone also offers accessories like lock boxes (to help emergency responders access the home without breaking in) and wall-mounted help buttons to supplement the wearable pendants.

Package At-Home Landline At-Home Cellular At-Home & On-the-Go GPS At-Home & On-the-Go Voice-in-Necklace
Waterproof Signaling Device
Requires Base
Fall Detection Available
Requires Base
Range 1300 sq. ft. 1300 sq. ft. Unlimited Unlimited
30 Day Money Back
No Long Term Contract

In addition to helping in emergencies, LifeFone seems committed to making everyday life easier for older adults and their caregivers. This approach is evident in their helpful caregiver tools. For example, caregivers can arrange for medication reminders several times a day, for up to 10 medications. The base unit will announce when it’s time to take a medication and the user can press the reset button to signal that they’ve taken it.

Beyond that, caregivers can also set up “activity assurance,” location services, or a daily check-in call to help them monitor their loved one. The activity assurance tool will set off a beeping noise on your base monitor once a day, which the user will need to silence. If no one presses the button to silence it, the call center will follow the caregiver’s instructions. This feature helps reassure caregivers that the user is active and responsive. Another great feature, location services help the caregiver find the pendant – and the person wearing it – if he or she should ever go missing.

The caregiver can also set up daily check-in calls. These can be customized to fit the customer’s need; whether that means ensuring the loved one is awake and active or just providing a friendly voice for companionship. LifeFone also offers accessories like lock boxes (to help emergency responders access the home without breaking in) and wall-mounted help buttons to supplement the wearable pendants.

Compared to its competitors, LifeFone’s prices are in the middle to low range. However, customers should be aware that the prices listed for each system on their website are based on the discounted annual rate. If users decide to pay on a month-to-month basis, they’ll pay a higher rate. The pricing breakdown on each payment option – monthly, quarterly, yearly – is only available once you add the system to your shopping cart. While the cost of LifeFone is reasonable, it would be helpful for consumers if their pricing were more transparent. What’s more, many of the extras – like fall protection and medication reminders – are not included in the monthly cost. Customers will pay between $5-10 a month for fall protection and between $6-19 a month for each caregiver tool. LifeFone also recommends certain optional add-on items, like a lock box that allows emergency responders to enter the customer’s home without breaking in, and a wall-mounted help button for extra protection. Some seniors may appreciate these extra options, although they do come at a cost. LifeFone also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which many of its competitors do not.

What Customers Are Saying

LifeFone receives consistently positive customer reviews. Many of their customers comment on the warmth and friendliness of the call center agents and how the service has given them and their loved ones greater peace of mind. Others have expressed how impressed they are with the medical alert’s response time if they press their emergency button. The company does, however, have a few complaints against it. Customers have complained that their fall detector doesn’t work properly and that everyday movements like changing clothes trigger the alert. This problem, though, is not unique to LifeFone. Customers of other medical alert companies who offer fall detection technology report very similar complaints. With only a few exceptions, LifeFone customers are a satisfied and loyal group.

LifeFone is an experienced medical alert company that has truly thought through the details of senior care. Their equipment is well designed, attractive, and easy to use, with a range of options for different lifestyles. Compared to the industry standard, their prices are also on the low side, although customers will pay extra for some of their add-on services. What really sets LifeFone a part, though, is their exceptional customer service and their concern with making life easier for both caregiver and user. This is evident in their daily check-in, medication reminder, and location services, as well as in their easy-to-access online caregiver portal. These extras show that the company’s not just committed to helping out in an emergency; they’re interested in improving everyday life for independent seniors and those who care for them.