Life Alert or something similar for seniors?


DIS Veteran
Apr 19, 2002
One of the better-reviewed is GreatCall, but again, it's a dongle, so it has to be carried to be any good. If your senior won't remember to/agree to carry the gadget, then it is useless. (While I agree that the Apple Watch 4 has a lot of potential, the battery life is a big issue. Seniors who need monitoring are notorious for not remembering to recharge devices. A watch is especially easy to forget to charge, because regular watch batteries are good for a year or more, and that's the expectation that people have for any kind of battery-powered watch.)

Another alternative that has been getting a lot of attention lately is the use of electronic home assistants like Google Home or Amazon's Echo devices to help seniors in emergencies, because they don't have to be carried around or recharged, and the person can just yell for help and the device will make a call. Unfortunately, they cannot call 911, but if the device is programmed to call family, then that person can call EMS if needed. Of course, systems like this also require you to have a wireless network installed, which many seniors see no need for and don't want to have, so there is always a catch. (The Echo technically can call 911 if connected to a landline via an Echo Connect device, but those are glitchy.)

One other option that is a lot more intrusive, but works for some families, is to install a sensor network in the home. These can alert you if a certain amount of time passes with no movement recorded. (Some people use wireless baby monitors if there are particular locations where a person is likely to fall, such as bedside.)


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