Medical Alert Systems: Selection Guide

Medical Alert Systems selection guide

Welcome to the Tech-enhanced Life guide to medical alert systems & services for older adults. (These products are also known as personal emergency response systems, or PERS.) This guide is designed to help you answer the question: "Which medical alert system is right for me?"

Table of Contents


Introduction. How to Use this Guide.

In our research we have found that while there is no one "best medical alert system" for everyone, there are often a handful of systems which are best suited to any given individual. But which flavor of system matches your needs, and which exact products have those characteristics? And of those, which is "best of breed"?

In this work we have tried to create an independent and objective guide that helps you:

  • understand what types of medical alert systems exist;
  • decide which flavor will be right for a specific individual;
  • sort through the marketing chaff to generate a short list of products that have the right feature set for your needs; and
  • pick the "best of breed" based on independent and objective analysis and testing, supported by clearly explained data.

If you need to buy a medical alert system now, you will want the Selection Tool, as it helps turn a set of desired features into a short list of actual products. Before using the Selection Tool, you may need to use the Learning Module to understand what features are likely to matter to you, and which flavors of medical alert system are likely to suit your life situation.

Once you know which types of product you need, you can use the Best of Breed Recommendations to learn which products worked best within a given category. And the individual Medical Alert System Reviews are where we document our testing, and summarize what we learned about individual products.

In 2019 we added an additional section to the guide, because sometimes we get feedback along the lines of "I don't want to become an expert on medical alerts. Just tell me what to buy". In Medical Alerts: Just Tell Me What to Buy" we make specific product recommendations for several individual "personas", so all you need to do to get some specific recommendations is to identify which persona is the best match to the person for whom you are shopping.


Learning Module: Online Workshop & Basic Tutorial

We have created a simple tutorial about medical alert systems.

And then we created a much more in-depth and detailed online workshop, that is designed to step you through a five step process that will educate you about the available types of medical alert system, help you decide which features matter for a given individual, and give you a personalized list at the end of the best actual products for that individual.

You can access both the tutorial and the online workshop in our Learning Module: Medical Alert Systems.

Learning Module: About Medical Alert Systems. Learn which medical alert features matter, and for whom



Selection Tool: 

If you already know what features you want in an emergency response system, use the selection tool to turn that list of features into a list of specific products. And access reviews and analysis of those products from our analyst team.


Selection Tool: Choose the Best Medical Alert System for YOU. Turn Desired Features into a list of Actual Products



Best of Breed Recommendations:

Once you have narrowed down the products to a handful that match your life situation, use our Best of Breed Recommendations to make a final decision.

Best of Breed: Medical Alert Systems. Comparison Testing & Recommendations




Just Tell Me What to Buy!:

Some people like to understand all the nuances and then make their own decisions. We designed the Selection Tool with that sort of person in mind.

For those of you whose point of view is "I don't want to become an expert on this stuff. Just tell me what to buy!", we added a section in which we make specific product recommendations for each of several specific personas. So all you need to do is to pick the most relevant persona, and then you can see what we recommend. Of course, you can always go back and broaden your search later with the Selection Tool if you wish.

Just Tell Me What to Buy!



Medical Alert System Reviews

The best way to access the individual reviews of the medical alert systems in this guide, is via the Selection Tool (above). It will let you narrow down your selection using a set of feature selectors, and then you will be able to click through to individual reviews of the products that match your needs.

If you prefer to go straight to the product reviews, follow the green button below.

Reviews: Medical Alert Systems. Hands-on Evaluation and Testing



Learn more

You can learn more about our approach to the research, how we fund our work, and the team that does the work here:

Medical Alert Systems: About our Research.


You can read why we created this guide to medical alert systems, and some testimonials from people who have found it useful here:

Medical Alert Systems: Help!





Key words: 
medical alert systems

Last Updated: April 23, 2020.