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Life Alert vs Lifeline – Which is the Best Option?

Main differences between Lifeline vs Life Alert 

The Main Differences Between Lifeline vs Life Alert are:

  • Lifeline does not require a contract, whereas Life Alert does require you to sign a three-year monthly contract when you sign up.
  • Lifeline costs between thirty dollars to fifty-five dollars a month, whereas Life Alert is more expensive with a starting rate of fifty dollars a month.
  • Lifeline allows you to cancel whenever you want, whereas Life Alert has strict cancellation policies and does not allow you to cancel in the first three years.

With a heatwave set to the hit the United States and Canada this July, it’s just a reminder that medical alert systems like Life Alert and Lifeline can come in handy.

For the weekend of July 19th, two hundred million people spanning cities such as Boston, Washington, much of the Midwest and swaths of the East Coast were predicted to face excessively humid conditions. But predictions also included Colorado, Kansas, and parts of Canada.

While all summers bring days of high or at least uncomfortable temperatures, this follows the warmest June ever recorded as a global average, and many climate scientists are pointing to this as yet another sign that, far from relief, we can expect life-threatening heat waves to only increase in the future.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared an emergency for New York, as have other cities, including Detroit. Warnings were sent out urging everyone to be cautious in the heat.

Of course, high temperatures can pose a risk to anyone, but that risk is especially a concern for the very young and seniors. While Canadians and Americans are fortunate to have better access to cooling systems as compared to India, where many cannot afford them, this is not universally the case.

Even with cooling systems, it’s good to be alert of extreme weather days. Both heating and cooling systems can break or malfunction. Anyone who does decide to venture outside is putting themselves at a greater risk.

That’s where medical alert systems like Life Alert and Lifeline come in. With options both for home and on the go, seniors can easily reach for help with the push of a button. Many medical alert systems also have fall detection, which is helpful not only for falls but if someone were to faint.

But when it comes to Life Alert vs Lifeline, does one work better than the other, and which one is a better value? In this article, we’ll be comparing two leading medical alert systems to see how they perform in terms of overall value, accessibility, and features designed to keep seniors safe in their homes and while they’re on the go.

Why does excessive heat disproportionately affect seniors?

 Both the very young and adults ages sixty-five and over are considered especially vulnerable to heat-related health concerns.

Of course, the central issue with excessive heat is that it dehydrates the body, which makes it difficult to maintain a steady internal temperature. Around forty percent of the total heat-induced deaths in the United States in a ten year period involved seniors sixty-five and older.

Aging makes temperature regulation more difficult, with changes to the body, including reduced ability to sweat.

In addition, seniors are more likely to face other underlying health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Certain medications can increase risks as well.

What are the most common heat-related illnesses?

Heat-related illnesses range from mild to life-threatening. The most common include:

  • Heat Rash: Heat rashes appear often in clusters and look like pimples or very small blisters. While not life-threatening, a heat rash is a sign it’s time to get out of the heat as quickly as possible. Rashes can be treated with baby powder and time out of the heat.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion, more serious than a heat rash, can be life-threatening. Signs of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, clammy skin that is cool to the touch, nausea, muscle cramps, weaknesses, fatigue, feeling dizzy, and fainting. Getting out of the heat, using cooling cloths, changing into loose-fitting clothes, ad hydrating are all ways to treat heat exhaustion. However, at the first sign of vomiting or symptoms lasting an hour or more, the person requires medical attention.
  • Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are just as they sound–bad muscle cramps or spasms, normally during physical activity. They are also often accompanied by excessive sweating. Hydrating with drinks with electrolytes, going into a cooler place and stopping physical activity are all good steps to take. Anyone on a low sodium diet needs to contact a medical professional.

How can medical alert systems help in excessively hot conditions?

Medical alert systems like Life Alert and Lifeline provide an easy way for seniors, or anyone using them, to get help no matter where they are.

If someone is out in the heat or even in a too-hot house and suffering from heat-related illnesses, it can be difficult to get to a phone and call for help. Medical alert devices make that possible with the push of a button.

Of course, medical alert systems like Life Alert and Lifeline are not only helpful for staying safe in hot and humid conditions. They are helpful on a regular basis, especially anyone with ongoing medical concerns, but also as a way to increase mobility and encourage independent living with more security of one’s health.

Medical alerts can also save lives in incidents such as fires and gas leaks. No matter the scenario, being able to easily call for emergency help increases the chances the person will make it out safe.

What are Life Alert and Lifeline systems? 

Both Life Alert and Lifeline are leading medical alert systems that offer home and mobile plans, so users can call for help at any time. These two are among the most well known of medical alert systems. Chances are if you’ve considered looking into purchasing a medical alert system you’ve heard of at least one of them.

But that’s what makes deciding between Life Alert vs Lifeline so difficult. Both claim to save lives, offer added safety and security and ensure peace of mind. So which one is more worth your money, and, even more importantly, which one works best at helping seniors stay safe both inside and outside of their homes?

How do I decide between Life Alert vs Lifeline?

 Your best bet at deciding between LifeAlert vs Lifeline is to skip the promotions and compare the two medical alert systems side by side on features that are important for determining overall value. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing.

How much does Life Alert vs Lifeline cost?

Cost is a critical factor, of course, into any decision you make, but when it comes to cost it’s also important to consider not just the price itself, but additional fees as well as what you’re getting for that price point. For those reasons, we’ll take a quick look at the cost of the plans offered by both companies but go into more details about each plan later.

  • Life Alert makes it quite hard to find how much their plans and devices cost. On most pages, you’ll be urged to call a hotline for a free brochure. The equipment, which also includes installation, ranges from around one hundred to two hundred dollars. Monthly plans range from fifty dollars to ninety dollars a month.
  • Lifeline makes it easier to locate monthly fees. The services range from thirty dollars to fifty-five dollars a month, and the devices themselves have an activation fee of fifty dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars.
  • Verdict: Not only is Lifeline more affordable on average, but it is also far more transparent in terms of fees and overall costs. You can easily locate prices on individual pages, as well as a comprehensive buying guide chart where you can directly compare plans and products.

What kinds of devices do they offer?

Now let’s take a look at the actual products and devices both companies offer. We’ll want to look at the different devices and what types of circumstances they are best for. In terms of comparison, we want to compare, as closely as possible, the different features–not just in quantity, but primarily in terms of how useful they are.

  1. Life Alert offers five different options

The general one is a home help button. These ‘emergency pendants’ offer an easy push button that can be set up to either a mobile or landline device and works up to eight hundred feet of the base. Pendants may be worn as necklaces or bracelets, feature seventy-two hours of battery life, are waterproof, and offer 24-7 monitoring and call services.

  • Shower Help Buttons are exactly what they sound like–buttons that can adhere to surfaces and walls and are waterproof and suitable for shower use. These are handy if you want an easy to reach the button, especially since the range of the Home Help Button is rather limited. The battery life is good for up to ten years and requires no charging, unlike their other devices.
  • Home Monitoring against intrusions is also available. While technically not a medical alert device, You’ll get a small button that activates an audio monitoring system and connects you with dispatchers, intended to protect against break-ins rather than for medical emergencies.
  • Mobile & GPS systems require no charging and also have batteries that last up to ten years. They can be used on the go and feature a simple help button and GPS system which works anywhere in the United States.

2. Lifeline offers four basic options

Two for at home and two for on the go.

  • Homesafe Standard: This at-home option gives you a water-resistant pendant or wrist band with a call button that can be connected to either a mobile or landline device. What is less clear is how long of a range it offers from the base. Even if you look into their FAQ, they simply state that the device usually works within the next room and possibly on another floor, by the distance is not stated.
  • Homesafe with Autoalert: This is a similar device, just with another plan. You’ll receive a pendant (no wrist band is available). In addition to being water-resistant and the ability to hook to a landline or mobile device, it comes with auto fall detection–which really is the only notable difference and accounts for an extra fifteen dollars a month.
  • Go Safe is one of two mobile options offered by Lifeline. This more expensive option offers protection both within the home and out and comes with a pendant with auto fall detection and the same two-way communication system you’ll get with at-home options. It connects both via wireless and landlines.
  • Go Safe 2 offers most of the same features as the more expensive Go Safe option, but without a home communication system. There is also no option for a landline connection.

Verdict: Of the two, features are fairly equal. Neither Lifeline or Life Alert offers as much as we’d like in terms of distance from the base for home devices. Both offer a few options for both home and mobile, and neither have features inherently superior to one another. One minor difference is that Life Alert offers help buttons, while Lifeline does not.

How do monthly charges work?

Both Life Alert and Lifeline require you to pay monthly, though individual plans vary. Let’s look at how payments are handled.

Life Alert does not fully disclose monthly plans and options. Upon investigation, you are required to sign up for a three-year monthly contract; during this period you are not permitted to cancel, except for rather limited circumstances. Next to no information is available as to how payments are handled, so your best bet is to call the hotline. There have been reports pending on conflicting information from different representatives, so even then one of the only ways to know for certain is through official paperwork.

Lifeline does not require any contracts, only monthly payments, meaning you can cancel when you wish. Monthly costs cover service and sales taxes. You can either pay by credit card or allow for automatic withdrawals.

Overall, Lifeline is a better option in terms of monthly payments. Lifeline is free of contracts, is far more transparent and even offers different payment plans.

Are there any refunds or exchanges?

As helpful as it is to investigate whether a medical alert system is right for you, it’s always good to have some security in mind by investigating policies surrounding refunds and warranties.

Life Alert, as we mentioned, offers refunds or cessation of the three-year contract almost solely in the case of someone passing away, with rather limited exceptions.

Lifeline allows you to cancel orders before they’ve been shipped, though if it has already been shipped, you can cancel with the payment of a fifty-dollar fee. While it is unclear where exchanges or returns are allowed, the company has direct hotlines for handling both. You can return pendants within thirty-day window if it is in ‘like new’ condition, though you may be subject to a restocking fee.

Verdict: While not perfect, Lifeline is more reasonable when it comes to exchanging policies.

What do customers have to say?

While comparing features, pricing, and general policies are all great options when it comes to deciding between Life Alert vs Lifeline, you’re also going to want to compare when it comes to customer reviews.

Life Alert is accredited with the Better Business Bureau with an A-plus rating, but an average of just one and a half stars and sixty two reported customer complaints. However, on Consumer Affairs the company fares better among customers, with an average of over four and a half stars based upon four hundred and forty customer reviews. The reason for this discrepancy is likely that far more people go to Better Business Bureau to report complaints than provide positive reviews. Customers credited fast response times, with many saying it helped greatly in an emergency. Some had issues with canceling or took issue with the contract system. Just two or three complaints claimed too late response times.

Lifeline also is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A-plus rating with one and a half stars based upon seventy-two customer reviews. Lifeline holds a four and a half star rating based upon over five hundred consumer reviews. Consumer praised fast response times, easy installation and the lack of long term contracts. There were a number of complaints in terms of poor customer service or communication.

Overall, both have pretty decent customer reviews. Lifeline has a slight edge because it has less in terms of delayed response complaints, though neither company was perfect and neither had worrying levels of complaints.

Bottom Line: When it comes to Life Alert vs Lifeline, Lifeline is the better option.

Both Life Alert and Lifeline offer mobile and at-home systems with a number of useful features, and both are fairly equal when it comes to customer satisfaction in terms of reviews. However, there are several things that set Lifeline apart from Life Alert.

The advantages to Lifeline over Life Alert include:

  • No contracts
  • More affordable and transparent pricing
  • The ability to cancel
  • Fairly equal offerings in terms of features

Erin Jamieson

Erin Jamieson has a great relationship with her grandparents and great-grandparents, so she wanted to help others like them. She's done a lot of research and wants to share her information with Wizerlist readers. Why are you giving advice on Wizerlist? My great-grandparents and grandparents have always meant the world to me. But mostly, some of my most meaningful experiences have been spent spending time and caring for others. I want to share my experiences, my background studying human and developmental psychology, and my passion that everyone should be able to live the best possible lives. What personal experience do you have with senior living? I've volunteered in nursing homes, helped build homes, and engaged in other community services related to different levels of senior living. If you could give people one piece of advice about living as a senior, what would it be? Becoming a senior comes with its own challenges, but there's so many great things too. Having a support system, staying in touch with loved ones and pursuing something you've always wanted to are just a few of my tips.

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