Medical alert systems-which connect users with an emergency service operator via push button connection-can provide peace of mind to those at risk for falls or living alone, but with so many devices, features, and fees it may be hard to choose the appropriate system for yourself Consumer Reports conducted a comprehensive analysis of top-rated medical alert systems while selecting features best suited for seniors as well as people living with chronic health conditions Starting Out Evaluate Providers Before selecting your device provider, carefully evaluate its up-front costs, monthly service prices and add-on options While pricing information can often be found online or via customer service representatives at companies' websites, for accurate and complete information Contacting customer service also offers more assurances such as whether there is a trial period or cancellation policy with each device; as well as discounts applicable such as those for AARP members or those with long-term care insurance policies Traditionally, most medical alert systems were limited to working via landlines within your home, but many now utilize cellular networks as well This makes them portable and easier to take with you when traveling away from home Home-based systems are roughly the size of a pager while mobile devices like MobileHelp Touch Classic wristwatch and Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch resemble iPhones in size and can be worn as necklaces or clipped onto purses or pockets for on-the-go use Some devices offer fall detection, sending an alert to the monitoring center if they detect sudden and hard impacts caused by falling Although this feature often incurs additional monthly costs, our Medical Alert Systems Shopping Survey revealed it as being among the top two choices https//mapsappgoogl/ot7rsuTHh17JKFrE6 Choose an at-home system that comes equipped with a lockbox to store keys in case of incapacitating circumstances or emergency responders needing access Medical Alert offers free lockboxes as part of its at-home plans billed annually or semiannually, while some other brands charge separately Some medical alert systems offer users a feature that allows them to call call centers using verbal commands Our tests showed these types of systems to be responsive and user-friendly; however, 911 dispatchers might not understand everything you say so it is wise to have an alternative plan ready in case this doesn't work out as intended Medical alert devices can be an excellent way for a caregiving relative to stay connected with loved ones living with dementia or Alzheimer's https//mapsappgoogl/xnG5gqtG5ZhpzJQi6 Before purchasing such a device, however, it's essential to discuss it with the person being bought it for We asked Dementia Careblazers' board-certified geropsychologist how best to start this dialogue