Our LifeFone At Home review of this well-rounded system will present all of its pros and cons to you. Available both as a landline and a cellular in-home solution, this system is very affordable if you choose the annual plan.
Moreover, this company, one of the most experienced in the field, offers almost every possible additional feature. Some of them, such as automatic fall detection, are the most affordable out of all medical alert systems. Plus, they offer free spouse monitoring with all of their home-based options. Although no long-term contract is required, we recommend a longer commitment. But read on because we’ll explain how their fees get less appealing if you opt for making month-to-month payments.
LifeFone At Home Design & Major Features
This LifeFone system uses a nearly identical white base unit as Medical Guardian’s Classic Guardian. The only thing that differs is the company logo. Still, we liked its minimalist design. Note that medical alert companies not making their equipment is a fairly common practice.
Apart from the shared base unit, if we compare LifeFone vs Medical Guardian, similarities quickly start to disappear. Though their waterproof help pendants have the same specified 1300-foot range, they are differently designed, and everything else about their services differs.
There’s a round, black emergency button with Braille lettering in the center of the base unit’s top. It glows red when you call for help, while the outer ring that surrounds it flashes blue.
A digital voice will also say “emergency alarm,” and it will start beeping until it connects to a help center. Above it, you’ll see a reset button that flashes orange during a call for help. Unlike the Bay Alarm Medical reset button, pressing it won’t stop the call, it will only silence the alarm.
Ease of Use
There’s a speaker in the upper left corner, and below the help button there’s a microphone and three LED indicators for “power,” “communications,” and “trouble.” The power indicator is green when the unit is connected to a power source and blinks green when it’s running on its 32-hour backup battery.
When everything is OK, the communications indicator is solid green and it blinks green during use. We had no issues with communication during our LifeFone At Home review, but the button is red if communication is down, and blinks red if the transmission is obstructed. Ultimately, if the base unit is broken, you’ll see a solid green light on the trouble indicator while it will blink red when the battery is low.
LifeFone Medical Alert System’s Additional Features & Accessories
Monitoring (and Extra Equipment)
Regarding the additional features and accessories, this is one of the best systems you can get. The only thing they don’t offer is voice extension. Also, to get a GPS you have to go for a stand-alone mobile solution or a combo of in-home and on-the-go medical alert systems that bundles with a different home system than this one. Nevertheless, all other additional features are not only offered but extremely affordable or (almost) completely free!
First of all, multiperson monitoring is free. Your spouse or other members of your household can have access to the same emergency contact center using the same base unit at no added monthly fee.
However, you don’t get the additional equipment for free. The first help button is included, but for every additional waterproof black LifeFone wristband or white neck pendant, you’ll have to make a one-time payment of around $40. You can also use the help buttons to remotely answer phone calls and talk through the intercom on your base unit for free.
But that’s not all; other accessories don’t add to your monthly fee either! A lockbox or additional wall-mounted buttons can be yours for a single payment of around $40 per item. Next, at just $5 per month, LifeFone’s automatic fall detection is the most affordable out of all the systems we’ve reviewed. We strongly recommend adding this useful feature.
Though we’ve indicated in our LifeFone review that they offer fire, smoke, and CO monitoring, it’s important to note that this equipment comes with a different base unit and help buttons; so take it with a grain of salt. The whole system costs around $43 per month but requires a one-year contract. Continue reading for information on their check-in service and medication reminders.
Assistance and Response Times
When it comes to LifeFone’s monitoring services, everything was smooth, and their help agents were very competent and courteous. They can provide help 24/7 in 200 languages. However, response times varied during our LifeFone At Home review. On average, their agents responded after around 45 seconds. Even though these are among the slowest response times, everything under one minute is perfectly acceptable in our book.
Extra Monitoring Features
Another unexpected issue we faced was the fact that the help pendants’ specified range of 1300 feet wasn’t nearly as great in our tests. While we managed to trigger the alarm call from every room in the house, the system struggled outdoors past the 150-foot mark. This was also noted in other LifeFone reviews, so we were not the only ones with this issue. It’s normal for systems to have different real-life ranges from what’s specified, but this was one of the more extreme disparities we’ve seen.
Additional features under the “Caregiver tools” that their monitoring center provides include:
- Activity assurance ($6/month) – daily alarm at your preferred time to ensure you’re OK; an agent calls you if you don’t stop the alarm and sends help if you don’t answer the call as well; it won’t add to your LifeFone price nearly as much as the next feature;
- Daily check-in call ($19/month) – an agent calls you every day to make sure you’re fine and reminds you to take your medication, or provides any other type of reminder you would like;
- Medication reminders ($6/month) – but it doesn’t work with this system; if you choose one of their systems with a base unit that has an LCD screen, it will remind you to take your medication;
- Location service ($9/month) – works only with GPS systems; allows caregivers of LifeFone users to log in and track their whereabouts.
Contracts & Fees
If billed monthly, this LifeFone landline system costs around $30 per month. At $1 per day, this is average for an in-home system. However, the price drops to around $28 if billed quarterly, and to just under $25 if billed annually. Even though no long-term contract is mandatory, we highly recommend opting for a longer commitment, because those are substantial savings.
We haven’t talked about the cellular option in our LifeFone Medical alert system review, but apart from the price, and the fact that you can move the base unit freely in and around the house, everything else is the same. The cellular option costs around $5 more if billed monthly or quarterly, and around $6 more if billed annually. When there’s a promotion, you’ll even get a free month of service, whichever payment option you choose, both for the landline and cellular system.
All in all, this is fantastically priced system. Furthermore, there are no equipment fees and no activation fees. LifeFone, a White Plains, NY–based company even has a 30-day money-back guarantee. So there are no cancellation fees, and you’re welcome to try out the system for a month and return it if it’s not the best fit for you.
Ordering & Setup
Ordering LifeFone is as easy as it gets. Simply call 1-800-331-9198 to order with the assistance of a help agent. Or select the system and additional features yourself and order online on LifeFone’s official website. If you have any questions, check out the FAQ section or call LifeFone customer service at 1-800-882-2280. This is the number for general information, but there are other numbers concerning systems and services, updating your emergency care instructions, and billing questions. You can find them all in the customer care section of the website.
Although they don’t offer free shipping all the time, more often than not there is a limited-time offer for free ground shipping. Standard shipping takes five to seven business days, but there are other faster, more expensive options. When your order arrives, it will contain a LifeFone manual that will help you with the setup process.
Same as any other medical alert system, the setup is extremely simple and intuitive. Just plug the base unit into a power outlet and connect the phone line. The blue ring will illuminate, and the system’s digital voice will inform you that the setup is complete. All that’s left to activate the system is calling the number from the manual. The agent will verify your account and make sure everything’s operating as it should.