In the past, watches were almost exclusively used to tell the time. In recent years though, they have evolved to the point where they can now be used to monitor your health and notify emergency services if you have an accident.
A medical alert watch is a watch or watch-like device that’s designed to help you stay safe, even when you’re out and about. Common features include fall detection, automatic emergency services notification, 24/7 monitoring from a trained response team, GPS location tracking, and more.
Many medical alert watches for seniors are dedicated devices, designed to perform important health monitoring tasks without any extra frills. However, some smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, come with a suite of fall detection and other medical alert features that you can use if required.
Medical alert watches have become a viable mobile alternative to the bulkier in-home medical alert systems used by people across the country. They can be used both at home and when you’re out and about, and they are small, convenient, and very reliable.
In reality, virtually everyone could benefit from wearing some sort of medical alert watch. Younger people without pre-existing health conditions can take advantage of the health-tracking features that come with some devices. With these, you can keep track of your physical activity, along with things like heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, enabling you to stay on top of your health and fitness goals.
Elderly people or those with a pre-existing health condition or reduced mobility will benefit from a specialized medical alert watch for seniors. These tend to come with features such as fall detection and automatic emergency services calling.
Medical alert watches can be used for fall detection or to help you monitor your ongoing health and fitness goals.
For starters, many of the best medical alert watches are designed specifically for fall detection. They enable seniors and those with mobility constraints or health conditions to live a more comfortable life with a greater degree of freedom.
In some cases, emergency watches come with 24/7 monitoring through a professional response center. If you suffer a fall or other medical emergency, the response team will be notified and will help you take the required actions. When 24/7 monitoring isn’t available, medical alert watches often have the ability to automatically call 911 and notify emergency services.
The other type of medical alert watch is designed to collect data about you and your lifestyle. This can be used to make informed decisions to improve your lifestyle and ensure you remain healthy in the future. They can also be used to monitor things like heart rate in those suffering from an existing medical condition.
There are a number of important features to consider when purchasing a new medical alert watch to ensure you get a device that’s compatible with your lifestyle.
For starters, many devices come with GPS location tracking so that emergency services personnel can know exactly where you are. In some cases, your friends and family will be able to utilize this feature to keep tabs on your location.
Consider a device with voice control functionality if you struggle with small touchscreen devices. This is particularly important for those with reduced mobility or poor vision.
The battery life and charging style of your watch is also a crucial consideration. Some devices have less than 24 hours of battery life before they need recharging. Others will last for a few days, while a small number feature detachable batteries that you can switch rapidly, enabling you to wear your device 24/7.
Lastly, you need to decide whether you need emergency monitoring. Usually, this is only available with an extra monthly fee, but it could be worth it if you suffer reduced mobility or a severe health condition.
Compare the best medical alert watches using our chart above and choose the service that fits you the most.
When you’re looking at the cost of a medical alert watch, you need to take into account the initial hardware cost and any recurring monitoring or other subscriptions.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $300 plus for your medical alert watch. For example, the Lively Wearable 2 comes in at $49.99, the Kanega Watch costs $149, and an Apple Watch will set you back approximately $329.
In some cases, medical alert watches covered by Medicare will cost you less. But you shouldn’t rely on this, as most general Medicare plans don’t include any sort of medical alert device coverage.
When it comes to emergency monitoring, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $60 plus per month. This usually gives you 24/7 coverage from experienced emergency response professionals. A medical alert watch with no monthly fee, such as an Apple Watch, generally won’t include this sort of monitoring.