LifeFone Review Summary
LifeFone is an established provider of medical alert systems with four decades of operations experience. The company offers each senior customer a thoughtful and supportive service experience. LifeFone accepts detailed personal profiles from each customer to provide them with a customized care plan.
Customers can select from a full line of at-home and on-the-go medical alert systems. Besides access to round-the-clock emergency monitoring through their subscriptions, customers and caregivers can opt for additional tools and mobile apps that provide them with even greater support and peace of mind.
Disclosure: We receive referrals commissions for purchases made (details).
Good Equipment Options – LifeFone offers a full line of quality systems and options to pick from. Their at-home and mobile duo system includes both an at-home base unit and a separate mobile unit, maximizing coverage and reliability for seniors.
Caregiver Tools – Customers and caregivers can access additional options such as Medication Reminders, Activity Assurance, Daily Check-in Calls, GPS Location Service and set up email/text notifications for certain system events (with cellular or mobile systems).
Customer Friendly Terms – Customers can cancel at any time for any reason and get a pro-rated refund on the unused portion of any pre-paid service. LifeFone also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Call Center Certifications – LifeFone does not list call center related certifications by recognized 3rd-party industry organizations. LifeFone ensures the quality of their US-based monitoring service by having their response agents undergo a rigorous internal training program and certification process.
LifeFone Detailed Review
Established in 1976, LifeFone has a proven track record as a provider of medical alert systems for seniors in the US. Through the years, the company has adapted its product offerings to the changing needs of seniors based on extensive research with customers, caregivers, and prospective subscribers.
Besides the traditional at-home medical alert console and pendant configuration, the company provides a full line of additional products and options. These include mobile on-the-go medical alert systems, cellular (no phone line needed) base station units and fall alert pendants. The company also offers various Caregiver Tools and Apps with helpful features to supplement their main medical alert services.
How LifeFone Works
LifeFone medical alert systems allow senior customers to quickly connect with live monitoring operators (LifeFone Care Agents) to get the help they need. Each of their at-home systems involve a wireless emergency button pendant or wristband that is synced to a base console unit. In case of emergency, the customer (senior) simply presses the button to initiate a call connection with a trained operator.
Call connections are made through a landline or else through a cellular phone network connection, depending on the type of system selected (landline, cellular or mobile). The sensitive speaker and microphone on the base console unit makes 2-way communications between the senior and the operator possible.
After assessing the client’s needs, the operator will quickly contact the appropriate party that can best help the user. Depending on the particular situation, it could be an emergency medical technician or EMT, or the senior’s family member, caregiver or friend.
LifeFone makes it easy for customers to create and place on file with LifeFone, their detailed personalized emergency profiles. Information from their profiles form the basis for each customer’s customized care plan. Personalized profiles can include details such as the senior customer’s health conditions, medications, doctors, preferred hospitals, contact information of family members and other emergency contacts. Having a detailed personal profile can help the monitoring center operator better understand the senior’s particular needs, and relay important information to emergency responders or contacts if the situation calls for it.
Cost of Service
For a fixed monthly rate of $29.95, customers can have the standard at-home system service up and running. Activating the service subscription does not come with additional installation and activation fees, nor are there any equipment fees. You can pay even lower fees if you opt to pre-pay quarterly or annually. For quarterly payments, monthly cost will only be equivalent to $27.95/month, while annual payments will amount to $24.95/month. When compared to prices of other medical alert companies, LifeFone’s rates are very competitive. In addition, spouses are protected at no extra cost!
For systems with additional features, the cost is higher. The system that works without a phone line costs an extra $5 to $6 per month. Their most expensive system, one that can be used both in and out of the home, with no landline connection needed and automatic fall detection, runs at $51.95 per month. This is before any prepayment discounts.
For clearer pricing information, visit LifeFone’s website and click on Order Now to bring up the pricing chart for review. Alternatively, call toll-free 1-877-352-1292 and a LifeFone specialist can run through the costs and current promotions with you.
Besides reasonable pricing, the company offers a lifetime price guarantee for subscribers, which means that the rates will remain the same for the entire duration of each subscription.
All contracts are short-term, and can be cancelled by the subscriber anytime.
Compared to most other major medical alert companies, LifeFone offers very customer-friendly terms. They have both a 30-day money back guarantee, as well as pro-rated refunds for time prepaid but unused.
Overview of Equipment
LifeFone Base Unit
LifeFone provides customers with a line-up of quality base station units that will dial into their monitoring centers. For it’s at-home landline medical alert system, LifeFone offers customers a tried and tested base station model that has proven to work well over the years. This base station console houses a loudspeaker and a highly sensitive special microphone that make clear 2-way communications between the senior client and emergency center operator possible.
LifeFone’s base station equipment adheres to various recognized industry standards. Their at-home landline base unit device is compliant with UL listing standards, the generally accepted standard for quality equipment in the industry. Their at-home no landline fall detection and at-home & mobile duo systems meet with either UL or ETL certification standards, while their at-home no landline console (Essence PERS) is both UL and FCC certified..
All LifeFone equipment comes with a lifetime warranty, and replacements will be provided if necessary at no extra charge to customers.
Waterproof Emergency Help Button
The lightweight device can be worn by the user either as a bracelet or a necklace pendant. It is also waterproof; thus, the user can wear it even while taking a shower. This is important since the risk of falling is higher than usual in wet areas. The button’s battery typically lasts for a few years, eliminating the need for frequent charging.
Extending the service to the spouse or another person living with the user in the same household can be arranged at no extra cost. The 2nd user will receive an additional, standard pendant or wristband at no charge. NOTE: The voice-in-pendant system cannot be shared, as it is worn by one user.
Fall Detection Buttons
While the senior user needs to manually press the SOS button to send out an alarm call with LifeFone’s regular pendant, this is not necessary with their premium automatic fall alert detection pendants. The fall detection pendant will automatically sense if the senior user has fallen and then issue an alarm call. For senior customers with cardiac conditions or ailments that cause them to lose consciousness or become disoriented, a fall detection button is a great option to consider.
What’s great is that the company offers fall detection buttons that work with both their at-home and on-the-go systems, so seniors can choose to be protected with this feature regardless of whichever type of medical alert system they choose.
As much as fall detection can be a great feature, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. It would be best to weigh them first before deciding (see discussion here).
Phone Line Options
LifeFone systems are designed to work with different types of phone lines including conventional residential phone lines, cable phone connections, DSL internet connections, and VoIP services. The company also offers hookup to its monitoring center via a cellular network. This cellular connection comes with the base console unit or mobile device, so no extra cell phone subscription is necessary. These systems work independently from a user’s cell phone connection. The connections are made through LifeFone’s cellular service, not the user’s.
For users comfortable with having a traditional landline and if it’s something they are already paying for and using, it becomes the most logical option to choose. With more and more households canceling their conventional home phone subscriptions, many seniors have been using alternative connections mentioned above. All of these solutions have been working out well in real life.
LifeFone’s no landline medical alert base units connect through the AT&T cellular network. On LifeFone’s site, readers can check for coverage in their area before purchasing. For confirmation, please call LifeFone directly at toll-free 1-877-352-1292.
The installation of a LifeFone system requires an easy DIY process. For example, for LifeFone’s at-home landline medical alert system, it simply involves connecting the base unit to a phone line and a power supply. Their cellular systems just need to be plugged into a power outlet. Most people, even those with limited DIY experience, can follow this. If you want to be sure, however, you can check out the step-by-step guide on the company’s website. If you have any questions about installation, you can call LifeFone’s customer care agents.
Range refers to the maximum distance between the help button and the base unit for an emergency call to be triggered. The range for the standard at-home landline system help buttons is up to 480 ft., or sufficient for a home of up to 3,500 sq. ft. For most households, this range is enough to cover even the yard, patio, and other peripheral areas.
For larger homes, LifeFone offers additional options. For their at-home landline system, there are options to expand the range up to 1,500 ft. Their at-home cellular system has a range of up to 1,300 ft.
The unit’s actual working range may vary, depending on the home’s build, construction, floor plan, and other possible obstructions. To be certain about the working range, it is recommended that users test the buttons in frequently-visited areas of the home, as well as in areas where the risk of a fall are higher such as in the bathroom, stairs, kitchen, and peripheral areas.
Other than their at-home systems, the ranges for LifeFone’s other medical alert systems are up to 350 ft – 600 ft. Keep in mind that range measures the distance between the help button and the base unit. The concept is most applicable for at-home systems, where the senior is wearing the button and a distance away from the at-home base unit.
For mobile systems with portable base units, if the senior user has the unit in her purse, she can activate an emergency call by pressing the help button right on the unit itself without any range restriction. Mobile on-the-go systems are designed to work anywhere nationwide with good cell phone coverage.
LifeFone Mobile Alert™ App
LifeFone also offers a smartphone Mobile Alert app that allows customers to call and connect with monitoring care agents at the touch of a button. The app works on both Android and iPhone platforms for a small monthly fee (under $8/month).
For at-home medical alert system subscribers, subscribing to this mobile app allows them to access LifeFone’s monitoring service to their smartphones. Without having to carry a separate mobile medical alert device, they can click on the app button to call for help if an emergency occurs.
Rather than rely on a smartphone app, some seniors may find it easier to have a dedicated mobile alert device that they can carry with them when they leave home. In that case, LifeFone’s At-Home & On-the-Go Mobile Medical Alert duo system described below would be worth considering.
LifeFone’s at-home and mobile duo system is ideal for senior users looking to have monitoring help available both in and out of their homes. The system includes both an at-home base unit and a separate mobile GPS-enabled base unit with its own separate speaker and microphone. When the user is home, the system works just like an in-home cellular based alert system that doesn’t require a landline to function. Senior users have the option of using either a lightweight, waterproof bracelet or pendant to activate emergency calls.
The mobile base unit is designed to be taken out by senior users whenever they leave home. It is just about the same size as a deck of cards with an SOS call activation button. It comes with GPS tracking capabilities that enable transmission of information on the client’s location to the emergency monitoring team.
All emergency calls are routed via AT&T’s wireless cell network. A separate mobile phone subscription is not necessary. The system works with LifeFone’s cellular service, not yours.
Equipping seniors with both an at-home base unit and a separate on-the-go device maximizes coverage and reliability. Even at home, senior users can take the mobile unit with them when they are out in the yard or down in the basement. The separate speaker and microphone in the unit extends the voice range of the system.
LifeFone offers another alternative at-home and mobile system design. It is an all-in-one voice pendant solution. The speaker, microphone and SOS button are all fitted within a small lightweight pendant. This pendant is small and light enough to be worn around the neck. Users can communicate directly through their pendant, rather than through a separate speakerbox console. It comes equipped with GPS tracking. Optional fall detection is available. To learn more, please contact LifeFone at toll-free 1-877-352-1292.
Monitoring service is available 24/7 for the entire year. LifeFone operates its own call center, and in addition, they also work with an external, back-up call center to attend to senior callers and other subscribers. According to LifeFone, their Care Agents undergo a rigorous two-month training program before they are certified by LifeFone to handle emergency calls. The training curriculum covers emergency care fundamentals with a focus on the needs of seniors.
LifeFone has a quality assurance program in place where calls are monitored and reviewed. LifeFone Care Agents are required to attend continuing education training as well. All agents are trained to deal with client calls in a courteous and professional manner. Many LifeFone customers have found interactions with LifeFone Care Agents to be friendly and helpful.
Intermittent power interruptions can occur in local areas. Whenever there is a power interruption, the at-home landline system is designed to function for up to 32 hours or more, powered by a backup battery. The system will revert to using normal power again, and start recharging the backup battery once normal power is back up.
All other LifeFone medical alert systems, such as their at-home cellular and on-the-go mobile base units also come with backup batteries. Depending on the model, they will function up to another 24 to 30 hours on backup.
Caregiver Tools and Support Services
Besides emergency response services, LifeFone’s offerings include complementary services intended to help seniors or their caregivers with sometimes routine but nevertheless important aspects of daily life. Caregiver tools include Activity Assurance, Medication Reminders, GPS Location Service, and Daily Check-in Call. There are additional monthly fees involved.
Customers using some of LifeFone’s no landline systems (eg. cellular or mobile) can gain access to LifeFone’s Caregiver Portal when they subscribe to Caregiver tools like Medication Reminders or GPS Location Service. On this portal, caregivers can update or change medication reminders and access GPS location information for the user. In addition, caregivers can set text and email alerts for events like when users perform a system test or if the base unit is disconnected from a power source.
We’ve come across very few complaints regarding LifeFone. There BBB record has a rating of A+, with only 1 complaint in the last 3 years (as of Mar 2017). The customer verified that the complaint was resolved to their satisfaction. This is an excellent track record.
Elsewhere online, customer reviews for this company are often positive. The few complaints that came up had to do with billing and difficulties with refunds, and the company did try to actively resolve them. To address customer concerns, LifeFone offers both a dedicated support phone number to call and an email address that customers can write in to. Current LifeFone customers can click here and look under Customer Care.
LifeFone is a medical alert company that offers customers quality equipment combined with helpful round-the-clock monitoring services. They offer both at-home and on-the-go mobile systems. There are also choices for apps and caregiver tools that offer additional support and peace of mind for both senior system users and their loved ones. If you have questions or like to find out more, please contact the company directly at toll-free 1-877-352-1292, or visit LifeFone’s official website.
Disclosure: We receive referrals commissions for purchases made (details).
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this review, the information is supplied without warranties of any kind. We advise all readers to do careful due diligence before purchasing. Take time to visit the company’s website or speak with their representatives.