Medical Alerts with Fall Detection Button for Seniors

Medical Alerts with Fall Detection Button for Seniors

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 30, 2019


According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in seniors. The report goes on to state that one in four people over the age of 65 will fall at some point in the next year. With such dire statistics, having a medical alert button with fall detection can save lives.


Medical alert pendants often feature a relatively new option called fall detection. Fall detection pendants feature sensors, known as accelerometers, that detect not only normal activity, but also a fall. The accelerometers measure the speed of movement in all directions to determine if the wearer has sustained a fall. During a fall, you can suffer a serious injury or be rendered unconscious and unable to call for help. With a medical alert pendant that has fall detection, help is automatically summoned if a fall is detected. This can help first responders render immediate life-saving assistance. 

Advantages of Medical Alerts with Fall Detection Button
  • The accelerometers in a medical alert fall detection pendant are accurate 90 percent of the time.
  • If you are knocked unconscious or unable to call for help, the fall detection pendant will automatically summon first responders.
  • Pendants with fall detection are waterproof, so they are ideal for use in the shower or bathtub, where many serious falls occur each year.
  • Each pendant with fall alert services features a speaker, a microphone and a button.
  • The “help” button on the pendant can be pushed to immediately summon help if you cannot speak into the microphone to ask for help. However, if a fall takes place, you do not have to push a button. The device automatically calls for help.
  • Mobile pendants with fall detection features function off of cell phone towers, so they can be used inside and outside the home.
  • Some medical alert pendants come with a built-in GPS system, which is ideal if a senior wanders away from the home, and becomes lost, and accidentally falls.
  • 24-hour monitoring and assistance.
  • The pendants with fall detection services are small and lightweight.
  • You can wear the pendant as a necklace or place it in your pocket. Some pendants are also affixed to watch bands and can be worn on the wrist.
  • No need for a landline because help is summoned using a cell signal.
Disadvantages of Medical Alerts with Fall Detection Button
  • No system is perfect. The pendant may detect what it perceives to be a fall, but which in reality is not.
  • There is a monthly expense with all fall alert-related medical alert systems.
  • The pendant is small, so it can easily be misplaced.
  • The entire medical alert system runs off of cellular phone service, so if a cell phone tower goes down or the senior does not receive good service inside their home, they may be unable to reach help.
  • Pendants with fall detection must be recharged frequently so the battery does not deplete.
  • Some pendants with fall detection can take up to two hours to charge fully. If an emergency happens while the pendant is charging, a senior will be without the security of medical alert services during this time. However, some fall detection pendants will last for two years before viability depletes.
  • The GPS features on many pendants with fall detection are not 100 percent accurate.
Fall Detection Button Enhancement Options for Medical Alerts

When purchasing a medical alert pendant system with fall detection, there are several enhancement options that a senior might want to consider.

  • Pendants can be outfitted with GPS location services, which are ideal if a senior should wander away from home, become lost, and suddenly fall.
  • Medical alert service pendants with fall detection function outdoors, which can be a true lifesaver if you should fall while gardening or taking an evening stroll.
  • You can opt to use either a necklace or bracelet with fall detection services. There are also waistband models available. Most medical alert plans come with two pendants, but additional pendants can be added. Many systems will handle up to four pendants.
  • Many medical alert systems also come equipped with fire and smoke monitoring.
  • Medical reminder services can be added to notify you when you need to take your medication.
Cost Considerations Associated with Fall Detection Buttons

The monthly cost of medical alert services with fall detection usually runs twice as much as the typical system. It is up to you to decide if the additional expense is worth the peace of mind of knowing that if you should sustain a physically limiting fall, help can and will be summoned. The service usually averages $30 per month. If you sign a one-year contract with the company, many will provide you with a free fall detection pendant and base unit.

In addition to the pendant, you can also opt to purchase additional pendants in a wide array of styles. These can range in price from $49 to $1,000 or more for a diamond-adorned model.

  • Fire and smoke monitoring usually average around $50 per month.
  • Medication reminders cost around $9 per month.
  • Carbon monoxide monitoring is around $50 per month.
  • Additional pendants usually average $29 to $100.
Additional Consideration for Fall Detection Button with Medical Alerts

Yes, you can live your life without a fall detection medical alert pendant, but if you should be knocked unconscious during a fall, these pendants will automatically summon help. You do not have to worry about pressing a button or verbally explaining your dire situation. The fall detection meters built into the pendant will call for help. This feature provides optimum peace of mind if you live alone, or if you suffer from a physical impairment that makes it more likely that you will fall.

Kimberly Sharpe - Senior Advisor

Kimberly is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.