LifeStation

LifeStation offers intentionally simple, straightforward and time-tested systems that meet the basic needs of seniors aging in place independently, without adding complicated bells and whistles that increase difficulty or resistance to using the system.

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9.0
Grand Score
8
User Score
9.0
Grand Score
8
User Score
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The medical alert business is becoming more and more complex with the advance of technology and the large number of new companies competing in the market. 

LifeStation is a New Jersey-based company that has intentionally kept its offerings simple. As we have adopted smart phones and cellular technology into our lives, it has adopted cellular as an alternative for a phone line for its at-home base station. For its mobile device, it has adopted both cellular and GPS. However, the design of its units has remained simple and obvious.
 
Where it has implemented state-of-the-art technology is in its monitoring center. Here it boasts the industry’s fastest response time: 20 seconds from a button push to a human response. Since its founding in 1977, LifeStation has served the senior population reliably and affordably. 

Grandfolk Scoring
Price 8/10
Shipping fee 10/10
Activation fee 10/10
Contract obligation 10/10
Cancellation fee 10/10
Warranty 10/10
Base unit range 8/10
Mobile device range 8/10
Landline requirement 10/10
Risk-free trial period 6/10
Equipment cost 10/10
Fall detection button 8/10
Wall-mounted button 8/10
Water-resistant pendant 8/10
Price
Monthly monitoring fee
$29.95-$48.95
Shipping fee
Equipment delivery
None
Activation fee
Setting up service
None
Contract obligation
Length of commitment
None
Cancellation fee
To terminate service
None
Warranty
Replacement policy
Lifetime for defects
Base unit range
Effective signal distance
500 feet
Mobile device range
Effective signal distance
600 feet
Landline requirement
How system communicates
None; it’s all cellular
Risk-free trial period
Period for full refund
No
Equipment cost
Basic equipment purchase
None
Fall detection button
Is it available?
Yes
Wall-mounted button
Is it available?
Yes
Water-resistant pendant
Wearable in shower?
Yes
Age Score:
10
50-64 Years
10
65-74 Years
9
75-84 Years
8
85-Older

A medical alert system needs to meet the changing needs of its users. 

The LifeStation system itself is very simple, therefore it is particularly user-friendly for all ages. It has large colorful buttons that minimize errors as mental and visual sharpness decline. 

A caregiver, or even the user, can adjust the instructions given to the emergency monitoring center on how to proceed when a help button is pushed in order to meet the needs of an aging user. However, the LifeStation system lacks the internet-based monitoring tools offered by other companies. Those tools become so vital to the effectiveness of caregiver as a user’s condition declines.

What is not friendly is LifeStation’s website; in fact, it could cause trouble for older users trying to navigate it. The website does provide easy-to-understand answers to many questions in the ‘FAQ’ area. However, it also uses extensive internal links that create loops, making the site hard to follow and information hard to gather. Its lack of pricing requires a user to call a sales person for information, which may be more confusing for older users.  
 

Health Score:
10
Poor Health
10
Fair Health
9
Good Health
7
Great Health

If we think of the two targeted audiences for a medical alert system, they are the user and the persons concerned about the user’s health. The LifeStation system is extremely friendly for the user both when health and focus are good and when they decline. The secret is the simplicity of the system.

Unfortunately, that simplicity means that loved ones are limited to little more than a notifying email whenever a button is pushed. There are no communications tools that permit loved ones or caretakers to monitor the user’s medical condition or activity level, for example. Third parties can be added to the monitoring center’s notification list once an alarm has been sounded, but they cannot access important information on a regular basis by computer or smart phone as they might on other systems.

As health declines, having access to such information about a loved one becomes increasingly important.
 

Pros:

LifeStation offers many advantages to seniors. They include:

  • Automatic weekly tests of the system between the base station and the central monitoring system, so LifeStation (and you) know the system is working right. (Some other systems are tested monthly and some not at all.)
  • Easy-to-change instructions on whom to call when: Emergency Medical Services or a neighbor or a nearby friend? 
  • Three straightforward configurations that cover you at home or away: a landline system for at home, a cellular system for at home and a GPS-enhanced mobile system for when you are at home or away, with the choice of one waterproof pendant or wrist band help button included. 
  • A few accessories you can add to further customize the system to your needs: a fall detection button, a wall-mounted button and a lockbox.
  • Caregiver Alerts: emails sent to designated people announcing an alarm activation or a disconnected base station.
  • Two-for-one use of a base station where two people in a household share for just $3.99 per month for the extra help button.
  • Cellular service through AT&T’s network that means you need no landline and you are protected even when phone service is down.
  • Waterproof (vs water-resistant) ‘wearables’, protecting help buttons far more than other systems do. 
  • A company-owned monitoring center that is UL-listed, Five Diamond CSAA certified and staffed by highly trained Care Specialists who undergo regular performance reviews. 
  • Two Care Specialists on any emergency call so one person is always on the line with you while the other is reaching out to Emergency Medical Services or to people you have asked them to notify.

While LifeStation’s system is simple, it has incorporated a large number of small conveniences that make a marked difference in the comfort level of the person using the service, as well as loved ones and caregivers. 

Cons:

Some of LifeStation’s drawbacks include:

  • Limited add-ons, such as no medication reminder, activity monitoring service or internet-based access so loved ones can check in on you from a distance. (Like many other services, it does not have a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector either.)
  • Incomplete information on its website, which means you need to call a sales person for pricing on anything beyond the most basic In-Home system, as well as for some of the accessories. 
  • A service cancellation process that is less clear than others, which includes being told to save the box your system came in; having to cancel your service “with 30-day advance notice,” while being told that cancellation is only formal when LifeStation receives your equipment. 
  • Vague refund policies are cited, including that they do not refund unused prepaid amounts. 
  • The limited add-ons are part of the reason why the LifeStation system is so simple to use, and that simplicity is considered its great appeal. As for the remaining three drawbacks (incomplete information, unclear service cancellation policies and lack of written guarantees on the website), they have no acceptable explanation. 

Bottom Line:

Over its forty years in business, LifeStation has kept its system simple, with few complicating add-ons. As a result, it is easy to understand, set up and use. Its systems have been time-tested by servicing the senior population well for so many years. The company takes pride in having its own Five Diamond CSAA certified, state-of-the-art monitoring center, with highly trained staff and with its acclaimed 20-second response time. While the company does offer online ordering, it requires calls to sales personnel in order to obtain pricing for anything other than the most basic system. 

We recommend LifeStation as an excellent company in the industry for bringing simple, reliable and affordable solutions to the growing medical alert space.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Exactly what will happen when I press the button for help? 

About twenty seconds after pressing the help button, a Care Specialist at the monitoring center will respond, using your name. If you are unable to communicate through the base station or mobile device, emergency medical services will be sent immediately. 

If you can communicate, they will assess the situation with you and follow the plan you have predetermined of who to call when. One Care Specialist will remain on the line with you while a second one makes any needed calls.

That same plan covers how emergency services will get access to you if you cannot open the door: either a lockbox will have been installed, and the monitoring center will have given its code to them, or a friend or neighbor will be alerted to come let them in. An email-based Caregiver Alert system will also be triggered to notify loved ones or caregivers. 


Who can use the LifeStation system?

While medical alert systems can be used by anyone, including healthy people living alone, they are most often used by seniors wishing to live independently at home, anyone recuperating from surgery or an illness and people living with physical challenges.  
LifeStation has broadened the usefulness of its system to the visually impaired by having the ‘emergency,’ ‘cancel’ and ‘home’ buttons on its base station identified in Braille. It also uses lights and sounds as part of its alert system. 

 
How do I know where my help button will work?

The help button, whether on the pendant or wristband, is rated for “up to 500 feet.” To be safe, you should arrange with LifeStation to test it in different locations. Those locations should include places you typically walk, such as the mailbox, and the far corners of your house. If the signal does not reach the base station, you should add extra buttons to place in those locations to be certain you are fully covered at home. 
 

More Information:

LifeStation System Overview

  • No cost for use of system equipment and no set-up fee
  • Month-to-month service, no long-term contracts to sign
  • A cellular option if you have no landline
  • Lifetime warranty against defects
  • Effective use of technology on equipment
  • Basic add-ons to tailor it to your needs
  • Direct connection to top-notch emergency response operators 24/7/365
  • Access to customer service and technical support 24/7
  • Automatic weekly tests between the base station and monitoring center


Package Details

LifeStation offers a choice of three different packages to reflect your lifestyle. In addition to the features in the System Overview, each package includes: 


LifeStation In-Home ($29.95/month, or $311.40/year) 

The In-Home landline-based system works best for someone who only needs protection within the house and a short distance outside of it. 

  • Landline base station with 32-hour backup battery for power outages
  • Loudspeaker and sensitive microphone facilitates 2-way communications
  • Compatible with most cable-based or VOIP phone systems
  • 500-foot signal range between base station and help button
  • One waterproof ‘wearable’ (help button on wrist band or pendant)
  • Option to add fall detection button that works with base station 
  • Option to add wall-mounted buttons that extend the access to help in your house
  • Option to add more people to monitoring package, just $3.99/month per person 


LifeStation In-Home Wireless ($36.95/month, or $395.40/year) 

The In-Home Wireless system works the same as the landline system but uses AT&T’s 3G cellular network to meet the needs of someone who does not have a landline. 

  • Wireless base station with 36-hour backup battery for power outages
  • Loudspeaker and sensitive microphone facilitates 2-way communications
  • Access to AT&T’s cellular network provided by LifeStation
  • 600-foot signal range between base station and help button 
  • One waterproof ‘wearable’ (help button on wrist band or pendant)
  • Option to add fall detection button that works with base station 
  • Option to add wall-mounted buttons that extend the access to help in your house
  • Option to add more people to monitoring package, just $3.99/month per person


LifeStation’s GPS-Enhanced Mobile Alert ($48.95/month, or $539.40/year)

This mobile device about the size of a deck of cards with a single button will alert LifeStation’s monitoring center from anywhere in the U.S. that has 9-1-1 service and cell phone coverage. Having a speaker and a microphone, this mobile device replaces both the help button and the base unit. It provides cellular service through AT&T and GPS satellite tracking technology so you can be located immediately wherever you might need emergency medical assistance.

  • Access to AT&T’s cellular network provided by LifeStation
  • Battery lasts up to 36 hours on a full charge
  • 2-way voice communication through the mobile device
  • Works like a one-button cell phone


Exclusive Add-On Services    


LifeStation Non-GPS Mobile Emergency Button ($9.95/month)

This mobile device about the size of a deck of cards with a single button will contact the nearest 9-1-1 operator from anywhere in the U.S. that has both 9-1-1 service and cell phone coverage.  It is very easy to use and offers an affordable solution for those who are often away from the house.

  • No need for your own cellular service
  • Not a GPS-enabled mobile device
  • Like a one-button cell phone
  • Requires infrequent charging


LifeStation Assurance Plan ($5/month) 

  • Covers damaged or lost equipment, which could cost around $30 for a lost help button or $300 to replace a base station. 


LifeStation’s Senior Fall Detection ($7/month)  

  • Automatically detects when you have fallen
  • Not guaranteed 100% accurate despite its advanced technology 
  • Communicates with either the base station or mobile device 
  • Water-resistant so it can be worn in the shower 

 
Optional Accessories

Wall-mounted button ($2.49 - $3.49/month, depending on number ordered): for bathing areas or areas in your house where you might not have your pendant or direct access to the base station

Lockbox ($2.99/month) to hold your house key securely where it is accessible to emergency responders who come to your aid when you cannot unlock your door

Additional user ($3.99/month) for a second help button so an extra person can use the same home system. 

Additional Company Details


Contract Details

LifeStation’s service is offered on a month-by-month basis, with no long-term contractual commitment. It does offer some price breaks over the monthly fee if you pay quarterly or annually, however, it is not clearly written that you get your unused fees back if you cancel during that term. Cancellation of service requires 30-day advance notice and service is not formally cancelled until the equipment has been received by LifeStation. That requires calling for instructions, awaiting receipt of a shipping label and actual shipping time. No cancellation fees are due.   


Warranty

LifeStation warrants that its equipment will be free from defect. It will replace any defective equipment at no charge, including replacement batteries. However, any equipment damaged or lost will need to be replaced at your expense, which could cost $30 for a lost help button or $300 to replace a base station. However, LifeStation’s Assurance Plan (at $5/month) covers those costs. All elements must be returned at the end of service.


Accreditations

LifeStation’s monitoring center is Five Diamond CSAA certified, as well as UL-List certified. The company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau is A+. 


Design Philosophy  

LifeStation’s ‘wearables’ are somewhat utilitarian: a grey plastic pendant or a grey button on a black wristband.


Company Size    

LifeStation has been providing “life safety monitoring” since it was founded in 1977 and brings over 100 years of combined experience in its management team. It is an established and respected company in the medical alerts industry. Today its medical monitoring system is said to be “designed by industry veterans who have one goal in mind – secured independence.”

Contact

LifeStation Inc.
2 Stahuber Avenue
Union, NJ 07083 
Phone: 1-877-478-3390
Email: [missing] 
Website: https://www.lifestation.com
 

Sharon O'Day - Senior Advisor

Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.