Bay Alarm Medical, one of the top providers in the medical alert system industry, has provided reliable protection to older adults for years. They offer diverse products, from in-home systems with fall detection to mobile units and high-tech smartwatches. I put Bay Alarm Medical's In-Home Medical Alert system, GPS Help Button, and SOS Smartwatch to the test for this year's review.
I found that Bay Alarm Medical offers some of the least-expensive medical alert systems on the market without sacrificing quality. With stellar customer support, great add-on features, reliable equipment, and 24/7 monitoring, they stand out from the crowd. While the company only has three systems to choose from, I believe you'll be satisfied with Bay Alarm Medical. Read on as I get into my experience with this provider's products!
Navigating Bay Alarm Medical's website isn't difficult, but I recommend speaking to a customer care representative to determine which system is best for you. When I called, the representative I spoke with was incredibly friendly, to the point where I wondered if the rep had been trained by Disney. When I told the agent I wanted an in-home system, she recommended the In-Home Medical Alert system that could be combined with add-on, waterproof wall buttons with adhesive mounts. The wall buttons are handy for high-risk areas like the shower or stairs.
Current Deal: Bay Alarm Medical is currently offering free shipping for new customers and a free month on select plans!
I also asked if they offer language support in Greek, thinking of my great aunt who speaks little English. They offered to connect her to a fluent operator. I was impressed to learn that Bay Alarm Medical provides support for more than 200 different languages.1 You can also get customer service by live chat, phone, or the FAQ portal. While other companies we’ve reviewed, like Lively, also have top-rated customer support, they don't offer the same range of language services that Bay Alarm Medical does.
Bay Alarm Medical's at-home system is functional, durable, and easy to set up. Although this system looks a bit old-fashioned, it gets the job done. My system came with a base unit, all the necessary cords, and a wearable help button. Once I unboxed everything, I plugged the base unit into an outlet and then connected it to the phone line.
Setup Tip: Put the base unit in areas that you frequent (e.g., the kitchen, living room, bedroom) or by high-risk areas like the stairs. Keep the base unit in a visible spot with few or no objects surrounding it for easy access.
The system's two-way audio allowed me to communicate with a dispatcher from anywhere in the house (a 1,000-foot range) without being near the base unit. To test the in-home system, I pressed the help button on the pendant, which connected wirelessly. The base station beeped for five seconds, and then an automated voice said, “Call connected, please wait.” In a few seconds, the operator picked up and asked if I needed help. Using the base station's two-way speaker, I let them know that I was only testing the system, and that was that! Bay Alarm Medical recommends making a test call once a month to ensure everything is working properly.
I made sure the GPS Help Button was fully charged before trying it out. To charge, simply place the unit on its charging cradle. The light on the unit will turn red, and once it's fully charged, it will turn green. To test it out, I held the help button down until I heard a beep, and an automated voice prompted me to either stay on the line or press the button again to cancel the call. Easy peasy!
When I first unboxed the SOS Smartwatch, it looked exactly like a “regular” smartwatch. Unless you told someone, they'd never know it was actually a medical alert device – a big plus in my eyes! The smartwatch came with a charging cable, a charging cradle, and a power supply. To charge, simply place the unit on the charging cradle.
As advertised, the watch was ready to go out of the box. I didn't need to download anything on my smartphone or log in. In fact, you don't need a smartphone–or even an internet-capable device of any kind–to use the SOS Smartwatch.
I followed the simple directions provided to turn the watch on. It already had 83 percent battery life, but I went ahead and charged it up to 100 percent, which is recommended for your first use. Figuring out how to open the watchband and size it was a little tricky, though. The metal clasp may be difficult for those with arthritis or dexterity problems.
After I got it situated on my wrist, I opened up the pedometer app and took a walk around my house. The step counter seemed accurate. For fitness enthusiasts, you can even change your daily step goal. There's also a weather app that allows you to check the weather in your current location.
Finally, I gave the SOS button a test. This requires you to press and hold the SOS button on the side of the watch for a few seconds (to avoid accidental calls). Holding in the button was a little awkward since it's on the side of the watch and not the top, but you'll get used to it. After pressing the button for about five seconds, the watch initiated a phone call. An operator answered within 10 seconds. I let her know that I was simply testing my watch. She politely confirmed that it was a test, verified my identity, and then ended the call.
During the SOS call, I could adjust the volume or switch to whisper mode by pressing a button on the watch face. Whisper mode lets you hold the watch close to your ear and speak quietly during the call. I liked that both of these can make calls a little easier to understand for those with hearing difficulties.
The Bay Alarm rep explained that the company offers a protection plan that allows for one free system replacement per contractual year, and a 50 percent discount on accessories. For at-home systems, it also includes lifetime low battery replacement for the personal help button. The plan costs $3 per month for the GPS Help Button, $4 per month for the SOS Smartwatch, and $5 per month for the in-home system. If you decide you don't want the protection plan, you'll pay $299 for non-manufacturing-related damage.
The representative also reminded me that there are no long-term contracts, so you can cancel service at any time without penalty. I'm a big fan of that flexibility!
|Product||Prices starting at||Connection type||Features||Best for|
|In-Home Medical Alert||$19.95 per month||Landline and/or cellular||2-way audio; 32-hour backup battery; standard help button lasts up to 5 years; auto fall detection button lasts up to 2 years; choice of waterproof necklace or wrist button; up to 1,000-foot coverage area||Homebodies or those on a tight budget|
|GPS Help Button||$29.95 per month||Cellular||Includes charger and lanyard; 2-way audio; water-resistant buttons; 72-hour battery life; caregiver tracking app; available in black or white||On-the-go users|
|SOS Smartwatch||$29.95 per month||Cellular||Step tracking; touch-screen watch design; daily step goals; 1-day battery life; emergency help button||Active older adults who want health and lifestyle tracking features|
|In-home and on-the-go bundles||$39.95 – $49.95 per month||Landline and/or Cellular||In-Home Medical Alert and your choice of the GPS Help Button or SOS Smartwatch||Those who want comprehensive at-home and on-the-go protection|
In-Home Medical Alert is Bay Alarm Medical's least-expensive system, making it a great option for those on a tight budget. Prices start at $19.95 per month for the Standard landline model and $29.95 for the system with a cellular connection
The In-Home Medical Alert system comes with a base unit and wearable help button. I opted for the landline system, so all I needed to do was plug the system's gray cord into the phone jack.
The system’s two-way audio allowed me to communicate with a dispatcher from anywhere in the house (a 1,000-foot range) without being near the base unit. I pressed the help button on my pendant in the kitchen, and it quickly connected to the base station in the living room on the other side of the house, no problem.
While I chose the landline system, Bay Alarm also offers a 4G LTE cellular connection, which runs off AT&T cell towers. I preferred the stable connection of my landline, since I don’t have great AT&T coverage (plus, it saved me $10 per month), but the cellular option is suitable for those who don’t have (or don't want to use) a landline.
Did You Know: Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors in the U.S.,2 which is why fall detection pendants are so important for aging in place.
All of Bay Alarm Medical's in-home systems offer 24/7 monitoring, so you'll be covered day and night. You can add automatic fall detection to any in-home system for $10 per month. With this feature, falls are detected automatically, even if you can't press your help button. I'd recommend it for those at high risk of falling or older adults who want the added protection.
The GPS Help Button starts at $29.95 per month and has a $79 one-time equipment fee for the device. This is pretty affordable compared to other mobile systems on the market. For example, MobileHelp's prices for on-the-go systems start at $37.95 per month.
Even better, for an additional $20 per month (plus a $79 equipment fee), you can get protection for both you and your spouse or roommate with a second-user discount.
With a compact, lightweight design and a color choice of black or white, the GPS Help Button doesn't feel too bulky or cumbersome. The package includes the help button, a charging dock, a necklace cord, and a hip pouch. Once you charge the button, simply place it around your neck, and you are good to go.
FYI: Bay Alarm Medical used to offer a unique in-car medical alert system; however, they recently discontinued it. I spoke with a Bay Alarm Medical rep who told me that they hope to bring it back in the future with upgraded technology.
This system has a 72-hour battery life, which is comparable to other popular mobile units. You can take it on a weekend trip without worrying about a dead battery! The unit will also notify you when the batteries are running low, so you'll know when it's time for a charge.
The GPS Help Button runs on AT&T's cellular network, so you can use it anywhere, whether you're running errands, taking a walk, or on a road trip. What stood out to me about this system was the Caregiver Tracking App, which comes with the GPS Help Button. Caregivers and family members can easily track your location through the app. That means they won't be pestering you with phone calls wondering where you are! You can also add auto fall detection for $10 per month.
Bay Alarm Medical's latest system, the SOS Smartwatch, starts at $29.95 per month. You'll also pay a a one-time $159 equipment fee for the watch. The monthly rates and equipment fees are both inexpensive compared to other popular smartwatch systems.
FYI: Bay Alarm Medical now lets customers pay for systems quarterly or annually. Right now, if you pay quarterly, you get free shipping. If you pay annually, you get free shipping and one month of service free.
This water-resistant smartwatch has a simple touchscreen, a navigation button, and a help button, along with a few extra features like step tracking and daily goal setting. For older adults who want to track their daily activity with a little added protection, or those who want a discreet, sleek medical alert system, this is an excellent option. Very few medical alert providers offer smartwatch systems, so it’s pretty unique for the industry.
The watch comes with a charging dock and has a 24-hour battery life, but I'd still recommend charging it every night beside your bed. That way, you'll see it first thing when you wake up, and you won't risk running out of battery during the day. Plus, should you experience an emergency in the middle of the night, your watch is right there.
Want to see the SOS Smartwatch in action? Check out our hands-on review below!
The SOS Smartwatch is best for active older adults who spend a lot of time out and about. Using 4G LTE cellular service, the watch offers 24/7 monitoring and GPS location tracking. It's easy to tell when you have good coverage too. A green dot indicates strong cellular connection, a yellow dot indicates moderate cellular connection, and a red dot indicates a weak cellular connection. Pushing the SOS button alerts trained operators to initiate two-way communication through the watch and send help, wherever you are.
For the best of both worlds, Bay Alarm offers two packages that combine in-home and on-the-go services. You can save over $100 a year by bundling a mobile and in-home solution compared to purchasing the systems separately. Keep in mind that prices will be higher overall, starting at $41.95 per month, and there are one-time equipment fees for mobile devices. So make sure you'll use them enough to get your money's worth.
Bay Alarm Medical has add-ons similar to other companies I’ve reviewed, like Medical Guardian. Most charge a one-time fee, but a few have recurring monthly charges.
During emergencies, EMS are trained to enter into people's homes by any means necessary. With Bay Alarm Medical's lockbox, you can let first responders enter your home without breaking down the door. Just set up a secret four-digit code, place up to five house keys inside the lock, and secure it around the front door. Bay Alarm Medical operators will give EMS the code during an emergency. This add-on costs $30.
All in-home packages come with one wearable (wrist or necklace) help button at no extra cost. You can order an extra button for $35 if you'd like added protection or convenience.
These wall-mounted help buttons are designed to signal for help when you are not holding or wearing your help button. Wall buttons can be placed in high-risk areas like the bottom of stairs or the bathroom. Each button costs an additional $35.
Worried that your wearable help button is an eyesore? Bay Alarm Medical offers their signature Bella Charms for $25, or 4 charms for $90, which transform help buttons into a stylish necklace. These sleeves easily clip onto the front of your help button.
The Vial of Life is an $8 magnetic card that lists your vital medical history, allergies, and medications. You can stick it on the fridge to help EMS quickly assess medical needs and prevent treatment mistakes. When my SOS Smartwatch arrived, a Vial of Life card came included.
The auto fall detection pendant automatically places a call for help after a fall, even if you can't press your help button. Sensors pick up downward movement followed by no movement before triggering a response. I'd recommend this add-on for any seniors with a history of falls or medical conditions that put them at higher risk of falling. You'll pay $10 per month for this pendant, and you can add additional pendants for a spouse or roommate for $15 per month.
I found Bay Alarm Medical to be an affordable provider with the right features to keep older adults safe. I appreciate their stellar customer service team and extensive language support. Bay Alarm Medical's products stand out as durable and easy to use. The company has stepped up its game with the SOS Smartwatch, an excellent choice for active older adults who want a high-tech system. All in all, I was happy with my Bay Alarm experience and would recommend this top medical alert provider!
Watch our latest Bay Alarm Medical video review for an inside look at this provider's medical alert systems.
Monthly rates for Bay Alarm Medical systems start as low as $19.95 per month and range up to $39.95 per month. However, monthly costs go up if you add extra features like automatic fall detection or 4G service (for those without a landline).
Bay Alarm offers a warranty on the alert base station as long as the issue occurred because of normal wear and tear or manufacturer defect. You can also purchase Bay Alarm’s Premium Protection Plan. This plan provides one free system replacement per contractual year, and it offers a 50 percent discount on accessories. For at-home systems, it also includes lifetime low battery replacement for the personal help button. The plan costs $3 per month for the GPS Help Button, $4 per month for the SOS Smartwatch, and $5 per month for the In-Home Medical Alert.
Bay Alarm Medical’s 24/7 professional monitoring team will respond within 45 seconds or less.
Standard phone lines are compatible with Bay Alarm Medical systems, including Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, and Cox.
Give Bay Alarm Medical a call, and you will receive instructions on how to power down and return your device(s). Keep in mind that the account is not fully canceled until the equipment has been returned in working condition and processed. There aren’t any cancellation fees, so you can cancel at any time.
Bay Alarm Medical systems can be moved anywhere in the U.S. as long as you contact Bay Alarm and update your emergency contact information with them. They do not recommend making these changes for moves of less than two weeks.