What Type of Medical Alert Device Should I Buy for My Husband?

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Sometimes it’s fun to watch old commercials.

If you watched “The Price Is Right” back in the 2000s there were some surprisingly memorable ads.

First, Wilfred Brimley would talk about diabetes with a pronunciation that became a meme.

Second, there were these commercials for seniors to request medical help. While that’s a serious topic, the commercials were humorous. Featuring dramatizations by actors and actresses who weren’t at all believable, the line “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” seemed to go viral even before social media.

The idea then was that if you fell, you could press a button on this remote control you wore around your neck. And it would auto-dial emergency services via your telephone (the kind with a cord). And you could then ask for help. If you weren’t at home, it wouldn’t work.

These medical alert devices have become more modern and sophisticated since then. So what is the best solution these days?

What Medical Alert Device Do You Recommend These Days?

What’s the best medical alert device on the market?

That’s what a listener recently asked Clark Howard.

Asked Cathy in Georgia: “I need to get some type of medical alert device for my husband. He is prone to falls and I work about an hour away from home. Do you have any recommendations or any suggestions of what I should look for in a device?”

Clark has often recommended the modern-day equivalent of those first-generation medical alert devices. They’re inexpensive and improved.

“Our answer to this has changed,” Clark says. “We used to talk about various medical alert things you’d wear around your neck and if you had an emergency you’d press a button.

“But now the technology exists that a simple watch on your husband’s wrist, even if he were to fall and he’s unable to communicate, it will send an alert and will automatically bring, in theory, emergency medical to the address where he’s falling.

“That’s why you don’t see as much advertising for the old-fashioned medical alert things that people would wear around their necks. Because the technology has kind of leapfrogged.”

Clark’s Recommendation: Get a Smartwatch With Fall Detection

The newest way to monitor for falls? A smartwatch, Clark says.


The following companies make smartwatches and wearables that offer fall detection:

The website MUO offers specifics about the exact models with fall detection for each of those companies. For example, it lists 12 different Garmin devices that offer fall detection.

Clark famously wears three devices to monitor his health: a Garmin, a Samsung and an Oura Ring.

“It’s a free service, at least for now, of these various watch providers,” Clark says. “You’ve got to make sure that whatever model you would get your husband actually has the fall risk available in it. And that it’s properly activated.

“So this is a technology whose time has come and has pretty much made – not completely obsolete but has really affected the market for the old-timey things that Saturday Night Live used to make fun of. Their commercials.”

Final Thoughts

Medical alert devices used to be as unfashionable as possible. Not to mention limited. Now, you can get free fall detection and monitoring right from your smartwatch.