How Does Fall Detection for Medical Alert Systems Work?

Rachel Rumbelow

Feb 13 2019 comments- 13

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Medical alert systems are a must for vulnerable seniors and loved ones who have mobility issues. But not all alert systems are made equal. If your system doesn’t have fall detection technology, you could be missing out on a life-saving feature. What is the fall detection and how does fall detection for medical alert systems work? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

What is Fall Detection?

Falls happen in the blink of an eye. There is usually no warning and no amount of prevention can eliminate the possibility. It’s well known that older adults are more likely to be fatally injured in even a minor fall or tumble. You can avoid pain and suffering by ensuring your life alert system has an automatic fall detection feature.

Put simply, fall detection is an extremely effective technology that detects when a person falls. It can recognize body movement using sensors and algorithms. Wearable devices have sensors that measure and capture data about movement and g-force. They also track with the twists and turns of your body as you fall. This is how it can determine if you or your loved one has fallen. Then, the tool immediately calls your medical alert system’s monitoring center for help. Think of it as a security system for you or your loved one’s body.

It’s generally known that falls are the biggest cause of fatalities and serious injuries in seniors. With automatic fall detection, these numbers can be reduced. Fall detection is not only recommended for seniors but anybody who has mobility issues and/or emergency health issues. Falls can also have serious consequences for anybody who is medically vulnerable.

Types of Fall Detection

Enhancing your monitors with fall detection is simple because it’s wearable technology. Therefore, it can be integrated with your medical alert monitors like the water-resistant bracelet, integrated pendant, or watch.

There are even mobile options for seniors and disabled people who are on the go. Mobile versions of the wearable devices have a GPS tracker installed. This helps keep track of your movements outside your home. This ensures safety by reducing stress and offering peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

Going with a reputable and established company like MobileHelp is your best bet. They have an established reputation and decades of experience. You want to make sure the company you choose is highly reviewed.

Keep in mind that most medical alert system packages don’t automatically include fall detection. Therefore, you must request this highly recommended feature. Be sure you check how much extra the service costs. Also, check that the system you choose offers an extended battery for any power outages.

Difference Between Fall Detection and a Panic Button

Some people might think they already have fall detection because they have a panic button. However, these are not the same services. A panic button is part of every medical alert system subscription. It’s the centerpiece of any life alert system, as this is how you communicate with the monitoring center.

The panic button requires the user to actively push a button when there is an emergency. But it’s important to note that your panic button is not automatically a fall detection monitor. The fall detection feature on a wearable monitor is automatic, so there’s no need to press a button. The technology determines that a fall has happened and immediately alerts the monitoring center on its own. But remember that you must request this as an additional service.

The automatic part of this feature is incredibly important. You or your loved one might be unconscious or unable to move hands and fingers after a fall. Immediately after a fall is the time when you’re most vulnerable. Getting stuck on the floor after a fall without help can lead to longer recovery time or worse. This is where the importance and fall detection and how it impacts response time comes in.

Response Time is Essential

With automatic fall detection, help will be on the way immediately. Monitoring technicians are aware that time is of the essence when a senior or a medically vulnerable person falls. They understand the consequences and move fast to get emergency workers by your side. They can also alert caregivers and family. Every person involved in your health care should be aware of your situation. This is so they can act as your health care advocate.

Medical Guardian is a medical alert system that offers activity sensors. These let your family and caregivers check in with you throughout the day. This offers reassurance because family or caregiver in the area can come help while waiting for the paramedics. Offering an impressive range of up to 1300 feet, you’ll be covered no matter where you are in your home. In addition, their response time is one of the fastest in the industry.

How Does Fall Detection for Medical Alert Systems Work? medical alert system call center

False Alarms

So, what if you drop your detection device? What if a monitor falls off a table? How would your medical alert fall detection know the difference?

It’s actually easier than you think. The system uses sensors and advanced algorithms that record specific movement data. Fall detection monitors detect the force and position of the monitor in relation to your body. When there is nobody detected, it’s registered as being dropped as opposed to a fall.

Keep in mind that no technology is 100% perfect. False alarms do happen. If you drop your pendant, bracelet, or watch, you can tell the monitor center that everything is fine. They might want to confirm it with you or talk to anybody else who might be with you. But false alarms happen, and they will mark it down as a false alarm.

Be careful about letting false alarms happen too often, though. If there are too many in a short period of time, it could be considered overuse. The provider might charge you for these extra services from the center. This is very rare but something to be aware of.


As dangerous as falls can be, they don’t have to be fatal. Protecting yourself with a life alert system with fall detection can add years to your life. Don’t make the common mistake of not including it in your medical alert system package. Now that you know how fall detection for medical alert systems work, you can rest assured recovery from any fall will be shorter and easier.

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Questions & Answers

Elizabeth Levitt

How much are the medical alert bracelets with the fall detection


It depends on which medical alert you choose. Many of them offer a fall detection add-on for only a few dollars a month.

Helia R Doval

I would be interested in a system that also integrates a button to open/close a garage door or an electronic lock on the door to allow first responders access to the house. Is there such a system on the market?


There are a few medical alert systems that come with a free lockbox, which would enable first responders to access your home without needing to breakdown the door. For example, MobileHelp is currently offering a free lockbox when you sign up for their medical alert.

Mary M Matzen

Wondering if you have ever looked at Unaliwear Kanega watch or the Vitalband by Intel? The positive thing about each of them is that the watch does not have to be taken off for any reason, and, the fall device is built in…so one doesn’t have to plan for the fall by putting on a separate pendant device. I would love to have your feedback on these opportunities. Thank you in advance.

We haven't reviewed these two products yet, but thank you for putting them on our radar!

“How Much Does It Cost Each Monthl For Life Alert Or Medical Alert.”

The prices vary depending on which option you choose. Medical Alert starts at $19.95/month if you choose the at-home option that connects via a landline.
George Alonso

what does it cost

? want to see if i can afford it

The cost of a medical alert system depends on which one you choose -- the brand, as well as whether you want a unit just for your house or one with mobile options as well. There are usually discounts if you choose a longer contract period too.
Kasandra Martin

I am looking for a medical alert system with fall detection that you can wear while sleeping i just purchased a system through medical guardian and it says you van not wear the lanyard while sleeping
This is when the falls might occur the most when awakening and getting out of bed

Top5 Team

Life Alert Mobile Plus is one of your options for an alert system with fall detection that can be worn to bed since it’s lightweight. It’s also got built in GPS tracking.

Kris Martinez

I need a company that has one device to wear day and night for fall detection. Which companies offer this? It’s for my elderly mother who has dementia and still lives by herself.

Top5 Team

Many of our recommended companies offer this, including Medical Guardian


How much is your service with fall detection?

Top5 Team

It really depends on the specific brand you choose and which device, but MobileHelp Classic for examples with fall detection is currently priced at $24.95 per month

Top5 Medical Alert Systems
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