Any recommendations for medical/fall alert monitoring for the elderly?

My mother-in-law is 78, lives on her own in the boonies, and is quite frail. We would like to get her some kind of device that would alert someone if she were to fall or have some other medical issue. My BIL and SIL only live a mile away so theoretically, they could respond fairly quickly to an alert but he farms and often has spotty cellular reception. My SIL works about 10 miles away, so during the day, she wouldn’t be much help. My wife and I are considerably farther away than that.

My MIL has a landline, internet, an iPad, and a iPhone. My wife suggested an Apple Watch but my MIL’s arthritis is so bad, I don’t think she’d be able to operate it.

Does anyone have any recommendations or experience with devices to assist the elderly in case of falls etc? A subscription service would be fine as long as it’s easy enough to use.

I’m with your wife~

Subscription services, such as Life Alert, which I had and cancelled after a very frustrating year, end up on the nightstand because they are false alarm prone and stigmatizing. An Apple Watch isn’t stigmatizing and your mom should be able to use it since she is already conversant with the iOS with her iPad and iPhone.

I wouldn’t agree again to one of the subscription alert systems but I will wear a smart watch with fall detection. The subscription alert system I had was not easy to use and no end of trouble-way too many false alarms if you are at all active.

So how does that work if you fall but you are OK and able to get up, do you have to press something on the watch to cancel the alarm?

Personally, I don’t see the point of feeling stigmatized by wearing a Life Alert button in public. If I get to the point where I’m old and alone I will almost certainly have something like that.

My father wasn’t able to walk very well at all in his last few years, but he could get on his Segway and whiz around to the grocery store and pharmacy and other nearby places. But he got prone to falling off of it, and although he usually wasn’t hurt, he wasn’t able to get up by himself. So he always carried his cell phone and just called 911. I don’t think that would have worked so well if he was getting injured, he might have hit his head or something. Fortunately that didn’t happen.

With an Apple Watch, after it detects a fall, it starts a 15 second countdown. If you haven’t responded to the alert by then, it starts notifying emergency services and your emergency contacts.

I’m going to give a conditional ‘yes’ for an apple watch, but with a warning.

The fall sensor isn’t bad, and while you have a valid concern with her being able to easily operate it fluidly with arthritis, the Siri assistant isn’t terrible for voice commands (and far better than even the newest Wear OS iteration). It is also a possibility to purchase a LTE Apple Watch variant, if you want her to be able to use it on a cellar network independent of home wifi and/or her iPhone.

One thing to be cautious about, is that especially with a LTE version and Siri on all the time, it will drain within a day in general, so she’ll need to recharge it every night. Which means she probably won’t be wearing it if she gets up in the night and falls. And while it isn’t hard to recharge, it can get a bit finicky, especially in making sure the charging pad lines up. An elderly extended family member of mine ended up giving hers to a granddaughter after two months - it was just too much work for her to charge everyday and remember to put back on. She was used to a watch that just worked all the time.

And another set of reviews for “best medical alerts”, this one from CNET. Runs from home-based monitoring to on-the-go.

We’ve had a big thread about this: