I spent more than a few hours studying the MobileHelp website to understand their medical alert packages. The Ultimate Guide to MobileHelp Medical Alert Options is not a review of the MobileHelp service or company. It’s a clear guide to how to get medical alert coverage from MobileHelp. Anyone can give an opinion about a medical alert company. I’m not expressing my opinion about MobileHelp (with one exception, immediately below). I’m deciphering their options so you can make an informed choice.
To make the right decision buying a MobileHelp medical alert, you need to know:
- Do you use a landline or a cellular signal for your at-home base station alert?
- Do you get home-only service or away-from-home medical alert coverage as well?
- Do you use the home base station device or can you use a mobile device at home?
- What happens when you press the medical alert button?
- Do you have to wear the medical alert button around your neck?
- Can the system send an automatic alarm if you fall?
- Can the system locate you using GPS and wireless signals?
- What is a lock box and why would you want one?
You can also take our Senior Home Guide MobileHelp Product Finder Quiz to determine which MobileHelp alarm is best for your needs.
Medical Alert Editorial
I said I didn’t want to make this about reviewing the company, but I do want to convey an observation I made resarching MobileHelp and Alert1 medical alert services.
Both MobileHelp and Alert1 appear to be intentionally confusing their product description on their websites. I am guessing this is to prompt you to pick up the phone and call them. Telephone conversations have higher sales rates than internet interactions.
Although they both have confusing product descriptions, MobileHelp is much more clear than Alert1.
But there’s another reason I’d choose MobileHelp over Alert1.
I was dismayed to read some of the Better Business complaints for Alert1.
Operators misinformed consumers about the 30 day guarantee. No-contract agreements were hard to cancel. I didn’t get the warm fuzzies from Alert1 that I did get from MobileHelp.
I can’t promise either company will meet your expectations. But based on the many hours of research I did to bring you these articles and the product finder quizzes, of the two companies, I’m more comfortable recommending MobileHelp.
Products Discussed in this Article
The MobileHelp Package Finder Quiz
Once you understand your MobileHelp medical alert options, click here to take the MobileHelp Medical Alert quiz. The quiz will guide you to finding the right MobileHelp package for your personal situation.
Who is MobileHelp, and Where are they Located?
MobileHelp employs almost one hundred people. They are headquartered at 3701 FAU Blvd. Suite 300 Boca Raton, FL 33431.
MobileHelp is registered with the Better Business Bureau and have an A+ rating at the time of this publication.
The MobileHelp emergency operators are stationed in Corona, CA, and Syracuse, NY.
MobileHelp Personal Emergency Response Systems
MobileHelp medical alert devices are also known as Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS).
Use a MobileHelp package to get quick access to medical help when you experience an emergency.
In 2014 and 2015, MobileHelp was listed in the Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 ranking of quickly growing companies.
Who Buys MobileHelp Medical Alert Devices?
Seniors buy MobileHelp emergency alerts for themselves and their spouses. Children often buy MobileHelp packages for their parents. Elder care facilities buy alerts for their residents.
My mother researched and bought her own medical emergency package. Had she not done that, I would have done it for her.
Where Do MobileHelp Devices Work?
The MobileHelp emergency buttons work either:
- only at home, or
- both at home as well as away from home
It’s important to understand this up front when shopping for a medical alert device.
Original MobileHelp models worked only in the home. The home devices include a base station and a remote button to wear on your person. These original models that worked only within the home are still popular.
Base station home devices do not work outside of the home. If you need emergency alert coverage when away from home, you want a package that includes mobile or away-from-home coverage.
Coverage outside the home is also called “mobile” coverage.
MobileHelp uses AT&T’s cellular network. Your emergency call to MobileHelp is similar to making a phone call on a cell phone. Except the number pad is a single button, and the only call it makes is to the MobileHelp care center.
MobileHelp mobile devices work where there is AT&T cellular coverage. This is most, but not all, of the United States.
Use this AT&T map to see if you’re in their coverage area. Almost the entire US is covered: Check network coverage map on AT&T’s website.
Should You Get a Home Base Station or a Home-Mobile Package
If you rarely leave the house, it might not be worth getting a mobile device that works outside the home.
But if you do go out, you cannot take home-only medical alert coverage with you.
If you have a medical emergency when you’re away from home, you need to be carrying your mobile device to get through to the MobileHelp care center.
Do You Want a Home Base Station
Do you want a home base station?
A base station is a device that plugs into your home’s electricity.
For a telephone signal, it uses your home’s landline service, or MobileHelp’s cellular phone service.
The base station comes with a pendant or wrist button.
The button does not have a microphone or speaker.
Its purpose is to activate the base station.
The speaker and microphone on the base station are powerful.
You can communicate with a landline-based home base station from as far as 1300 feet away.
You can communicate with a cellular-based home base station from as far as 350 feet away.
In either case, if your voice does not make it over the base station’s microphone to MobileHelp, the MobileHelp operator will call emergency services based on your written instructions.
Do You Want a Mobile Device to Use at Home
While it’s called a “mobile device,” you can use the mobile communication device at home.
The experience will be different than using a home base station.
If you use the mobile device at home, you must carry it on your person.
Instead of a signal-only button calling a base station, the mobile device is the only device you need.
It is both the button and the communicator.
The downside of using a mobile device at home is that you must always wear it at home.
If you use a base station, you wear the lighter weight signal-only button.
If you use a mobile device, you wear the heavier communication device.
MobileHelp offers two types of mobile device.
- First, they offer a wearable button and communication device that you carry in a case or around your neck. It comes with a signal-only button so that you can wear a lighter weight button while the mobile device is in your pocket. The signal-only button activates the mobile device. Even if you can’t get to your mobile device in your pocket, the signal-only button sends MobileHelp your distress call. When they don’t hear you on their end, they dispatch emergency services according to your instructions.
- Secondly, they offer a Samsung smart watch with MobileHelp emergency services built into the watch’s features. When you press the watch button, you activate a call to MobileHelp. The watch includes a speaker and microphone. The watch is the communication device. So in an emergency, you talk through your watch, just like Dick Tracy.
Using a Home Landline or a Home Cellular Phone Service
The home base station connects to MobileHelp over a phone system.
The phone system provider can either be your landline phone service, or MobileHelp’s cellular service it provides through AT&T.
If you don’t have a landline, or don’t want to use it, you can use MobileHelp’s cellular telephone service.
Don’t confuse this cellular service with mobile coverage.
A home base station that communicates through AT&T’s cellular service is still a home-only system.
It does not provide mobile coverage outside the home.
For coverage outside the home, you need a mobile solution as well as a home solution.
How to Ensure Two-Way Communication with a MobileHelp Emergency Operator
If you are too far from your base station or mobile device, you will not be able to speak with the MobileHelp operator.
How to Fix the Operator not Hearing You on Your Base Station
At home, your pendant button activates the home base station.
You can also directly push the base station button to connect to MobileHelp.
The signal-only button activates the base station.
The button you wear is not a two-way communication device.
Unless you are right next to the base station when you have an emergency, it’s going to be difficult to reach its button to call for help.
The lightweight, wearable button is a compromise solution.
It activates the base station, so that you have access to its technology if you are not standing next to it.
The base station does the heavy lifting.
The button you’re wearing is just an outgoing signal.
You can be several hundred feet from the base station.
Its powerful microphone and speaker still allow you to use the base station as a telephone.
Just understand that the base station is your communication device.
You must be in range to use the base station to talk with MobileHelp.
If the operator can’t hear you, she calls emergency help to your location.
That’s the safety net response if you cannot get close enough to the base station for a conversation.
How to Fix the Operator Not Hearing You on Your Mobile Device
You can wear the mobile medical alert, but you might be more comfortable wearing it on your belt, in your pocket, or in your pocketbook.
The button you wear is again just a signalling device to wake the mobile communication device.
The button does not have communication ability.
The mobile device does the heavy lifting, as the base station does at home.
To speak with the operator, you must remove the mobile device from its case, and hold it in your hand, or have it close by.
Do the best you can to get the mobile device near you so the operator can hear you.
The operator will not be able to hear you if the mobile device is in your pocket.
If the operator can’t hear you, she’ll call emergency services.
Let the Satellites Find You
MobileHelp mobile away-from-home coverage includes location technology.
MobileHelp’s system find your device.
The operator communicates your location to your emergency responders and contacts.
While this is usually known as “GPS,” or Global Positioning System technology, they might also use wireless internet and cellular phone signals to triangulate your position.
You must have the mobile device on you for the system to calculate your location.
The location technology will find you so long as your mobile device is not in a Faraday cage, or some other radio signal blocking area.
You do not need to remove the mobile device from its case for the system to locate you.
In this section we’ll go over the MobileHelp options.
Refer back to this section when taking our Senior Home Guide MobileHelp Product Finder Quiz.
Just Home, Just Away, or Both Home and Away
Under normal circumstances, you use a base station at home, and a mobile device when away from home.
It is also possible to discard the base station altogether. Just use a mobile device at home.
Just be aware that you have to carry the mobile device on your person at home and away.
With the base station, you only have to wear the signal-only button.
It’s perfectly OK to use a “mobile” device for home medical alert coverage, as long as you’re OK carrying the mobile device around.
Neck or Wrist Button?
The home package includes a wearable button to activate the base station.
The mobile package includes a wearable button to activate to mobile device.
MobileHelp gives you the option of wearing your button around your neck or on your wrist.
If you get the Fall Alert feature (see below), you must wear your button around your neck.
Wearing a button on your wrist causes too many fall alert false alarms.
The Lock Box Option
All MobileHelp packages accept the Smart watch include a lock box.
You put your house key inside the lock box device, then program the lock box combination.
You then give your lock box combination to MobileHelp to put on file.
Based on your instructions on file, MobileHelp can give the combination to caregivers or emergency personnel who arrive to help with your emergency.
Without this access, emergency personnel might have to break into your home in order to help you.
Fall Button Automatic Fall Alarm
All MobileHelp packages except the Smart watch include the option to add a Fall Detection technology.
Instead of wearing the home and mobile signal-only button, you wear the fall detection button around your neck.
You must wear the button as a pendant. Fall Detection doesn’t work with a wrist button, a button on your belt, or one you carry in your pocket.
If the fall button detects a fall, it sends an automatic alarm to the MobileHelp care center.
You can talk to MobileHelp on your base station or mobile device.
If you can’t talk, MobileHelp will send emergency personnel or caregivers based on your instructions.
The Fall Button works like your regular neck activation button. It sends a message to the base station or mobile device to call MobileHelp.
The Fall Button contains gyroscopes and a tiny computer. The computer analyzes the gyroscopic action to calculate if you have fallen. This is not a perfect technology, but it does work in many cases.
You should push the pendant butto if you can, because Fall Detection doesn’t detect 100% of all falls.
The Fall Detection technology might not trigger if you fall.
Most fall technology is at this level. It is improving every day, and will get much more accurate in a short time.
MobileHelp Medical Alert Packages
Use this section to understand what each MobileHelp package can and cannot do. Refer back to these descriptions when taking our Senior Home Guide MobileHelp Product Finder Quiz.
The MobileHelp Classic Home Medical Alert
The MobileHelp Classic is a home-only device.
The base station uses the MobileHelp AT&T cellular network signal to communicate with MobileHelp.
You wear a signal-only button to activate the base station.
You need to be about 350 ft. or less from the base station to have a two way conversation with the MobileHelp care center.
Get the Classic Medical Alert if you want a home medical alert and you do not have landline telephone service.
You can add the Fall Alarm to the Classic home medical alert system.
You can supplement the home-only system with a mobile device.
The MobileHelp Wired Home Medical Alert
MobileHelp Wired is also a home-only medical alert.
The base station and button work the same was as they do with the MobileHelp Classic service.
Plus the Wired base station into your home’s landline telephone jack.
You plug your phone into the base station.
In this way, the phone still works, and the base station uses the landline telephone service.
You wear the signal-only button to activate the base station alarm to MobileHelp.
You need to be about 1300 ft. or less from the base station to use it to communicate with MobileHelp.
There is no out-of-home coverage with the Wired package.
You cannot add the Fall Alarm to the Wired medical alert.
You can supplement the home base station with a mobile device.
The Solo MobileHelp Away-from-Home Medical Alert
Te MobileHelp Solo is a mobile-only medical alert package.
While it is intended to be used away from the home, you can use it at home as well.
It’s just not a base station, which you might find to be more convenient than carrying around a mobile device.
The MobileHelp Solo uses the AT&T cellular network to communicate with the MobileHelp care center.
The Solo service can locate you from your mobile device’s signal.
MobileHelp conveys your location to your emergency team.
The wearable neck button is a signal-only device that activates the Solo mobile unit.
The button you wear is not itself a communication device.
Pushing the button activates the mobile device that you’re carrying.
MobileHelp determines your location from the Solo signal and conveys that information to your emergency team.
If you can retrieve the device, you can speak with MobileHelp.
If you can’t, MobileHelp will automatically send emergency services or your caregivers to your location.
The MobileHelp “Mobile Duo” for Away-Only Mobile Coverage
Before describing the Mobile Duo package, I’d like to make sure you understand that this package’s name is the Mobile Duo.
MobileHelp sells both the “MobileHelp Mobile Duo, and the “MobileHelp Duo.”
The “MobileHelp Mobile Duo” and the “MobileHelp Duo” are different packages.
The MobileHelp Mobile Duo consists of two MobileHelp Solo medical alert packages.
So it’s two mobile devices.
If you buy the MobileHelp Mobile Duo, you get a discount over buying two MobileHelp Solo medical alert packages.
The Mobile Duo package is two MobileHelp Solo packages sold at a discount over buying two Solo packages separately.
The MobileHelp Duo for both Home and Mobile Coverage
The MobileHelp Duo is is a home and an away-from-home medical alert package.
Where the Mobile Duo is two Solo (mobile) devices, the MobileHelp Duo is a home device and a mobile device.
MobileHelp Duo is both a home base station and a mobile communication device.
The wearable button activates both devices.
Both the base station and the mobile device use AT&T cellular phone service to communicate with the MobileHelp call center.
You must be within about 400 ft. of the base station to talk with MobileHelp when at home.
You must have the mobile device on you to talk with MobileHelp when using the mobile device outside the home.
The mobile portion of the package (the Solo) includes the Location technology. MobileHelp uses GPS to pinpoint your location based on the signal coming from the mobile device.
You can add the Fall Alarm to the MobileHelp Duo medical alert.
MobileHelp Smart for Everywhere Coverage
The MobileHelp Smart is a Samsung smart watch combined with a MobileHelp emergency button.
The watch is a communications device. You can speak with MobileHelp over its microphone and speaker.
The watch uses MobileHelp’s AT&T cellular network to communicate with the MobileHelp care center.
The watch includes a wealth of health features including:
- a heart rate monitor
- stair climbed tracker
- floors climbed tracker
- calorie tracker
- water consumption tracker
- weather report
- GPS location and maps (which MobileHelp uses to tell emergency personnel where you are when you use the watch as a medical alert)
The MobileHelp Smart watch is the entire package. There is no wearable button, or other technology. You press the button on the watch face to activate an alarm.
You must keep the watch battery charged using the included. USB charging device.
You cannot use Fall Detection with the MobileHelp Smart. The watch does not come with a Lock Box.