Medical Guardian has staked its claim as the vanguard of in-home medical alert systems, but their mobile medical alerts are also highly reliable. Their marquee system, the Active Guardian, combines a speakerphone, fall detection, and help button into one wearable device.
In this review, I’ll look at what makes the Active Guardian system such a great option for mobile medical alerts. I’ll tell you everything about my experience with the product and let you know if it’s worth it.
All-in-one device: With some mobile alert devices, the communicator is separate from the activation button, which can add unnecessary complications in an emergency. The Active Guardian is a self-contained unit, with a two-way speaker, help button, and even fall detection built into the same unit.
Rapid response times: Throughout my series of test calls, Active Guardian personnel answered my calls in a mean average of eight seconds, easily one of the quickest response times I’ve seen among medical alert companies.
Accurate GPS capabilities: If a person becomes unresponsive in an emergency, it can be impossible for them to receive the care they need without communicating their location. The Active Guardian has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, which can transmit an individual’s location to operators and enable them to dispatch appropriate emergency response personnel, no matter where they are.
Long battery life: Medical Guardian claims that this mobile medical alert can last seven days on a single charge. In my experience, it worked even longer, lasting nearly eight days before I needed to place it back on the charging cradle.
IPX7 water resistance: It’s estimated that upwards of 80% of falls occur in the bathroom, which means waterproof devices are key for protecting older adults. The Active Guardian is totally waterproof, which means it didn’t present any issues when I used it in the shower.
Active Guardian Cons
Higher price point: While my Active Guardian impressed me in just about every way, its advanced features came at a cost. My device cost $44.95 per month, plus an additional $10 monthly for fall detection.
Not available through Medical Guardian: While this system is no longer available through Medical Guardian, you can still purchase it through Amazon and Costco.
Using My Active Guardian Medical Alert System
Upon receiving my Active Guardian system, I opened the box and found the following:
1 Active Guardian mobile unit
1 belt clip
1 charging cradle
The first step in using the Active Guardian is to charge the unit. It was recommended to initially charge the device close to a window which helps enable the device to pick up on cellular signals more easily. The device can reach a full charge in just three hours and, as mentioned, can last five days on a single charge, which is unrivaled in the market. Even though the device could go much longer, I felt most comfortable keeping the charging dock on my nightstand so I could leave it to charge overnight. This meant it would always have a full battery as I began each day.
The charging dock has an LED light that glows to indicate that it’s receiving power, and the unit itself has a notification light indicating that it’s receiving power. Both of these were helpful in alleviating any concerns I may have had about my device getting the charge it needed.
Did You Know: Did you know that Medical Guardian offers pre-owned equipment? The Active Guardian is available pre-owned for additional savings.
Once my device was charged, I was instructed to call Medical Guardian’s operators to complete the activation process. In all of my interactions with their team, I found them to be friendly and professional, which always makes the experience better.
The activation process took a matter of minutes, and I confirmed some basic information with the operator and tested the unit for its sound function. I was thoroughly impressed with the volume and clarity of the operator; even though I wore the device around my neck, I felt that I could be clearly understood from across the room.
Testing My Active Guardian
Once the Active Guardian was live and charged, I tested the unit for all-day wear. In my experience, the unit was lightweight and unobtrusive enough to be worn throughout the day without becoming burdensome. However, I will say that for an older adult who has trouble with even a little added weight to carry, the Active Guardian could present some issues compared to the simple activation pendants of more basic in-home units.
Another great thing about the Active Guardian is its coverage. Because the device runs on the Verizon 4G cellular network, it’s able to function almost anywhere in the United States. Generally speaking, Verizon has one of the more expansive networks around.
When testing the device on the go, I simply pressed the call button which activated the unit. After about eight seconds I was connected with one of Medical Guardian’s operators who talked me through the situation. The company’s operators are highly trained, and all of their call centers have the highest certifications, including UL, FM, TMA, and ESA. Since I only called for testing purposes, I once again verified my personal information, including location, which the operator was then able to pinpoint using GPS.
Overall, I was impressed with the quality of service Medical Guardian offers, and the general wearability and durability of the device.
One add-on service that I would highly recommend when purchasing the Active Guardian is their fall detection. First and foremost, the fall detection feature is an additional $10 per month on top of the plan, but it’s money well spent. This is especially true for a person who has mobility issues but still plans on using a medical alert device on the go. The great part about fall detection with the Active Guardian is that it doesn’t require an additional sensor; the unit itself has fall detection capabilities built right in.
In my tests, Active Guardian’s fall detection worked surprisingly well. In each of my simulated falls, my unit detected a fall and contacted the monitoring center. On the one occasion when it detected a fall when none had occurred, this was easily defused by pressing the help button.
With my Active Guardian, I also had access to the MyGuardian App and portal. With this feature, a loved one could be notified every time I pressed my emergency button. Additionally, they could check the app at any time to monitor my location and the status of my device, that is, if its battery was powered.
For $6.99 per month, I also purchased the Active Guardian protection plan, which protected my device from damage and manufacturer’s defects. This plan also offered free battery replacement for my Active Guardian.
Active Guardian Pricing
Medical Guardian costs tend to be about middle of the road when compared with other medical alerts, with their systems starting at $29.99 per month. The Active Guardian, however, comes at a higher cost. In total, my Active Guardian cost me $61.94 per month, including fall detection and the protection plan. Without these extras, the system would have cost me $44.95 per month.
Medical Guardian leases their systems as opposed to making you purchase them, so this price includes the device and monitoring. Additionally, Medical Guardian offers discounts for quarterly or annual payments. For example, a yearly Active Guardian subscription costs $494.45, which comes out to $41.20 per month.
In addition to Medical Guardian’s website, Active Guardian can also be purchased at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.
In terms of mobile medical alert systems, it’s hard to find a better option than Active Guardian. Its combination of GPS, quick response times, and accurate fall detection — all built into one unit — make it the perfect option for users with active lifestyles.
I’d recommend Active Guardian if you’re looking for
GPS tracking: With a mobile medical alert, you’ll want to make sure that it has an accurate GPS so that monitoring agents and loved ones know where to find you. Active Guardian has one of the most accurate location tracking systems, making it one of my favorite medical alerts with GPS.
A compact device: Small, lightweight, and easy to use, the Active Guardian is the perfect size for travel and constant wear. It can comfortably go around your neck, on your belt, or even in your purse.
Reliable monitoring: Medical Guardian monitoring personnel responded to each of my calls within an average of eight seconds, reflecting one of the quickest response times I’ve seen from any medical alert company.
I wouldn’t recommend Active Guardian if you want:
Low monthly costs: Active Guardian starts at $44.95 per month, and this price increases with the addition of the protection plan and fall detection. For more affordable options, check out my favorite cheap medical alert systems.
Active Guardian is a mobile medical alert that uses WiFi, cellular, and GPS capabilities to connect you with response agents who can view your exact location and send help in the event of an emergency.
Generally, yes, the Active Guardian is safe to wear with a pacemaker. It’s best to review your pacemaker’s information to double-check that it can be used with a cell phone; apply those same rules to the Active Guardian.
The Active Guardian enables you to make unlimited calls to the monitoring center.
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.