According to Statistics Canada, falls are the most common cause of injury among older Canadians. Every year, it is estimated 1 in 3 seniors aged 65 years and older are likely to fall at least once. Even more worryingly, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, over one-third of seniors who are hospitalized as a result of a fall are placed in long-term care.
If you worry about yourself or an elderly loved one, a medical alert system provides peace of mind. Those who wear the devices can continue to pursue independent, active lifestyles and remain in their own homes, while caregivers can be reassured that help is a push of a button away.
This review covers medical alert systems from two popular providers, TELUS LivingWell Companion and Red Dot Alerts. Each promises to deliver peace of mind, independence and security. However, the quality of equipment, reliability and service delivery differ among them.
TELUS Livingwell Companion Overview
TELUS LivingWell Companion offers responsive, personalized care options that provide seniors the freedom to live independently without fearing an unexpected fall. Just like any other alert system, however, it does have its advantages and areas of strength.
All versions of LivingWell Companion offer basic 24/7 medical alert services to thousands of Canadians, allowing them to live independently without worrying themselves or their loved ones. When the Help Button is pressed during an emergency, a signal is sent to TELUS, alerting them. TELUS personnel will then initiate a call to find out exactly what is happening before dispatching a response team to your location. For a detailed breakdown of features and costs, check out our full review of TELUS LivingWell Companion.
Red Dot Alerts Overview
Red Dot Alerts is a recent offshoot of the popular Ottawa elder care provider Bruyère. The company has put its many years of experience caring for elderly people into developing their medical alert system, building upon their helpline service. For ease of use, simplicity, and responsiveness, Red Dot Alerts score highly—and their plans are moderately priced and competitive. We’d like to see longer battery life and perhaps a more affordable mobile solution, but in all other respects, Red Dot Alerts’ safety measures for seniors are highly recommended.
Red Dot Alerts is designed to help seniors maintain their independence and feel safer, both within their homes and beyond, by means of a simple pendant that can be worn around the neck. This pendant contains the eponymous red button, which alerts a 24/7 helpdesk that a user may be in trouble. Once pressed, the button links the user to a bilingual operator who can arrange for emergency assistance and provide reassurance. The wireless device uses GPS to geolocate the wearer and contains a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 36 hours. Red Dot offers three services: two at-home services, one with fall detection, that use pendant or bracelet help buttons—and a mobile service with fall detection that uses a pendant help button. For a detailed breakdown of features and costs, check out our in-depth review of Red Dot Alerts.
Red Dot Alerts’ parent company Bruyere was founded by two nuns in 1845, so it certainly scores highly in terms of longevity! They have been providing a senior citizens helpline service since 2018 and many users speak highly of their services.
TELUS is one of Canada’s premier telecommunications companies and has been around since 1990. The company has a reputation for offering reliable telecom solutions and is one of Canada’s big three telecom giants alongside Bell and Rogers. In other words, you are in good hands with TELUS, and your emergency button will work reliably on the TELUS network.
Between the two providers, TELUS LivingWell companion is the better choice for budget-conscious seniors due to its lower total cost of ownership.
Pricing for Red Dot Alerts At Home version costs $39.99 per month or $49.99 with fall detection. There are no purchase or set-up costs. The On-the-Go pendant costs $99 for the unit plus $59.99 per month.
The TELUS LivingWell Companion devices come at relatively pocket-friendly prices compared with similar offerings in the market. We like it because it offers among the lowest monthly price and life-time ownership costs of comparable no-term-contract and no-upfront-fee personal emergency response services in Canada.
As of this writing, the basic at-home medical alert system goes for $25 monthly, $35/month for the at-home fall detection option, and $55/month for the On-the-Go option. For a limited-time, however, you can get LivingWell Companion Go on sale for $35/mo on a 1-year term.
For ease of use, simplicity, responsiveness, and experience, Red Dot Alerts score highly. We’d like to see a longer battery life and perhaps a more affordable mobile solution, but in all other respects, Red Dot Alerts’ safety measures for seniors offer good value.
All things considered, however, the TELUS LivingWell Medical Alert System is the better choice of the two. With plans starting at less than $1 a day, we highly recommend TELUS LivingWell Companion as it is one of the very best options on the Canadian market.
Compared with Red Dot Alerts, TELUS LivingWell Companion offers the best overall value in terms of features, price and reliability. After all, TELUS is a longstanding provider of medical tech solutions and has been trusted by over 12 million Canadians.
Under the banner Tech For Seniors, WirelessWizard is pleased to share innovations for older adults—with a focus on deferring as much as possible the time when getting older gets in the way of living life independently. Check out all of tech-for-seniors content here.