GreatCall Review

GreatCall Medical Alert Devices

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Review Summary: GreatCall is a medical alert provider that ties most of their services in with smart phone use, and even provides Jitterbug phones and call plans. This is a pretty modern option compared with other medical alert services which mainly focus on stand alone equipment reserved only for medical alert use.

In December of 2015, GreatCall acquired Lively which is a connected health platform that does have more traditional stand alone medical alert devices but with advanced features and a modern look, for active seniors who are looking for protection. 

Some of GreatCall's services, using their well-known 5Star Urgent Response, require only a smart phone and you can even use your existing smart phone with their app. The equipment they offer is modern-looking, and their sales reps are not overly pushy. We like the fact that they have all of the latest technology with no phone line (cellular), GPS, activity monitoring, medication reminders, and fall detection options.

There are four main products that GreatCall offers (they have several other legacy options, but only actively promote these four on their website):

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1. Lively Mobile: Their most basic medical alert device. No landline or other equipment is required, and you can speak directly through the device to emergency help. Available with optional fall detection utilizing accelerometer technology.

2. Lively Wearable: Their most affordable medical alert service. A smart phone with cellular service is required (this device uses Bluetooth, data, and GPS location from the smartphone). Fall detection is included. Some may say this is arguably the most attractive looking medical alert button available on the market. It also can count your steps and sends you daily “adventures” to motivate exercise and well-being (sounds mildly comparable to a Fitbit, and you can even follow your friends on it and compete with them).

3. Jitterbug Smart: Cellular smart-phone with service that provides the medical alert through an App

4. Jitterbug Flip: Cellular flip-phone with service that provides a medical alert with a button on the phone. This is an easy-to-use option when you need a simple phone with emergency help built right in. 

There are also three different levels of monthly service for the Jitterbug Smart, the Jitterbug Flip, and the Lively Mobile:

1. Basic: ($19.99/month) Includes their 5Star Urgent Response service.

2. Preferred: ($24.99/month) Includes their 5Star Urgent Response service, their GreatCall Link service, which allows caregivers and family members easy access to updates and information on your well being and location, and their Urgent Care service, which allows you to speak directly with doctors and nurses, and even get prescriptions over the phone.

3. Ultimate: ($34.99/month) Includes their 5Star Urgent Response service, their GreatCall Link service, their Urgent Care service, and an equipment protection plan. In case a device is lost or compromised, a replacement will only have the cost of a small deductible. This Ultimate Health and Safety subscription service also includes fall detection on the Lively Mobile device.



Pros: Automatic activity monitoring option, detailed medication reminder option, equipment status alerts, refunds for unused weeks of service, emergency 24-hour emergency support, and modern-looking equipment.

Cons: Equipment charges and activation fees, no reimbursement for equipment if you cancel after 30 days, some of their services require that you have a smart phone, free shipping could take up to 7 business days to arrive, and their monitoring centers are not CSAA Five Diamond certified.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

DISCLOSURE: We may receive referral fees from this company for purchases or inquiries made by you. Thanks to your support, we can maintain the website & offer you special discounts, at no cost to you.

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Quick Stats:

Most Important Things To Consider
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Price
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Cost for Equipment

Equipment charges range from $37.49 to $112.49. Activation for any device is $35.00, but they give you the first month of service for free. Ground shipping is also free.

Cost Per Month

$19.99 per month on the Lively Mobile, Jitterbug Smart and Jitterbug Flip (Basic service plan).  $14.99 per month for the Lively Wearable.

Advance Payment Discounts

None

Monitoring Agreement Term

30-day risk free trial period.  No long-term contracts - month to month only. You will also receive a refund for any service prorated from the day you call to cancel.  No equipment reimbursement after 30 days - the equipment is yours to keep.

Repairs or Replacement Charges

None, replacements shipped free for defective equipment (all equipment has a 1 year warranty). Optional $3 to $4 per month equipment protection plan depending on your device. Product replacement for damaged or lost equipment could cost anywhere between $49.99 to $149.99 to replace without a protection plan.  The protection plan does have a deductible ranging from $15.00 to $50.00, depending on your device.
Cancellation Policy & Discounts
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Cancel at Any Time

Yes

Senior Discount

None

Other Discounts

None
Equipment
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Approximate Button Range in Typical Home

The only product of GreatCall's that has any range requirement is their Lively Wearable, which must be within 150 feet of your smart phone to be able to work.

Watch/Button Battery Life

We could not get a battery life estimate for the Jitterbug Smart or the Jitterbug Flip, but expect them to be similar to a normal mid-grade cell phone.  No battery replacements are provided.

On the website, it says you can expect about 24 hours of standby time in-between charges for the Lively Mobile, but we were told it will depend on cell service strength in your area, how often you charge the device, how long you charge your device, and even the ambient temperature where your device is mostly used.  No battery replacements are provided for the Lively Mobile either.  You must purchase a new device.  

The battery for the Lively Wearable lasts about 6 months, and does not require charging, and the app will alert you when it's getting low.  However, you must purchase your own replacements (runs on a watch battery) and install them yourself.

What Happens if I Lose Power

It depends on the device you have, when you last charged it, and how much you use it. Maximum battery life for the Lively Mobile is 24 hours.

Is the Watch/Button Waterproof

Yes, the Lively Mobile and Lively Wearable are waterproof.

How Can The Button Be Worn

Neck and wrist options available for the Lively Mobile or the Lively Wearable.  When you order over the phone they will include both the lanyard and the wristband for free.

UL Certified Equipment

Yes

Does The System Automatically Test Itself To The Monitoring Center

No. You can test the system as often as you wish though, by logging onto mygreatcall.com and sending a test call to your device. You can also press the call button and wait for an agent to respond, and just let them know you are making a test call.

24 Hour Technical & Customer Support

24-hour emergency support is available. Customer Support is available 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM PST Monday through Saturday.
Monitoring Station
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CSAA Five Diamond Certified Monitoring Center

No, but they are NAED (National Academy of Emergency Dispatch) certified, which is the same certification as 911 operators.

Typical Response Time When Button Pressed

Average response time of 5.3 seconds.
Other Options & Information
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How Fast Does System Ship

Equipment will ship the next business day after you order.  Free ground shipping takes 3-7 business days to arrive.

Do You Need Separate Systems For Mom & Dad

Yes
Optional Advanced Features
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Activity or Inactivity Monitoring

Yes, with the Lively Wearable and their HealthSense Activity Monitoring solutions (motion detection throughout your home).

Senior Fall Detection

Yes, available on the Lively Mobile with the Ultimate Health & Safety plan, and included with the Lively Wearable subscription (only works when worn as a pendent).

Cellular or No Phone Line

Yes. All of their equipment options are cellular-based.

Non-GPS Mobile Alert System For Protection On The Go

No

Smoke or Carbon Monoxide Protection

No

GPS Medical Alert Tracking System

Yes, with all of their equipment options.
Special Offers
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DISCLOSURE: We may receive referral fees from this company for purchases or inquiries made by you. Thanks to your support, we can maintain the website & offer you special discounts, at no cost to you.
 


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Likes:

Reasonable Service Rates - GreatCall has competitive rates for both their 5Star Urgent Response, and their cellular service when paired with their 5Star Urgent Response.

Cancel at Any Time Policy - If you are not happy with your service, you can cancel and get a refund for unused weeks of service paid.

24-Hour Support - Emergency only support is available 24 hours per day.

Flexible Monitoring Agreement - You can cancel at any time.

Cellular Option - All of their subscriptions are cellular based in case you are without traditional land-line phone service.

Fall Detector Option – (Available with the Lively Mobile and the Lively Wearable) Since diabetics can have the tendency to faint and falls are common among seniors, fall detectors can be helpful because the user may be unable to press their medical emergency button.

Mobile GPS Option - For seniors or even young children on the go, this may be an important option for you.

Location Services – Available with all Preferred and Ultimate Health and Safety service levels with the GreatCall Link app. This allows authorized users to check your location at any time, as many times per day as needed.

Activity Monitoring – (Available with the Lively Wearable) Activity monitoring typically requires the user to check in with the system by pressing a button once every 24 hours. GreatCall utilizes the latest automatic activity tracking technology, and even lets you set goals and alerts you when you have reached them throughout the day. Activity can be seen on the GreatCall Link app. This is very beneficial as it allows you to know that your loved one is active and about each day.

Medication Reminders – (Available with the Jitterbug Smart and the Jitterbug Flip) Having the system remind you of when to take medication is a nice feature, although not required by all. Many of these services have the main unit console provide some sort of beep reminder on regular interval to remind you of when to take your medication. With most other competing services, the downside to this option is that it will not tell you what or how much medication to take. GreatCall gives more detail, allowing you to enter in medication information online on mygreatcall.com, and set-up reminders to be sent directly to your Jitterbug Smart or Jitterbug Flip.

Multi-Lingual Help - If you need to communicate in a language other than English - they have multi-lingual representatives available in 100 languages.


Dislikes:

Activation Fees – All GreatCall equipment requires a $35.00 activation fee per device because they have to connect through cellular service providers.

Equipment Replacement – If your battery is dead, you either have to replace it yourself, or more commonly, buy a whole new device. A deductible is required even if you have the Product Replacement plan. You also cannot return any equipment for any equipment refund after 30 days.

Monitoring Center – Their monitoring centers are not CSAA Five Diamond certified. We prefer CSAA Five Diamond certification.

Equipment Battery Life – The Jitterbug phones and Lively Mobile need to be charged daily. When the battery wears out on any of their devices, you must buy a new device (or with the Lively Wearable, purchase and install a new watch battery).


Bottom Line:

If you're looking for a basic medical alert button, then GreatCall may be more than you need. They offer the latest technology including automatic activity monitoring, medication reminders that provide names and dosages, no phone line cellular options, and fall detection as well.

Their equipment (especially the Lively Wearable) is extremely modern looking too. If you are a caregiver, then GreatCall is a good choice with many monitoring options available for you to more easily care for your loved one.

If you're in the market for a basic cell phone for your mom or dad, then the Jitterbug Flip could be your best bet. It's simple for most seniors to use and includes the 5Star Urgent Response button right on the phone.

 


DISCLOSURE: We may receive referral fees from this company for purchases or inquiries made by you. Thanks to your support, we can maintain the website & offer you special discounts, at no cost to you.

Click For Special Offers For Our Visitors From GreatCall

Call Today! 1-877-492-9846



Although our experience with this company had these results, your experience may be different. If you're interested in this company's services, contact them to judge for yourself.


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