Clark Howard: Low-cost medic-alert devices

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Emergency help for seniors who are away from home is now available at the touch of a button. I want to share details about a $15/month subscription service.

We’re all familiar with that commercial that goes, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” right? My mom is in her 90s and wears a call-button for help around her neck. But it will only work inside her assisted living facility.

Traditionally, similar devices only work in conjunction with a land-line phone in a home. But what about when you’re away from home?

From the makers of the senior-friendly cellphone Jitterbug comes 5Star Urgent Response. The 5Star allows two-way communication over Verizon’s network with a response agent at the touch of a button. You can even be GPS tracked via triangulation if you’re not able to speak. Service is $14.99/month once you purchase the device. Visit for more details.

Try this for peace of mind if you have an aging family member or friend.

While the option I mentioned above works in the absence of a land line, the fact is that a lot of seniors have a land line in their home. If that’s the case, you might want to check out

For $279, you buy their device and it comes with free shipping right now. There is no monthly fee. You set up the device to call four numbers — typically that would be three relatives and the fourth number would be 911.
If money matters, this is good way to have an alert system set up with no monthly fee.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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