Security devices for seniors in Canada.
Category Panic Button
1 August 2023,
Security devices for seniors in Canada.

Medical alert systems, also called Personal Emergency Response Systems, are electronic devices that allow users to immediately call for help without dialing a phone.

These systems have wearable panic buttons that are connected to a wireless system or a landline. If a user presses the help button, two things can happen. The user is either connected to a monitoring center, in the case of monitored systems, or pre-set numbers are dialed automatically until someone answers, in the case of non-monitored systems.

Individuals with medical conditions, seniors, and those who worry about not getting help in an emergency can get peace of mind from a medical alert system. 

There are many medical alert systems operating across Canada. While they have the same goal which is to assist users in an emergency, they don’t work in the same way and their prices also vary.

If you want the cheapest type of medical alert system, you will find non-monitored medical alert systems with no monthly fees. Which one is right for you? 

Read on and know more about medical alert systems to find the one that will give you the most peace of mind.

Non-monitored medical alert systems: The Pros and Cons

Are you interested in buying a medical alert system but prefer a system with no monthly fees? It may be because you worry about expensive monthly plans or don’t want to make a long-term commitment.

We totally understand. You should know that there are no-monthly fee medical alert systems on the market. 

Pros and Cons of No-Monthly medical alert systems

Choosing the best medical alert system for your needs requires understanding the pros and cons and knowing your options. To help you decide if a no-monthly fee medical alert system will work for you, consider the pros and cons. 

The advantages of using a no-monthly medical alert system include the following:

  • No recurring or monthly charges for monitoring services;
  • No long-term contract or commitment;
  • Users can set up the system to automatically dial a friend, neighbor, caregiver, or 911 in an emergency; 
  • No credit checks or deposit required; 
  • Simple to use and understand.

These benefits are appealing to seniors who just want a back-up plan to ensure their safety or protection in the event of an emergency.

Disadvantages of a no-monthly medical alert system 

  • These systems depend on the contact persons provided by the user to respond to emergency calls
  • The user must press the call button to ask for help. If the user is injured, unconscious, or unable to press the button, help will be delayed.
  • If the system dials 911 and the user is unable to speak, the information required to facilitate emergency services is delayed.
  • These systems do not use the latest technologies that are available in monitored systems
  • They have upfront costs because you need to purchase the system outright. If you don’t like the system, your money will go to waste.
  • Users must be responsible for checking the battery levels and updating contact numbers.

As you can see, the biggest benefit of non-monitored systems is the absence of monthly fees. But the performance benefits and your level of protection is significantly lower compared to monitored systems.

To further evaluate if no-monthly medical alert systems are suitable to your situation, understand how they work in an emergency.

How do no-monthly medical alert systems work?

They are usually water-resistant so that users can use them even in the washroom or bathroom. Many of them are also safe to use with pacemakers.

When a user presses the help button, the system will auto-dial pre-set numbers until someone answers. Some systems allow users to save up to 10 contact numbers.

The system will dial the first number and so on until a contact person answers. This process eliminates the need for the user to use a smartphone or landline to call for help. This is very useful in situations wherein the user has no telephone within reach or if the user is not fully alert due to an injury or pain.

It is important to understand that the efficiency of this type of system depends on the availability of the contact persons to react to an emergency call promptly and fast.

If contact persons are busy or unavailable, emergency assistance to the user is delayed and can be catastrophic in life and death situations.

Comparing no-monthly medical alert systems with monitored systems

If you think that the only difference between no-monthly medical alert systems and monitored systems is the monthly fee, you are mistaken.

Medical alert systems vary in price, technology, reliability, speed of response, quality of customer service, quality of the equipment, warranty & replacement, etc.

Buying a medical alert system is an investment you are making with regards to your safety. Thus, it is a critical decision that should be made with utmost consideration!

Let’s first compare the price of no-monthly medical alert systems and monitored systems.

Price of No-Monthly Medical Alert Systems vs. Monitored Systems

When considering the price of a medical alert system, there are 3 important components to look at:

  1. Price of the device or equipment
  2. Installation & Activation
  3. Recurring Fees

Below is a comparison of no-monthly fees and monitored medical alert systems in brief.


No-Monthly Medical Alert Systems

Monitored Systems with Monthly fees

Equipment or Device Cost

$200 to $479 paid outright

Many companies offer free device or equipment with a monthly plan

Some companies charge $200 or more for the system with a one-time fee


depends on location

depends on location

Installation & Activation

Some providers charge one-time activation fee which can start from $50

Some companies have no activation fee but there are those that charge from $100 or more for activation

Monthly Fees for monitoring

no monthly fee (no monitoring services)

from $20 up monthly

It is clear that a no-monthly medical alert system will charge for the device upon purchase. The biggest benefit here is that you only pay once and you own the system for life. 

Do you save a lot of money when you choose a no-monthly medical alert system? Yes, you save a lot over time from the cost of the equipment and the monthly fees.

However, this type of system does not guarantee that you will get help in an emergency. You take on a huge risk which can cost you your life.

It also puts a huge burden on your caregivers if you are high-risk (meaning frail, prone to accidents, with medical conditions, etc.) and they need to be on hand in case of an emergency. Your caregiver must also be the one to contact the fire or police department or call for medical responders as needed.

Features of Non-Monitored vs. Monitored Systems

Superior fall detection technology for enhanced protection.

After comparing prices, it is important to also compare features to ensure you make a decision based on overall value.


No-monthly medical alert systems

Monitored systems with monthly fees

24/7 Emergency Services

Depends on the listed contact person/s


Customer service



or water-resistant




300 to 500 ft.

up to +1000 ft. for home systems or
anywhere with mobile signal for wireless systems

Automatic fall detection


Available with many systems

GPS tracking



Caregiver platform


Available with some systems

Multi-lingual support





Companies offer month-to-month contract but others have 2 to 3 years contract

As you can see, no-monthly medical alert systems are cheap and easy to obtain. But they work in a limited number of ways. Your listed contacts are responsible for answering your calls for help. They also need to react appropriate by calling emergency responders or arriving at your location promptly to help you. The speed of response is critical to saving your life especially after a fall or any medical emergency.

On the other hand, monitored medical alert systems give 24/7 access to emergency services with just one press of a button. It only takes seconds for an emergency operator to respond to your call. He will call an ambulance or the fire department, as needed.

Medical alert systems have 2-way voice communication systems, GPS tracking, and automatic fall detection. They can be used inside the home or on the go.

While monitored systems are more expensive, the technologies they use to keep you safe are more advanced, sophisticated, reliable, and tailored to your needs.

If you want to compare multiple quotes for monitored medical alert systems, fill out the short online form on this page.

It can cost you as little as $1 a day to live independently without fear and
with full confidence in your safety.

Who needs a medical alert system?

Senior with a caregiver at home needs a panic button.

Some people don’t want to pay for a device for emergency services that they think they will never need. Well that may very well be true. In a case like this, a no-monthly medical alert system might fit the bill and could be just your back-up in case you ever need help.

Some medical alert system companies charge from $30 to $40 a month for their monitoring services. If your system has automatic fall detection, GPS, or a caregiver platform, it will be more expensive. Some people may think it is too much to spend on a medical alert system.

But who needs a monitored medical alert system with monthly fees? Many individuals need a more reliable and easier way to call for help because:

  • They are elderly people living alone;
  • They are in poor health;
  • Have chronic medical conditions or serious medical conditions;
  • They live with a disability;
  • Have limited mobility;
  • Are taking prescription medications with side effects;
  • Have a history of falls;
  • Worry about getting help in an emergency.

For these type of individuals, a dependable and no-fail system for calling emergency services is essential.  It is advisable to invest $1 a day on a monitored medical alert system for peace of mind and safety.

While insurance companies don’t usually cover the cost of medical alert systems, you can still find one that suits your budget.

Automatic Fall Detection for Enhanced Protection

Older adults at high risk for falls.

In Canada, falls are frequently experienced by older adults with potentially devastating consequences that could result in long-term care.

Falls are a public health risk and the government spends money and other resources in the prevention of falls. 

You can also take an additional step in protecting yourself by getting a medical alert system with fall detection.

If you have a fall detector, the system can automatically detect a fall and send out a fall alert to the monitoring center, even if you don’t press the help button!

After a fall, a senior can become unconscious or badly hurt and not be able to press the panic button. With a fall detector, you will surely receive help if a fall alert is triggered. The emergency operator will contact you using your 2-way voice system. If you fail to respond, they will send an ambulance to your home.

If it is a false alert, simply respond to the operator and inform them you are okay.

Shop for the best medical alert system for you

Now that you know the difference between no-monthly medical alert systems and monitored systems, you can confidently make your choice!

Compare the most affordable monitored medical alert systems using our short online form!

Our network consists of reliable medical alert system companies throughout Canada.

Receive free and no-commitment quotes to save time and money today and have peace of mind.

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