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An Apple Watch 4 or a Medical Alert Device: Making a Choice

More and more medical alert companies are embracing evolving trends in technology in order to help seniors stay on top of their health. The latest companies to embrace medical alert devices such as smartwatch and smartphone options include GreatCall, Medical Guardian, and MobileHelp.

But if you’re tech-savvy and you already have a smartwatch like the Apple Watch 4, you may be wondering if you even need a med alert system. We’re here to help you understand how each system functions, their distinct features, and the costs in order to help you make the right decision for your health and safety needs.  

What is a med alert system?

A med alert system can secure your home, your health, and allow you to feel safer while at home. If you ever find yourself in need of emergency assistance, just push a button and speak with a certified dispatcher within seconds. The dispatcher will stay on the line with you until the necessary help arrives.

Home systems allow for convenient installation in areas where you may need to call someone for help, like a bedroom or bathroom. Systems with mobile options allow you to take the security of a med alert system out into the world where it can give you the peace of mind knowing you’re protected no matter where you go.

What is the Apple Watch 4?

The Apple Watch 4 is Apple’s newest iteration of the ground-breaking smartwatch technology. Using the largest display screen Apple has ever released, the Apple Watch 4 allows you to stay more aware of your health than ever before, offering features like heart rate monitoring, automatic fall detection, and emergency SOS.

Med alert system features

These are a few of the features most medical alert providers offer:

  1. Automatic fall detection. When the med alert system senses that you’ve made unusual or sudden movements, it will sense these movements and ask if you need assistance. If you don’t answer in a certain amount of time (approximately 60 seconds), it will call emergency services on your behalf and alert the people on your emergency contact list.
  2. Medication reminder. If you have a complex medication regimen to stick to like most seniors, a med alert system with medication reminder can help you remember when to take your medications so you can manage your chronic conditions and stay on top of your health.
  3. Two-way voice. If you have an emergency in your home and need help, you’ll need to be able to communicate that to the certified dispatcher. With two-way voice, you can communicate back and forth with the dispatcher to assure you get the specific kind of help you need as fast as possible.
  4. 24/7 support. You never know when an emergency will occur. Most medical alert providers offer 24/7 support in order to put you in touch with certified dispatchers whenever you need help, no matter the time of day or night.
  5. Mobility. If you want your protection to extend outside of your home, a med alert system with mobile options might be best for you. With a mobile system, you can take your medical alert system with you wherever you can pick up a cellular system, keeping you safe and independent.

Apple Watch 4 features

The Apple Watch 4 offers the following feature:

  1. ECG app. One of Apple’s latest tech and health innovations, the Apple Watch 4 can help you keep an eye on your heart health. This app generates test results similar to that of a single-lead electrocardiogram. Once it reads your heart rhythm, it stores the information on your device so you can review it with your doctor.  
  2. Emergency SOS. This feature allows for quick help when you need it. Emergency SOS can call 911, notify your emergency contacts along with your current location, and display your medical ID badge on the screen of your Apple Watch 4 for emergency personnel.
  3. Mindfulness app. The Breathe app helps you stay centered and grounded by taking you through a series of calming breaths. Reducing stress in your life and staying mindful is one of the best ways to maintain good health and promote healing.
  4. Additional health apps. Whether you need help drinking enough water, getting better sleep, staying active, monitoring your nutrition, or managing any chronic conditions like diabetes, the Apple Watch 4 has additional apps to help you with your health needs.

The Apple Watch 4 also offers features like automatic fall detection, fitness tracking, and can sync with your phone. If you want to be able to use your Apple Watch when the bluetooth is not in range of your phone, you can purchase an additional data plan.


With a medical alert system, you will pay a monthly fee for medical alert monitoring services at call centers. Some med alert companies may also require installation or one-time start up fees.

If you choose the Apple Watch 4 with fall detection, you pay the one-time cost for the watch, plus a monthly data plan. These costs vary based on where you purchase the watch and the company that provides your data plan.

Making the choice

The Apple Watch 4 is a great option for those who are comfortable with new and trendy technology and aren’t intimidated by the idea of using multiple apps to manage your health. However, those who are very physically active may trigger false alarms with this smartwatch. If you’re thinking of buying one, you’ll need to have an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 12 or later.

If you’re looking for something simple and easy to use, a med alert system might be your best option. You can choose from devices worn comfortably and discreetly around the wrist, neck, or on the belt. What’s important is that you know how to use the technology you have so you’ll be able to call for help when you need it.

Regardless of what you choose, it’s important to have some sort of medical alert system in place as you age, since falls are the leading cause of death from injury among those 65 and older. No fall detection system is foolproof, and none will detect 100 percent of falls. That’s why you may find it more comforting to have a medical alert system close at hand with a button you can push if you are in trouble.

Joan Biddle
Joan Biddle is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros. With nearly 20 years of editing, research and writing experience, Joan crafts detailed, reliable articles that help people navigate complicated topics. She enjoys movies, reading, poetry and art.

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