We’re well aware of the double-edge challenge that elderly people present to wearable digital health technology. The same cohort of older folks who prefer to age in their own homes also present several barriers to using wearable devices. Medical Guardian, a personal emergency response system (PERS) provider for seniors, continues to develop its technology to remove the barriers to PERS access, especially for the elderly. When we wrote about Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian smartwatch for seniors in 2018 we suggested adding an activity tracker function could add value by alerting family members and caregivers to changes in the watch wearer’s activity level. Medical Guardian’s latest smartwatch release, MGMove, adds that and more.

Medical Guardian has a suite of devices and a growing platform of services to help older Americans remain safe while aging in place. The primary feature of the service continues to be the medical alert function. Wearers can press a button on the side of the watch or swipe-to-alert using the LED display. Users don’t need a separate smartphone as the watch relies on preloaded apps that connect the user with Medical Guardian’s monitoring center via 4G LTE cellular connectivity. The network can also track the wearer’s location. Users can communicate with monitoring center personnel by speaking into the watch face; an embedded speech-to-text app sends the wearer’s responses to the center. In case of accidental alerts, there’s also a cancel button on the watch.

The latest Medical Guardian smartwatch has a new activity tracking feature so users can set daily goals, record progress, and count steps and calories burned (extrapolating the latter from user weight and step count). With the MGMove Social Circle app wearers can use the speech-to-text feature to communicate with family and friends. As an additional safety net, the MGMove smartwatch can share user location, activity levels, and more with family and caregivers. A new Reminder Alerts feature notifies wearers to take medications on time and about events and appointments. The MGMove can also display and announce the local weather data. About the only thing missing would be automatic fall detection with subsequent alerts.

The MGMove smartwatch comes with a magnetic charging station and a charging brick and USB cable. The charging station has a voice assistance feature that lets users know if the watch is charging correctly. Charging takes 1 to 2 hours. A fully charged battery powers the watch for up to 24 hours, according to Medical Guardian.

The devices are reasonably priced, but there is an added cost for the monthly service subscription. The MGMove smartwatch costs $199. Medical Guardian’s PERS platform has two monthly service plans for $40 and $45. We applaud Medical Guardian’s continued focus on improving and expanding the services it offers and look forward to learning about the next iteration.