Great Call 5Start

It’s good when an elderly person has a cell phone at hand, to call 911 in an emergency. Even better is a big button around their neck.

Unlike other devices of this sort, the “5Star Urgent Response” from Great Call can be used outside the home. It can be clipped to a purse, backpack or keychain and used in place of a cell phone to make an emergency call. Just push the button. It could be handy for Grandma or a child who’s lost. Or for you when you feel you’re in danger or have fallen in a hole and can’t reach your cell phone.

The 5Star costs $50, with a $35 activation fee if you buy it at Sears or Walmart, or $25 if you buy it online. Because it connects through Verizon Wireless, there’s also a $15 a month service charge. Fortunately, there’s no contract or cancellation fee, so you could use it on a trip and then quit, but it only works in the U.S.

If you push the 5Star button lightly, it calls the 5Star response team from Great Call, the company who invented the Jitterbug phone for seniors. The response team has been prepped by your personal profile as to your medical conditions or prescriptions. They’re on duty 24 hours a day and will call 911 for you, or you can hold the button down for five seconds and it will call 911 on its own. The Responder pinpoints your location by GPS, and the responding agents can offer support in over 100 languages.

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