CONSUMERISM: Fear of Being Home Alone

Fear of Being Home Alone

It's the first great catchphrase of the '90s: "I've fallen and I can't get up!" The poorly acted but plaintive cry can be heard in ads for Lifecall, one of many personal emergency-response systems that summon medical help at the press of a button. Now that as many as 350,000 of the systems have been sold, they are beginning to draw fire from consumer-advocacy groups that question the marketing of the high-tech hailers and sometimes even the need for them.

The State of Maryland sued a seller of medical-alert units (price: $1,295 each) that became useless junk when the firm failed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!