The idea of personal alarms for older people sound, frankly, alarming. In reality they can be a life saver or at the very least peace of mind for the whole family particularly if you live away from the person you are concerned about.
Personal alarms are generally marketed towards the elderly and frail, however they’re also useful for those living with long-term health problems or disabilities. Anybody who lives alone may also want to consider an alarm.
We’ve compiled 5 of the main benefits of having a Personal Alarm which may help you have the conversation with an elderly relative, or if you’re deciding for yourself.
You can find help fast
The main benefit of having a personal alarm is that you’re able to get help quickly and efficiently.
Most modern alarm systems come in two parts; a base unit and a pendant button. The base unit is plugged into the mains power and telephone socket, with your telephone plugging into the base unit using an adapter.
Meanwhile, most pendant buttons have multiple wearing options. Alarm users can choose to wear it like a watch on their wrist, or around their neck. Alternatively, some models allow you to clip the pendant to your belt.
In an emergency, all the personal alarm user needs to do is press the help button on their pendant or base unit. An instant alarm call is made to your service provider’s monitoring team, and they’ll dial through to the base unit within seconds to speak with you.
Within a few short minutes help will be on its way. This will be via family members, friends and/or neighbours that have been selected by the alarm user to be first port of call in an emergency. Within the industry, these select people are known as emergency contacts.
The emergency services would also be called, should the alarm user require medical attention.
Compare this to a situation where an elderly person has suffered a fall and doesn’t have an alarm. If they’re unable to get back to their feet or move, they may not be able to reach their telephone to call for help. If they live alone, there might be nobody around to help them for a long period of time.
Most service providers, including Lifeline24, provide a 24-hour monitoring service. This allows for the alarm user to get help throughout the day and night.
You can remain independent in your own home
Alongside the speed of the personal alarm, another benefit is that you can remain independent and remain living in your own home.
Many people see the personal alarm system as an alternative to having to move into a care home or other accommodation schemes. Instead of moving out, you can remain living where you feel most comfortable.
With most providers, a personal alarm offers 24/7 protection in your own home, but with minimal intrusion into your life. You would only need to speak with your service provider’s monitoring team during the setup of the system, during monthly test calls, and, in unfortunate circumstances, during an emergency alarm call.
With a personal alarm you will be able to continue living at home like nothing has really changed, surrounded by your memories and family.
You can save money
Personal alarms are affordable, especially when you compare them to the cost of homecare visits or moving into a care home.
Most service providers offer various ways to pay for their alarms, as they acknowledge that people like to manage their finances in different ways. Commonly, you’ll be able to choose between paying on a monthly basis or an annual basis.
Of course personal alarms do not replace humans, or should be treated as outsourcing care. They are however a valuable addition to the support someone might need.
It provides peace of mind for everybody involved
It’s common for family members to recommend a personal alarm to their elderly loved ones. They do so because they’re worried about their parent’s or grandparent’s well-being when they’re not around to help them immediately.
The main concern is that their loved one could suffer a fall whilst nobody else is at their home to help them back to their feet.
A personal alarm takes these concerns away. Family and friends no longer have to worry about this, as their loved one will, with most service providers, have 24-hour access to a highly-trained monitoring team.
The alarm users themselves will also receive a confidence boost and feel much safer in their home. The knowledge that help is on hand, if ever needed, allows them to forget about any concerns they had prior to having an alarm.
They help the NHS
The NHS is under a lot of pressure right now. A common problem for hospitals is that they don’t have enough beds available for incoming patients. This is due to patients who are ready to leave being unable to do so as they don’t have any organised care or support in place – either from carers or family members.
Having a personal alarm in their home may be able to help in a number of ways: by providing an early warning system should someone fall or become ill – could reduce the likelihood of a hospital admission; it might also enable the family or others to be able to monitor someone’s health more closely and again, prevent or reduce the chances of admission to hospital. And finally having an alarm system as part of the support in place may speed up the discharge process.
In our next article we provide our top tips for choosing an alarm system.