Personal Alarms for the Elderly
Personal alarms are small wearable pendants or watches that an older person can use to get help if they fall, get lost, feel unwell or need help for any other problem. In their simplest form, personal alarms for the elderly usually feature of a big, clear button that can be pressed at any time day or night. Pressing the button will either sound an alarm to alert people living in the same house or it can connect the wearer directly to a 24/7 monitoring team trained to find out what is wrong and arrange help. This might be contacting a pre-agreed named relative or neighbour to make sure everything is okay, or, if necessary, calling an ambulance.
Elderly alarms can be a first step in supporting your relative to remain independent and safe at home. During the current pandemic if you are unable to visit your parents often or at all, then a personal alarm may be a good option to consider, helping to keep them safe, and giving you reassurance at this time. The devices are designed to be easy to set up, with simple and clear instructions and a customer support team on hand to help. Below you can find Age Space’s guide to 6 of the best personal alarms for the elderly on the market.
SureSafe Alarms specialise in personal alarms for the elderly. With over 15 products available including fall alarms, GPS ‘Go Anywhere’ alarms and talking pendant alarms to help your elderly parent maintain their independence in the home. SureSafe are dedicated to delivering the highest quality service and products, while distributing at an affordable price for all. Offering safety and security to elderly people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, aiming to improve their health, well-being and quality of life.
SureSafe’s flagship product, the SureSafeGO Anywhere range of alarms, aims to be the most complete alarm available. Boasting fall detection as standard, the ability to talk through the pendant (not the base unit) to the alarm responder, as well as using mobile technology allowing the alarm to be used both in and out of the home, means this is the most comprehensive alarm available.
Current Special Offers: First 3 months monitoring FREE on SureSafe 24/7 Connect range. Pay Annually only £89 + £45 set-up fee. SureSafeGO Mobile Alarm from £149.95. Call SureSafe now on 0800 112 3201 and quote AgeSpace10 for a £10 discount.
We got hands on with the SureSafeGO and SureSafe 24/7 Connect to review the main features, technical specifications, pros & cons and to answer any questions that anyone thinking of buying might have. Click the links to be taken to the reviews.
2. Taking Care
Taking Care are the only Which? Trusted Traders Approved personal alarm service and are also the exclusive provider of the Age Co alarm. Since 2008 alone, Taking Care have helped 170,000 people stay safe in their homes, supporting older adults and their families across the UK.
Taking Care have a range of alarm products that can be used at home, in the garden or out and about, including fall sensors and GPS personal alarms. The alarms are supported by three UK-based Emergency Resolution Centres providing 24-hour monitoring. With an average alarm response time of 5 seconds, you can continue to do the things you enjoy with confidence help is available when you need it most.
Prices start from £16.81 per month (£20.17 including VAT), including 24/7 monitoring, lifetime warranty and free delivery. There is a one off set up and registration cost of £69. When you order online the first month of monitoring is free, with a 30 day no-obligation home trial.
We were fortunate enough to be able to test out and review the Taking Care Anywhere Alarm, that comes with GPS, fall detection, and backup pendant included. Click on the link to read our review which includes a product overview, pros and cons and our reviewer’s hands-on experience.
Lifeline24 is a dedicated national personal alarm provider with a single-minded focus on delivering a low-cost service while maintaining the highest levels of customer satisfaction and safety. Their results speak for themselves with a significant number of customers who have left over 5,000 very positive reviews across Reviews.co.uk and Trustpilot, both of which have always maintained an ‘Excellent’ rating.
Lifeline24 remains a family owned and managed organisation and their advanced UK-based 24/7 response centre is fully accredited by the Telecare Services Association.
Alarm users can call for help at the push of a button on their lightweight waterproof pendants and will immediately be in contact with a highly trained and friendly member of their Care Team. After a quick assessment they will be able to contact friends, family, carers or the Emergency Services to ensure help is on its way.
Lifeline24 offers a wide range of personal alarms, pendants and peripheral linked devices to suit any lifestyle and need. Price Range: £12.49 monthly plan (plus a one-off setup fee of £35), £154 annual plan (includes £35 setup fee), or £224 annual fall detector plan (includes £35 setup fee).
Our very own Jimmy (84) has reviewed the Lifeline24 GO GPS. He’s given us his thoughts and the review also covers the main features, tech specs, pros & cons and more. Click the link to go to the review.
You can call Lifeline24 on 0800 999 0400 and quote discount code “AS10” to save £10 or follow the link to their website below.
4. Telecare 24
Telecare24 is a national careline alarm provider committed to giving you peace of mind and keeping you safe at home. Recommended by TV’s Dr Hilary Jones, Telecare24 is rated ‘Excellent’ by its customers, with new positive reviews every day.
Personal alarms from Telecare24 are comfortable, lightweight, and easy to use with help available at the press of a button. On the fall alarm plan, the device senses when you have fallen and will automatically call for help. Moments later, the friendly care team will speak to you to determine your situation. If they decide that you need help, they will contact your family, friends, carers or the emergency services.
With free next working day delivery and a speedy ordering process, you could be set up in as little as 24hrs. There is a one off set up cost of £45. If you decide to leave Telecare24, you can cancel at any time as they don’t tie you into a contract.
Plans from Telecare24 start at just £120/year, with a £10 discount available for all Age Space readers. Key safes are also available.
5. SECOM CareTech
SECOM CareTech focuses on solutions for safer independent living in the home. Their products include reliable, tried and tested personal alarms and smart home monitoring systems. They benefit from utilising the technology and infrastructure of their parent company – SECOM, a world-leading security technology firm.
Their personal alarm range is simple, reliable, future-proof and puts family first. When the wearer presses an alarm, a predetermined list of family and neighbours will be automatically contacted. If no one answers then the call will be redirected to SECOM CareTech’s 24/7 monitoring team, who have the caller’s information, and will provide reassurance and organise help for them quickly.
SECOM CareTech’s personal alarms are rented, so you only have to pay monitoring costs, and this means if they need repairs or replacements, they will provide them for free. Their range of alarms include simple pendant alarms, fully waterproof fall detectors and a GPS alarm that can be worn away from the home. SECOM CareTech’s alarms also don’t require a landline connection, and so can be placed anywhere there is a mains socket. Their personal alarms start at £17.89 per month with a one-off set up fee of £82.92. SECOM CareTech alarms are eligible for tax exemption.
You can also use our exclusive code AGESPACE10 to save £10 on your first order!
6. Buddi GPS Fall Detector Alarm
Buddi is a revolutionary GPS alarm with an integrated fall detector that will automatically raise the alert for you whenever you take a fall.
The alarm consists of two parts that work together; the wristband and the clip. Doubling as a fall detector, the silicone wristband is comfortable and discreet, and it has two buttons on either side that you can press when you need help. The clip holds the GPS technology, as well as a microphone and loudspeaker to communicate with the care team. Small and lightweight, the clip can be easily attached to clothing, a handbag, or even a key ring.
When you raise the alarm, the Buddi dials through to a TSA approved 24/7 monitoring centre. Here, the highly-trained care team will attempt to communicate with you to determine if you need help. If you are outdoors and away from home, the built-in GPS means they’ll be able to see your location to pass it on to your key contacts, or the emergency services if needed.
The Buddi is available for an upfront cost of £203, with a subscription fee of £22 per month and a one off £45 set up fee. Age Space readers can save £10 on the initial order with the code “asbuddi10“.
Please note: The numbered ordering of providers and products or services listed above is for reference purposes only. It is not intended to suggest that any one provider is better than another. Whichever provider is best for you is a personal choice according to product design and functionality, your needs and other circumstances.
How do personal alarms work?
There are many different types of personal alarms but the idea is similar for each one. Your older relative wears a simple button pendant all the time that they can press to alert someone that they need help. A personal alarm can work anywhere (mobile) or only in the house (landline-based), include extra features (e.g. GPS or fall detection), or be answered by either a trained, 24/7-available response team or a trusted family member.
What is the difference between a mobile and a landline-based personal alarm?
Elderly alarms are designed to be as simple as possible to set-up and use and are either mobile or landline-based. If a personal alarm is mobile it means there will be a SIM card (exactly like those used in phones) inside that allows the pendant to work wherever there is a mobile signal. This means that your relative can wear it in the garden or when they are out and about, safe in the knowledge that if they fall or get lost, they can press the button and get help.
Landline-based personal alarms are usually smaller, simpler to use, and cheaper, but will only work a certain distance from a ‘base unit’, plugged into the landline (i.e. within the house). When your relative presses the alarm button the monitoring team will only be able to talk to them through the base unit.
Both types of alarm are better at different things. Mobile alarms have more additional features, (sometimes) enable communication directly through the pendant, and work anywhere but landline alarms can be more reliable (as they almost always have signal), easier to use, waterproof, and never require charging
Are all personal alarms monitored?
No. While most personal alarm packages include monitoring from a UK-based, 24/7-active trained monitoring centre, you can also find options that alert a family member directly if the emergency call button is pressed. The simplest personal alarms will just make a loud noise that can alert someone living in the same house. These options are less expensive but do rely on someone always being within range of hearing the alarm to provide help.
What should I consider before purchasing a personal alarm?
If you’ve decided that a personal alarm would make living independently safer for your elderly parents, and would reassure the family, there is still a lot to consider depending on you and your parent’s circumstance.
For example: Dementia/wandering:
GPS ability: If your relative is more active or has a dementia meaning they are prone to wander, you will probably need a mobile, GPS-aware personal alarm. This enables you to be able to locate, and get help to, your relative even if they don’t know where they are themselves.
Other things that might be included in the price of a personal alarm for elderly parents are the type of monitoring and whether you want to include fall detection (that sends an alert if it detects a fall, even if the button hasn’t been pressed).
How much should a personal alarm for elderly parents cost in the UK?
The answer depends on what features are included in the alarm. For a basic emergency call button and landline-based base unit, you can expect to pay between £100 - £250 a year. For a personal alarm with additional features such fall detection and GPS you could pay between £200-500. Other things that might be included in the price of a personal alarm are:
- One-off set-up/installation/registration fees
- Monthly subscription to 24/7 monitoring
- SIM card costs (for mobile personal alarms)
Do I need to pay VAT on a personal alarm?
Personal alarms are applicable for VAT exemptions if the person you are buying for has a long-term health condition that they receive medical treatment for, a chronic illness, or they are registered disabled. Advanced age is not enough on its own to qualify someone for VAT exemption. To get a VAT exemption you must prove to the seller that you are eligible – usually they will offer you a form to fill out, or that you can fill out on behalf of the person you are buying for.
Can I get a personal alarm from my local council or authority?
Yes, in some places in the UK, local councils supply ‘lifeline alarms’ to those who need them. These are just simple pendant alarms for the elderly with the emergency call button and landline base unit. Some councils pay for it outright or will ask you to make a contribution towards the, depending on your relative’s financial circumstance. Often they will be an option following the result of a care needs assessment.
What happens if the emergency call button is pressed accidentally?
Don’t worry, monitoring teams are very used to this happening and won’t be annoyed – just relieved that there is nothing wrong. It is much better for your elderly relative not to be worrying about accidentally pressing the button versus not pressing it if they are in trouble. However, depending on the alarm they have, they might need to recharge the pendant after pressing the emergency call button.
Can my relative still use a personal alarm if they have a pacemaker?
Your relative may not be able to wear some personal alarms around their neck if they have a pacemaker, as they might interfere with it. This might also mean that they are unable to make use of some features like GPS and/or fall detection, depending on how they work. Always check with the provider if a personal alarm is safe to use before buying.