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 are leading providers of personal alarms for the elderly. They offer a broad range of alarms that can be used both in the home, as well as when ‘out and about’. Their goal is to help older people live fuller lives, safely and independently in their own homes. They do this for over 170,000 people in the UK through two UK-based monitoring centres (both TSA accredited and certified to the Quality Standards Framework), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
SureSafe prioritise offering the best quality products, service, and customer experience. They are rated ‘Excellent’ by their customers on Reviews.io and average 4.8 out of 5 stars. 98% of customers say they would recommend SureSafe to a friend.
SureSafe’s flagship product, the SureSafeGO, 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 fall alarm to be used both in and out of the home, means this is the most comprehensive alarm available.
Not looking for an alarm with 24/7 monitoring? Prefer an alarm that calls family & friends directly? SureSafe has options for this type of alarm as well. The SureSafeGO Family Monitored alarm can call up to 3 numbers of family and friends. Click here to learn more.
Age Space visitors save £30 on the SureSafeGo 24/7 monitored alarm, or £10 off other alarms 24/7 monitored alarms, when using the link below. With discount, the SureSafeGO 24/7 is £139.95 and the 24/7 Connect is £79 + £45 set-up fee. You can also call SureSafe using 0800 112 3201 and let them know Age Space sent you to get up to £30 off.
Careline365 is a leading provider of personal alarms for the elderly and disabled. They provide a life-saving service up and down the UK, helping thousands of people stay safe and independent in their own homes.
With a range of simple, affordable alarms and accessories, Careline users can rest assured that help is always on hand. The Careline Response Centre is based right here in the UK and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whether you choose the standard Careline alarm and pendant or the top-of-the-range GPS fall detector alarm, the GO GPS, you’ll receive a platinum level of service all year round.
Careline365 are rated as excellent on Trustpilot from over 1,750 reviews. They’re also fully accredited members of the Telecare Services Association. The service is all about flexibility, with monthly and annual plans available.
The Careline VI alarm starts from just £13.89 per month, or you can save 3 months by paying annually at £125 (plus a one-off set-up fee of £40). Their GO GPS alarm starts at £214/year and the GSM Alarm at £174/year. Use the code AS15 at checkout for £15 off.
3. Taking Care
Taking Care are the only Which? Trusted Traders Approved personal alarm provider. They work closely with Age UK as the exclusive supplier of the Age Co Personal Alarm Service. They are the largest private provider of personal alarms in the UK, and have three, UK-based, Emergency Resolution Centres to ensure no alarm call goes unanswered. The 24/7 award-winning service is rated ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot, is TSA-accredited and certified to the Quality Standards Framework.
Taking Care have a range of alarm products that can be used at home, in the garden or out and about, including fall sensors (pictured) and GPS personal alarms.
We have reviewed the Taking Care Anywhere Alarm – a mobile GPS alarm. The review includes a hands on experience from a user in the target market, main features, pros & cons, tech specs and more.
When you order online the first month of monitoring is free, with a 30-day no-obligation home trial. You can return it free of charge, anytime within the 30-day period for a full refund.
Prices start from £17.15 per month (£20.58 including VAT), including 24/7 monitoring, lifetime warranty and free delivery. There is a one off set up and registration cost of £69.
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.
We have reviewed the Telecare24 pendant plan. The review includes a hands on experience from a user in the target market, main features, pros & cons, tech specs and more.
Plans from Telecare24 start at just £120/year, with a £10 discount available for all Age Space readers.
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.
You can use AGESPACE10 at checkout to save £10 on your first order.
Their personal alarms start at £17.89 per month with a one-off set up fee of £82.92.
6. Taking Care Mobile Personal Alarm Watch
The Taking Care ‘Out-and-About’ Alarm Watch is a personal alarm, GPS location tracker, activity monitor and more in a the package of a discrete personal alarm watch.
Just like other personal alarms on this page, help from a 24/7 monitoring team is just a button press away. However, this watch fits in some other useful features to reassure you of your loved one’s wellbeing.
For one the ‘Out-and-About’ Alarm Watch enables friends and family to set up ‘safe zones’ that automatically alert them if the device moves outside of pre-set locations. This feature is perfect for wearers living with dementia who might be prone to wandering. Being a GPS alarm also enables the 24/7 emergency monitoring team to precisely pinpoint the wearers location should they ever activate the emergency button. This personal alarm even tracks the wearers daily steps to encourage movement and activity!
The ‘Out-and-About’ personal alarm watch is available from £17.15 monthly or save 10% by paying annually at £185.22. There is also a one off £99.99 set up fee. The personal alarm is purchasable from Taking Care, one of the UK’s largest personal alarm provider who work closely with Age UK.
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 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.
Please note: The numbered ordering of providers is not intended to suggest that any one provider is better than another.