Choosing the right personal alarm can be a daunting task. In most cases, the NHS or your local council are not able to recommend the best service as they cannot be seen to have favourites. This reduces your information and choice. It forces people into doing their own research on what the best service might be for them. This guide will help you through the process of choosing the best alarm service for you.
There are many factors in choosing the best Personal Alarm. Ultimately, it all comes down to your taste and situation. Make sure there is a simple way to try out the alarm and then return it if it is not for you.
Would you prefer a discreet alarm or a large red button? You should also think about the benefits of having a wrist worn device or a pendant around your neck. Often, an around the neck pendant gets twisted in your clothes and can become unwieldy. With wrist worn devices, make sure the button is raised so it can be used one handed.
If you want to get out and about or want to be covered in your garden then an unlimited range device would be the best option. These work anywhere you go in the UK using the mobile network. If you decide to go for these alarms then make sure that it uses all the networks in the UK. This ensures that you will have network coverage across the 97% the UK's roads or 90% of all indoor locations (Ofcom 2017).
With these mobile alarms there is no installation needed. Everything is set up before the alarm arrives so you can simply put it on and start using it.
If you are housebound, you may want a static alarm that only works in the home. This has the benefit of a longer battery life. These devices use the landline and need the box with the speaker and microphone fitted in a room in the house. This can lead to bad communication with the monitoring team if they cannot hear you in a different area.
In 2025 these landline devices become obsolete due to the digitisation of the BT network. If you choose one of these analogue devices be prepared to replace it in a few years as the phone network upgrades.
Most alarm services will have an upfront fee of £50 - £150 and then a monitoring fee around £20 per month. This will depend on the type of service you choose and the type of device. For example, a Personal Alarm Watch costs £54.98 to set up and then £17.99 per month.
Go-anywhere alarms usually offer GPS. This means that you can be located wherever you are. Some will also offer 24/7 tracking so that if the wearer has dementia their path can be followed. This also allows a family member to be alerted if they leave a pre-defined area. This feature often reduces battery life but can be useful for specific specialist cases.
If you do not want 24/7 tracking you may want to ensure that your location is only sent to the team in an emergency to ensure your privacy.
Some alarms come with other features that may be useful for you. The Personal Alarm Watch offers step count and heart rate measurement, just like a fitbit. This can help to keep you active and independent.
If you need more advice then our team is very happy to help. If we end up recommending a device that we do not offer ourselves we can still point you in the right direction. Do give us a call on 020 3868 5575 with any questions.