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What is a Personal Alarm?

2019-10-03

A personal alarm will help you be more independent. They allow you to call for help whenever you need it. A simple device with a button raises the alarm to a 24/7 monitoring team. The team will understand what is wrong and arrange help accordingly. Using a personal alarm can also put your family's mind at rest.

It’s an ideal solution for all sorts of people. You might live alone, are unsteady on your feet, want to be more independent or can't face moving into a carehome. A personal alarm can be a lifesaver.

Personal alarms vary from big red neck-worn emergency buttons to discreet watches. There are even specialist ones that can detect seizures for people with epilepsy.

We hope this guide helps narrow down what would work best for you. If you would like to talk over the options and get more personal advice call us on 020 3868 5575.

Margaret now uses a Personal Alarm Watch

Benefits of an Alarm

  • Emergency help at any time
  • Peace of mind for you and your family
  • More independence
  • Have more control over your life
  • Remain in your own home for as long as possible

What can alarms help with?

All sorts of things!

Falls

Every year more than 3.4 Million people over 65 suffer a fall that can cause serious injury and even death [Age UK]. Don’t worry it’s not all bad! Falls are actually simple to prevent. There is a wealth of research available on how to reduce the risk of having a fall. We recommend researching local exercise classes designed to help strengthen balance. Your GP can advise on the best ones in your area.

Speed of Response

Every hour, an older person dies as the result of a hip fracture. - Age UK

The more time a person spends on the ground following a fall the more serious the injuries. We have all heard horror stories of people being on the floor for 12 hours or more. This should never happen if you have any kind of careline or panic button. The most important thing is to get the correct help as fast as possible.

Loss of Independence

A loss of independence can trigger depression, mental health problems and have physical effects. It is important to hold onto independence for as long as possible. What works best will be different for different people. Making sure you keep active is a core part of staying independent. We designed the Personal Alarm Watch to promote activity by giving you a safety net while you are out and about.

Types of Alarm

There are two kinds of emergency alarm.

  1. Go-Anywhere Alarms
  2. Fixed Alarms

There are benefits and downsides to each style which we go into in detail about below.

1. Go Anywhere Alarms

A Personal Alarm Watch

These alarms allow you to get help wherever you go. They help to promote independence and a more active lifestyle. They use mobile networks to connect emergency calls to a professional 24/7 team or to family members. You can speak through the alarm so that help arrives as quickly as possible.

It is important to understand whether they are stand alone, like the Personal Alarm Watch, or whether they need to be used with a mobile phone.

The majority of these will also use GPS to work out your location. If you are buying for someone with dementia you may want 24/7 GPS tracking for them if they regularly get lost. If you care more about your privacy then you may prefer to choose a device that only sends your location when you raise the alarm.

2. Fixed Alarms

A Traditional Alarm These are the more traditional alarms. They use two, paired, devices to make emergency calls. There is a red button pendant, usually worn around the neck or on elastic around the wrist. This sends an emergency signal to a box plugged into your landline. This box has a speaker and microphone in it and will call a monitoring centre or family members. If you are close to the box you will be able to speak to them and describe the type of emergency it is. The real downside with a device that is connected to your landline is that the button has a limited range. This means that you will not be able to get help if you are out and about or at the bottom of your garden.

Comparison

Features Traditional Alarm Go-Anywhere Alarm
Works at home Yes Yes
Power cut safe Yes Yes
Functions when landline is down No Yes
Unlimited range No Yes
Rechargable Yes Yes
Sends location in Emergency No Yes
Speaker and microphone in worn device No Yes
Speaker and microphone in separate box Yes No

The History of the Personal Alarm

Personal alarms were invented in the early 80’s. Back then, alarms were the red pull cords you see in hospitals and carehomes. Today, alarms are usually used in people’s own homes as a way of keeping them safe and independent at home. Recent developments include the Personal Alarm Watch which no longer ties you to the inside of your house, working all over the UK.

Jargon Buster

There is a lot of jargon around Personal Alarms. This glossary will demystify it.

Telecare - The same as a Personal Alarm. It is a way to get emergency help when you need it remotely.

Telehealth or Telemedicine - These are techniques for monitoring your health often using sensors. A good example is a doctor measuring your heart rate 24/7.

PERS - Stands for Personal Emergency Response System. This is an americanism but still means Personal Alarm.

TSA - Stands for Telecare Services Association this is a trade membership for companies providing these services.

Careline or Lifeline - These are names of services and products that are types of personal alarm. There are also many suicide prevention services named lifeline. These are easy to confuse when looking for a personal alarm.

Social Alarm - Another name for a personal alarm.

Pull Cord Alarm - Fixed alarm activated by pulling a red cord. You see these often in care homes or disabled toilets.

Monitoring service - A specialist team who monitors, answers and reacts to emergency calls coming from personal alarms.

John now uses a Personal Alarm Watch

To find out more about the Personal Alarm Watch click here.