Home | Health | Dear Doctor
March 17, 2017

Personal Alarm Systems

Personal Alarm Systems

Credit: Shutterstock

We talk to Centra about personal alarm systems and care services, why this support is important, and how people can retain their independence alongside this care.

What options are there for elderly, ill or anxious individuals who wish to receive assistance at home?

There are wide possibilities of home care services for people who want more support at home, whilst keeping their independence. Personal alarm systems (or telecare) are one of the most popular ways to offer people short or long-term assistance. In an emergency, personal alarms can connect to friends, family or to a 24/7 contact centre. Being connected to a 24-hour contact center is one of the many possibilities of home care services, it is ideal for not having to rely on family or friends as a first port of call in the middle of the night or in situations where family may not live locally.

What is a personal alarm and who are they most appropriate for?

Personal alarm systems (or telecare) is a small device that sits in between your phone socket and your phone. It enables you to raise an emergency call at the simple press of a button, either form the alarm unit or by a pendant which is worn. It connects you to a trained member of staff who can speak directly with you and offer you the right support you need – reassurance, contacting a family member or even calling for emergency assistance. Whilst most popularly used by the elderly, in-home personal alarm systems can be used by a wide variety of people with differing needs. The possibilities of home care alarms stretched from those managing long or short-term health conditions, returning home from hospital, people with mobility or memory problems to those simply living alone and requiring a bit of reassurance. A personal alarm can suit many situations.

See also: Healthy Retirement: Keeping Healthy in Body and Mind

What if a person needed more support than just a personal alarm?

Modern telecare alarms can be tailored with additional sensors around the home for individual needs and greater levels of security or reassurance. Smoke, flood and carbon monoxide detectors can help people manage their homes and be connected to 24-hour team in an emergency. Lifestyle sensors such as bed sensors, door contacts and Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensors can raise alarms relating to activity or non-movement. Depending on individual requirements, a system can be built around specific needs.

What if someone was to have a fall, and not be able to raise an alarm?

Most in-home personal alarms can work with a fall detector. A simple device is worn on the wrist and can be set to automatically send an alarm upon an impact. Some can even detect trips and recovered falls for added security.

See also: Arthritis and Painful Joints

Aren’t personal alarms just for old people or care homes?

A wide range of people can benefit from having personal alarm systems. But it is also true that many feel a stigma attached to having one. Modern alarms look sleeker, like a broadband router or answering machine and devices which are worn can be incorporated into watches, broaches and are much more discreet and harder to spot.

In what ways have technology progressed the way people can receive this particular type of support?

GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) which is commonly found in things like smart phones and sat navs, has enabled some personal alarm systems to be taken out of the home—and in an emergency, help locate and speak to people in need.

The ability to monitor people’s lifestyles in more ways has made managing long-term health conditions easier too, and has brought about ‘Telehealth’ or ‘Telemedicine’. For example, someone living with Diabetes can have their dietary regimen, physical activities, insulin administration and blood sugar levels remotely monitored by a trained team – resulting in less frequent GP visits or hospital admissions.

See also: Personal Alarms Aren't Just For the Elderly

What if I want to go out the home, what support is available?

A new range of GPS enabled devices help you maintain your independence in or outside the home.. These devices combine mobile phone technology and GPS in a small discreet device not much bigger than a car key fob. This means you carry on with your daily routine, continue with hobbies and interests or even go abroad on holiday. All with the level of protection given by in-home personal alarm systems.

What is geofencing and who is this most suitable for?

Geofencing is a term most commonly used with GPS enabled devices. It allows you to set virtual zones or areas, which when entered or left, trigger an action. For personal alarms, this is useful for safeguarding people from dangerous areas, or alerting loved ones or carers when people leave the safety of their own homes. In particular, it is popularly used with those living with Dementia. But it also has practical applications for families with young children, or those with mental health issues.

Is anyone entitled to VAT relief on any of these services?

People living with a long term health condition or disability are entitled to VAT relief from certain products. Personal alarms fall into this category. For a comprehensive guide on VAT relief, you can search on www.gov.uk

Our thanks to Centra for their assistance with this article. Centra provides specialist care and support services tailored to clients’ needs. To find out more about their products and services visit: centragroup.org.uk/

If you have enjoyed this article on personal alarm systems, click here to read more on Celebrity Angels about finding the right retirement property.