Many people may see having personal alarms as a sign of defeat. But thanks to modern technology, a personal alarm should be a first port of call—not a last resort. We speak with Centra about how personal alarms aren’t just for the elderly and how they can improve people’s lives.
Smaller, more discreet technology means alarms can seamlessly be incorporated into the home. In fact, modern alarms look more like broadband routers or answering machines – gone are the days of big beige boxes with red buttons that scream ‘help me’. Devices which are worn, can be incorporated into jewellery or made to look like a keyring or car fob.
Synchronise it with your smart home
Whilst the advent of the smart home is commonly associated with film and music streaming services, voice activated lights and heating controls you can operate from your mobile phone, technology that truly helps and enhances your life is often forgotten about.
A whole range of sensors can work with personal alarms to help with managing your home. Smoke, heat, carbon monoxide and flooding are all things, which can be monitored remotely—meaning any cause for concerns can automatically be flagged up to a 24 hour monitoring centre. Lifestyles can also be monitored—ensuring movement around the home, use of bathrooms and kitchen appliances are all part of a daily routine. Any cause for concerns are automatically alerted to a friendly team who can then call and check on the user.
Assistive technology is no longer reliant on pushing buttons or pulling chords. A fall detector can automatically signal for help when the wearer has a fall. Personal alarms are even being developed which work through voice activation—meaning a person simply needs to ask for help out loud, in much the same way that modern technology allows them to dim the lights, add things to their shopping lists or play their favourite songs.
Help outside the home
A personal alarm isn’t dependent on the user staying at home either, nor are they just for the elderly. Devices can use similar technology to mobile phones, which means that people can stay connected to their 24/7 monitoring centres whilst they continue to enjoy their hobbies and interests away from the home. People can even continue to holiday abroad, safe in the knowledge that they can speak to someone who has their medical conditions on file and can contact a loved one or emergency services in a time of need.
The addition of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology into an out-of-home alarm also enables emergency contact centres to not only know when someone needs help, but where help is needed too. This information, particularly if the user is unable to speak or is in an area of isolation, is invaluable to emergency services.
GPS enabled devices can also be enhanced by using Geofencing. Put simply, virtual safe zones or danger areas can be mapped and a device can alert a carer or contact centre should someone enter or leave somewhere they shouldn’t – like a nearby lake or straying too far from a usual route. This has been very practical in the care and support of those with Dementia, highlighting that personal alarms aren’t just for the elderly.
See also: Personal Alarm Systems
Life is for living—don’t wait for the trauma
Having so many options available is only useful if they are used in time. Particularly in regards to something like dementia, where teaching new cognitive routines will prove difficult. It’s important to get people the right support they need as early as possible and to integrate technology into their lives. The glory of modern telecare is that it can grow and assist you on life’s journey and continuously change as your requirements do. Assistive technology should be seen as something which enables you to continue doing the things you love – not a barrier to keep you from them.
More often than not, people don’t consider what technology can help them live their lives until something happens—perhaps a parent or partner has a fall or a progressive medical condition changes a loved ones behaviour. But with personal alarms in place, the impact of those traumas can far less detrimental. The important thing to remember is that there are organisations who can help you explore your assistive technology options. Many are quick and easy to set up and are ideal for complimenting additional care resources such as home help and visits from carers.
Centra provides specialist care, support and assistive technology services throughout the UK. To find out more about their products and services visit: centragroup.org.uk
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