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How a personal alarm can support live-in care

For many people, remaining in the home they love and where they feel comfortable is a priority as they age. For family members, the challenge is often balancing this desire for independence with increasingly complex care needs.

Elderly care at home is a popular choice as it avoids having to leave a cherished home to move into an unfamiliar environment. Elderly live-in care can provide tailored, around-the-clock, one-to-one care, specific to an individual’s needs, and can be provided by a live-in carer without moving to a care home. 

The level of support needed to remain safe and independent at home varies greatly and will change over time. Not everyone wants or needs a 24-hour live-in carer, and even when home care is arranged, there will be times when the client is on their own. Home adaptations and telecare equipment, such as personal alarms, can play an important role in delivering the care, support and reassurance needed to maintain a good quality of life. 

What is a personal alarm?

A personal alarm is a lightweight device often worn around the neck or wrist. It has an emergency button that the alarm user can press when they need help. This will alert a specialist 24-hour alarm monitoring centre who will speak with the alarm user over the personal alarm equipment to determine the nature of the call. The alarm monitoring centre will then call nominated emergency contacts such as a neighbour or family members, or the emergency services if medical attention is required. Personal alarms can refer to ​​ an in-home alarm or mobile personal alarm, to name a few.  

How can a personal alarm help?

Falls are a major cause of people moving into care, with nearly a quarter of a million falls-related hospital admissions among patients over 65 in England every year. Fractures and other injuries can have a long-term effect on an elderly person’s confidence and independence.

A personal alarm is a potentially life-saving service that provides a valuable lifeline in the event of a fall and some models automatically send an alert when a fall is detected. Personal alarms can also be used in a medical emergency, or any other distressing event.

Personal alarms provide an easy and quick way to get help any time of the day without relying on family, friends or carers. A personal alarm also provides families with reassurance and peace of mind that their loved ones are OK when they cannot be with them.

Who can benefit from a personal alarm?

Anyone who needs some level of support to live independently can benefit from having a personal alarm, whether they have formal care arranged or not. Here are some of the home care scenarios where a personal alarm can provide reassurance and peace of mind:

When the client is alone

There are different levels of home care, from domiciliary care, where the carer does not live in the home, to 24-hour live-in care. Even with a live-in carer, there may be times when they cannot be with the client, for example, if popping to the shops or running an errand. 

When the carer or family members cannot be with them, a personal alarm provides a way to easily call for help. This ensures they are never really alone and a friendly, reassuring voice is just a button press away.

Getting help at night

Many older people worry about falling when they are alone or unable to call for help. Night times can be a particular concern; they may not be as alert as during the day or the lighting may be dimmer and so trip hazards can be less obvious. Even if they do not live alone, their carer or partner may be sleeping and unaware of an accident during the night. 

A personal alarm is monitored 24-hours a day, so there is always a way to get help, for example, if they trip in the bathroom at night.

Getting help from different areas of the home

Getting older doesn’t mean you have to be confined to an armchair all day. You may still enjoy being in the garden or pottering around in the shed. An in-home alarm will work from the home and garden, encouraging independence and daily activity. Newer GPS technologies mean that there is a growing range of mobile personal alarms that will work from any location, which are great for older adults who enjoy staying active.

Monitoring health and activity

The latest generation of personal alarms incorporate health monitoring, thanks to some clever technology. Pedometers to measure the number of steps taken and heart rate monitors have been available in wearable fitness devices and out-and-about personal alarms for some time. 

Newer telehealth packages include smart home monitoring and sensors that can monitor daily routine and provide insights into changing health conditions. Home sensors can detect an emergency that needs immediate attention, for example, if they are not out of bed at the normal time of the morning. Insights such as use of kitchen appliances can indicate changes in routine. 

These solutions can work alongside a carer arrangement to provide more advanced monitored care.

When a live-in carer is not needed

Your elderly loved one may not be ready for a live-in carer just yet. A personal alarm can help bridge the gap between not having sufficient support to live safely and independently and future care needs. Many personal alarm customers start with a basic alarm pendant and add fall detection and visits from a carer as their support needs change. By introducing support early in their care journey, you can help loved ones remain safe and secure, before an incident such as fall or medical emergency affects their confidence.

What emergencies can a personal alarm help with?

A reliable personal alarm service will be monitored 24-hours a day by a specialist alarm monitoring centre in the UK. The staff will be trained to answer alarm calls from elderly and vulnerable people and will have experience of dealing with all kinds of emergencies, such as:

  • Falls resulting in injury and requiring medical attention.
  • Medical emergencies including feeling unwell or more serious incidents that require hospitalisation.
  • Home emergencies including flood, fire and intruders.
  • Cold callers and other events that may cause distress.

Taking Care are the first Which? Trusted Trader Approved personal alarm provider in the UK and have three dedicated alarm monitoring centres in the UK. When an alarm call is received, the alarm monitoring centre will know who is calling and where they live. They will know who to contact in an emergency so they can quickly direct appropriate help.

Where can you find more about personal alarms?

There are many personal alarms available with different features to support various care needs, including automatic fall detection, easy-to-use dementia trackers and mobile alarms with outbound calling.

Visit Taking Care to find out more about how personal alarms can help your loved one,   or call 0800 085 7371, Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm to speak with a Taking Care Independent Living Advisor. You can compare elderly alarms online or speak to a Taking Care Independent Living Advisor who can recommend a personal alarm package that meets your loved one’s care needs.

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