Personal alarms can provide confidence, independence and reassurance for both the user and their carers. It’s important to view a personal alarm as a device that offers freedom and the ability to live a desired lifestyle, rather than associating it with reliance on others.
What is a personal alarm?
A personal alarm is a small device carried on an individual, usually worn around the neck, wrist or attached to a keyring. They are frequently used by seniors or people with disability to ensure that emergency assistance is readily available in case of an accident.
There are many different types of personal alarms available for purchase or to hire, but most will have the same primary function. When an accident happens that places the user in danger, such as if a senior falls over in their home and cannot get back up, they can press a button on their personal alarm that will alert the 24/7 care team monitoring centre. Most personal alarms are also described as personal emergency response systems because they allow hands-free, two-way communication between the user and the trained representative from the alarm monitoring centre. The user can describe their condition and needs if they are conscious, and the response team can call for an ambulance or their carer if needed. Being able to communicate during an accident also means that the user receives support during times of distress while awaiting emergency assistance, which can be a significant comfort.
What features should I look out for in a personal alarm?
The features required in a personal alarm will largely depend upon the needs and lifestyle of the user. However, there are a few features that are beneficial for all people who use a personal alarm.
24/7 live alarm monitoring.
Carers and family members may lead busy lives and may not always be available when an emergency occurs. For this reason, choosing a personal alarm with a direct connection to a 24/7 live alarm monitoring centre can provide peace of mind. This way, the pendant user will always have someone on call in case of an emergency. The alarm monitoring team can be given instructions to alert a contact immediately after the user has triggered the alarm. Carers will always be aware of their loved one’s situation, even if they are not the first port of call when a user has pressed the button on the pendant.
Waterproof or water resistant.
Personal alarms need to be hardy and durable. Many seniors wear a personal alarm in the shower for reassurance in case they slip or fall. Investing in a personal alarm that is waterproof, in this case, makes sense. Even if the user does not wear the alarm in the shower, the alarm still has to withstand everyday activities such as cleaning the dishes, walking in the rain and washing hands.
Long battery life.
Charging a pendant every day can be a hassle. Spending more time charging a personal alarm than actually wearing it defeats the point of having one! Choose a personal alarm that has a long battery life so that it only needs to be charged once every few weeks.
A personal alarm with a fall detection feature will send out an emergency alert if a major fall has occurred. The user could be rendered unconscious by the fall and unable to press the button on their pendant, but will still receive immediate assistance.
If the user lives alone in their home but does not tend to go out unaccompanied, you may choose to purchase a personal emergency response system that connects to the wifi within the house. These systems have a base unit that provides the pendant with 3G connectivity. In this case, choosing a personal alarm with the following features may beneficial.
A system with a wide range from the base unit.
Ensure that the pendant receives full coverage even when the user goes into the back or front yard. Carefully consider the size of the user’s house and property before settling on a system. The person who is using the pendant will, understandably, not want the alarm to restrict them within their own home.
For personal alarms that use wifi connectivity, being NBN compatible is essential. The NBN is still being rolled out across Australia and will eventually be compulsory in all households.
If the user is mobile and likes to visit the supermarket or go for walks, you may wish to invest in a personal alarm that incorporates a SIM card so that emergency assistance is available on the go. Keep the following features in mind when purchasing this type of personal alarm.
Reliable cellular coverage.
Always consider the user’s neighbourhood when purchasing a personal alarm. You will want to make sure that the places the user usually walks or visits receive decent cellular coverage so that the alarm is operable at all times. Telstra is the most reliable provider in Australia for consistent mobile coverage, and choosing an alert alarm system that partners with Telstra will provide you with better peace of mind.
Emergency service workers will need to easily track the user’s whereabouts if the user has an accident while out and about. A personal alarm fitted with GPS location tracking will allow emergency services to find the user quickly to assist.
We hope that this article has helped you to make the most informed decision when choosing a personal alarm for either yourself or your loved one. APERS are Australia’s leading providers of personal emergency response systems and specialise in alarms connected to wifi and via Telstra cellular networks. Contact us today to inquire about purchasing or renting a personal alarm.