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Which personal alarm is best for me?

Currently, there are 1.7 million people across the UK who are benefiting from telecare, using simple, but proven, technologies to help them to live independently, manage their own wellbeing and make everyday life more comfortable.

In its simplest form it is a pendant alarm that is pressed when assistance is needed. Other telecare systems can also send an alert a call centre or carer if there is a problem in the home – it can detect falls, inactivity, fire, floods or gas leaks. By remotely monitoring an older person’s activity and other factors, the technology helps to keep them safe and independent. It also provides reassurance to family and friends who may not be able to visit as often as they would like, especially during the current pandemic.

With such a wide range of equipment to choose from it can be overwhelming to know which alarm or provider is best for you or a loved one. In the first instance you can contact your local authority to see what support and funding is available in your area. If you decide to pay for the service yourself, think about what type of equipment and level of service you require, as there’s no point paying for more than you need. Here are some of the key things to consider:

COST: Consider the initial cost of setting up the equipment. A self-install option is often cheaper (and some providers offer free delivery), the unit is simple enough to set up but you might prefer an engineer to install it for you – this will cost more and might only be available in certain areas. Some providers offer the option to purchase the alarm unit – this usually means a cheaper subscription fee but might not be right for you if you don’t know how long you will need to service for.

There will also be an ongoing subscription fee, this is for the 24-hour service you get – similar to paying for roadside recovery for a car – it is there whenever you need it. The charge can be monthly or yearly. There is also likely to be an additional cost if you want extra services, such as a smoke alarm.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Check how long you are tied into a contract for, this can vary from being able to cancel at any time to needing to give 12 months notice.

WATERPROOF: This is the question we are asked the most! Our customers often want to wear the pendant in the bathroom so check to see the one you are choosing meets your needs.

ACCREDITIATIONS: These can show the provider delivers a high level of service. The representative body for the telecare industry is the Telecare Services Association (TSA). Accreditation to the TSA means the company has been audited and all of their activities such as response times and staff training records show they doing everything to a high standard.

RANGE: You might want to add, for example, a linked smoke detector or a keysafe. Your health needs might also change and you could need a falls detector or support with dementia. Does the provider offer a wide range of telecare to cover your needs now and in the future?

FUTUREPROOF: Telephone services in the UK are changing, moving from analogue to digital technology. BT intends for all its customers to be using fully digital telephone services by 2025. This will mean customers will need to upgrade their service, it’s intended to be a simple process but check your provider is ready for this.

We know how looking after mum, dad or other elderly relatives can affect your family. We also know that every family’s different and that circumstances change. So while we help hundreds of thousands of people around the UK, we treat everyone and every family as an individual.

Our products and services are designed with this in mind, and so is our approach. Talk to us, explain your situation and we’ll build a personal plan around you – one that will help you and your loved ones at every stage of the journey.

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