Shopping for a personal alarm can be complicated. Providers offer a wide range of services, and it can take hours of searching online if you don’t know what to look for. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind when shopping for a personal alarm. These are by no means limited to SECOM CareTech – there are plenty of other telecare providers out there. These are simply the most important features we think you should look out for.

1) Futureproof

Personal alarm services work by keeping you connected. At CareTech, we use multi-network SIMs to send and receive signals from your device. A common alternative to multi-network SIMs is landlines, which work by sending electronic signals along underground cables.

The telecoms industry is currently replacing landlines with a newer digital technology called VoIP. Joining a personal alarm service that doesn’t rely on landlines means the migration to VoIP won’t affect your service or your personal alarm.

2) In-house monitoring centres

It may come as a surprise, but not all personal alarm services have their own monitoring centres. Instead, many outsource their monitoring to third-party companies, which means the people who monitor you might not be employed by the same company supplying your device. Choosing a provider that supplies both the personal alarm and monitoring service means you always know who is monitoring you or a loved one.

3) Wearability and discretion

Elderly care alarms come in many shapes and sizes. Some have bright red buttons, while others are more discreet. When shopping around for a personal alarm, it’s important to think about how it looks. Many elderly and disabled people don’t want to wear a personal alarm that draws attention to their age or disability.

By considering a personal alarm’s appearance and wearability (i.e., whether it can be worn as a pendant, brooch or clipped to a belt), you are far more likely to pick one that you or a relative feels comfortable wearing.

4) Waterproof

Bathrooms are a common place for older people to suffer a fall. It’s why a lot of personal alarm services advertise their products as waterproof or water resistant.

Water resistant products are usually measured against standards set by the IP code. This gives consumers an indication of how water resistant they are and the types of environments you can expect to wear them. To receive an IP certificate, products are tested in a lab by a third party. The two lead ratings are IP67 and IP68. These indicate a device can be submerged in one metre of fresh water for 30 minutes without being damaged.

5) Back-up safety features

Most of us hope we never have to use our personal alarm. But if the worst should happen, it’s important to know yours is working properly. Personal alarms come with lots of clever safety features, such as back-up batteries and low-signal alerts. Making sure your new device has at least one of these features will make it safer for you to use and easier to keep in good condition.

6) Vat exemption

VAT is a sales tax added to goods and services sold in the UK. It stands for Value Added Tax and is usually taxed at 20%. Products that are used by disabled people or those with long-term health conditions are sometimes exempt from VAT. When shopping online, be sure to look for prices that exclude VAT or a supplier that advertises this lower price. It could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.

To receive VAT relief, you must either:

• have a physical or mental condition that has a significant, long-term effect on your everyday life,
• a condition that is regularly treated by a medical professional, such as diabetes,
• or a terminal illness.

Here are some of the conditions that may qualify you for VAT exemption.

• Arthritis
• Asthma
• Blindness
• Cancer
• COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
• Dementia
• Diabetes

• Heart disease
• Hypertension
• Motor neuron disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Osteoporosis
• Parkinson’s disease
• Stroke

If you’re on the market for a personal alarm, don’t forget to check out our Pearl, Pearl Advanced and Care Go pendants. They’re fantastic personal alarms and (surprise, surprise) come with all the great features mentioned on this list!