Shopping for a personal alarm can feel daunting with lots of devices on the market. As with everything we do, we want to make life easier for you. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of all the features you should be looking for in a pendant alarm.
During your online search for personal alarms for the elderly, you can eliminate any provider that doesn’t tick all these boxes. Rest assured that all the SECOM CareTech devices meet these criteria and we can answer any further questions you have about homecare and independent living services.
Personal alarm services work by keeping you connected. At SECOM 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.
Many telecare providers use landline technology to make their elderly personal alarms work, but this infrastructure is due to be turned off in 2025. Until then, there will be a period of switching over. To avoid the upheaval, be sure to select a pendant alarm provider that doesn’t rely on this soon-to-be-outdated technology.
Having a futureproof personal device will give you added peace of mind. When combined with the support offered by your telecare service, you should have the confidence that your best interests are catered to at all times.
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. Some of CareTech’s personal alarms with fall detection have a two-way communication function, meaning you can speak to a member of our monitoring team in an emergency.
Understanding who is at the other end of your pendant alarm device is really important for true peace of mind. After all, they will assess the situation if your emergency contact is unavailable to ensure you’re supported 24 hours a day. The monitoring service will hold relevant medical information to inform the paramedics should they need to attend your home.
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 pendant alarm that draws attention to their age or disability.
By considering a personal alarm’s appearance and wearability, you are far more likely to pick one that you or a relative feels comfortable wearing. After all, a safe personal alarm needs to be on hand at all times in order to perform its function and assist in independent living.
Choose between a pendant alarm for the elderly or disabled that can be worn as a necklace, brooch or clipped to a belt. Careful consultation with a loved one about the best personal alarm option for them is paramount, as their buy-in is crucial to its success. Some devices can even pass as jewellery, which may be an important factor for your relative.
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. With all of the hard surfaces found in a bathroom, it’s an important place to have your elderly fall alarm to hand.
Water-resistant products are 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 safely wear them in.
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.
In order to get the most out of your personal device, you’ll want it to be waterproof. That means you can wear it while bathing and continue to be protected by the automatic fall detectors or emergency button at a time when you’re most vulnerable.
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.
At SECOM CareTech, some of our devices have a battery life of two to five years, meaning you never have to charge your personal alarm. When the battery comes close to when it needs to be changed, we receive an automatic message to replace your personal device free of charge, so you don’t have to do anything to stay protected.
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 charged at 20 per cent. Many products that are used by disabled people or those with long-term health conditions are exempt from VAT.
If you’re looking for a personal alarm, there’s a good chance you may qualify to avoid paying this tax. 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
• A terminal illness
Here are some of the conditions that may qualify you for VAT exemption:
• COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
• Heart disease
• Motor neuron disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Parkinson’s disease