Gerry provides some advice about how to be safe at home and get help in an emergency in his latest blog.
Dear Age Action,
My daughter and her husband have just moved out and into a new home together. They’re not far away but I still get a little nervous at night on my own. Would I be able to get an alarm for myself?
Personal alarms are one of the best ways to seek help in an emergency. They can be worn around the neck or on the wrist or even around one’s waist attached to a belt but they don’t work if left in a drawer.
These alarms work as an intercom installed onto the landline of the older person so you do need to have a landline phone.
The way a monitored personal alarm works is that when you press the button it activates an intercom with a monitoring centre. The centre will ask the older person why the alarm has been activated and if everything is ok. It may have been activated by accident or the older person may have been testing the system.
If the alarm has been activated and the monitoring centre cannot get a response the staff will have a list of key-holders who can visit the older person to see what is wrong. If they cannot contact a key-holder (or if the older person responds by saying they need help) they will contact the emergency services.
These systems generally cost about €250 plus an annual monitoring fee of about €80 to €100. There is a grant (the Senior Alert Scheme) that covers 95 to 100 per cent of the cost of installation but it does not cover the annual monitoring fee.
The grant is paid by POBAL to local community groups who will help you fill out the application form. However, they tend to process applications in batches so some people choose to get an alarm privately because of possible delays.
You can get the details of your local community group on the POBAL website, www.pobal.ie or you can contact the Age Action Information Service at 01 475 6989 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have a list of commercial companies if you choose to go privately.