For many of us keeping independence in later life is vital to our well-being. Accepting help when you need it however, does not have to mean your independence is lost. Everyone needs a bit of help from time to time.
A survey undertaken by Age UK Personal Alarms in 2014 found that 61% of the over 65 year olds surveyed worried about losing independence, with 53% finding the loss of independence a difficult subject to discuss.* So it’s reassuring to know that nowadays there are wonderful and easy to use gadgets that can allow you to keep you in touch with help if you want it. This could not only give you peace of mind, but reassure those friends and family who may worry about you.
A mobile phone could allow you to keep in touch if you need help or have an accident, but especially easy to use when you are at home is a personal alarm. It is lightweight and worn either around your neck or as a wristband, so it is always with you. If you want to use it, all you need to do is press a button and there are no numbers to dial or remember. If you have it with you at all times at home it will be easy to access anywhere and less hassle than having to be within the reach of a phone. These alarms also work normally within 50 meters of your phone socket, which can allow you to stay safe in your garden as well.
The Age UK Personal Alarms survey also included friends and family, most of whom remain closely involved with their parents’ lives. Over 57% lived within 10 miles and most visit at least once a week; many call their parents daily. Offering parents company, helping with shopping and lending a hand with general housekeeping are all regular tasks, but still the survey showed that only 30% of respondents felt they do enough to support their parents, and 66% worry about them when they cannot be around.
For those times when everyday life gets in the way of people supporting their older relatives, a personal alarm can give reassurance and peace of mind. Once the button on the alarm is pressed, the call is picked up within seconds by a 24 hour emergency response centre. The centre will then contact a designated friend or family member and let them know that help is required. They will also contact the emergency services if needed.
So it’s reassuring that with so many of us living longer, there are solutions which can help us to remain independent, living in our own homes.
The Age UK Personal Alarm service gives users the freedom to live independently in their own home, safe in the knowledge that if there is an accident or it they have a fall, help is available at the touch of a button. It works by connecting a customer to a dedicated Response Centre which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Age UK alarm system operates a two-way speech link to enable the person who has raised the alarm to talk to an operator within seconds. The operator can then contact the chosen keyholder – most often a friend, neighbour or relative – who can visit and offer assistance. If there is no contact available, or if the situation is more serious, the emergency services will be contacted.
Personal alarms offer peace of mind to friends, family and neighbours, knowing that if there is an emergency or if assistance is needed, they will be contacted quickly by our emergency response centre. 48,000 people in the UK rely on a personal alarm from Age UK.
The Age UK Personal Alarm costs from £69 plus £45.10 per quarter. This includes full maintenance and replacement. If you would like more information please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/alarm or call 0800 030 4814.
Age UK Personal Alarms are provided by Aid-Call Limited
*All statistics in this article are based on research commissioned from OnePoll Research on behalf of Age UK Enterprises. An online poll consisted of a sample size of 2000 of the 18+ age group of which 1,250 consisted of the 55+ age group. Fieldwork was undertaken in August 2014. Figures were weighted to be nationally representative of the GB population aged 18yrs+.
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