Personal alarms give users the freedom to live independently in their own home, safe in the knowledge that if there is an accident or they have a fall, they can get help quickly. However, there are several myths surrounding personal alarms which have left many questioning how they work and how effective they are.
To help put the rumours to rest, we’ve addressed some of the most common questions we receive about personal alarms to enable potential users, and their loved ones, to understand more about their benefits.
Will my personal alarm work while I'm in the garden?
The Age UK Personal Alarm pendant/wristband has been created to give you peace of mind when you’re at home, including when you’re out in the garden. In fact, a large portion of the calls that the Age UK Personal Alarm response team receive are related to accidents that occur outside the home, which is why it’s important to wear your personal alarm at all times.
The pendant/wristband has a range of 75 metres from the base unit, and if you’re unable to hear the operator, or they don’t hear a response from you, they will send one of your named contacts to check on you.
If the situation is more serious, the operator will request the emergency services for you.
“I have needed the response centre on several occasions and have always had a speedy and helpful response ”
Mrs Short – Personal Alarm customer
I've heard personal alarms are clunky and uncomfortable, is this true?
Personal alarms are designed to be as discreet and comfortable as possible and fit seamlessly in to your daily routine. How you choose to wear it is entirely up to you; around your neck as a pendant, or on your wrist, like a bracelet.
The safe and secure design also means you don’t need to worry about it falling off, and it’s even water resistant, so it can be worn in the bathroom or while you’re doing the washing up.
“The service has always been quick to respond and friendly and helpful.”
Miss O Smith – Personal Alarm customer
What happens if I press my personal alarm accidently?
If you press your personal alarm by accident, simply inform the staff at the response centre that it was a mistake and that you don’t require any assistance. If the operator can’t hear you, they will try calling your landline to check whether you’re in need of help. If you don’t hear the phone, for example if you’re out in the garden, the operator will then ask one of your keyholders to pay you a quick visit to check all is well.
The response team expect to receive a certain number of accidental calls, and you will be asked to press the button at least once a month to check that the system is working as it should be. When it comes to responding to calls, we believe it’s always better to be safe than sorry and will always conduct the necessary checks to ensure you’re safe and well if you press your alarm.
“I feel secure when wearing it”
Mrs Cawthorn – Personal Alarm customer
Will a key safe leave my home vulnerable to burglary?
It is true that there have been reports of key safes available in UK stores which can be forced open by criminals. However these cheap key safes are a completely different product to the key safe provided to our customers.
The C500 KeySafe supplied to Age UK Personal Alarm customers is incredibly secure and has the same official security rating as a domestic front door. In fact, it is the only key safe in the UK to have police approval for use on outside walls.
By having a key safe installed along with your personal alarm, it means that if the emergency services need to gain access to your home, they won’t have to break in and damage your doorway. What’s more, if your key holders are unavailable someone else can still provide assistance.
Will my personal alarm work if I have a powercut?
Age UK Personal Alarms are designed with a backup battery that can run for up to 36 hours, and recharges when the power is on, so if you experience a power cut at home you can rest assured that your alarm will continue to function as normal in the short term.
The response team will receive a signal from your alarm if your power stays down for more than 2 hours and will continue to receive alerts every 4 hours until the power is restored. If your battery runs low before power is restored, then our response team will receive an alert and contact you or your keyholder to let them know that your alarm will shortly stop functioning.
Will my personal alarm work in the bath or shower?
Yes, we recommend you wear your Age UK Personal Alarm at all times, including in the bathroom where slips and accidents are unfortunately common. The pendant is water resistant but not fully waterproof, so it shouldn’t be fully submerged for longer than a second or two.
If you’re concerned that your pendant may have become water damaged you can press the button to check it is still working, and simply explain to the operator that this is the reason for your alert.
Can I get a free personal alarm from my local council?
Some local councils do offer a free personal alarm service to people who meet certain age, disability, or financial criteria. Others provide a personal alarm service which is chargeable, and others don’t offer any service at all.
Unlike local council alarms, Age UK Personal Alarms are available to anyone, regardless of age, health, or benefit status, and available anywhere in the country.
There is also a fixed price for the Age UK Personal Alarm service, unlike local council alarms which vary significantly with location. This makes it easy for you to bring your service with you should you move home.
Is it better to use a mobile phone rather than a personal alarm?
Having a mobile phone is great for keeping in touch with loved ones and can be just as useful as a personal alarm in an emergency. However, this requires you to constantly carry your mobile phone, and that you keep it constantly charged. The personal alarm also requires one button to press and no numbers to remember.
As the Age UK Personal Alarm can be worn 24/7, and does not require charging, it can safeguard you in those situations where your phone might not, such as midnight bathroom visits.
What If a loved one refuses to wear a personal alarm?
There can be stigma surrounding personal alarms, and some people see them as symbol of old age. However, a personal alarm is not there to take away your independence, it’s there to reinforce it and keep you in the comfort of your own home for longer.
Age UK Personal Alarms are designed to be discreet and comfortable enough to wear 24/7, so users quickly become accustomed to wearing the device. Many customers, who express doubts about wearing a personal alarm at first, find that these doubts are quickly replaced by the feeling of security their alarm brings to them.
Can you take a personal alarm with you if you move?
If you are moving within the UK you simply need to tell the customer service team your new address, telephone numbers and any change to keyholders. Your service will then continue to work as usual with no downtime. When you move, simply unplug the system and then plug into your new telephone point and electrical socket at your new home.
Unfortunately, if you are moving abroad, you will not be able to take your personal alarm service with you. However, feel free to contact the customer service team who might be able to advise on how to find a similar product in the country you are moving to.
With an Age UK Personal Alarm, provided by PPP Taking Care Limited, friends or family can be alerted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the touch of a button. The service is quick and easy to install and you can save £99 if you order Self-Connect option*. Find out more about Age UK Personal Alarms.
*£99 saving when you choose the Self-Connect option.