Technology to help you stay safe
If you are an elderly person and less mobile, or are over 18 and have a physical or learning disability, there are gadgets available that will allow you to quickly call for help in an emergency, particularly if you live on your own. Carers and relatives of people with dementia can be greatly reassured if they know that they can quietly keep an eye on the ones they love and ensure that they remain safe and well within their homes.
Modern technology means that there are now gadgets available to help provide this reassurance. These gadgets are often known as Telecare or assistive technology.
Falls and other emergencies at home
If you have suddenly become unwell at home, or have had a fall or accident and can't get up, it's reassuring to know that, by simply pressing a button on a pendant round your neck or wrist, help will quickly arrive. Many people may already be familiar with these types of lifeline alarms.
Depending on your circumstances there are also other gadgets available which can be used to help keep you safe or to summon assistance in an emergency.
Technology for people with dementia
Some technology have been designed especially for people with dementia. These gadgets can allow you to stay living safely in the privacy of your own home, whilst relatives or others can keep a regular eye on you and ensure that you do not come to any harm.
How it works
All the technology work to a similar principle whereby an alarm alerts a central team who will check that you are alright or (if you have requested it) contact named relatives or friends to check that you are okay. Either your named friends or relatives will hold a key for your property, or you can subscribe to the mobile response service and have a secure key-safe fitted outside your property with your key(s) inside so that they can come and help you if you trigger the alarm and are having problems.
The alarm is usually sent using your telephone landline. In some cases the gadgets available can now use mobile phone technology.
Many people find that this Telecare service gives them peace of mind and reassurance that help will arrive quickly if something goes wrong.
What equipment is available?
The types of equipment available include:
- an alarm pendant which you wear round your neck or on your wrist - if you have a an accident or are taken unwell you can press a button on the pendant to call for help
- a sensor which raises an alarm if it detects fire, smoke, gas, carbon monoxide, or an overflowing sink or bath
- burglar alarms and bogus caller alarms to enable you to get help if you are worried someone is trying to get into your home
- falls detectors, bed sensors and epilepsy sensors for people who may become ill suddenly, or fall - the sensors can tell if you have fallen suddenly, or are having a fit, and will automatically call for help
- memory aids such as memo minders which allow you to record messages with daily reminders, perhaps reminding you to take medication or to eat meals on a regular basis
- a device to switch the light on at night when you get out of bed
- a device to remind you to take your keys with you
- a tracker (also known as a GPS or sat nav) device which alerts your carer that you are leaving the premises or have not returned within a certain time period
- a monitoring system to ensure your family know you are safe within your home - for example that you have got up in the morning, that you are going to bed safely, or that you have not fallen in the bathroom
Installing a key safe
If you or those around you are concerned about your safety when you are alone at home then you can consider installing a small, secure safe outside your home with a set of your keys in it. Anyone wanting to access the keys will need to know a code number; you can set the number, and can then give it only to people whom you know and trust.
This means that when you are in difficulty, and / or have triggered an alarm or the phone to call for help, someone will be able to gain access to your property.
Choosing and buying equipment to make your life easier
Equipment and related services can be bought directly from suppliers. There is usually a monthly service charge as well as the cost of the equipment. Local pharmacies often have advice and brochures to help you choose home equipment.
Other sources of information on equipment
- Alzheimers Society has a factsheet called assistive technology - devices to help with everyday living.
- The Disability Living Foundation has two factsheets called personal alarm systems and telecare and choosing equipment to help with memory and safety.
- AT Dementia allows you to complete an online assessment of your situation and then suggests the kinds of equipment and other support which might be of use to you.
Contact us for further information
If you're 18 or over contact the Adult Social Care Contact Centre by calling: 020 8547 5005 or emailing: [email protected]
If you are under the age of 18 please contact the Integrated Service for Disabled Children and Young People.