Personal alarm systems and telecare
Telecare and personal alarm systems can help you to stay living independently at home for longer. They can also be referred to as personal alarm systems, home care monitoring, careline systems, community alarms or pendant alarms.
You can use telecare technology and gadgets to remind you to do things, such as take your medication. There are also personal alarms, where you push a button on a pendant or wristband to raise an alarm if you’ve had a fall.
Support and equipment available
Alarm unit, 24-hour response centre and mobile wardens
A special alarm unit can be installed in your home, which can automatically connect to a 24-hour response centre.
If an alarm is activated, for example if you fall, become unwell or feel unsafe, the 24 hour response centre is alerted. A member of the team will contact you straightaway to check you are ok. If you need assistance, a response officer will travel to your home to help you.
When you press the alarm, an operator in the response centre can speak to you through your alarm unit and give you advice, or contact your family, a doctor or the emergency services.
You can also wear a personal pendant round your home, which acts like a portable alarm button.
Other telecare equipment
All you need for the equipment to work is a plug-in phone socket that has an electric plug socket nearby.
- Flood detector – automatically dials the response centre when water is detected, so that you can be informed straight away
- Carer alert – used on-site by a carer or warden to monitor alerts from your telecare devices
- Fall detector – automatically dials the response centre if you fall and are unable to get up again. Includes a pendant button to dial control centre manually.
- Bed occupancy sensor – uses a pressure pad sensor to send an alert if you get out of bed for an unusual amount of time. Can automatically switch a lamp on or off to help prevent trips and falls.
- Care sensor – uses an infra-red sensor to send an alert if you get out of bed for an unusual amount of time. Can monitor the whole bed, just one side, or the whole room.
- Pill despensor – gives you an audio reminder to take medication at the correct times, alerting the response centre if the medication is not tipped out.
- Door exit sensor – sends an alert if your door is opened at unexpected times so that we can contact your carer, family or friends immediately
- Keysafe – securely stores a spare key to give our mobile wardens immediate access to your home in an emergency
- Activity monitoring – shows your liquid or food intake during a day
Telecare equipment can be personalised and programmed to fit in with your normal patterns, such as how often you usually get out of bed during the night.
Telecare services in Newcastle
Ostara (formerly Community Care Alarm Service) provides a range of telecare and alarm equipment ranging from simple alarm buttons to flood detectors, pill dispensers and door opening sensors that are connected to a 24 hour response centre.
Ostara is part of the Your Homes Newcastle Group, although anyone living in Newcastle (and some surrounding areas) can join the service, regardless of the type of accommodation you live in or who owns your home.
Ostara offer two different levels of service depending on the level of support you might need.
- Ostara respond (£5.95pw excluding VAT) includes the basic care alarm, 24hr warden and 6 week check.
- Ostara Flex (£8.32pw excluding VAT) includes medication reminders, unlimited telecare (upon assessment), holiday support calls and dementia support
Visit Ostara.org.uk to find out more or to book a free consultation.
GrandCare offer a package to support wellbeing and independence, with instant video calling from anywhere to instant messages. The system enables activity monitoring and medical compliance.
The Royal British Legion – Poppy Calls provide a subsidised pendant alarm and wall unit for service and ex-service men and women who are over 75 or on a means tested benefit. They can also provide the service if you are the dependant of someone who has served, including widows and widowers. They will come and fit the alarm for free in your home.
A number of Anchor independent living schemes have a telecare system called Anchorcall.
Other useful information
Introducing telecare – factsheet from The Disabled Living Foundation
Last updated: February 4, 2020