Blog

07 Aug 19

The Ultimate Guide to Personal Alarms

Sally Withers | Latest Industry News , MePACS in the news

Falls are the main cause of unintentional injury and hospitalisation among Australians over the age of 65. Did you know that, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year and 50% of them cannot get up without help. Sadly lying on the floor for extended periods of time can lead to a cascade of problems, including functional decline, frailty, decreased quality of life as well as anxiety, loss of confidence and independence. All of which can impact confidence and ability to live on their own. A personal alarm can help keep them living independently in their own home providing them and their family’s peace of mind that if they should they need assistance help is only the press of a button away. By getting help quickly a client has a significantly higher chance of getting back on their feet in no time. And if they did need to go to hospital, a much quicker recovery.

Studies in the US have found that older people fear losing their independence more than death, closely followed by the fear of moving out of home into a nursing home. Not only do seniors believe that it is important to remain in their own home, over half are concerned about their ability to be able to do so.

For anyone, at any age, changes to their cognition or physical abilities can be confronting. A personal alarm service with 24/7 response means that older people can remain independent at home as well as get out and about and be active in the community, yet always have the peace of mind that help from a real person is only the press of a button away.

In this guide, we’re going to explain everything there is to know about the different types of Personal Alarm systems who can benefit from one and why you should wear one.

Skip to a section in our Personal Alarm Guide:

 

What is a personal alarm system?

A personal alarm is a device that is worn on your person at all times that when pressed can alert a response centre or family member that help is needed. It allows the client to call for help quickly and can save lives. With most personal alarms the user wears a pendant around their neck or bracelet at all times, including the bath and shower, (as that is where many accidents happen). The pendant has a button included within it and when pressed a signal is sent to a 24-hour monitoring response service or family or friend to alert the contact that help is required.


Who can benefit from a Personal Alarm?

A personal alarm can give true peace of mind and a sense of security to senior Australians, people living on their own, those with chronic health condition, disabilities or recovering from surgery. It also provides peace of mind for their family and loved ones knowing that emergency assistance is available fast.

 

What are the different types of personal alarms?

There are a two types of personal alarms. Auto dialler alarms and fully monitored response alarms which have a subscription based service connected to a 24/7 response centre.

Auto-dialler personal alarms

An auto-dialler alarm has to be pre-programmed to call a number of contacts once activated. It can be configured to leave messages for people on answering machines, receive record responses or dial telephone numbers like that of a friend or family member or 000.

Unfortunately with an auto-dialler, you are not guaranteed a response as the recipient could be busy and not pick up the message in a timely manner. It could be during the night when most people are asleep, in poor phone reception area or in an important meeting / school pick up / on holiday or as something as simple as the phone being set to silent.

You need to consider that in an emergency how quickly your contacts will be able to respond. You should research whether the alarm you are looking at can have multiple people contacted and understand how quickly they can respond to get you help. These emergency contacts should also live within 30 minutes’ drive to you, so they can reach you as quickly as possible.

Also if the auto-dialler alarm is programmed to call the emergency services, please note 000 do not prioritise text based messages from these alarms as they do not know the situation they are being called to and if it’s genuine or in error.

Fully Monitored Response Personal Alarm Service

The other type of Personal Alarm are the ones that have a response centre connected to them 24/7. So that if help is required and the alarm is pressed, someone from the call centre will be guaranteed to respond anytime day or night.

The main advantages of a full response alarm service are:

  • There is someone there to answer your call for help anytime day or night – guaranteed.
  • Fast response, which is crucial during times of need.
  • Trained professionals taking your call.
  • Two way communication with the response centre.
  • Response centres can quickly assess the seriousness of the situation, to determine whether relatives or emergency services need to be contacted – so you get the right help quickly.
  • They keep in touch with you until help has arrived to make sure you are okay.
  • Unlike auto-dialler alarms if you need an ambulance, the response centre are able to share the emergency information with 000 and clients medical history, who can then prioritise the call and get you the right help fast.

Most of the monitored personal alarms only offer the service in the home and garden, but in the last couple of year MePACS have been one of the organisations that have introduced a mobile alarm. The mobile alarm works out of the home so allows the user to go out walking, shopping, visit the library or even on holiday in Australia and still call for help wherever they are. Encouraging people to keep active and part of the community.

How does a personal alarm service work?

If a client feels unwell, falls, or has any sort of emergency, they simply press the button on their pendant worn around their neck or wrist.  An alert is then sent to a contact or a connected response service through a base unit or mobile alarm via the telephone network.

In the case of a response centre when they receive an alert, they will contact you to assess what type of help is needed. The operator can speak to the client using voice- to- voice feature of the alarm unit.  This is an important feature for clients when they are unable to get to the phone.

At MePACS we can hear and talk to the client through the alarm unit no matter where they are in the home and anywhere there is mobile phone coverage with the Mobile alarm.

This is how our MePACS personal alarm service works:

  1. Press the button – Simply press the button on your pendant to send a call to our response centre.
  2. Receive help – We will speak to you via the base unit within 2 minutes.
  3. We work out what you need – We’ll identify what help you need.
  4. We take action – We’ll call your contact or emergency services.

What is the best personal alarm for me?

Deciding on the right type of alarm is a personal choice based on what type of support you are looking for, your budget and personal circumstances.

There are two main types of personal alarms out there, those which are connected to a response centre and those that are auto-diallers that connect you to a family or friend.

With an auto-dialler there’s always a chance you could miss an alert due to the time of day like night time, poor reception, or you don’t hear your phone ring.

Where a response centre can quickly assess the situation and determined what help is needed.

If an emergency situation were to occur you need to ask yourself; how quickly will your contacts be able to respond? You should research whether the alarm you are looking at can have multiple people contacted and understand how quickly they can respond to get you help. I.e. if an emergency occurs in the middle of the night, can your contacts hear and reach their phone in time? What happens when your family or friends are at work or go on holiday, who will be able to assist you in those times of need? This is why it is important to have multiple people added to your emergency contact list, as not everyone can be reached anytime day or night. These emergency contacts should also live within 30 minutes’ drive to you, so they can reach you as quickly as possible.

How does a mobile personal alarm work?

A mobile alarm service typically runs off the phone network as it has an inbuilt SIM in the alarm unit.  Where mobile coverage is low in rural or regional areas, a high range antenna may be needed to boost the signal from your alarm to the mobile towers and then into the response centre.

Mobile Personal Alarms enable older people to leave their house to be active and socially connected, yet remain safe in the knowledge that help is available with only the press of a button.

Keeping socially connected with your community can have huge benefits for older people in keeping them independent. Whether it be visiting the local park, exercising at a yoga class, or simply walking down the street to your local cafe, these types of outings can help older people remain socially connected and physically fit.

Key features of a Mobile Personal Alarm System

  • Mobile personal alarms for the elderly are quick and simple to activate – all that is needed is the press of a button. It’s much quicker to use than a mobile phone, for example.
  • They have two-way communication with the response team. The caller and the response team can speak to each other easily through the device.
  • The response team is specifically trained to understand emergency situations such as the one Judith found herself in, meaning they could accurately assess the situation and work out what help was needed.
  • A mobile alarm has a GPS locator to identify where you are, which is so important in times of need and urgency.
  • A MePACS mobile alarm pendant is relatively lightweight, weighing only 58 grams, or approximately the weight of a chocolate bar, Mobile Personal Alarms are light and easy to wear. They can be worn as a pendant around the user’s neck, or on a belt clip if the user prefers. Many people may refer to a personal alarm as either a panic alarm or a medical alarm. At MePACS, these are the same alarm. With 24/7 response by real people designed ideally for senior Australians, those with chronic health conditions or disabilities and those recovering from surgery.

 

What is the difference between a personal alarm and a medical alarm?

Many people may refer to a personal alarm as either a panic alarm or a medical alarm. At MePACS, these are the same alarm. With 24/7 response by real people designed ideally for senior Australians, those with chronic health conditions or disabilities and those recovering from surgery.

Do you need the NBN to have a personal alarm system?

Not all personal alarm systems require you to have a phone line to use their service. And with the introduction of the NBN this can affect alarms connected through the traditional PSDN lines. At MePACS, our personal alarms work completely independently of the NBN and local telephone lines, as they run off the Telstra mobile phone network. This means that you do not need to be connected to the NBN or even have a phone line to have our 24/7 response alarm service.

Where can I buy a personal alarm?

There are many personal alarm companies in Australia. At MePACS we are the most reviewed personal alarm company in Australia, having received over 300 reviews from our clients with an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase a MePACS personal alarm online via https://mepacs.com.au/join-now/ or by calling our sales team on 1800 685 329.

Why should I get a MePACS personal alarm system?

MePACS is a 24/7 fast response personal alarm service responded to by real people, based in Australia and have been keeping communities safe for over 30 years.  We’re one of the largest personal alarm services in Australia, backed by an Australian Public Health provider.

We have over 40,000 clients in Australia who trust us to keep them safe and independent at home, when out and about and even at work, with all profits re-invested back into public health.

At MePACS we have many clients from patients, carers, healthcare professionals and lone workers. Our aim is to help people live their life with greater peace of mind and confidence that should they need help we are there for them at any time, 24/7.

We offer both home and mobile alarms to give clients the confidence to leave the house knowing that help is still available 24/7.

Our response centre is based in Australia and answered by real people, who are trained professionals.

For the 1,500 calls we receive a day, MePACS’ average response time is less than 2 minutes – and 94 per cent of calls are actually responded to within 1 minute.

Who uses the MePACS personal alarm service?

Here at MePACS, we are proud to be the most reviewed personal alarm system company in Australia. We have received over 300 reviews from our clients nationwide who rate us an average of 5-stars. Add in top HCPS, and Duress clients – see brochures.

The MePACS fast response personal alarm service is designed for senior Australians, those with chronic conditions or recovering from surgery to keep them safe and independent in their own homes. If you fall, have an accident or feel unwell help is just the press of one button away. Giving you a guaranteed response within 2 minutes from a real person.

How much does a MePACS Personal Alarm cost?

The MePACS personal alarm service starts from a little more than a $1 a day. For less than two cups of coffee a week you have peace of mind knowing if anything should happen to you, help is only the press of one button away

MePACS Home Response Service is great for use around and home and in the garden.
Price – $39 a month inc. GST + Installation

The MePACS Home Alarm comes with:

  • A quick and simple one button activation wrist or neck pendant
  • Home base unit with two way communication so no need to get to a phone
  • Waterproof pendants so they can be worn in the bath or shower
  • No additional phone charges
  • Monthly pendant testing for your safety

Home & Mobile Personal Alarm – Ideal for those who like to get out of the house to visit the shops, visit friends, go walking or even on holiday in Australia, knowing that they still have the peace of mind that they only have to press one button if they need help, and the MePACS will respond within 2 minutes.Price – $51 a month + $385 one-off fee for mobile alarm inc GST + Installation

  • Quick and simple one button activation on both the home & mobile alarms
  • Neck or wrist Home pendant and Mobile alarm unit
  • Home base unit and Mobile unit with two way communication so no need to get to a phone
  • GPS locator in Mobile alarm
  • Waterproof home pendants and splash proof mobile alarm
  • No additional phone charges
  • Monthly pendant testing for your safety
  • Mobile charging base unit
  • Belt clip and lanyard

 

Installation of the MePACS personal alarm:  

  • Professional installation is also available in Victoria, Sydney & Brisbane* for an additional fee of $140 inc GST – for additional locations please contact us on 1800 685 329.
  • Self-installation is relatively simple and can be done by either yourself, a friend, relative or case manager.

What accessories does MePACS offer for users with limited mobility?

MePACS offers a range of additional accessories for clients to purchase, which can help all our clients to continue to live more securely in your own home knowing that if you need help we are only a touch of a button away.

A key safe is a durable metal box in which you can securely store the key to your door. It is installed into brick or concrete on the outside of your property and your keys can only be accessed by a combination code. This combination code will only be known to you and anyone you allow access too.

MePACS also offers a vibrating pendant. A vibrating pendant is ideal for the sight impaired or just general peace of mind that a signal has been sent to the alarm unit. Up to 300 metres range. Comes complete with wristwatch strap & neck chain. Ultrasonically sealed to be completely waterproof.

To view the full list of MePACS accessories click here.

 

How long does the battery in my MePACS personal alarm last in a power outage?

The home alarm will last for 40 hours without power and the pendant will last for approximately 2 years.

The Mobile alarm battery last for 12 hours so will need charging each night.

 

How do I get funding for a personal alarm?

As well as purchasing a MePACS personal alarm system privately by calling 1800 685 329 or by visiting MePACS.

Home Care Provider: If you have a home care package your MePACS personal alarm will be able to be included in your package as long as you have funds available. You need to speak to your home care provider to organise this.

Personal Alert Victoria – The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services- Personal Alert Victoria (PAV) also offer a funded home personal alarm if you meet a set criteria and have undergone an assessment.

 

What is the MePACS personal alarm service contact number?

You can contact MePACS personal alarm response centre 24 hours a day on 1800 451 300. Once you have signed up to the service if you have an emergency all you need to do is press your alarm. This will then come through to the response centre via the emergency system and we’ll contact you via the alarm initially. If you have an emergency you must always press the help button on the alarm. Do not call the telephone number.

If you have any further questions that we have not answered above please contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help you 1800 685 329.

personal alarm system australia

MePACS mobile alarm worn when out and about.