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 the ability to live on their own.
A personal alarm can help keep seniors living independently in their own home, providing them and their family with the 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. Over half were concerned about their ability to remain in their own home.
Changes to cognition or physical abilities can be confronting at any age. A personal alarm service with 24/7 response means that older people can remain independent at home as well as get out and be active in the community, yet always have the peace of mind that help from a trained response team 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?
- Who can benefit from a Personal Alarm?
- What are the different types of personal alarms?
- Auto-dialler personal alarms
- Fully Monitored Response Personal Alarm Service
- Where can I buy a personal alarm?
- Why should I get a MePACS personal alarm system?
- Who uses the MePACS personal alarm service?
- How much does a MePACS Personal Alarm cost?
- What accessories do MePACS offer for users with limited mobility?
- How do I get funding for a personal alarm?
- Is there government assistance for the cost of a personal alarm?
- What is the MePACS personal alarm service contact number?
What is a personal alarm system?
A personal alarm is a device worn on your person that can alert a response centre or family member when 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 in the bath and shower – as that is where many accidents happen. The pendant has a button which can send a signal for help to a 24-hour monitoring response service, family or friend.
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 reassurance for their family and loved ones knowing that fast emergency assistance is available.
What are the different types of personal alarms?
There are 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 of a friend, family member or Triple Zero.
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. A signal for help may not be answered for a number of reasons:
- during the night when most people are asleep
- an important meeting
- school pick up
- being on holiday
- living in a poor phone reception area
- phone set to silent
Before purchasing a personal alarm, you should consider how quickly your contacts will be able to respond and whether the alarm you are looking at can have multiple people contacted. 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 Triple Zero do not prioritise text-based messages from these alarms as they do not know if the situation they are being called to is genuine or an error.
Fully Monitored Response Personal Alarm Service
The other type of personal alarms 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 any time of the 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, the response centre are able to share the emergency information and client’s medical history with Triple Zero, who can then prioritise the call
The MePACS mobile alarm and MePACS Solo watch work out of the home, allowing the user to go out walking, shopping, visit the library or even on holiday in Australia. They can still call for help wherever they are, and this encourages 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 mobile network.
In the case of a response centre, they will contact you to assess what type of help is needed. The operator can speak to the client using the 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 our mobile and watch alarms.
This is how our MePACS personal alarm service works:
- Press the button – Simply press the button on your pendant to send a call to our response centre.
- Receive help – We will speak to you via the base unit within 2 minutes.
- We work out what you need – We’ll identify what help you need.
- 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 dialler’s 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, poor reception, or you don’t hear your phone ring.
Whereas a response centre can quickly assess the situation and determined what help is needed.
If an emergency situation were to occur, 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 – 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 any time of the 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 in-built 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 Safety 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 shops, 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 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.
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 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.
Read personal alarms for the elderly Australia reviews here:
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.
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 Fall Detector alarm. This is ideal for people who are at risk of sudden falls or black outs. The pendant is lightweight and fully waterproof, so it can be worn in the bath or shower. It also has light and sound confirmation to identify when the alarm has been triggered.
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 of 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.