Personal alarms and tracking devices

Date: 20 December 2017

Personal alarms and tracking devices

Recent evidence suggests that increasing numbers of older people are using GPS enabled alarm services and subscribing to 24 hour monitoring services to retain independence.


So, for this growing tech-savvy older population, there are a number of helpful alarms and response services designed to make living an independent life easier and providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones:


Personal alarms when out and about


Basic personal alarms: are normally battery-powered and can be bought from high street shops or online. They can be worn or carried and make a loud noise when activated, alerting people nearby there is a problem. They rely on someone being close by to help.


From this basic model, devices grow in sophistication to GPS enabled personal alarms that send a signal for assistance to a designated carer or to a 24-hour monitoring service.


Personal alarms and sensors around the home


For safety, and peace of mind around the home, there are a number of electronic sensors, detectors, monitors, apps and alarms available.  These can keep track of your wellbeing and mobility (like movement sensors and fall detectors) or devices that monitor your home environment (like fire or carbon monoxide alarms). 


Many of these gadgets can automatically call for pre-determined help provided by family, friends, or a 24-hour monitoring service.


Monitoring and response service. 


The service by telecare systems are highly varied and include alarm calls or alerts, text messages, activity records or internet-enabled location mapping, and the extent of the provision will be determined by your individual needs.


Whatever system you choose, it is important to be clear about what response will be triggered by the alarm or alert message and consider whether this suits your needs now and in the future.


Factors to consider when choosing and buying a personal alarm


  • Personal alarms are available from a large number of organisations, including local authorities, charities such as Age UK and commercial companies.
  • Make sure you compare brands and prices.
  • Check the range if you or your relative plan to wear it in the garden.
  • Consider how long the batteries will last for; are they expensive to replace?
  • If you choose a wearable device, is it waterproof?
  • Check that the company you’re buying from is a member of the Telecare Services Association. They offer advice and information as well as a directory of providers.


If you think you might benefit from an alarm it is worth discussing your needs with your local authority social services department who may view an alarm as necessary equipment and may provide them free of charge after an assessment by an occupational therapist.



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