Emergency Pendants are a really good idea for all older people living alone, to avoid the risk of not being able to call for help if you have a fall or an emergency health issue. Basic telecare systems, as they are called, consist of two parts; an emergency panic button which can be worn as a wristband or pendant and a two-way speech unit, usually located in the hallway of your home. In an emergency situation the alarm button on the wristband or pendant can be pressed for help. It then immediately connects through the two-way speech unit to a monitoring centre.
If the monitoring centre staff do not hear you, they will usually try calling you back to your home or mobile in the first instance. If they still do not get a response from you, they will summon help by calling one of your key-holders (often a nearby family member or neighbour), or the emergency services.
Most people use their telephone land line to enable the emergency pendants base unit to communicate with the call centre, but you don’t have to have a landline as there are GSM-based units also available. A GSM-based unit uses a SIM card and the mobile phone network to communicate with the call centre.
The upfront cost of a typical base unit and emergency pendant is around €250 – €300. Thereafter, there is an annual monitoring cost of around €80 – €100 per year. It is also possible to rent the equipment: a typical monthly rental charge for the equipment and the monitoring combined is around €12 per month, there is no upfront cost with this option and a normal minimum rental period is three months.
Many private companies supply these units and also provide the ongoing monitoring service. One of the leading providers is called Tunstall, based in Wexford, their website is https://www.tunstallemergencyresponse.ie/product-category/pendants/.
If you are over 65 and living alone or living with another person also over 65 it is possible to get a grant which will cover the entire upfront cost through the Seniors Alert Scheme. This scheme is administered through an organisation called Pobal. The grant is applied for through local community groups who are registered with Pobal, and it normally takes 10 – 12 weeks to obtain approval for the grant.
- In the Dun Laoghaire area the relevant community group is Dun Laoghaire Neighbourhood Watch, Contact Margaret McCarthy on 01 289 7213
- In the Dundrum area the relevant community group is Family Carers Ireland (Rathgar), contact Mary Fitzsimons on 01 894 3174