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Getting a panic button for elderly mum

(53 Posts)
BinkyBoinky Tue 29-Sep-20 01:05:30

Hi my mum has asked me to look into getting her a panic button as she's finding her mobility is getting difficult and she lives on her own. Has anyone done this and can they recommend a system? I can see councils do them (means tested) - but are they any good? I always think of councils as inefficient.. and I would want a service that would respond fast if there was an emergency.

I'd love some recommendations please. Would a private service be better than the council/NHS, and if so which one?

OP’s posts: |
JaJaDingDong Tue 29-Sep-20 01:23:35

We got my DM an Echo so she can just shout to Alexa to phone one of us.
Her flat has panic cords to pull, but the problem is that if you fall or feel ill somewhere where you can't reach them, they aren't much use. Same with a button.

DM has an Echo in the living room and the bedroom. We've tested it, and it can hear her wherever she is.

She loves it - it's like a bit of company for her, as well as being an alarm.

Catsup Tue 29-Sep-20 02:01:06

We looked into the options for DM after a fall but she's been okay since and opted to just use a pendant carry case for her mobile instead for now. There's a unit you can buy on Amazon for about £80 if she has a landline that you can connect to that'll continously redial 3 preprogrammed numbers if she wears a pull cord pendant and activates it. It's also really worth investing in a key safe so emergency services or a neighbour can access the house quickly.

Redglitter Tue 29-Sep-20 02:12:11

I work in a Police Control Room and all these services do is phone 999 & ask the Police to go. Personally I've never understood why when people are paying for the service they can't employ someone to go round and deal with the alarm calls and check if police or amb are required.

The calls we get from these companies are prioritised like any other calls so she wouldn't necessarily get an immediate response.

If you're paying for one find out EXACTLY what you're getting. I cant tell you how many family members I've spoken to after we've had calls from alarm companies who.have been horrified that all the company was doing was phoning 999 - something their relative could have done themself

avamiah Tue 29-Sep-20 02:21:59

This is a difficult one, my mum used to live in a retirement apartment and there where cords everywhere, over the bath, bed , lounge to pull if she was in distress but as JaJa said they aren’t much good if you fall and can’t reach them.
My mum is 83 and lives with me now and has a carer come in when I am going to be out for a long period of time .
However I like the sound of the Echo and may consider it and give it a try .

JaJaDingDong Tue 29-Sep-20 02:49:41

Do it! My DM loves her echo. She uses it to make a shopping list, check the weather, play music, reminds her to take her medication, it tells her a joke if she asks it, when she set an alarm for a Saturday it told her have a lovely weekend smile. She likes to use it to check facts "Alexa, reminds me what Princess Anne's children are caked", checks traffic even though I don't think she should be driving. And she can just say "Alexa phone Jaja" and we can have a conversation without her needing to have her phone in her hand.

JaJaDingDong Tue 29-Sep-20 02:49:59

They're only about £30

avamiah Tue 29-Sep-20 02:54:03

So do I order it from amazon ?
How does it work ?

avamiah Tue 29-Sep-20 02:55:46

I will get it for my mum ,
Do I just connect it with my WiFi ?

DaisyDreaming Tue 29-Sep-20 02:59:31

Your local council might recommend a company on their website. Ours had a recommendation but I asked about the range and it turns out it was really small and it wouldn’t of picked up from the bottom of the garden or out the front when he puts the bins out. I rang around and found another company. For a couple of pounds a month extra he has a watch with the fall detect.

Things to consider:
-Do you want a falls detection
-You can get some which also monitor temp in the house and alert if it gets cold
-Is it monitored? I wanted one that a call centre handle, they try all the emergency contacts and if none of us answer and they can’t make contact with the person who pressed it or triggered the fall alarm then they will ring an ambulance. You can get some cheap ones which just alert contacts but doesn’t do anything if those contacts don’t respond

JaJaDingDong Tue 29-Sep-20 03:16:41

Yes, you connect the Echo to the WiFi and the phone to the WiFi. It comes with good instructions.

You can also get it to do things like turn the lights on at certain times but you need light bulbs that connect to WiFi too. We haven't looked into that yet (or eg, she could put the lights on before she gets out of the car via an app on her phone).

We think we can get DMs Echo to control her hearing too, but again, need to work out how.

JaJaDingDong Tue 29-Sep-20 03:17:40

And order from Amazon is the easiest way to buy them.

QueenOfPain Tue 29-Sep-20 03:17:52

She will need her own WiFi to make it work.

Like a PP said, lots of the pendant/alarm companies just ring 111 or 999, nobody from the alarm place actually goes out to the house.

msbevvy Tue 29-Sep-20 04:13:27

It depends where you live. My late mother had an alarm system that was arranged via the council for a monthly fee. She would fall quite frequently and she would press the button on a pendant round her neck. Someone from the alarm service would come and help her, meeting themselves in via a key safe that they installed.
Alarm systems can also include smoke alarms, co2 detectors, flood alarms, fall detectors, movement alarms.
I would recommend seeing what the council have to offer before buying anything yourself.

TeddyIsaHe Tue 29-Sep-20 04:22:44

We got grandma an Apple Watch. It is costly, but it has fall detection and an ECG alert (if her heart rate is v low or high), and we’ve set up the sos to text 8 family members that live close by if she/the watch calls the emergency services.

She feels much safer with it on, and it’s allowed her to have more independence. She had a small stroke a month ago and it’s really knocked her confidence. It has helped a lot.

Deathraystare Tue 29-Sep-20 07:56:24

My aunt claimed she did not order one and although she was gaga I wonder if the Gp arranged for it. I am not sure. She paid for a service (but never wore the bloody thing as she did not want it on her wrist or around her neck).

ApolloandDaphne Tue 29-Sep-20 08:34:06

My DM pondered getting one but I persuaded her to get a little bag for her mobile so she can wear that when she is going about the house or garden.

ShaunaTheSheep Tue 29-Sep-20 08:48:43

Try your local Age Concern/Age UK for advice.

ExclamationPerfume Tue 29-Sep-20 10:29:39

My Nan had one fitted through the council. It was £3.50 a week I think. They called the family if there was a problem. We had 5 family members they would call in a priority order.

TeenPlusTwenties Tue 29-Sep-20 10:33:08

My MIL and DGM both had a pendant one. If you pushed the button then they rang you, if you didn't reply then they summand help. Only of any use if they actually wear the pendant though.

DaffodilsAndDandelions Tue 29-Sep-20 10:35:12

Life line is very common. I work for a lot of elderly people and most of them have a button that they wear either round their neck or on their wrist. They press the button if they fall or feel ill etc and it calls the lifeline company who ring them straight away. If they answer the phone then they can get the right help. If nobody answers whatever time day or night then somebody comes round to the house to check on them. They have a key safe on the outside so that people can let themselves in.
It is very very popular. No idea of the cost tho

BinkyBoinky Tue 29-Sep-20 11:24:51

Thanks, I might try with the council first. She says she wants something that can call her GP or emergency services. I think a pendant round her neck would be good as she's always in the garden.

Echo - sounds great but is it safe/secure? I've heard they can get hacked and she's been a target for scammers before. She's also rubbish with technology, I've only just got her to understand how to use Whatsapp, despite years of trying! ( I mean literally years!)

Lifeline - I've seen that before - is it a private service? I think it might be a toss up between this and the council.

OP’s posts: |
Lockdownseperation Tue 29-Sep-20 11:29:24

@Redglitter that’s not true of all companies. The company my Mum uses send a team of two people round to be check on the person and they have a special inflatable lifting mat to pick people off the the floor.

guessmyusername Tue 29-Sep-20 11:40:20

We looked in to this for dm and couldn't decide which option to go for. Then dm had a stroke (very mild) and a social worker and occupational therapist got involved. She got an alarm from council free of charge. It was activated on a few occasions and help did arrive or they contacted one of the family members whose details they had. When dm passed away and ddad was on his own they looked into removing it but then assessed ddad as needing it himself so it was left. When he passed away they came and removed it. It was certainly reassuring to us family members.

JaJaDingDong Tue 29-Sep-20 11:48:25

Once the Echo is set up your DM will never need to touch it.
She'll need a WiFi provision in her house, which comes with a cost, but honestly, my 88yo DM thinks Alexa is fab, and she's the least tech savvy person you can imagine.

It's no more open to hacking than any other internet connection, but I'm guessing your parent wouldn't have social media accounts or inline banking, online shopping accounts etc which could be hacked.

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