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To consider a wireless panic button for elderly Mum home alone?

(37 Posts)
GoingToCalifornia Sun 30-Nov-14 20:22:50

After an initial outlay there's a monthly subscription cost.

It only works within the house.

Mum is frequently out and about, driving around in her car, picking up grandchildren from school and caring for them 5 days a week. She's on her own from 9pm through the night until her partner returns from night shifts.

Would you recommend a wireless personal alarm pendant? It states that you sound your alarm that connects through to a call centre, and if the call centre can't speak to you or get hold of your nominated key holders, they'll engage emergency services.

Will the ambulance service actually come out though just because a panic alarm's been pressed and nobody can get hold of the key holder?..

I'm sure it gives peace of mind to wearer and family, but my Gran had the same device on a bracelet that alerted her sheltered housing warden, however it was never emergency services that turned up on the rare occassion they couldn't get hold of me, it was the on call night warden.

If the wireless device fails or is glitchy, I'm wondering if emergency services are really prepared to keep attending the scene on the off chance there's an medical emergency.

What do you think?

OP’s posts: |
Selinasupreme Sun 30-Nov-14 20:24:41

What about a mobile phone with speed dials?

fluffyraggies Sun 30-Nov-14 20:26:42

''Mum is frequently out and about, driving around in her car, picking up grandchildren from school and caring for them 5 days a week.''

She doesn't sound like she needs a panic alarm OP. Why are you worried?

Muchtoomuchtodo Sun 30-Nov-14 20:29:57

What would it potentially be used for?

She doesn't sound at risk of falling and getting stuck in the floor which is a prime reason for people having them.

If it's for security then a burglar alarm might be more appropriate.

CocktailQueen Sun 30-Nov-14 20:30:32

It depends. It doesn't sound like she needs it if she's young and fit enough to be driving GC around.

My MIL has one. If she falls or needs help she presses the button. This alerts the call centre to ring her. If she doesn't answer the phone they call us, and then send someone out. But it can take hours for them to go out - they don't automatically assume, 'she's,not answering, she must need medical help' and they prefer us or a neighbour to check on MIL first. So not sure how much help that would be.

Is your mum concerned with security? Might be better to get a burglar alarm company to come round and fit a panic button that she can press in the event of a burglary.

CocktailQueen Sun 30-Nov-14 20:31:02

Cross-posted, Much!

fluffyraggies Sun 30-Nov-14 20:32:58

BTW my mum has one (it's one which is connected to a central call center who will ring her, ring the no.s provided, then the emergency services if nec.)

But she is 75, doesn't drive, lives alone, has a replacement knee, does a lot of pottering round a bloody big garden, has a large set of stairs in her house and believes herself to be permanently on the brink of collapse and isolated from all human life so it gives her peace of mind.

GoingToCalifornia Sun 30-Nov-14 20:36:02

She's on her own whilst her partner's on night shifts.
She's mobile, but can occassionally fall down, and currently finds it a struggle just to get up off the sofa, so probably would struggle getting up again if she fell.

She always wears her mobile phone, in her bra no less, so it's always to hand.

I don't think burglars/intruders are an issue, it's the peace of mind.

OP’s posts: |
pudcat Sun 30-Nov-14 20:36:26

But your Mum sounds very independent. How old is she and why would she need one?

pudcat Sun 30-Nov-14 20:39:01

Cross posted - her mobile phone sounds sufficient to me

cozietoesie Sun 30-Nov-14 20:43:07

This isn't directly your question but has she been independently and genuinely medically assessed? That might guide you in making a suggestion to her.

(I wouldn't be thinking of letting someone drive grandchildren around if she's physically impaired to the point where she currently can't get up off the sofa. Whatever is wrong with her sounds more than a panic button is going to fix - in that regard at least.)

mateysmum Sun 30-Nov-14 20:45:26

My in-laws have just got them, but they are in their 80's, both with medical issues and generally a bit doddery. My mum had one because she lived alone and was quite unsteady on her feet and had fallen and injured herself twice.

Your mum still sounds quite active and if she always carried her mobile that should be ok for now I think.

cozietoesie Sun 30-Nov-14 20:51:42

Older people sometimes lie - they call it 'putting a brave face on it' - about ailments that aren't patently obvious. I think I'd be wanting to find out a bit more about her physical condition before making any decisions.

What is her partner's view on the matter?

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 01-Dec-14 14:55:03

if she has her mobile then I think it would be a waste of money. especially as presumably for most of her time alone she is likely to be spending some of it asleep in bed. My mum has a bracelet one but she is 86 and frail and has had a few falls plus is incapable of working a mobile <new fangled nonsense>

CMOTDibbler Mon 01-Dec-14 14:58:51

Your mum sounds like she has no need of an emergency pendant - if she has falls and can't get up on any sort of frequent basis, she shouldn't be driving or looking after children.

My parents otoh are very frail, and have pendants through AgeUK. They have been bloomin brilliant, and they have had to use them on a number of occasions. The call centre have the code to their key safe by the front door and give that to the paramedics when they call them

outofcontrol2014 Mon 01-Dec-14 15:04:51

Hmmmm, tricky one. Your MIL doesn't sound like the 'classic' user of these alarms - she sounds mobile and she has her phone on her (love it! in her bra!)

On the other hand, there's always a first time that the person falls and can't get up or work a phone. Sometimes I think that we don't prepare for these things well enough here, and we wait for something awful to happen before we take precautions.

They are quite good. GFIL had one and the emergency services did come out straight away when he used it. In his case, though, there was a history of strokes and sadly when he most needed it, he couldn't use it.

PinkSparklyElephant Mon 01-Dec-14 15:05:58

Would she actually use it? MIL and DM have both got them. MIL has fallen a few times recently but each time has shuffled on her bum so she can get to the phone to ring DH. He's now told her that if she falls again she has to press the button and say she needs an ambulance as he hurt his back last time he picked her up. Whether or not she will remains to be seen...

SistersOfPercy Mon 01-Dec-14 15:51:48

My Mum has one, she's 78, very independent and quite fit for her age. She doesn't drive but she's always out and about with the dog walking him miles.
It's there mostly for peace of mind for both of us. She also has a key safe installed on the side wall of the house which contains keys to her home and is protected by a push button number entry. The company who run the helpline have the number to it so if she does fall etc they can pass on to emergency services the code so they can gain access.

I'd rather her have the system there just in case anything happens and she feels a lot more secure having it, especially at night.

Blueandwhitelover Mon 01-Dec-14 16:26:55

I made my Mum get one as soon as we lost my Dad. She was 68 and very active but she was then in the house on her own. Last year she slipped in her kitchen and broke her leg, fortunately she had a visitor at the time but if not, she might have been there for hours or even overnight. Just knowing that she has it on give us all peace of mind. She has knocked it a few times and they've answered and are very patient and kind. It's only something like £12 a month. Bargain.
(MIL who is 84 with diabetes and a bad heart refuses to have one as she will knock on the neighbour's wall if she needs to-not if you collapse in the bloody kitchen!!!)
In all honesty, if God forbid, something happened to DH I would get myself one and I'm only 50. If you are on your own in a house I don't understand why you wouldn't get one.

specialsubject Mon 01-Dec-14 16:28:58

mobiles are not reliable at the best of times. Even if they are charged/have credit/have reception. A mobile is NOT a device for reliable emergency contact. BTW if there is a local power cut the local relay station may go out too.

these alarms are for anyone who lives alone and feels the need.

MIL has one - happily no callout but we do test occasionally. Big peace of mind gain for everyone, especially her.

SmileAndNod Mon 01-Dec-14 16:35:57

Sorry to hijack the thread, but we've been looking into these for my GPs who are in their 90s very doddery and live alone. Can I ask how you persuade an older stubborn independent person to get one of these alarms?. Despite both myself and my mother being very ill with anxiety, they can't see how much they are worrying us. It seems there are lots of things they could do to help make life a bit easier for themselves but they refuse at every turnconfused

specialsubject Mon 01-Dec-14 16:39:49

there's nothing you can do if they refuse. MiL (who I should add is lovely) had the paperwork sitting on her shelf for months. Then we had a 'nan down' with one of her mates who was on the floor for a few hours before being found. Bingo, paperwork filled in that day and alarm bracelet being worn at all times. BTW it is shower proof and sleep proof so is really no trouble.

pushing over one of their friends seems a bit extreme - but if you have any real-life examples try that.

please get treatment for your problems, and tell them straight that they are being selfish.

DidoTheDodo Mon 01-Dec-14 16:42:31

If she's capable of driving about and looking after her grandchildren 5 days a week, she doesn't sound vulnerable. Lots of people of all ages are home alone and don't require this sort of support.

Have you asked her if she wants one?

magimedi Mon 01-Dec-14 16:43:30

If you do get one (as DH's 100+ year old uncle has & still lives home alone!) you really do need to get an outside key safe to go with it. It is of no use alerting people who then can't get in to your home to help you.

SaucyJack Mon 01-Dec-14 16:45:09

It doesn't sound like she needs one tbh.

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