A complete guide to the uses and benefits of personal fall alarms for the elderly and disabled
In Australia, falls are the most common cause of unintentional injury and hospitalisation for those aged 65 and older, as well as those with a disability. Of those, more than 50% of individuals are unable to support their weight enough to push up from the floor. It’s a scary imagine yourself, your parents, or grandparents could be lying aimlessly on the floor, injured and have no means or way to get up. So it begs the question, how can we support older Australians and those with disabilities in leading more independent lives, without living in fear of falls or the fear of not being able to get up should they fall when no one else is around to support them?
Personal fall alarms: providing security and support
Personal alarms have become the staple safety device for older Australians and those with disabilities who live independently but want the security of knowing that help is available should something bad happen. A personal alarm is usually worn as a bracelet and contains an emergency alarm system, which sends a help message to nominated individuals if activated by pressing a button.
In recent years, we have seen the staple bracelet be adapted into other styles of wearable, as well as modernised into electronic format on the individual’s phone or tablet device.
Who can benefit from personal fall alarms?
Personal fall alarms provide peace of mind for elderly Australians and those living with disabilities, giving a sense of security knowing that help is only a button press away. Personal fall alarms also benefit the families and loved ones of users too, providing reassurance that emergency assistance is available.
Choosing the right personal fall alarm for your circumstances
There are lots of different personal fall systems available on the market and it is important to choose the right alarm for your individual circumstance. More broadly, there are two types of alarms; auto dialling and fully monitored.
Auto dialling personal alarm devices
As the name suggests, an auto dialling personal alarm device sends out an emergency alert message to nominated contacts within the individuals support network when activated. These can be delivered in the form of a phone call, text message or even leave a message on an answering machine. While these are a very popular system and highly beneficial with the alert being able to be sent to multiple people at once, it is also important to remember that the effectiveness of the alert system relies heavily on the nominated individuals actually receiving (and responding)! to the alarm. It’s important to consider the nominated parties’ different locations, schedules, and ability to respond in the case of an emergency. It is for this reason that most auto dial personal fall alarm systems are also connected to the 000-emergency services network.
Fully monitored personal alarm devices
Fully monitored personal alarm systems are established with a 24/7 response team. Instead of being connected with individuals from the user’s personal support network, the device is monitored by a dedicated, professional call centre team who is available to respond at any time during the day or night. If emergency assistance is required, users have the guarantee of knowing that there is always going to be someone available to help them without any delay or waiting for a response. Fully monitored personal alarm systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of use, availability and guarantee for assistance.
Personal fall alarms and maintaining independence
In order to live a fulfilling life, it is crucial that as we get older, we do what we can to maintain our independence and sense of self. This also applies to individuals living with impairment and disabilities. It is important to understand that a positive quality of life leads to a potentially longer and more fulfilling life. Whilst it can be confronting to face the fact that you may need additional support, it doesn’t need to be overbearing. Personal fall alarm devices are discrete provide a sense of security, and at the time make sure you are not feeling the overwhelming sense of dependency on others. It provides users with support if and when they need it and allows them to get on with their life independently.
How to recognise when an individual may require a personal fall alarm device
Personal fall alarms are not designed to be demeaning and controlling, in fact quite the opposite. However, you may be met with hostility if you outright suggest an individual get one without properly assessing the circumstances. Personal alarms are designed to give reassurance. If you notice that someone you love, whether friend or family, is starting to have more accidents in the home or when they are out an about due to their age or other factors, it may be worth asking whether they would be interested in discussing personal alert options. Approach the discussion positively in a way that supports and reassures the individual. Similarly, individuals with disabilities can also benefits from similar styles of discussions. Reassure the individual that you are thinking about their best interests and just want to support them to live more independently but with reassurance.
Getting support for the elderly and individuals living with disabilities
As we get older and continue to want to live independent lives, it is important that we seek the necessary support, to provide ourselves and our families with the reassurance that we need. This could be through the use of a personal fall alarm system. Older individuals and those living with disabilities can also find support through their own support networks and community as well as specially funded organisations who specialise in age care and disability support. ConnectAbility Australia specialises in age care and disability support for Australians in the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Central Coast.
ConnectAbility can provide in-house support services, such as helping with day-to-day household tasks, household renovations and modifications. They can also assist in educating you and your loved ones about personal alarms and how they can provide you with reassurance and independence. If you need support with making the decision about personal alarm systems to help maintain your independence, contact ConnectAbility Australia today on (02) 4962 1000 in Warabrook or (02) 4349 3700 on the Central Coast.