Choosing between a telecare system and an autodialer

Choosing between a telecare system and an autodialer

Telecare systems

Telecare systems automatically sends a signal to monitoring service when sensors detect you need assistence or when you press a pendant alarm. The monitoring service is staffed 24 hours a day, everyday. When they answer the alarm call they will try to talk to you over the system to check what has happened (it's ok if you press the button accidently!) and then decide whether they need to summon assistance to your address, such an ambulance or your designated friend/relative. They will know your address automatically so it will not matter if you cannot talk to them.

There are alternative methods of obtaining help, although none are as reliable and comprehensive as telecare systems.

Autodial alarms

You could keep a mobile phone or cordless telephone with you at all times so you can ring for help in an emergency. However, you are unlikely to remember to keep the phone with you all of the time, it will need regular recharging and it's no help if you're unconscious or incapacitated in some way.

You may wish to consider an autodial alarm. You set these up to dial a series of telephone numbers to family or friends if you press an alarm button. The button may be a pendant or a wrist worn device, it sends a wireless message to a device connected to your telephone to start dialling the series of numbers and continue until someone answers the call. Some systems allow you to talk to the person who is answering the call even if you are a distance from the phone. Use the link below for more information on auto dialler alarms.

However, these autodial systems have significant limitations. Important safety features that these units may not provide include:

  1. They do not connect to 24 hour monitoring service which can provide a response at any time, on any date. Will your friends and relatives be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year?
  2. They may not have automatic safety mechanisms in place to alert you if their batteries fail or there is a mains power cut.
  3. They may not have automatic safety mechanisms in place to alert you if your phone line is disconnected or has a fault.
  4. The alarm buttons may not use industry standard radio frequencies and consequently could suffer interference, failing to trigger the alarm.

Thus if you need to rely on an alarm system for assistance in the event of an emergency you should consider a telecare system and contact your local Social Services for an assessment. Find your local social services on the directgov website

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement