By Cian Molloy - 23 October, 2017
The extension of the Seniors Alert Scheme to include elderly people who are not living alone, has been welcomed by the charity ALONE, but it says the scheme should be extended further, to include other assistive technologies that would allow more elderly people to continue living independently in their own homes.
The Seniors Alert Scheme, which is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, makes personal alarms and pendants available to elderly people so that in case of difficulty, they can trigger an alarm to call for help.
The scheme is now being extended so that it will include elderly couples and elderly individuals who may not live alone, but who spend large parts of the day alone because their adult children are at work for most of the day.
However, further improvements could be made says ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan. “The current Seniors Alert Scheme is a reactive system, responding to emergency alerts from older people,” he said. “The model that we propose would operate in a proactive fashion, for example phoning all older people who are linked with the service on a daily basis. The current Seniors Alert Scheme is primarily reliant on the informal carers’ network or the emergency services to respond to alarm alerts, but a monitored telecare service, linked to a responder service with social care services on call, could attend to alerts which do not require medical attention, thereby reducing unnecessary emergency ambulance call-outs.”
ALONE believes that this type of telecare model would meet with the goals of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, in particular Goal 2, which is to ‘support people as they age to maintain, improve or manage their physical and mental health and wellbeing’ and Goal 3, which is to ‘enable people to age with confidence, security and dignity in their own homes and communities for as long as possible’.
To avail of the Seniors Alert Scheme, contact details for local groups can be found on their website www.pobal.ie or by phoning 01 511 7222.