If you still struggle to understand how to choose the best personal emergency alarm for you or your loved ones, then this article could be helpful.
If you did a Google search for ‘personal alarms Australia’ you would receive over 12 million results and 1.8 million results when you did a Google search for a more defined criteria of ‘Personal Emergency Alarm Australia.’ Your decision will be heavily influenced by the type of personal alarm you’ve got in mind that considers your unique circumstances. So how can you find the best and most suitable personal emergency alarm for you or your loved ones? Who can you trust and what product will be right for me if I need to get emergency help? What type of personal emergency alarm is most suitable for your specific needs?
We have been working in the personal safety market in Australia for over ten years and here are some of the things you should look out for when sourcing the best and most suitable personal emergency alarm for you or your loved one.
Type of Personal Emergency Alarm
There are different types of personal duress alarms available. The three main personal emergency alarms are the traditional pendant alarms (usually worn around the neck), the smart watch personal alarms, which include GPS and a lot more features and the mobile app personal alarm that can be downloaded onto a smartphone.
The traditional pendant alarm has been available for many years and is usually connected to a base station at home providing a basic SOS call to loved ones or a monitoring bureau service.
Modern pendant emergency alarms now include a SIM card and can work anywhere, provided you have a mobile connection to 3G or 4G. Some more advanced pendant alarms, such as the mCareMate 4G Pendant also include fall detection and a 4-day battery life.
Of course, there is another type of personal emergency alarm that does more than what a pendant can – make calls, monitor falls, send reminders and so much more. The smart watch personal alarm is a more recent option and includes many more features than the pendant alarm. The most basic functionality of this type of personal emergency alarm is the SOS button, which can be triggered by pressing the watch face or dedicated buttons on the side.
The benefits of wearing a smart watch personal alarm are that it can be worn discreetly and does not stand out as an emergency alarm (the way a pendant alarm does when worn around the neck).
Of course, the best and most suitable personal emergency alarm will always be the one that provides you with the peace of mind that it works when you need it the most.
Mobile APP (via smart phone)
A new addition to the personal alarms is the ability to download a mobile app with SOS capability on your smartphone. These types of mobile apps can be useful and cost effective provided you always carry your smartphone around with you.
Who answers the SOS calls?
Self-Monitored by Family & Friends
In order to choose the right personal emergency alarm, you’d need to get clear whether you or someone from your family would be OK answering the SOS calls of whether a 24/7 monitoring service is better suited. Most of the personal alarms today have the SOS call functionality and the ability to call pre-set SOS contacts. In most cases, the personal alarms will automatically dial the SOS contact and send a follow-up SMS to alert to the SOS contacts when the SOS is activated.
If you have your family nearby and perhaps a friendly neighbour, then adding them as your SOS pre-set contact should be an option provided of course they are available and happy to answer the SOS call (should this come through).
The personal alarm you choose should give you the flexibility to change your pre-set SOS contacts at any time and ideally you or your carer’s should be able to update these settings via the mobile app or dashboard.
24/7 Monitoring Bureau
If you live alone and your immediate family live interstate or are unable to respond to an SOS emergency call from your personal alarm, having your SOS calls answered by a 24/7 monitoring bureau may be the best option.
This option will include having your SOS call answered at any time by a monitoring operator, who will be able to answer your SOS call and provide the emergency assistance you need. This option may cost a little extra, but the peace of mind will be worth it.
Who are you purchasing from?
To choose the best and most suitable personal emergency alarm also comes down to the reputation of the company you are buying from. How long has the company been operating? What credentials does this company have and how long have they been selling personal alarms? Have their personal alarms been reviewed and tested by CHOICE in their annual Personal Alarms Review? If not, why not?
Has the company received any awards or accreditations?
Has the company and their personal emergency alarms received any media coverage in newspaper and TV?
GPS & location
This feature is by far one of the most in demand one when someone decides to choose the right personal emergency alarm for them or their loves ones. Do you want your loved ones or the monitoring bureau operator knowing your location? Your personal alarm may have GPS and the ability to locate your whereabouts, however, you can also restrict who has access to your location data.
If your loved one has dementia or is at risk of not knowing where they are located, then your personal alarm must be activated with GPS technology and allow you to locate their location at any time.
Any personal alarm you consider should be water resistant and able to be worn in the shower. The minimum water-resistant rating you should accept is an IP67 rating, which means the device can be worn in the shower (where a lot of the falls and accidents occur).
Do you need the ability to setup a reminder for a medication, task, or appointment? A medical alarm should be able to setup unlimited and customised reminders that can automatically come up for the personal alarm device wearer without causing them added stress. These reminders should also be announced when they come through so the wearer can also hear the reminder being announced.
Is your loved one prone to having falls? There are many personal alarms that now include the fall detection feature; however, you need to make sure the personal alarm has the ability for the wearer to cancel the SOS for false alarms.
Also, note that this feature may drain the battery more rapidly when this feature is switched on, resulting in more frequent recharging of the personal alarm.
A geo-fence or safe zone is an area that is safe for the wearer however, once they are outside of this area, an alert is sent to the carers/monitoring bureau. This feature is suitable for loved ones that are prone to leave their home and not remember how to get home.
The mCare Digital geo-fence feature was tested by CHOICE in their Personal Alarm Review and rated # 1 Geo-fence feature across all personal alarm devices tested. The mCareWatch also received the Dementia Choices Accreditation due to the geo-fence feature,
Is the personal alarm you are looking at purchasing based in Australia? With many options available, and some a lot cheaper, it may not always be the best option to go with the cheaper personal duress alarm. Some of the cheaper options are based overseas and may not include all the features that a locally based company offers.
Is my data and online security safe?
In today’s world, keeping your data and personal online security safe and stored in Australia should be non-negotiable. Purchasing a cheaper personal alarm may cost you a lot more in the long run. Always check with the company to make sure your data is stored locally within Australia and that it meets all IT security requirements.
Do I need a Carer’s Mobile APP and Dashboard?
Would you like the ability to change and update all the feature settings on your personal alarm device at any time? Having access to a carer’s mobile app or dashboard should be a standard as it will allow you to update the SOS contacts and ability to connect to your device anywhere and anytime.
Easy to use Recharging
How easy will it be for me to recharge my personal alarm? Will my 85-year-old mother be able to recharge the device on her own or will I need to have someone help her? Your personal alarm must include an easy-to-use recharger that anyone will be able to recharge. Our mCareWatch and mCareMate personal alarms include easy to use magnetic recharger bases, USB cables and power adaptors, making it simple and easy to recharge your personal alarm.
Ongoing local Support?
Will the personal alarm company you purchase offer ongoing local support via the telephone, email or online? If something did go wrong with your personal alarm, will you be able to return it, or have it fixed? Will you be able to speak to someone who can assist you with a specific setting on your personal alarm? Will the customer support team be based in your time zone, or will you need to email them and wait until the next day for a response?
Choosing the right personal emergency alarm for yourself or a loved one can be a stressful and an overwhelming experience. This article aims to summarise some of the key items and questions you should be asking when making the decision to purchase the appropriate personal alarm.
Choosing the right Personal Alarm CHECKLIST
- Type of Personal Alarm
- Pendant Alarm
- Smart Watch
- Mobile APP
- Who responds to the SOS calls?
- Family & Friends
- 24/7 Monitoring bureau
- Who are you purchasing from?
- Does it have GPS Location?
- Is it Water resistant?
- Fall Detection
- Is my online data safe?
- Carer’s Mobile APP & Dashboard
- Easy to recharger
- Ongoing local support
If you’ve stumbled upon this article and have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via 1300 188 557 or email us at email@example.com. Our Australian based customer support team would love to assist you further.