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Woman being taught how to use a personal alarm


The Age UK Personal Alarm for the elderly give users the freedom to live independently in their own homes.  But what can they do that a mobile phone can’t and are personal alarms better than a mobile phone in an emergency? 

  • A personal alarm is smaller than a mobile phone 
  • It is always with you in the home because you wear it
  • It has a long-lasting battery 
  • It offers help 24 hours a day

Personal alarms operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will call a 24-hour emergency response centre in seconds when the button is pressed. This gives you the peace of mind that 24-hour care is always on hand with the help of personal alarms. Mobile phones also offer the function to call emergency services and display your medical information. Also allowing you access to emergency services over the phone. But which is better? 

How can I contact emergency services using my personal alarm or mobile phone? 

Personal Alarm 

To active your Age UK Personal Alarm and call the 24-hour emergency response centre, you only need to press one button. There are no numbers to remember or a need to ‘turn on’ the device. Your personal alarm can be worn day and night. They don't need charging overnight, which makes it perfect for late night bathroom visits. On average, 98% of calls made via personal alarms are answered within 60 seconds. In 2018 the response team helped over 20,000 people.   

Once you press the button on your personal alarm, it will automatically dial a 24-hour emergency response centre. There is a two-way speech link on the base unit of the device, or the operator can call your emergency contacts to help you. The efficiency of the personal alarm sets it aside from a mobile phone for ease of use. It gives the operator the power to also notify your emergency contacts.   

Mobile Phone 

On most smartphones the unlock screen also has the option to call an emergency service. Some also have the useful feature of displaying your medical details. This would help if you were away from your home and had no personal details on you in the case of an accident. Your phone can provide important personal and medical details, including your emergency contact details. It is best to search how to do this online for your phone model if you are unsure. Whilst the information provided is detailed, it may not be easy to access in an emergency and would always require you to have your phone within reach.   

Is a personal alarm more functional than a mobile phone? 

Personal Alarm 

The Age UK Personal Alarm is waterproof, meaning you can wear it in the bath and shower without having to worry about damaging the device. It has a long-lasting battery life, so you don’t need to worry about it running out of charge on you when you need it most. It’s also not affected by power cuts and can be operated up to 75 meters away from its base. This device is compact and simple to use, which makes it the perfect device to have on you in an emergency.  

Mobile Phone 

A lot of phones are now waterproof, but we wouldn’t recommend operating your mobile in the shower. Battery life on the average smartphone is between 10 – 14 hours depending on the usage. This means your phone is more liable to run out of power. Whereas your personal alarm should keep going for a lot longer. However, you can only use your personal alarm within a 150-mile radius of your house, whilst your phone can be used anywhere with signal.  

Is a personal alarm smaller than a mobile phone? 

Personal Alarm 

Personal alarms are designed to be discreet; they are made to fit in with your daily routine and not cause you any issue. You can wear your personal alarm on a pendant around your neck or on your wrist like a bracelet. It’s easy to be able to always have your personal alarm with you due to the design. The Age UK Personal Alarm is pocket sized and could easily be concealed with clothing if the wearer didn’t want the device on display. They are smaller than most mobile phones, which makes them easy to have on your person around your home.  

Mobile Phone 

A lot of people carry mobile phones with them when they’re out and about. In the home you’re less likely to have, or want to have, your phone on your person 24/7. Depending on your device your phone may not be of a size to fit in your pocket. Constantly carrying a phone relies on you wearing a certain type of clothing. Generally due to this size of a mobile phone, it isn’t a viable option for the 27/7 support that you can receive from an Age UK Personal Alarm

What’s cheaper, a personal alarm or a mobile phone? 

Personal Alarm 

The Age UK Personal Alarm has an initial one-off cost of £69 (+£13.80 VAT), if you self-connect, which is a discount of £99 from the option of having it installed for you. There is then an on-going monthly charge of £16.48 (+£3.30 VAT), which makes your total first payment £85.48 (+£17.10 VAT).

From this point on, for just 73p a day*, you will have a personal alarm with 24-hour reassurance in case of emergencies.  

Download the Easy-Connect self install guide - "Tunstall" personal alarm unit

Mobile Phone 

The average mobile phone costs as little as £15 whereas smartphones cost anywhere from £179.99 upwards. While the cost of a cheap phone may be low, you will need to pay a network provider for your phone, which could cost as much as the phone itself, but on a monthly basis. A smartphone will offer more than just the ability to call 999, but if you only need it for emergency calls, then a personal alarm could be cheaper. Here’s a review for the best phones for the elderly.   

In conclusion, a personal alarm is an excellent solution to offer 24/7 emergency support to those in need. This device operates in a very different way to a mobile phone, it is fast, efficient and more reliable to use around the home. Whilst a mobile phone is a better portable solution, Age UK’s Personal Alarm device could benefit you or a relative around the home.  

*Daily price is based on the total first year's cost including the initial cost and yearly monitoring cost - when ordering self - connect.



For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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