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What is Telecare?

Find out what telecare is and how it can help you remain independent at home with remote technology enabled care such as personal alarms and home adaptations.

Diagram showing how telecare works

Are you looking for ways to stay independent in your own home and live happily and healthily for longer? Or perhaps you’re caring for a loved one but there is uncertainty if they are safe at home by themselves and you want to know what’s best for them?

It can be complicated to navigate through a maze of information about care and understand what it is that you’re looking for.

Sometimes the family member or friend that we care for are not as confident as they used to be living independently. It can be a source of concern, especially if you cannot always be around to help and it can all get too much sometimes. The thought of going into a care home can have an emotional impact and raise financial concerns.

The priority for most of us as we age is to remain independent and healthy in the homes we love. Telecare is a monitoring service that supports independent living and provides confidence that help is available 24 hours a day.

How telecare works

Telecare services use a personal alarm and other monitored devices such as elderly fall alarms or home sensors to call the monitoring centre in an emergency. Telecare can be an alternative to a loved one having to move into a care home or have a live-in carer. 

These assistive technologies also provide reassurance to family and friends who may not be able to visit as often as they would like. For an elderly person who lives alone, telecare can reassure them that help is never far away should an accident or medical emergency occur.  

Technology enabled care

According to the UK healthcare market statistics, out of 18 million consumers who are aged 60 and over, 97% are not open to going into a care home. It can be difficult when it seems like a care home or a live-in carer might be the only available options, but the solution can sometimes be much simpler. If the person that you care for could benefit from peace of mind and reassurance should they need help in an emergency, technology enabled care (TEC) could be just the answer.

Telecare is a technology designed service to provide support at home, enabling independent living and giving confidence that help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.

How does telecare work?

An emergency alarm for the elderly, usually discreetly worn around the wrist or neck as a pendant, automatically calls through to the response centre when pressed. By pressing the alarm button, the alarm user is quickly connected to the response centre through the base unit that is plugged into a telephone socket. This provides two-way communication using the sensitive loudspeaker built into the base unit.

A member of the response team will automatically know who is calling and have access to any medical information the alarm user has shared with the telecare provider. They will offer reassurance and send help on its way even if the customer can’t hear or respond. The response team will notify keyholders – nominated contacts who live nearby and have access to the property, such as a neighbour or family member, and the emergency services if needed.

Why does telecare need to be monitored 24/7?

Not everyone has family or friends who live nearby and can respond in an emergency. Having a 24 hour monitored telecare solution ensures the elderly or vulnerable are fully supported and can continue to live independently at home.

When our telecare alarms make an emergency call, they will contact one of our three UK based Emergency Resolution Centres. The Emergency Resolution team will know who is calling and where they are calling from. Even if the elderly panic alarm user is unable to communicate, the specialist team will be able to coordinate the appropriate level of help.

The expertly trained team will have the alarm user's emergency contacts and medical information to hand and will quickly assess the situation. A family member or friend will then be contacted, or if medical assistance is needed then the emergency services will be called.

Do you need telecare if you have a mobile phone?

Mobile phones are great for keeping in touch with loved ones but are not always suitable for getting help in an emergency.

Relatives may not always be available to answer a call. They may have their phones switched off or on silent, be out of coverage or at work.

There are other benefits to having a personal alarm or emergency alert system compared to a mobile phone. Our personal alarms are connected to our three UK based Emergency Resolution Centres, ensuring no call goes unanswered.

A mobile phone does not have a fixed location like an in-home alarm or tracking like a GPS alarm. You need to remember to carry it with you at all times and to charge it regularly. The pendant alarms have a long 5-year battery life and can be worn comfortably around the neck or wrist. The button on the pendant can then be easily reached in an accident of emergency.

Most mobile phones are not water resistant so can't be taken into the bath or shower. Our pendant alarms are water resistant so they can be worn where the risk of falling or slipping is highest.

Who can benefit from telecare?

Although many elderly people benefit from telecare, the service can also provide support to other vulnerable people. This includes individuals such as those living with dementia, people with mobility problems or those with a physical or learning disability.

The teams in our UK based Emergency Resolution Centres are also ‘Dementia Friends’ trained and fully understand the challenges of caring for people with dementia, Alzheimer’s or mental impairments. 

Telecare greatly benefits the friends and family of the user, giving them peace of mind that their loved one has access to help 24 hours a day should they need it.

Telecare support to remain independent

The emergency alarm for the elderly is quick to arrange and easy to set-up and use. Additionally, you can make the home safer by adding services and adaptations as and when circumstances change, with many telecare providers offering a range of sensors and detectors. These work alongside the personal alarm service, signalling to the alarm user and the response team if an issue is detected.

You can usually add and tailor these to your personal alarm service, choosing and selecting from the available services to meet specific needs. Ask your telecare provider about a safe home assessment to help you decide which home adaptations are most suitable.

Many people benefit from additional reassurance by having a bogus caller button to help deal with unexpected visitors, or a personal fall alarm to monitor falls and get help if the wearer has fallen.

For those who might not easily notice a sudden temperature change, it is recommended to have a temperature sensor, to avoid the risk of suffering hypothermia - especially during the winter months where there might be a drop in the temperature. Other home safety services include smart home monitoring, smoke and flood detectors and carbon monoxide detector, which is particularly helpful for those with a gas fired boiler.

To get help away from the home, a personal alarm with GPS provides a way to call for help from any location with a mobile network reception. Dementia trackers and dementia alarms are designed to find people who are living with dementia or have learning difficulties and may wander.

A personalised telecare service can help your loved ones' home remain their haven and they can be safe in the knowledge that help is always at hand.


Providing a life-saving service to over ¼ million people and their families

Taking Care has been providing personal alarm services for more than 30 years. We've supported over ¼ million people and their families with personal alarms. We aim to answer alarm calls within 30 seconds, so you can feel safe and be confident of receiving the support you and your family deserve.

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