The Seniors Alert Scheme is the best Christmas present you can get an older relative or neighbour – Minister Ring

Doubling of participants Seniors Alert Scheme in last year 

Published 10 December 2018

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has today called on people to register older relatives and neighbours for the Seniors Alert Scheme.

 The Seniors Alert Scheme supports vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of free personal monitored alarms. The alarm can be activated by a device which is worn as a pendant or around the wrist like a watch. The scheme enables older persons (65 years +), to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.

 Minister Ring said: “The best present you could get an older relative or neighbour this Christmas is to sign up them up for free a personalised alarm.

 “All you have to do is make contact with your local Seniors Alert group. There are over 660 groups around the country and you can find out about your local group by logging on to www.pobal.ie or phoning 01 5117222. Of course, it is important to check with people before you sign them up for the scheme.”

 Minister Ring continued: “The amount of participants on the Seniors Alert Scheme has doubled in the last year as a result of increased investment in the scheme. By late 2017, there were just over 18,000 participants. This had increased to over 35,000 participants by late September of this year, and many more have signed up since then. 

 “My Department was originally allocated €2.3m in 2018 to administer the scheme but due to a huge surge in demand we have already spent €5.4 million this year. I’m delighted that so many people are availing of the scheme. I will continue to monitor the numbers applying and to ensure that every single applicant is catered for.”

 “I also want to urge people to keep an eye on their elderly neighbours at this time of year. Christmas can be a challenging time for some older people. Small gestures can make a big difference for someone who is living alone. Reaching out to an older person in your community can help brighten up their Christmas, whether it’s popping in for a chat, or lighting the fire or bringing someone some food.”

 All participants on the Seniors Alert Scheme have a base unit installed in their home which is connected to a national helpline. Alarm devices, which are monitored 24 hours, can be worn as a pendant or around the wrist like a watch, ensuring assistance is always available.

 When the user activates the personalised alarm it puts a call through to the national call centre which is open 24/7/365.The call centre operator talks to the person in their home and decides whether to alert a locally based volunteer responder or, in potentially serious circumstances, the emergency services. Over 75,000 people have received the personalised alarm pendant from the Government under the Seniors Alert Scheme since 2010.

 Personalised monitored alarms are provided free of charge to users under the Seniors Alert Scheme. The first year of monitoring is free with the user paying for each year thereafter. The monitoring costs for year two is approximately €65 plus VAT per annum.