Published 19 October 2017
Users no longer have to be living alone in order to qualify for the scheme
Over 60,000 personalised alarm pendants distributed by Government since 2010
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, today launched the new Seniors Alert Scheme in Summerhill, Co. Meath. The Department of Rural and Community Development has allocated €2.3 million for the new scheme, which comes into effect on 1 November 2017. The Seniors Alert Scheme provides older persons (65 years +) with a free personal monitored alarm and is run by local groups around the country.
All users have a base unit installed in their home which is connected to a national Seniors Alert Scheme helpline using landline or mobile telecommunications. 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 local volunteer responder or, in potentially serious circumstances, the emergency services.
Minister Ring said: “The Seniors Alert Scheme provides personalised monitored alarms to older citizens in order to provide them with security and peace of mind in their own homes. Alarms, which are monitored 24 hours, can be worn as a pendant or around the wrist like a watch; ensuring assistance is always available no matter where the person is in their house. Over 60,000 people have received the personalised alarm pendant from the Government under the Seniors Alert Scheme since 2010.
“From this year on, you no longer have to be living alone in order to qualify for the scheme. As Minister for Rural and Community Development, this scheme exemplifies what my Department is about. It exists with the support of local voluntary groups and if users feel in danger or require immediate assistance they can activate the device which will alert designated members of their community who can then assist them. There is free personal monitoring of the alarm for the first 12 months after which the person pays a small fee.
“Today’s launch shines a light on the safety and wellbeing of senior citizens in their homes. I strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to avail of the scheme. The community groups that are supporting this scheme are providing a valuable service and deserve great credit. I call on these groups to engage with the older people in their area to actively encourage participation in the scheme.”
Jerry Murphy, Deputy CEO of Pobal, administrators of the scheme, said: “The Seniors Alert Scheme is a community response to keeping people connected to enable them live in their homes with confidence and independence. There are Seniors Alert Scheme local community groups in all 26 counties, all of which are listed on Pobal.ie. I would encourage all those with older family members or neighbours to contact their local community group to learn more about the Scheme. You can find out about your local community group or information meetings that will be hosted across the country over the coming weeks by logging on to www.pobal.ie or calling 01 5117222.”
The main features of the new scheme include:
- those eligible no longer have to be living alone
- free monitoring of the alarm service for the first year
- increase in administrative payment to community groups involved in rolling out the scheme.
Minister Ring also drew attention to another technological development which he launched today with Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment Denis Naughten, which will help make rural Ireland a safer, more connected place. Advanced Mobile Location (AML) works by automatically finding a phone’s GPS co-ordinates when a 112 or 999 number is dialled. The co-ordinates are immediately passed to the emergency services in responding and dispatching emergency personnel to callers in need across Ireland.
Minister Ring said: “This new technology that will have a major impact on people’s lives, particularly in rural areas. It will help if someone crashes or witnesses a crash on a remote rural road but does not know their location; or if someone gets lost or hurt while out walking or hiking. It will lead to quicker response times and potentially save lives.
“My Department is working to connect communities and this technology is creating a more connected and safer Ireland.”