17 April 2016


I’ve done something I thought I would never need or want. Yes, I’ve installed a personal alarm. My friend, Judy, has one and advised me to get one since I, like her, am now living alone. She had researched the whole thing and advised me to go with AgeUK, a society that deals with ageing folk. You’d never guess that from the name. I did some research as well and decided that the service as well as the equipment outweighed others; what’s more it worked out cheaper.

Just having the thing in the house is enough to make me feel ancient, let alone the alarm button I have to wear round my neck. But it makes sense, I guess, in case I ever have a fall or something equally worrying. Jeez, I felt great until the thing was installed.

It took the demonstrator two hours to explain the system and set it up, with lots of paperwork and financial arrangements to be gone into and friendly chat in between. As she, the demo lady, went along I kept thinking I would never remember it all but at the end she asked me a question.  ‘What will you do if you have a fall and can’t get to the phone?’

‘Press the button.’

‘There you go,’ she said, ‘and that’s ALL you have to remember.

All through the demo I had been wondering how much my awful memory had retained but she proved that I only needed to know that one thing. Press the button. I surely can’t forget that!

There are two ways of wearing an alarm, on the wrist like a watch or a pendant round the neck. I chose the neck version on the grounds that if I fell on my arm I might not be able to use the alarm. 

I was advised to wear it all the time, even out shopping. The range it covers is quite remarkable but I didn't think it would stretch to the shops! Okay, so I hadn't thought it through! What if, I was asked, when you arrive home and had the misfortune to fall in the drive? I couldn't believe the alarm would get through to the operator from outside the house. Wrong! To demonstrate my advisor walked down my rather huge garden while I watched from the house. Every time she pressed the button I heard the connection to the operator. I was told to wave so she knew it had worked okay. She covered such a distance my arm ached but at least I got to know that wherever I am on my own property I can buzz through for help. I have said it before and will say it again, and again... technology is a wonderful thing. 

For the first three days I had to do test runs by pressing the button. I was almost a nervous wreck the first time but I forced myself to do it. Quivering a little, I pressed the button and the gadget that connects me to phone and specialist operator lit up. I could hear the dialling tone and then some weird noises and then the dialling tone again and more noises. Then a voice came through loud and clear, ‘Good morning,’ a woman said, referring to me by name. ‘What can I do to help?’

I’d rehearsed the reply, ‘I’m just doing my first test’.

‘You’re through loud and clear, the test is a great success.’

What a relief!

Next day it was a man who answered. His words were similar and then he wished me a nice day.
That REALLY made me feel good... grins...

It was nerve-racking at first but I think I’ll get used to it. There was just one more test and now I only have to test the system once a month. With my memory you can imagine the terror.... so I’ve put it in the iPhone to be repeated on the 23rd day of every month. I was advised to pick the 23rd since my birthday falls on that day and it would be easier to remember. Age Concern is obviously used to dealing with oldies!

Apparently the phone is manned every minute of every day and night throughout the year.
It’s reassuring to know that if I get in trouble I can press the button and someone will come to my aid. Depending on what is wrong the operator will call my key-holding neighbour, police or ambulance. How marvellous is that? Suddenly I feel quite safe and not quite so alone.


Incidentally, those who read about the problem with getting Joe’s Will might be pleased to know that it arrived at the solicitor’s office last Friday. I shall soon be able to sort things out, particularly on the financial side.


  1. Valerie, I think it's WONDERFUL that you decided to install a personal alarm! One of the major drug stores here in the U.S. offers a similar type personal alarm system that works through your cell phone. However, the system you have seems so much better and technically more advanced. I like the idea of having the option of wearing the alarm button either around your neck or wrist. VERY cool!

    So glad to hear that your test runs went well and that you feel more comfortable and confident using it. I too would be nervous at first.

    I once was took a 4-day retreat by myself in a cabin in the woods, out in the Pennsylvania countryside. And the cabin I stayed in had an "alarm button" installed just in case something happened to me (such as something with my health or an accident) that would immediately contact help. I never had to to use it, but I did feel better knowing that it was there just in case.

    I'm also happy to hear that everything is working out with Joe's Will.

    Have a lovely Sunday, my friend!

  2. What a good idea. Good for you! We have an alarm company, life alert and the tag line for it is and elderly woman who's on the floor...."and I can't get up." Which was almost so over the top, it became a joke. But you know, I knew the Name of the company with out having to search my memory so it must be good advertising.

  3. Terrific invention, hopefully you will never need it, but comforting to know it works I'm sure.

  4. I'm so glad the will is going to be sorted out soon Val, that's great!

    And if that alarm is going to help to give you more peace of mind, that's great too. Sounds like you picked a good company to work with.

    Have a wonderful week. G

    Any sunshine these days or lots of rain?

  5. Sounds god that you got a personal alarm. My mom had an alarm system in her old apartment switch was a string in the bedroom and one in the bathroom. When pulled there an alarm would sound outside and the neighbors would need to come check on you and then take the right action.

    I am glad the will stuff is moving along now. I hope it all goes smoothly from here on out.

  6. Good morning, Ron. I guess if an alarm was connected to the cell phone it would work anywhere, whereas mine only works in the vicinity of house and garden. Perhaps, now you've mentioned it, I should get one that does work elsewhere. An incident at the weekend confirms the idea but more on that in another post.

    Yes things are moving now the will is to hand but you know what lawyers are like.... dead slow. I tell myself I must be patient, but it's hard.

  7. Hi Geraldine, we had snow at the weekend.... it ought never to be allowed.. smiles. Our winter came at a different time this year but maybe now the weather will improve.

  8. Katie, I now know what it feels like being unable to get up after a fall ... terrifying!

  9. Good idea, my Mom has had one for several years. Thankfully she's never had to use it but I'm glad that is her first line of help until I can get there.

  10. Good for you Valerie, I think this is a great idea.

  11. Good move, Valerie. I'm glad you feel safer already.:)

  12. Good to hear about this and Joe's will. It's important that you take care of yourself because we kinda like you. =)

  13. That's a good idea. Very sensible and practical.

    Greetings from London.

  14. PS: Hope you are having a wonderful weekend Val and that the sunny is shining down on you too! Hugs, G

  15. Geraldine, the sun is coming and going.... the clouds seem to be winning!

  16. I think these personal alarms are very sensible. No point in being too proud (as some people are) because pride won't help you if you're laying at the bottom of the stairs with a broken hip.

    Now that you have it, you can forget it. If you need it, it's there. If not, everyone will be happy!

  17. Jay, I do forget I'm wearing the alarm. I even forgot to remove it when taking a shower... although I was assured by the demonstrator that it was waterproof. Better to be safe than sorry, though.


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