Your Guide To Personal Alarms and Telecare in Ireland

What Is Telecare?

Telecare is a form of support delivered at a distance, through the use of technology. This support is provided by establishing an uninterrupted connection between individuals at home and trained call-handlers at a 24-hour monitoring center.

Typically, a basic telecare system comprises two components: an emergency panic button, wearable as a wristband or pendant, and a two-way speech unit (the central hub of the telecare system) typically situated in the home’s hallway. In an emergency, pressing the alarm button on the wristband or pendant triggers an immediate connection via the two-way speech hub to call-handlers in the 24/7 monitoring center. These skilled professionals can then organize assistance as required.

The emergency pendant button is perhaps the most recognized telecare device, available in various styles with wristband versions also popular. Regardless of appearance or wearing preference, their primary function remains consistent: summoning help from a 24/7 monitoring center when needed.

Moreover, numerous other telecare devices can transmit signals to the two-way speech hub, enhancing 24/7 protection throughout every room of the home. This telecare equipment includes automatic fall detectors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and flood detectors. Since they are typically wireless, installation around the home or in outbuildings is generally hassle-free.

By establishing a continuous link to a monitoring center, pendant alarms and telecare devices empower individuals, particularly the elderly and those with disabilities, to maintain independence and enhance safety while at home. Consequently, telecare offers peace of mind not only to the individual using it but also to their family members and loved ones.

How does telecare work?

The telecare emergency call process typically involves three basic stages:

Step #1 – Activation: You press a button on your pendant alarm, or another telecare device in your home is triggered.

Step #2 – Connection: A call is automatically placed to a 24/7 monitoring center, via the telecare two-way speech unit.

Step #3 – Response: Trained call-handlers communicate with you through the two-way speech unit. If assistance is needed or if there’s no response, they promptly contact a nominated person or emergency services to ensure your well-being.

For a visual demonstration of the simplest form of telecare, watch our ‘What is Telecare’ animated video. Additionally, below you’ll other useful information about pendant alarms, how telecare works, what to expect in a telecare system and how to buy telecare.

Why is a two-way speech unit needed?

 

The telecare two-way speech unit, also known as the base-unit, serves as the central component of your telecare system, functioning as its “brain”. When the alarm button on your pendant is pressed, the base-unit initiates a call to a 24/7 monitoring centre. Typically situated in the hallway or bedroom, the base-unit can be placed anywhere with power and connectivity, whether through broadband or GSM.

Various makes and models of base-units are available, each offering different functionalities. 

The microphone within the base-unit is sensitive enough to pick up sound from a distance, ensuring effective communication with the monitoring center. 

It’s crucial to ensure that your base-unit includes a built-in battery backup. For GSM units, this backup ensures uninterrupted alarm functionality during power outages. However, it’s important to note that if you have broadband, you won’t have connectivity during a power outage unless your broadband hub also has a battery backup. Be sure to contact your broadband supplier to enquire about this additional feature.

The telecare hub and pendant button transmit an alert to the 24-hour response centre

Can other telecare equipment be added?

The versatility of telecare two-way speech units allows them to receive signals from various telecare devices positioned throughout your home. These devices may include monitored pull-cords, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, door exit alarms, or other telecare equipment. When any of these devices are triggered, they transmit a radio signal to the telecare two-way speech unit. Each device sends a unique identifying code to the 24/7 monitoring center, enabling call-handlers to discern which piece of telecare equipment has been activated. This swift identification ensures that appropriate assistance can be promptly dispatched when needed. Our Telecare Equipment page lists some of the different telecare devices commonly available. The image below also illustrates how telecare equipment can be strategically placed throughout various areas of your home.

Telecare Devices can connect to the same telecare base unit in your home

How many telecare devices connect to the two-way speech unit?

The number of telecare devices that will connect to your two-way speech unit will depend on the make/model of your telecare unit. The current telecare system provided by our sponsor TASK Community Care connects up to 20 telecare peripherals. Be aware that providers often charge for 24/7 monitoring each telecare device separately, so ask about whether or not those potential charges will apply too.

How is telecare installed?

This will depend on the make and model of telecare equipment you have installed, including whether it works over your home broadband or GSM (Mobile) connectivity. See our How to Install Telecare Equipment page for further details on installing telecare in your home.

Do I need a home phone-line for telecare?

No, you do not need a home phone-line for telecare. If you don’t have a home phone-line, you can use a telecare ‘GSM’ base-unit instead. This unit is installed similarly to a standard telecare base-unit but only needs to be plugged into an electrical socket, making installation easy and flexible in terms of placement. A GSM telecare two-way speech unit operates using a mobile SIM card, so it does not require a home phone-line. This allows the unit to function anywhere in your home that has an electrical socket.

What happens if I press the emergency pendant button but call-handlers can’t hear me?

If the response centre call-handlers do not hear a response (for instance, if you have fallen in your driveway) they will first try calling you back to your home. If they still don’t get a reply, they will then call one of the nominated contacts you have provided details for, such as a neighbour, family member or friend.

What happens if I press my pendant alarm button by mistake?

Rest assured, accidental activation of your alarm button is not a cause for concern. The response center understands that such occurrences can happen and welcomes them as they serve to test the functionality of your telecare system. Additionally, it’s advisable to press the alarm button at least once a month to ensure your telecare system is in proper working order. Furthermore, most base-units are equipped with a button that allows you to cancel the call before it is initiated, providing an added layer of control and peace of mind.

What is the range of a pendant alarm?

Understanding the operational range of your pendant alarm is important. Always ask your telecare supplier about this before you buy any system or piece of telecare equipment. The range can vary depending on the specific equipment you choose, typically spanning from 50 to 300 meters. It’s essential to inquire about this aspect from suppliers before making a purchase, especially if you intend to use the pendant in areas like your driveway or garden.

Additionally, factors such as the thickness of walls in your home can influence the range of the pendant alarm. If you reside on a farm or have an expansive outdoor area, you may consider installing “repeaters” in outhouses, provided they have access to electricity. These repeaters significantly extend the transmission distance of the pendant, enhancing coverage across larger spaces.

Will my pendant alarm work if there is a power cut?

If you’re using broadband to connect your telecare alarm, your alarm is unlikely to function during a power outage unless your home router is equipped with a backup battery. While most telecare alarm units come with a battery backup, without a backup battery in the router, connectivity to the monitoring center will be lost.

On the other hand, if you have a GSM telecare alarm that operates via a SIM card and is equipped with a battery backup, you should be able to access help as long as the mobile network remains operational. This is similar to how you can use a mobile phone during a power outage. For example, the backup battery in the current GSM alarms provided by our sponsor, TASK Community Care, offers up to 36 hours of operation with a 30-minute call. The battery backup in these telecare units typically activates automatically in the event of a power loss and often provides an audible alert to indicate the power failure.

What do I need to know about 24/7 telecare monitoring services?

Check out our 24/7 Telecare Monitoring page for information directly related to the monitoring of your pendant alarm or other telecare equipment.

How do I get telecare?

You can buy telecare privately from a number of suppliers. In the Repuplic of Ireland, government grants are also available. Visit our How To Get Telecare page for further details.

Welcome to Telecare.ie, your comprehensive guide to pendant alarms and telecare solutions in Ireland. Our resources and information are also valuable to readers in the UK and beyond.

We are proudly supported by Ireland’s longest-established telecare company, TASK Community Care. Based in County Meath, and with their NI counterpart, TASK Connect, in Lurgan, TASK supplies top-quality telecare equipment and offers a 24-hour telecare monitoring service throughout Ireland and the UK.

Sites to Check Out