155 seniors in Longford received a personal alarm since 2015, with more to qualify this year
155 Longford seniors received a personal alarm since 2015, with more to qualify this year, a local Fine Gael TD has said.
Earlier this week, the Department of Rural and Community Development allocated €2.3 million for the renewed Seniors Alert Scheme, which comes into effect on November 1.
Deputy Peter Burke said: “Some 155 local senior citizens have received personal alarms in this county the last two years.
“I am delighted to announce that this scheme will be extended to even more people locally thanks to a new range of measures.
“From this year on, you no longer have to be living alone in order to qualify for the scheme.
“This measure 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. This measure contributes greatly to 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 its delivery are providing a valuable service and deserve great credit.”
Deputy Peter Burke continued: “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.
“I hope the renewed scheme will help even more people enjoy a greater sense of 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.
“Other new elements of the scheme include free monitoring of the alarm service for the first year and a boost to administrative payments to community groups involved in rolling out the scheme.”
Another technological development was launched by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, this week to 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.
“This new technology 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."