Know Your Rights: Seniors Alert Scheme

Question

I am a pensioner and live with my daughter who works full-time. I am on my own a lot of the time and I’m worried about my safety. I would like to get a personal alarm but I can’t afford one.

Answer (May 2018)

The Seniors Alert Scheme gives support to provide and install monitored personal alarm systems to older people of limited means. The scheme aims to support older people to continue to live securely and independently in their homes. The scheme is available through local community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations registered with Pobal, the non-profit company that administers the scheme.

The personal alarm is worn as a pendant around your neck or around your wrist like a watch and connects to a base unit in your home. When the alarm is activated, it automatically rings a helpline, which is open 24 hours a day, all year round. A helpline operator talks to you through the base unit and decides whether to alert a local volunteer responder or, if necessary, the emergency services.

The alarm monitoring service is free for the first year. After the first year, you pay an annual monitoring fee. Charges vary by provider and the type of alarm or pendant.

People aged 65 or over with limited means are eligible for the scheme. You must also be either living alone, living alone for most of the day, living with someone who also meets the eligibility criteria, or caring for someone else in your household. You must be able to benefit from the equipment being supplied and willing to maintain contact with the group administering the scheme. The equipment is supplied and installed for free, however you must return it to the registered group if no longer needed.

Contact the local group administering the scheme in your area to apply. Pobal publishes a list of all registered groups in the country on its website pobal.ie. You can also contact Pobal at (01) 511 7000 for details of your local group.