Best personal alarms for the elderly

Choosing a personal alarm for your elderly parent or relative can be a bewildering and time-consuming process, that can often result in decision paralysis and procrastination.

Navigating the realm of personal alarms for the elderly means researching multiple providers, different types of alarms and other gadgets and trying to decipher all the technical jargon that goes with it.

Factor in individual needs, budget constraints and specific features, and it’s no wonder that many of us feel overwhelmed and can put it off.

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Best personal alarms for the elderly

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Among the types of personal alarms available are go-anywhere GPS alarms that use mobile phone networks. These are the most comprehensive alarms available to give you the greatest peace of mind if you have an active yet vulnerable parent susceptible to falls and other accidents.

If your parent is more or less housebound or never goes out on their own, then a cheaper, standard alarm without GPS may suit their needs better.

Conversely, if your elder parent is tech-savvy, and in good health, you and they might find an all-bells-and-whistles personal alarm with 24/7 monitoring a tad excessive. In this case, if you still want something to ease your worries should they have a serious fall or need help quickly in an emergency, you may want to consider a smart watch with built-in fall detection.

Whatever the case, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

This is our curated list of the best personal alarms for the elderly that are both GPS-enabled and come with a 24/7 emergency monitoring service for complete peace of mind.

Things we considered when making our selections

First off, these alarms are all selected for their quality, reputation and reviews.

They’re also future-proof – you can use these alarms without a base station requiring no landline connection. This is essential, as the UK government plans to shut down analogue phone lines by 2025.

The personal alarms compiled here work via GPS and mobile phone networks, meaning the user’s location can be pinpointed throughout the UK. They also incorporate built-in microphones for two-way communication, facilitating communication even when the user is out of the house.

Here were our considerations when curating this list for the best personal alarms for the elderly for complete peace of mind:

Fall detection

For utmost user safety, it was imperative for us to choose alarms equipped with automated fall detection.

This built-in feature ensures that the device can sense when the wearer has a sudden or unexpected fall and automatically sends out an alert, even if the individual is unconscious and unable to press the emergency button, ensuring immediate assistance.

Two-way communication

A critical component for emergencies is instant and clear communication. With a built-in microphone and speaker, all our selected alarms ensure that the wearer can directly communicate with the monitoring centre.

This two-way communication facilitates prompt assessment of the situation and routing of required assistance.

GPS tracking

GPS tracking ensures that the monitoring centre or emergency responders can precisely locate the wearer.

This is especially vital for users who might be outdoors or away from familiar surroundings.

UK-based 24/7 monitoring

Trust and reliability are paramount. By selecting alarms with 24/7 monitoring services, we ensure that assistance is timely and familiar.

Round-the-clock monitoring provides peace of mind that help is always just a button press away.

Water resistant

These personal alarms are labelled as waterproof (typically IP67, meaning they can be immersed in 1 metre of freshwater for up to 30 minutes). This ensures users can wear them in the bath or shower, where falls and emergencies can often occur.

Reliable connectivity

Consistent performance is vital for any personal alarm system.

The selected alarms boast reliable connectivity, ensuring that distress calls are always received and that there’s minimal risk of technical hitches during emergencies.

Low battery notification

A low battery notification feature in our selected alarms ensures that users are always informed well in advance to recharge their devices.

This preemptive measure helps guarantee that the device is always functional when needed.

User-friendly interface

We understand the importance of accessibility and ease of use, especially for the elderly or those unfamiliar with technology.

Our chosen alarms are renowned for their user-friendly interfaces, making them straightforward to set up and operate.

Note about pacemakers

It’s essential to note that while GPS-enabled pendants and personal alarms can be invaluable safety tools, they may interfere with pacemakers.

If you or someone you’re buying for has a pacemaker, consult with a medical professional before using a GPS-enabled pendant.

Comparison table

To make your decision making simple, here’s our ‘at-a-glance’ comparison table of the five options we’ve selected. Please note that features and pricing are subject to change, so always double-check directly with the provider.

Prices typically exclude VAT, so you may need to add 20% – but if your parent has a condition that requires regular medication or is registered disabled, then they are likely eligible for VAT exemption. According to the providers, most customers are eligible for VAT exemption.

Note – Prices are correct at time of writing, but may be subject to change. Do double-check the price with the provider. Many providers offer deals and discounts, too.

ProductMonthly subscription feeWater resistantBattery lifeGPSTwo-way communicationNo landline requiredFall detection
Taking Care Anywhere Personal Alarm£26.99IP67 (up to 1 metre)1-2 months (main pendant)
Careline GPS Pendant Personal Alarm£21.99 (fall detection included)Yes, IP rating not givenUp to 3 days
SureSafeGO 24/7 Connect Personal Alarm£18.99IP67 (up to 1 metre)7-10 days✓ (optional)
GO! GPS Alarm Plan£21.00IP67 (up to 1 metre)1-2 months

1. Taking Care Anywhere Personal Alarm

Taking Care Trustpilot rating: 4.6 (Excellent) based on over 1750 reviews

Overview: This alarm is provided through Age Co (which is 100% owned by Age UK and gives its profits to the charity) and is the first Which? Trusted Trader approved personal alarm service in the UK. The alarm only needs recharging every 1-2 months, and they provide a free backup alarm which can be used around the home when the main alarm is on charge.  They offer 3-months free monitoring for the first year if you pay annually by Direct Debit, but it still has the highest subscription cost of all the alarms on this list.

Cost and cancellation policy:

  • Device and set up cost: £70.00
  • Subscription fee: £26.99 per month
  • Minimum term: None – cancel anytime
  • Total subscription fee for 1st year: £323.88 (reduced to £242.91 if pay annually by Direct Debit)
  • Five-year total cost incl. device, set up and subscription fees: £1,608.43 (based on paying annually by Direct Debit)
  • Refund policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Repairs: Free

Features and benefits:

  • Watch or pendant? Pendant (or on keyring but fall detection only works when worn as pendant)
  • Automatic fall detection: Yes. This feature ensures that if a fall is detected, the pendant will automatically call the Taking Care’s Emergency Resolution Centre
  • 24/7 UK-based monitoring: Yes
  • GPS tracking: Yes. The pendant can track the wearer’s exact location, automatically sending this information to the 24/7 monitoring team during emergencies
  • Emergency communication: Yes. User can communicate with the 24/7 monitoring centre using the pendant’s built-in microphone and speaker
  • Average response time: 6.2 seconds
  • Backup pendant included? Yes. Users receive a backup pendant that works within the home and garden (not GPS-enabled), providing an extra layer of safety
  • Battery life: 1 to 2 months per charge for the main pendant and up to 5 years for the backup pendant. Voice message alerts user when battery is low
  • Time to charge battery: 3-5 hours
  • Monitoring for family: No
  • Water resistant: The GPS pendant alarm is water resistant up to 1 metre (IP67 standard)

2. Careline GPS Pendant Personal Alarm

Careline365 Trust Pilot Rating: 4.5 (Excellent) based on over 2200 reviews

Overview: Easy to install, this alarm can be worn as either a watch or a pendant, and comes in a discrete, simple design that can be customised in a variety of colours.  They also have the fastest average response time – within just 5 seconds. The downside is they have a shorter battery life than the others so need charging much more frequently (every 3 days). Good for someone with a pacemaker as can be worn on the wrist.

Cost and cancellation policy (prices based on automatic fall detection included):

  • Device and set up cost: £114.97 (includes first 3-month subscription)
  • Subscription fee: £24.99 per month (paid quarterly)
  • Minimum term: None – cancel anytime
  • Total subscription fee for 1st year: £299.88
  • Five-year total cost incl. device, set up and subscription fees: £1539.40
  • Refund policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Repairs: Free if unit malfunctions or chargeable for careless reason

Features and benefits:

  • Watch or pendant? Either
  • Automatic fall detection: Yes, optional if you don’t want to include. 
  • 24/7 UK-based monitoring: Yes
  • GPS tracking: Yes. The pendant can track the wearer’s exact location, automatically sending this information to the 24/7 monitoring team during emergencies
  • Emergency communication: Yes. User can communicate with the 24/7 monitoring centre using the pendant’s built-in microphone and speaker
  • Average response time: less than 5 seconds
  • Backup pendant included? No. An extra pendant can be purchased for a second person or as a spare in case of misplacing the original
  • Battery life: Up to 48 hours per charge. The company recommends charging the alarm every other day.
  • Time to charge battery: 2-3 hours
  • Monitoring for family: No
  • Water resistant:  Yes, but IP rating not provided

3. SureSafeGO 24/7 Connect Personal Alarm

SureSafe Trust Pilot Rating: 4.7 (Excellent) based on over 120 reviews

Overview: This alarm comes with a great optional extra of an accompanying friends and family app for just an additional £3 per month. The app provides real-time information about the user’s current location, last 10 recorded locations, connection status, battery life, whether the device is switched on, recent events, plus access to a chat feature, geofencing and a step/activity counter. Geofencing makes it good for users with dementia that are prone to wandering. However, average response time is slower, and while other alarms on this list have a lifetime warranty, SureSafe offers a 24-month limited warranty.

Cost and cancellation policy:

  • Device and set up cost: £149.95
  • Subscription fee: £18.99 per month
  • Minimum term: None – cancel anytime
  • Total subscription fee for 1st year: £263.88
  • Five-year total cost incl. device, set up and subscription fees: £1,289.35
  • Refund policy: 14 days
  • Warranty: 24-month limited warranty
  • Repairs: Repair or replace device for free within 24 months (subject to the limited warranty).

Features and benefits:

  • Watch or pendant? Pendant or clipped to waistband
  • Automatic fall detection: Yes
  • 24/7 UK-based monitoring: Yes
  • GPS tracking: Yes. The pendant can track the wearer’s exact location, automatically sending this information to the 24/7 monitoring team during emergencies
  • Emergency communication: Yes. User can communicate with the 24/7 monitoring centre using the pendant’s built-in microphone and speaker
  • Average response time: 97.5% of calls answered within 60 seconds
  • Back up pendant included? No
  • Battery life: 7 to 10 days. If battery levels drop to a critical level then the 24/7 response team will call to remind them to place it on charge.
  • Time to charge battery: 4 hours
  • Monitoring for family: Yes, optional via a ‘friends & family’ mobile app (additional cost of £3 per month).
  • Geo-fencing: Available with additional ‘friends and family’ mobile app, this allows families to set up designated ‘safe zones’ and receive alerts if the user has wandered outside of this zone.
  • Water resistant:  Yes, can be submerged up to 1 metre (IP67)

4. GO! GPS Alarm Plan

Telecare24 Trust Pilot Rating: 4.7 (Excellent) based on over 2000 reviews

Overview: This alarm is the cheapest of the four options. However, it comes with a minimum 12-month contract and the subscription is only billed annually (no monthly option). The alarm has a long battery life between charges (up to 1-2 months), and comes in pendant form only – which must be worn over clothing.

Cost and cancellation policy:

  • Device and set up cost: £297 (includes 12-month subscription)
  • Subscription fee: £21.00 per month (paid yearly)
  • Minimum term: Minimum 12-month contract
  • Total subscription fee for 1st year: £252.00
  • Five-year total cost incl. device, set up and subscription fees: £1,305
  • Refund policy: 14 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Repairs: Free for malfunctions. Chargeable for careless damage.

Features and benefits:

  • Watch or pendant? Pendant
  • Automatic fall detection: Yes
  • 24/7 UK-based monitoring: Yes
  • GPS tracking: Yes. The pendant can track the wearer’s exact location, automatically sending this information to the 24/7 monitoring team during emergencies
  • Emergency communication: Yes. User can communicate with the 24/7 monitoring centre using the pendant’s built-in microphone and speaker
  • Average response time: less than 9 seconds
  • Back up pendant included? No
  • Battery life: Up to 1 to 2 months
  • Time to charge battery: 3-5 hours
  • Monitoring for family: No
  • Water resistant: Yes. Can be submerged in up to 1 metre of water (IP67 rating)

Our homework

Starting the search to find the best personal alarm for your elder parent or relative is no small task – we understand that from the get-go and have aimed to do the heavy lifting for you.

To ensure our recommendations are comprehensive, reliable, and trustworthy, here’s a detailed look into our research process:

Exploratory research on UK provider sites

Our first port of call was to deep-dive into various provider sites, meticulously reviewing the wide range of options available.

By directly sourcing information from these sites, we gained a clear understanding of each product’s features, benefits, and technical specifications, laying the foundation for our evaluation.

Trustpilot and Google reviews

To grasp real-world user experiences, we scoured Trustpilot and Google reviews.

These platforms provided us with insights into the reliability, functionality, and user-friendliness of different alarms from actual users.

Combining the technical knowledge from the provider sites with these candid user reviews gave us a more holistic perspective on each product’s strengths and potential shortcomings.

Direct consultations with providers

We contacted several providers directly to fill in any gaps and get answers to our specific queries.

Engaging with them gave us clarity on product features, potential concerns, and the kind of post-purchase support users can expect.

Direct dialogue often sheds light on nuances not immediately apparent through online research.

Evaluating response times and connectivity

Arguably, two of the most crucial factors in any emergency system are its response time and consistent connectivity.

We assessed these by looking into data from provider sites where available, user reviews, and through our direct interactions with providers.

In summary

These alarms have been chosen to ensure the utmost safety and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

However, it’s essential to note that while these advanced features offer extensive protection, other more basic alarms and systems without 24/7 emergency monitoring and GPS are also available at a lower cost.

The alarms included here are designed to be comprehensive in their feature sets and offer you complete peace of mind, but this sometimes comes at the sacrifice of battery life – so be sure to evaluate that.

Where upfront costs are involved, weigh them up against the long-term costs of a higher subscription fee.

Common questions

  • What is the basic personal alarm for the elderly?

A basic personal alarm for the elderly is a device, often worn as a pendant or wristband, that allows the wearer to summon help in case of an emergency.

Pressing a button sends a signal to a designated emergency response centre or a pre-selected contact.

  • Are personal alarms worth it?

Absolutely. Personal alarms provide an added layer of security and peace of mind for both the elderly and their families.

They ensure that help can be summoned promptly in case of emergencies. Given the invaluable benefit of ensuring the safety and well-being of a loved one, many consider them a worthy investment.

  • Which is better – a pendant alarm or a wrist alarm?

Both pendant and wrist alarms serve the same essential function, so the choice largely comes down to personal preference.

Some find the pendant more comfortable and less intrusive, while others prefer the wrist alarm for its wristwatch-like feel. It’s crucial to choose whichever is more likely to be worn consistently.

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