Milton Keynes Council’s Community Alarm Service looks after thousands of people across the borough – and further afield.
At the touch of a button, either using a pendant, a stand alone alarm, wall-mounted speech module, or the automatic activation of any number of Telecare triggers – fall detectors, temperature extreme sensor,
property exit sensors, Co2 detectors etc – help can be on its way in the case of a fall, or other emergency.
The service, which has literally proved a lifesaver for hundreds of people over the years, is now in its 26th year.
Today the Citizen shares the experiences of one Milton Keynes couple, who are very pleased to be with the Community Alarm & Telecare Service.
William and Kathleen Giles, who live in Loughton, have been connected to the alarm service since January 2003.
Over the years their alarm has sat in the background for reassurance and was rarely used. However, over the last couple of years support through the alarm connection has become a more important lifeline as William has Parkinson’s
disease. Sadly his general mobility has deteriorated - and he often falls.
Thankfully, having the alarm unit gives William the ability to call for help night or day, taking away any anxiety for Kathleen as she would be unable to lift her husband herself.
Alarm service staff regularly attend - on average 10 visits a month - with a specialist pneumatic lifting cushion which enables the team to get William back on his feet or back to bed, so as to make him safe and comfortable.
Kathleen said: “The alarm service allows me the freedom to continue with my daily activities, such as shopping, without having to worry whether I will find William on the floor when I return.
“With the alarm in place I know that William can summon help and is safe and supported.”
Being connected to the Community Alarm & Telecare Service - enables the user to summon help quickly and easily, 24 hours a day all year round. This means that assistance is available at anytime of the day or night.
At each new installation the main alarm unit is fitted and a pendant fitted, which offers additional reassurance, enabling the user to summon help at the touch of a button no matter where they are in their home. The button on the main alarm unit may also be pressed to alert the Alarm Centre that assistance is required.
Anyone living within the Milton Keynes Council area may join the Community Alarm & Telecare Service, regardless of their circumstances, and there is no qualifying age criteria.
Telecare adds another dimension in what can be offered to service users with more complex health issues, for example sensors can detect movement – or lack of – within the property and the alarm is sounded if detection does not match expected daily activity. For example if someone has taken a toilet break in the middle of the night, and not returned to their bed, which could indicate a fall or worse. There is a further associated cost to this service.
William added: “I would recommend getting on to the scheme – for me, and my wife, it has helped us maintain a certain quality of life, despite my condition.”
As soon as users operate an alarm they are automatically connected to the council’s modern control centre, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All alarm or telephone calls may be monitored or recorded for their protection. Each users name and address will automatically appear on a computer screen, together with the details of their doctor and any contacts they have supplied the council with, who have agreed to come to your aid if required.
If the council cannot reach any of the contacts, one of a team of specially trained mobile wardens will be sent to the user’s home and will provide assistance if required.
More than 5,000 homes are now connected to the Milton Keynes Community Alarm Service, which also comes as standard in all of the council’s sheltered housing schemes and in specific council purpose built bungalows and flats.
It doesn’t matter if people own their home or rent it from either Milton Keynes Council or from a housing association, anyone living within the area may be connected to the Community Alarm Service, regardless of their circumstances.
Cabinet member responsible for adult, older years and health, Councillor Debbie Brock, said: “Using the service shows clear benefits to the quality of life for those in need of support and their relatives.
“The use of assistive technology can enable peace of mind and reassurance.”
The council is actively seeking new clients for the Community Alarm and Telecare services.
To find out about both services call 01908 222616.