It’s official – we are living longer

Getting older also means getting wiser – especially about health and safety. Now, with a new portable device available, it’s easier than ever

It’s official! Not only are we all now living longer but we are healthier for longer too. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed in October that the number of centenarians in the UK has increased fivefold in the last 30 years. The seismic change in life expectancy is fantastic news. Many of those in the earlier years of retirement are fitter than ever before – it’s worth planning and taking a ‘gap year for grownups’ just to witness the look of sheer amazement on the faces of our offspring and the grandchildren as rucksacks are packed along with our micro-chipped passports. But while this is great news for all of us who rocked the 60s and boogied through the 70s, it also presents challenges, especially when we choose the comfort of hotels rather than hostels.

Older people now make up 72 per cent of all social services clients. As our population ages, it is more important than ever that social care gives older people choice and control over services that help them to remain independent. As expected, the cost of providing residential care in later life has grown year on year, which can put additional strain on the NHS and financial pressure on the government, whichever party is in office. But, with a little help and monitoring, more of us are able to stay safe and secure within the privacy and familiarity of our own home. It is central government policy to improve independence, choice and promote people’s ability to live at home and, in line with the government’s agenda of promoting the use of telecare to enable people to stay in their own homes for longer, “Johnnie” Johnson Housing Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that provides more than 4,700 homes including retirement housing, has recently launched a smarter new personal alarm service called Astraline callsafe.

It is never easy to admit that we aren’t quite as young or fit as we used to be, or indeed still feel, and it is often our nearest and dearest who are the first to remind us (thanks for that!) and perhaps the last thing we want to have in our home is a big white box with a big red button that reminds us of our vulnerability and shouts ‘dependence’. But there maybe occasions when a personal alarm could make a real difference to our way of life should we suddenly feel unwell or have a fall. Astraline have dedicated time to source a more modern design and produced callsafe, a personal alarm system that sits discreetly in the home, often mistaken for a broadband hub – excellent for boosting street credibility.

The stylish callsafe alarm unit gives the user and their family peace of mind; the Trust’s response team – located in Astraline, the organisation’s in-house call centre – is available round the clock to provide help and support when it is needed most. The caller’s medical history and details of any specific needs are accessible by the team, enabling them to provide the most appropriate response without delay.

The callsafe alarm system works by plugging a radio transmitter/receiver into a phone line, which can then connect with the 24-hour telephone response centre. Each unit also comes with a sleek remote radio button, worn as either a pendant or discreetly on the wrist, which is designed to be worn by the user at all times – throughout the house and even in the garden, meaning users are constantly protected. This service is available from just 46p per day*.

More information about the service can be found at www.callsafe.org, or by ringing the callsafe customer services team on 0845 217 0721.

As with all the trust’s services, profits made from callsafe go directly back into improving the lives of residents and their communities.

*There is also a small, one-off charge for set up and if required, we can also install the system for you. The 46p per day refers to the monthly monitoring service charge which is paid via Direct Debit.

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