Using a personal medical alarm
The alarm is set up to suit your personal circumstances. You'll learn how to use it when it's installed and find out how you can get help when you need it.
Services with your alarm
The services you get with your medical alarm vary between providers. Check your contract to find out exactly what services you are getting.
Some of the services include:
- training about how to use your alarm
- covering the cost of an ambulance call after you've pressed your alarm
- providing extra pendants or wrist bands
- installing a security box somewhere on your property that holds your keys so emergency services can get into your house if necessary
- providing a sensor mat or other equipment which sends an alert to the alarm supplier if you aren't moving or going about your usual routine
- checking and servicing your alarm regularly.
The alarm provider works out what equipment is best for your situation — eg, if you live in an apartment building they'll make sure your alarm works with the existing systems in the building.
If you don't have a landline
If you don't have a landline, the provider gives you an alarm that works without a landline, eg one that uses the mobile network.
Alarms funded by the Ministry of Social Development are only for use in your home. If you want an alarm that is available wherever you are, you need to pay for that yourself.
Setting up a security box
As part of the services, your alarm provider offers you a security box or lockbox where you can keep a key to your property. If you need help and can't get to the door, then they make sure the emergency services have details of:
- where the key is, or
- who to contact to get the key, eg a family member or building manager.
Calling for help
Most alarms work when you press a button which sends a signal to the supplier's call centre. They ring to check what you need. Some alarms have a microphone which lets you tell the operator what's happened.
If your phone is off the hook or disconnected, when you press the button your alarm will still work.
If you're not near your phone
Pendants or wrist alarms provided by approved suppliers must have a range similar to a cordless phone, so they will work around your home and garden. If you live on a large section, ask for one that has a bigger range.
If you need to pay for an ambulance after a callout
Some suppliers cover the cost of an ambulance callout. If they don't, you can apply to Work and Income for a Special Needs Grant if you can't afford the cost of a one-off call for an ambulance.
If you no longer need your alarm
Let your supplier know.
If you receive a Disability Allowance to pay for your alarm, you also need to let the Ministry of Social Development know.
Ministry of Social Development Senior Services
Freephone: 0800 552 002 (office hours)