Minister John Paul Phelan
OVER 430 seniors across Kilkenny city and county received a personal alarm since 2015, with more to qualify this year, according to Fine Gael Junior Minister, John Paul Phelan, TD.
The Department of Rural and Community Development allocated €2.3 million for the renewed Seniors Alert Scheme, which comes into effect on November 1st.
Minister Phelan said: “Some 439 local senior citizens have received personal alarms in the last two years. I am delighted to announce that this scheme will be extended to even more people locally thanks to a new range of measures.
“From this year on, you no longer have to be living alone in order to qualify for the scheme. This measure exists with the support of local voluntary groups and if users feel in danger or require immediate assistance they can activate the device which will alert designated members of their community who can then assist them.
“There is free personal monitoring of the alarm for the first 12 months after which the person pays a small fee. This measure contributes greatly to the safety and wellbeing of senior citizens in their homes. I strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to avail of the scheme. The community groups that are supporting its delivery are providing a valuable service and deserve great credit.”
Minister Phelan added: “All users have a base unit installed in their home which is connected to a national Seniors Alert Scheme helpline using landline or mobile telecommunications. When the user activates the personalised alarm it puts a call through to the national call centre which is open 24/7/365.
“The call centre operator talks to the person in their home and decides whether to alert a local volunteer responder or, in potentially serious circumstances, the emergency services. Fine Gael is committed to giving a helping hand when needed to those who need it most our communities.
“I hope the renewed scheme will help even more people enjoy a greater sense of security and peace of mind in their own homes. Alarms, which are monitored 24 hours, can be worn as a pendant or around the wrist like a watch; ensuring assistance is always available no matter where the person is in their house.
“Other new elements of the scheme include free monitoring of the alarm service for the first year and a boost to administrative payments to community groups involved in rolling out the scheme.”
Another technological development was launched by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, to help make rural Ireland a safer, more connected place.
Advanced Mobile Location (AML) works by automatically finding a phone's GPS co-ordinates when a 112 or 999 number is dialled.
The co-ordinates are immediately passed to the emergency services in responding and dispatching emergency personnel to callers in need across Ireland.