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'By pressing a button on a wristband my mum can get help when she needs it'

28/01/2014

Personal alarm service Centra Pulse provides 24 hour support to help older people remain independent and safe at home. Ruth tells us why she believes it could be the solution for anyone facing new worries about their parents’ wellbeing.


As I write this, I’m still deep in the madness the start of a new year often brings. It can be such a busy and stressful time, particularly if you’ve gone straight back to work after spending some wonderful time off over Christmas with family and friends. Visiting family is so lovely, especially when you haven't seen them for quite a while, but I also know that spending quality time with older relatives can create new worries of their own in the New Year. So many of my friends came back from their festive family visits telling me how much more worried they are about their parents or an elderly loved one.

Many families live miles apart from each other these days which means a lot of our contact with relations during the year is over the phone. They usually sound absolutely fine (and even if they're not they don't tell you!) but when you get the chance to spend a bit of time with them that's when you often notice changes.....they look a little frailer, they've become a bit unsteady on their feet or maybe a little bit forgetful. It doesn't have to be a dramatic change, but it's enough to make you worry. Then on top of the worry there’s the guilt……it’s always hard to leave after a visit home, but if you’re worried about your relative’s wellbeing it makes it doubly difficult. You feel bad that you can’t spend more time with them and offer the day to day support you think they might need, but if you live hundreds of miles away that’s physically impossible.

My own Mum is as fit as a fiddle and has more energy than some twenty year olds but, despite what she thinks, she’s not invincible! She’s just had to have a small operation on her toe – it’s nothing serious but it does mean she has to have her foot bandaged up and be on crutches for a few weeks. By day two she was complaining about how bored she was and I’m already worrying that she’s going to try to run again before she can walk. If she falls over at home how will we know? What if she takes a tumble and can’t get to the phone?

A lot of people come away from those family visits believing their loved one shouldn’t be living alone and start to consider the possibility of a care home. They often feel it’s the ONLY option if they can’t be there themselves. That’s where Centra come in. Centra Pulse is a personal alarm and monitoring system offering 24 hour support. It’s designed to help people keep their independence and be able to stay in their own homes for longer. Knowing their family member can get help quickly at the press of a button is a great comfort for relatives too. I’d love to think that by pressing a button on a wristband my mum would be able to talk to someone, let them know what’s happened and they’d get her help.

Recent research by Centra revealed that that one in six people over 65yrs has hidden a serious illness, injury or accident from their families because they “didn’t want to worry them”. I know that asking your loved one if they might like some help, or telling them you’re worried about them is often a difficult conversation to have. I’m on the phone every day to my Mum at the moment asking her to be careful and she just tells me to stop nagging!

If that sounds a familiar scenario in your family, then try speaking to your loved one about a personal alarm system like Centra Pulse. It could give them full control of their independence and stop their phone ringing off the hook with calls from worried relatives! And if you need help broaching the subject, try downloading Centra’s handy guide to tackling difficult conversations with your parents about their future.

Visit www.CentraPulse.org.uk to find out more about Centra Pulse and download a free guide for talking to your parents about their future.

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