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News from Housing Proactive plus articles and insights on how to enhance outcomes for people with higher needs in the housing, health and social care sectors.
A family run business based in Cumbria that helps thousands of people.
Alertcall was established in 2004. Our Founder James Batchelor, inspired by the needs of his own Grandmother Eveline invented the world’s first “I am okay” button – a simple way to confirm people are safe each day and offer them contact. We now call this our OkEachDay button.
Based in Windermere in Cumbria and offering a nationwide service, OkEachDay now helps thousands of people to stay in their homes for longer. We also work with councils, housing associations and charities with a range of services all based around pro-active contact with independent people.
My grandmother Eveline is a very independent woman. She drives a car and still looks after herself but a freak accident resulted in her breaking her arm in a number of places and she had to move into residential care home for a few weeks whilst she recovered.
Naturally, she couldn’t wait to get back home. As a family, however, we wanted to ensure that she could retain her independence and get help if she had another accident. We looked at a number of options for home support solutions, including pendant alarms and panic buttons, but Eveline wasn’t keen on the idea. Her words were: “There is no way I am having one of those, I’m not old enough!”
Our dilemma was how to check that she was safe each day. And although a pendant alarm seemed the obvious solution, it wasn’t going to work if she wasn’t willing to wear it!
I was also aware that there were limitations on their use – what if someone wasn’t wearing it or was unconscious? They could be left for days if no one was checking on them.
We started phoning her every morning and most nights to check that she was OK. We thought that regular calls, at the very least, would prevent her from being left on her own if there was an emergency. But, although she understood the value of the calls, the situation wasn’t ideal. Sometimes we would call when she was in the bathroom or the garden and she wasn’t within earshot.
She began to feel that the calls were rather a burden and at times inconvenient and invasive. I could see her point: who wants to wait in for a call each day? Most importantly, the process was eroding her sense of independence – she said she felt like a child being checked up on! Suddenly the solution was obvious: we needed to give my grandmother control over the process of keeping in touch.
By asking Eveline to press a button any time she wanted before a predetermined time each day to signify she was OK, it would give her more freedom. We could check that she was awake and well – and we could respond if she didn’t get in touch. It would only take her a couple of seconds to confirm her wellbeing – and she would have control over the system.
My grandmother loved the idea and said she was more than willing to give it a go. So the OkEachDay® button was born!
The service allows people like my grandmother to let us know they’re alright in their own time. If for any reason they don’t do this, we make contact. It gives them freedom and maintains their privacy. And, because they can passively request personal contact at any time simply by not pressing their button, they get support exactly when they need or want it.
Fast forward to today. Our system has helped thousands of individuals around the country to stay in their homes for longer. We work with councils, housing associations, and other landlords to check that their customers are safe. We’ve become the world’s leading expert in safety confirmation – and we have more experience in delivering this kind of service than anyone else.