Many elderly people are worried they might fall or experience distress due to health problems. This apprehension leads them to install an alarm device in their homes – a button or switch that activates a transmitter, through which the individual is immediately connected to a call center, Magen David Adom ,the police or a private call center. Thus assistance in case of an emergency is at hand 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The alarm button is included in the package of services offered to elderly persons who are entitled to the Long-Term Care Benefit from Bituach Leumi. This service can be acquired in exchange for a quarter-hour of the weekly quota of home care hours. The alarm button is ordered through the social worker in the social services department of the local authority.
An alarm button is a two-way wireless communication device that connects the subscriber to the call center in case of a medical emergency or a threat to his/ her personal safety. Several different types of alarm devices are available: a device enabling free two-way conversation, a device directly connected to call center.
The alarm buttons supplied as part of the Long-Term Care Benefit are installed by the nursing care companies providing services to the elderly ,authorized by Bituach Leumi to install the buttons. In some cases, the same company also provides the elderly patient with nursing care services (it is not mandatory that the same company should provide both the alarm button and nursing care).
Installed in the person’s home, these devices allow him/her to call for help without reaching the phone or dialing. The alarm transmitter is activated when the individual presses the button. This action activates an intercom through which the person may be heard, no matter where he/she is in the home.
There are several types of alarm buttons. Some alarm buttons are installed somewhere in the home, while others are worn on the wrist like a watch. An alarm button worn on the wrist has the advantage that it can be used anywhere in the home – even in the shower, where an elderly person might slip and need assistance. Private companies offer their customers more advanced types of alarm buttons and devices.
An individual who is entitled to the Long-Term Care Benefit from Bituach Leumi can get an alarm button as part of the service package. As noted above, the application should be filed through the social worker in the local social services office.
The alarm button service enables the elderly person to call for help, but does not cover payments for the assistance, doctor or ambulance requested.
Other persons entitled to an alarm device are bereaved parents and widows or widowers of IDF soldiers, treated by the Ministry of Defence.
Another option is obtaining an alarm button from the “supportive community”.
An alarm button may also be obtained through “Yad Sarah”, which operates a special call center for the ill, the elderly and the lonely. Yad Sarah’s call center is independent and the basic monthly service is given to subscribers free of charge. The service does however invlove one-time fees for installation and battery backup, as well as a surety deposit.
In addition, an alarm button subscription may be purchased from private companies.
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