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Loneliness is a growing problem here in the UK, affecting more than 1.4 million older Britons. At current rates, these numbers will only continue to grow the UK population ages. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a huge increase in people feeling lonely some or most of the time. Lockdown requires people of all ages to stay in their homes and avoid meeting up with loved ones in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. Today’s article will share eight ways to combat loneliness. We’ll also examine the causes of loneliness and the health risks it poses.

Causes of Loneliness

We all feel lonely from time to time, but everyone experiences loneliness differently. While one person might be perfectly content to live by themselves without much social contact, someone else might feel lonely even when they are surrounded by other people. Before we learn to combat loneliness, it’s worth thinking about what causes us to feel lonely. The specific causes of loneliness are difficult to pinpoint. We know that certain life events can make people feel lonely, such as bereavement, retirement, moving to a new area, or the end of a relationship. Similarly, lots of people report feeling lonely at Christmas, or on the anniversary of a loved one’s passing, for example.

Furthermore, there are particular groups of people who are more likely than others to feel lonely. These include carers and single parents, those who are estranged from family, those who have mobility problems, people in poverty, and those who experience or have experienced discrimination due to their gender, sexuality, race, or disability. People who work from home may also be more susceptible to feelings of loneliness.

Effects of Loneliness

Research suggests that loneliness can have a range of impacts on both our physical and mental health. Feeling lonely can put us at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, alcoholism, and stress. Loneliness can also have knock-on effects which can be equally harmful. On average, adults who feel lonely exercise less, eat more fat in their diets, and get less good-quality sleep than those who do not feel lonely.

The stigma around loneliness means it can be hard to reach out for help. This can become a vicious cycle, potentially leading to depression and other mental health issues.

8 Ways to Combat Loneliness

1. Embrace Technology

If you haven’t already, buy a smartphone and make the most of the internet. Technology is a great way for people to reach out and connect with others who share similar interests, backgrounds and goals. Since the pandemic began, technology has become even more central to the way we communicate. Technology can help you combat loneliness by keeping you connected to the people you love.

Join online communities or social media pages that interest you to access a wealth of knowledge and forge new friendships. Take the time to learn how to text, use social media and email so you can easily keep in touch with friends and family on a daily basis. Video calls are particularly useful for keeping in touch with loved ones.

2. Make the Most of Local Transportation

Many people suffer from loneliness because they don’t have access to public transportation or other local services. If you can, combat loneliness by providing rides, finding a local taxi service, or helping someone learn the ins and outs of the public transportation system so they can maintain their independence and relationships.

As well as a convenient mode of transport, cycling is a great way for older people to stay active.

3. Volunteer

Another great way to prevent or combat loneliness is to get involved and help out others who may be in a similar situation to you. If you are lonely, sign up to spend a few hours helping at a local animal shelter, reading with children at a nearby school, delivering meals on wheels to people with limited mobility, foster pets for a rescue group, or volunteer for any other cause that you feel passionate about.

The possibilities are limitless!

4. Grow Something

Whether you have a nice garden already or use an allotment in the community, get outside and grow something. Even if you only have space for a pot or two on the windowsill, gardening offers lots of health benefits. The fresh air, green space, and interaction with fellow gardeners is a great way to combat loneliness. If you have excess produce, consider donating it to a food bank.

Did you know that simply being around flowers can benefit your mental health?

5. Take up a New Hobby

One of the top ways to combat loneliness is to rediscover our passions or interests. Hobbies are a great outlet for people of all ages. There are lots of options for people with limited mobility and our projects even allow us to set goals or think ahead. For example, we can look forward to adding a rare stamp to our collection or learning a new knitting pattern. To help find a hobby, consider the following ideas:

6. Join a Club or Organisation

Joining a club, library, or religious organisation is a great way to meet new people. Take a free class, sign up for a chess league, or join a book club. Many of these organisations even offer transportation to and from events, you just need to ask. What’s more, many of these groups have moved online during the pandemic. This means that you’ll be able to interact with other people from the safety and comfort of your own home.

 

7. Take Advantage of Smart Assistants like Alexa on the Amazon Echo

This top tip follows closely with embracing technology, but this type of tech allows you to use your voice to control a device and appliances in your home with simple commands or normal speech. The great thing about these programs and devices is they don’t require a lot of training to operate. You simply talk. They rely on a smart speaker which is your in-home smart assistant and an internet connection.

She is also great for asking questions, playing your favourite music, keeping up on football scores, ordering products, keeping track of schedules, reminding you to refill prescriptions, notifying you about upcoming appointments and much more.

8. Get a Roommate or Relocate to a Retirement Housing Scheme

More than 2 million elderly people in the UK live by themselves. Living alone can be a key factor in feeling lonely. While the tips above are certainly helpful, some people may just feel the need to be around other people more often. If you have a spare room in your house, you may want to consider taking in a lodger. Alternatively, there are retirement schemes with shared communal areas that help foster friendships between residents.

These arrangements provide independence, social activities, access to healthcare and social care resources which make it easy for us to drop in for a cup of tea or pick up a game of cards with our friends or family.

Combat Loneliness and Stay Safe

We hope that these tips can help you to combat loneliness and create more of a social calendar once the Covid-19 pandemic has passed. If you are living alone, it may be a good idea – especially during these uncertain times – to take a look at our life-saving personal alarm service. Having an alarm ensures that you can call for help if you have a fall or feel unwell at home, whether it’s during the day or in the middle of the night.

For more information on purchasing a personal alarm, please speak to one of our friendly advisors on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got your own tips to combat loneliness? Share them in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 3rd September 2021 to reflect current information. Originally published in May 2018.

As we age, many of us will notice that our minds and bodies don’t exactly work like they used to. Whether it is recalling names or remembering where we placed our keys, there are times we wonder if our brain is having a senior fog moment or if we are suffering from memory loss.

While it’s natural to assume the worst, we need to step back and realise that many of our problems can be caused by stress and anxiety. Yes, even when we are older and wiser, stress can affect our bodies in some amazing and alarming ways. This makes it essential that we learn ways to keep stress at bay and look at ways meditation keeps seniors healthy.

7 Ways Meditation Keeps Older People Healthy

Many people find that meditation is beneficial, regardless of their age. However, many experts are finding that meditation just might be “the fountain of youth” for our brains and body. Listed below is just a small sampling of the many benefits older people can reap from practising meditation:

  1. Meditation can boost our memory.
  2. Deep breathing during meditation improves blood and oxygen circulation, which benefits all of our organs.
  3. Relieves digestive problems and symptoms.
  4. Regulated breathing increases oxygen intake, which can boost our immune systems. This helps us to remain healthy and fight off viruses, bacteria and more.
  5. It stimulates the area of the brain responsible for feeling good or happiness.
  6. Mental alertness and ability is stimulated. In fact, meditation can be more effective than completing a crossword puzzle.
  7. Wards off stress that can stem from chronic illness, disability or bereavement.

Helping Older People to Meditate

Now that we know how beneficial mediation can be for older people, it’s important that we find ways to incorporate this practice into our daily routines. Thankfully, meditation doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are a few tips we can embrace to help us breath our way to calmness:

Make it a Priority Everyday

This might sound overwhelming at first, but meditation can be done anywhere, at any time. Just make sure you put it in your calendar and set aside 20 minutes everyday to reflect, breathe and be mindful.

Keep Things Simple

Meditation shouldn’t be complicated or time consuming. Focus on breathing or sensations you experience everyday. For example, take time to notice the feeling of warm water washing over your skin, the soothing heat from the sunlight streaming through the kitchen window, or the rush of wind over your face on your morning walk.

Create a Happy Place

In your home or room, find a spot that you can reserve for relaxation and meditation. The key is to use this peaceful area when you need to calm your nerves or just seek a little mental downtime. This can be a comfy chair in the corner or a small room where you aren’t interrupted- anywhere that you can limit distractions and enjoy the quiet.

 

Let Technology Guide You

Obviously, we aren’t all gurus with expert knowledge on finding our inner peace. If you are unsure of how to begin meditating, turn to the Internet or a favourite podcast to find guided meditations. These journeys will help you relax and clear your mind without adding the stress of trying to learn a new skill.

Use Gemstones or Crystals

Today, health advocates are promoting the benefits of using stones or crystals to aid with meditation. For years, people have been laying stones or crystals on designated areas of your body to help activate a higher consciousness of the mind. This trend can help you be more aware of your thought and breathing process.

Take a Deep Breath

An easy way for older people to meditate is by focusing on their breathing. Take five deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling from your mouth. This technique can help you to slow down and relax.

Run Some Water 

Many of us have turned to taking a hot bath when we are stressed and need to wash away the anxiety of the day. Besides soothing our muscles, water can be very therapeutic. For older people, however, we can’t always take a bath when we want. BUT, we can tap into the soothing sounds of water to help us meditate. Run the tap or listen to a recording of moving water and focus on just listening to the white noise.

Shine a Light

When meditating, imagine an orb of white light hovering over your body. Next, picture the light floating down your body. As it passes over an area, envision the light relaxing your muscles. This is a surprisingly effective tool to use when you are feeling overwhelmed or need to calm down.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Use the discount code BLOG2018 when you order one of our personal alarm on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.

We all know that physical activity and exercise is an important aspect to staying healthy and independent as we age. Today, most adults aged over 65 are the most sedentary group with a majority of us spending an average of 10 hours or more sitting down or lying around.

Unfortunately, this means that we might be paying for our inactive lifestyle with higher chances of falls, heart disease, obesity, several medical conditions and even an early death when compared to the general population. Thankfully, just because we are older, we don’t have to resign ourselves to being inactive or sitting around endlessly on our posterior.

By staying active and in shape, we can keep ourselves feeling and looking our best. This is great news, because we all want to live the best independent life possible. Even if we get aches and pains at times or struggle to walk up a flight of stairs, we can get in shape to maintain and improve our quality of life.

This is especially important for older adults, because regular exercise can reduce our chances of heart disease, diabetes, certain forms of cancer, improve flexibility, strength, and even reduce arthritic pain.

Check out the following eight creative ways older adults can get in shape this year!

1. Go Dancing

Waltz your way into better shape by signing up for a dancing class or take a night out on the dance floor. Dancing is a great way to flex your muscles, joints, and sneak in a little cardio while having fun. Give yourself permission to turn the radio up and enjoy some moves. Dancing can be a fun and enjoyable hobby to take up.

2. Try Stretching or Yoga

Slow controlled movements that accompany stretching and yoga help strengthen our core muscle strength, boost flexibility, and improve balance. The nice thing about this method of getting in shape is that it can be done anywhere and adapted to any fitness level. For more ideas on stretching or yoga, join a class or search online for guided videos and tutorials.

3. Pull up a Seat

A lot of older people are worried about overdoing it when it comes to exercise. However, there are a variety of exercises and classes offered that utilize chair-based exercises. These are gentle movements that improve posture, balance, flexibility, and are perfect for those of us who experience reduced mobility.

4. Turn to Resistance Exercises

Exercise doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require special equipment. With a little thinking outside of the box, we can use simple things around our home to get in shape. Use tins of foods, furniture, or simple resistance bands made out of old nylons to enhance our muscular strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and even fight bone loss.

Simply use these items to force your muscles to move against the tension, provided by your own body weight or objects.

5. Walk the Dog

One creative way to sneak in a little more movement is by taking the dog(s) for a walk. Our pets love to get outside and their needs are an incentive to make sure we keep active. After all, dogs typically require us to let them out several times a day and they won’t understand if we just don’t feel like getting up or want to skip it just this once.

Our four-legged pals hold us accountable and provide company in the process. If you don’t have a dog, consider volunteering your time for a local shelter or rescue group.

6. Swimming

While many of us associate swimming with our younger days, we need to take another look at this form of exercise. Our GP’s love this activity, because there is typically no age requirements or health barriers to prevent someone from exercising in the pool.

Swimming strengthens cardiovascular systems, improves the function of joints, increases flexibility, and strengthens muscles. But, that is not all. Swimming is also shown to provide psychological benefits. This activity can improve our sense of well-being and provides a social outlet for older people to meet others.

7. Run Around with the Grandkids

One way to fit in exercise is by being active with the grandkids. Roll a ball on the floor, kick a football around, take them to the playground, splash in the paddling pool, or treat them out for a day at the zoo or beach. Besides creating wonderful memories, you will also be tapping into a fun and creative way to get in shape.

8. Watch what you Eat!

Like any stage in life, good nutrition is vital to playing a protective role in our health. Older adults need to keep this in mind, especially when it comes to keeping age-related conditions at bay. These include cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

Eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits and veg can even help us protect our dental, bone, and joint health so we can remain active. If you’re looking to begin a new diet, have a read of our guides to the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What creative ways can you share for older adults to get in shape? Share your ideas in the comments area below!

Remember to use the discount code BLOG2018 when you order one a personal alarm on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.

After years of research, it’s been proven that performance, happiness and success aren’t based on intelligence alone as previously assumed. Rather, it is the ability to understand emotions that determines the likelihood for long-term achievement.

Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is considered an important skill that can be learned and mastered over time. So, does this automatically mean that emotional intelligence can be improved with age? Here are a few important things to consider.

Emotional Intelligence and Maturity

When it comes to emotional intelligence and age, it is first important to view emotional intelligence from the point of view of being a skill that can be developed over a lifetime. While some people can fully grasp a skill with ease, others need training, practice, and experience to understand the concept.

This is why it is so important for emotional intelligence to be taught throughout childhood—from nursery through high school. Studies have shown that children who are emotionally intelligent grow up to be emotionally intelligent adults. Such children will have an opportunity to improve this important skill set over time. Ultimately, they will develop emotional wisdom for a lifetime of success.

Emotional intelligence is also tied to maturity level. Those with a high EQ tend to see the bigger picture—a characteristic of maturity.  Being emotionally intelligent means that you can manage and balance emotion and reason. Take for instance someone who is feeling angry. A mature, and emotionally intelligent person will not place the blame for their feelings on anyone else but themselves.

They will recognise they are angry and understand that they alone control their reactions to people and circumstances. Not the other way around. In short, a mature, emotionally intelligent person will accurately recognise their emotions and take full responsibility for them.

While many of the details between emotional intelligence among age groups is yet to be discovered, what is known is that maturity is also associated with good decision-making skills. However, sound decision-making is not fully developed until early adulthood, usually in a person’s 20’s. This is because the brain’s pre-frontal cortex has not fully developed yet.

Emotional Intelligence in Older People

This means that from a physical perspective, older people may have an easier time regulating their emotions and understanding what other people are going through because their brains are better wired to do so than someone who is younger.

Furthermore, emotionally intelligent people are adept at making the better decisions because they often do so based on the long-term best interests of the given outcome.

A mature person will recognise that it is in their best interests to not place blame on the other party. Doing so could damage their relationship over the long-term and also cause the other person to experience negative emotions. Again, they will see the bigger picture of the situation.

However, an immature person with low EQ may instead seek immediate gratification and place blame on the other person just to make themselves feel better. The latter will not show empathy or compassion and their immature behaviour will only hinder the situation.

So, How Can You Ensure You Continue to Develop EQ?

Emotional intelligence guides behaviours so that people respond to their own emotions as well as others. It is comprised of the emotional world and feelings that are being felt internally as well as those being expressed by those around you.

Therefore, practice the fundamentals of emotional intelligence and teach it to your children. From improved empathy, to self-awareness, to self-regulation, motivation, and social awareness—mastery of such skills will result in a lifetime of emotionally intelligent behaviour and positive encounters.

Remember, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed with time for a deeper understanding of the true power of emotions. And as with any learned skill, practice will make perfect.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Remember to use the discount code BLOG2017 when you order one a personal alarm on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.

Whether it is a few laugh lines or thinner skin, older women often face skin challenges that are caused by a variety of factors that include lifestyle, diet, sun exposure, harsh weather, heredity, muscle loss, smoking, pollution, and more.

Thankfully, we don’t have to accept a fate of crepey or irritated skin. With a little extra tender loving care and mindfulness, older women can take steps to keep our skin healthy and fresh looking so we can age with grace by caring for our skin properly.

To help us on this journey, we have compiled the following essential seven healthy skin care tips for older women:

1. Moisturise, Moisturise, and Moisturise

As we age and go through menopause, our bodies experience a drop in estrogen. While this can wreak havoc with our hormones, it also slows down the body’s ability to produce oils. This can lead to severe dryness and lackluster skin. To keep us comfortable in our own skin, experts recommend trapping in the moisture our bodies already have by using moisturisers and creams to kick painful dryness and itchiness to the curb.

For optimal results, look for products that feature ingredients, such as: olive oil, lanolin, petroleum, mineral oil, Aloe Vera, glycerin, and shea butter. For best results, apply moisturisers daily and immediately after washing.

2. Avoid Irritation

In addition to painful dryness, our skin becomes more fragile and requires us to exercise caution. This happens for a variety of reasons, but primarily because blood vessels thin and the surface layer of skin flattens. This can spell trouble for us, because we can suffer bruising, tearing, and sores more easily.

We can protect our skin and keep it healthy by choosing soft fabrics, avoiding sharp buttons or jewelry, bypassing rough fabrics, adjusting our sitting and sleeping positions frequently to prevent pressure points or sores, and using gentle cleaners to keep irritation at bay. If we accidentally scratch our delicate skin, make sure to treat it accordingly.

3. Clean and Exfoliate

Just because we are older, it doesn’t mean that we need to stop cleaning our skin. Sloughing away dead skin can clear up menopausal acne and even stimulate collagen production which will aide in keeping our skin healthy and vibrant. Our skin cells are constantly renewing, even when we are older, and properly cleaning our skin can help with this process.

Avoid harsh and grainy exfoliators by utilising gentle exfoliating cleansers geared toward sensitive skin.

4. Keep it Humid

Dry air is a well-known culprit for causing dry and rough skin. Dry air can occur when our homes and flats rely on forced heating and cooling systems. If the air becomes too dry, it can cause our skin to flare up with rashes, red spots, and flaking. To combat dry air in our homes, add a little humidity back into the air by using a humidifier or gently boiling a pan of water on our kitchen stove so it slowly evaporates back into the air while making yourself a cup of tea.

Experts recommend we keep our homes at a 60% humidity level for ultimate comfort.

5. Eat for your Skin

Another way older women can care for their skin is to eat a well balanced diet and consume plenty of water. The foods we eat can influence our skin’s ability to maintain moisture. For healthy skin, it is recommended we stay hydrated and enjoy foods rich in essential fatty acids.

These nutrients can easily be found in the following foods:

6. Apply Sunblock

Many of us associate sunblock with younger women and children. However, we still need to protect our skin from the sun’s harsh rays, even on cloudy days. Our skin is more fragile and susceptible to sunburns so be sure to keep applying your favorite broad spectrum sunblock product everyday to prevent painful burns and blisters.

Also, an ounce of prevention might stop the sun damaging our skin and causing extra wrinkles or sunspots from forming.

7. Limit Bathing

Older people need to be aware of how hot water and overbathing can cause our skin to lose precious moisture and oils. Doctors recommend that we bathe as needed, limit our washing to between five and 10 minutes, and use warm water (not too hot).

Afterwards, make sure to pat dry and apply your favorite moisturisers or lotions to prevent unnecessary drying of the skin.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What healthy skin care tips for older women can you share? Comment below with your hints and tips.

Remember to use the discount code BLOG2018 when you order one a personal alarm on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £5 off.

It’s no secret that we all want to be healthy and live our lives in the best way possible. For many of us, this involves watching what we eat, adding a little more veg in our diets, putting in a few more steps, and avoiding takeaway for tea every night.

Over time, all of these lifestyle choices can add up to a significant improvement in our health, but unfortunately, sometimes these measures aren’t enough and we need to seek out other health alternatives. Surprisingly, one solution may be growing things in our own gardens: flowers and herbs.

How Flowers Can Impact Your Health

Besides common allergies, our favorite blooms can impact our health in some fascinating ways. Research has found that flowers can reduce stress in office workers, increase our productivity, and help with pain management in hospital patients. There is also evidence that people exhibit better moods when they eat at restaurants that have fresh flowers on their tables.

If that isn’t enough to warrant taking a deeper look into flower power, we need to look across the other side of the pond to consider that many of their leading colleges have research proving that flowers can help beat anxiety, depression, and negativity.

Surprisingly, greenery and flora might just be nature’s answer to many of our ailments for over the years we have seen many flowers and herbs being used for medicinal purposes.

The History of Herbs and Medicines

Using herbs is the most basic form of medicine. Herbal medicines are actually the most common form of medicine used worldwide, with about 80% of the world using herbs and flowers for medical uses. We even have evidence that animals instinctively use plants to treat their own sickness and ailments.

In fact, our use of herbal medicine is so common and widespread that many of us don’t realise that we’re using daily. We just need to consider that all the herbs and seasonings we add to our food were originally added to help with food digestion.

Most cultures have a herbal medicine tradition that has been developed and fine tuned over countless years and millennia. Unfortunately, for us Britons, a large amount of our lore was lost during the reign of James VI, with the persecution of “witches.” Due to fear of being accused, this halted the passing of information down from generation to generation.

Thankfully, Great Britain’s global reach has allowed us to combine herbal traditions from around the world to form the herbal medicine we have today. Even the first medical schools were built on the use of herbs and plants.

In the past, we could easily find and gather herbs growing in the wild which could be harvested when needed or sold at the local apothecary or grocer. Herbs today are typically easy to access from herbal dispensaries or greengrocers. However many people still opt to grow a few plants, so they can enjoy the benefits of flowers and herbs in their own gardens.

Flower and Herbal Medicines Used Today

Listed below is a small sampling for how herbs and flowers can impact our health:

The English Marigold

This familiar, bright orange flower does more than look pretty. It has been used for centuries to relieve a variety of skin problems. One example; we can reduce pain and swelling with insect bites or stings by rubbing dried Marigold flowers on the affected location.

Ladies Mantle

In northern parts of the UK this plant grows abundantly in wild meadows and is known for its astringent properties that treat conditions ranging from cuts to muscle spasms.

Elder

Elderflower can often be found in a cordial drink during the summer, but it’s used for much more. This flower is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects which have made this a favoured home-remedy for centuries. A concoction of elderflower and plain water has been used to relieve symptoms of arthritis and colds.

Stinging Nettle

This troublesome plant is often overlooked because of its sting. However, when nettle is prepared correctly it has been used as a natural anti-histamine to combat allergies and recently, is being studied to aid with treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Evening Primrose

People have been deriving oil from its leaves because it contains pain relieving compounds called phenylalanine. This gives evening primrose remarkable properties for healing.

Oregano

Essential oil taken from this plant contains anti-fungal properties, which is often used to treat skin conditions like eczema or relieve painful areas during a Shingles outbreak.

Feverfew

This traditional herbal medicine is often used to treat headaches and prevent migraines.

Discover Herbs and Flowers with Peace of Mind

If you’re going to get outside into the garden as your new hobby, it is important to feel safe and confidence whilst doing so. Our personal alarm service provides you and your loved ones with the peace of mind that help will be available if you have a fall or feel unwell. Thanks to a range of up to 100m, our alarms will still work whilst you’re outside in the garden.

For more information about the service we provide please give our friendly team a call on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, you can complete our contact us form and a member of the team will be in touch shortly.

What herbs and flowers do you use to impact your health? Share your experiences in the comments section below! 

Want to order your alarm or have a question? Get in touch!