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With Christmas fast approaching, we want to make sure that all our alarm users know when they can reach us. Please see our Christmas opening hours below.

Lifeline24 Response Team Operating Hours

First of all, we want to reassure you that our Emergency Response Centre is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Therefore, we will be open throughout the whole Christmas period to answer emergency calls from our alarm users, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Giving you unparalleled peace of mind this festive season, enjoy your celebrations knowing our team will always be there when you need them.

Customer Service Team: Christmas Opening Hours

Up until 24th December, the Lifeline Customer Service Team is available 24 hours a day. Below, you can find our Christmas opening hours for 2021.

24th December: 7am – 5pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 9am – 7pm
27th December: 24 hours
28th December: 24 hours
29th December: 24 hours
30th December: 24 hours
New Year’s Eve: 7am – 7pm
New Year’s Day: 9am – 5:30pm
2nd January: Normal service resumes / 24 hours

Christmas and New Year Delivery

Order your Lifeline24 alarm by 5pm on 23rd December for expected Christmas delivery!

For all orders placed between the 24th December and the 29th December, expected delivery is the 30th December.

For all orders placed between 31st December and the 4th January 2022, expected delivery is the 5th January 2022.

Stay Safe This Christmas With Lifeline24

As we come to the end of another year, we want all our customers to continue to feel safe and supported at home. If you have any questions about your Lifeline alarm service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you know someone else who might benefit from a Lifeline personal alarm, why not refer them? Both you and the person you refer will receive a £15 M&S voucher!

Have you heard about our anywhere GO GPS alarm? This cutting edge personal alarm gives you unbeatable peace of mind both at home and on the go. You can read more about the GO GPS alarm here or call 0800 999 0400 to find out more.

From all of us here at Lifeline24, we’re wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Don’t forget to use exclusive discount code WEB5 to get £5 off your new Lifeline Alarm!

As the days get shorter and the cold weather draws in, lots of people will experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Many of us find it difficult to talk about mental health – or even to recognise when we’re struggling ourselves. Older people in particular might be reluctant to seek help for conditions like SAD. In fact, around 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at seasonal affective disorder. We’ll explain what it is, who it affects, and the common treatments available. We’ll also share some tips for looking after your own mental health and supporting a loved one who is struggling.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is a form of depression that occurs in a seasonal pattern. You might also hear people calling it ‘seasonal depression’ or ‘the winter blues’. Usually, it flares up in the winter months and fades again in springtime. In some cases, however, symptoms can appear during the summer and go away in winter.

What Causes SAD?

While we don’t know precisely what causes SAD, one theory is that we might feel lower in winter because we spend less time in sunlight. Daylight plays a key role in the body’s production of certain hormones. When the days get shorter, our bodies produce more melatonin and less serotonin. Melatonin makes us feel sleepy; the body starts producing melatonin when it gets dark outside. Serotonin, on the other hand, wakes us up and affects both mood and appetite. Production of serotonin is linked to sunlight, which is why we might produce less in winter.

On the other hand, those who experience seasonal affective disorder in summer might not produce enough melatonin and might therefore struggle to get to sleep at all.

Symptoms of SAD

Here are the most common signs of seasonal affective disorder:

Naturally, everybody will have a slightly different experience of seasonal affective disorder (just like any mental health condition). You might not experience all of the above symptoms. Nevertheless, if something doesn’t feel right, it’s always worth making an appointment with your GP.

Who Is At Risk Of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Anybody can experience seasonal affective disorder. However, there are a few groups of people who might be more prone to developing symptoms.

Age

Most people receive a diagnosis between the ages of 18 and 30. However, this is not to say that older people do not experience seasonal affective disorder. Rather, they might be more reluctant to come forward and seek diagnosis or treatment.

Gender

Most people who suffer from SAD are women – around 3 in 4. In contrast, some men experience more severe symptoms. As with age, it is difficult to say whether men are less likely to suffer with SAD or just less likely to seek support for it.

Family History

If any of your relatives have experienced seasonal affective disorder or any other forms of depression, you might be more likely to develop SAD.

Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder is essentially the same as for any other kind of depression. To learn more about general treatments for depression, read our helpful guide here. There are also a few additional treatments that are specific to SAD.

Light Therapy

Some people use special light boxes to simulate daylight and counteract the causes of SAD. This light therapy is popular, although the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says it’s not completely clear whether it’s effective.

Light boxes for SAD are not usually available on the NHS, so you may wish to buy one yourself. They produce a bright light, which should encourage the brain to reduce its production of melatonin and increase serotonin levels. You will normally need to sit by the light box for 30-60 minutes each morning in order to notice the effects. Fortunately, these light boxes are able to filter harmful UV rays out of the light they produce, so there are none of the normal risks you might associate with direct sunlight.

Does Vitamin D Help?

Alongside regulating our moods and sleep cycles, sunlight is also an important source of vitamin D. Of course, we have less exposure to sunlight in winter, and therefore we receive less vitamin D. For this reason, some people take vitamin D supplements to treat seasonal affective disorder. We also get vitamin D from our diets – foods like oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified breakfast cereals are good sources. For more nutrition advice, have a look at the Eatwell Guide.

There have been several studies into the effectiveness of vitamin D to treat seasonal affective disorder, with mixed results. If you think you might have SAD, you should talk to a doctor before taking any supplements or medication.

Mental Health Tips for Winter

Whether you are suffering from the winter blues yourself or you want to a support a loved one with SAD, here are our top tips for looking after mental health in winter.

Get Some Sunlight

Since sunlight is in relatively short supply in the wintertime, it’s important to grab it where you can! A short walk at lunchtime is a great idea. Going outside every day, even briefly, is generally very good for mental health. Walking is also a great form of exercise. If you’re not a fan of walking, why not consider a bike ride instead? If it’s too cold to go outside, try and let as much light into your home as you can. Open any blinds and curtains and sit near a window if you can.

Get Moving

Regular physical activity can help to relieve symptoms of depression, including the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. We’ve got plenty of exercise ideas here on the Lifeline24 blog. Check out our top 7 sport and fitness activities for older people here.

Get Talking

Loneliness is already a huge problem for older people in the UK. If you have SAD, you might feel especially isolated or lonely. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to the people around you. If you aren’t able to meet up in person, don’t worry. Why not call a relative on the phone, write a letter to a friend, or have a quick chat with a neighbour?

In addition, people over the age of 60 can use Age UK’s Call in Time service. This scheme pairs you with a like-minded volunteer for weekly chats over the phone. They also offer a free 24-hour helpline for those who want advice, support, or just a friendly chat.

Get Cosy

Wintertime might take its toll on mental health, but there are still things to love about the colder months. Dig out your favourite jumper and a fluffy pair of socks. Tuck yourself up with a cosy blanket and watch your favourite film or read a good book. Make a nice, hearty stew or a mug of hot cocoa.

Get the Help You Need

Most importantly, if you have any concerns at all about your mental health, make sure to get some support. Make an appointment with your GP – telephone appointments are often available if you need one. A doctor will be able to get you the help you need. This could be talking therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy) or antidepressant medication.

 

Stay Safe This Winter

Whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or not, winter can be a difficult time. Falls are a big concern for many older people, particularly in the colder months with rainy and icy conditions. A Lifeline alarm is a great way to stay safe and independent with peace of mind. We have a range of personal alarms to suit all needs and lifestyles, including an automatic fall detector and a cutting-edge GPS alarm as well as our standard Lifeline Vi alarm and pendant.

For more information on any of our life-saving alarms, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us anytime on 0800 999 0400 or send us an email to info@lifeline24.co.uk. Alternatively, you can fill in a brief contact form to request a call back at your convenience. To order your personal alarm, click here or give us a call.

Don’t forget, more than 95% of our customers are eligible for VAT exemption and pay no VAT whatsoever on their Lifeline alarms. See our guide to VAT exemption to find out if you qualify.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 6th December 2021 to reflect current information.

Every 5 minutes in the UK, someone is admitted to hospital after a heart attack. This is obviously very distressing for the people affected, as well as their friends and family. Thankfully, heart attack survival rates are increasing every year. In fact, there are around 1.4 million people living in the UK who have survived a heart attack.

If your elderly parent has had a heart attack, it isn’t easy to know what you should do next. Today’s article is a detailed guide that will help you support your parent or relative after a heart attack.

How To Spot A Heart Attack

If you suspect that you or someone around you is having a heart attack, you should call 999 immediately. Do not hesitate – it’s always better to be over-cautious. According to the NHS:

Do not worry if you have doubts. Paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life.

Here are the most common symptoms of a heart attack:

Some people will experience severe pain, while others may only feel discomfort. Some people, particularly women and older people, may not experience any chest pain at all during a heart attack.

What To Do If Someone Has A Heart Attack

If you notice the symptoms of a heart attack in yourself or someone else, it’s important to act immediately.

Firstly, you should call 999 without delay. Hospital treatment will likely be essential, so make sure an ambulance is on the way as soon as possible.

While waiting for the ambulance, it may help to chew and swallow an aspirin tablet (300mg). However, make sure the person having a heart attack is not allergic to aspirin before administering this. Aspirin can help to improve blood flow to the heart by thinning the blood.

Help the person to get comfortable while you wait for the ambulance. If you can, help them sit down. This will place less strain on the heart and make them less likely to injure themselves if they collapse.

What To Do After Your Elderly Relative Has a Heart Attack

After a heart attack, most people spend at least a few days in hospital. During this time, you will have the opportunity to prepare yourself and get your loved one’s home ready for their return. Heart attack recovery is different for everybody – it could take weeks or months for someone to return to normal. Most people are able to make a full recovery in time, but there may be periods where your loved one isn’t able to do the things they previously could. Generally speaking, the older a person is, the more likely they are to experience some complications after a heart attack.

To support an elderly parent or relative after a heart attack, here are a few simple steps you can take.

1. Speak to their healthcare team

While your parent is still in hospital, try and speak with their healthcare team to get as much information as possible. This will help you understand how best to help them once they return home. Your parent may need to make a couple of important lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or eating a healthier diet, to reduce their future risk of heart attacks. Again, their healthcare team will be able to advise you on any specifics.

2. Prepare their home

When they first return home after a heart attack, your loved one may have some difficulty moving around the house. Simple activities such as getting up to make a cup of tea may tire them out very quickly, so try to ensure they have everything they need within easy reach. Similarly, getting up and down the stairs may be difficult at first. Therefore, it’s preferable for them to sleep on the same floor as the bathroom to reduce the risk of falls overnight.

If they’ve been in hospital for a long while, they may have lost some muscle strength, making them more vulnerable to a fall. To reduce this risk, install sturdy grab rails around the home, especially in high-risk areas like the bathroom.

If you can, it may be helpful to stay with them for the first couple of nights just in case they need any help.

3. Install a personal alarm system

After a heart attack, it’s only natural to worry about the future. What if they have another heart attack or medical emergency? What if they suffer a fall and can’t get back up? A personal alarm can alleviate these worries for you and for your loved one.

Lifeline24 offers a life-saving personal alarm service for the whole of the UK. We’re the nation’s most affordable provider, offering a range of easy-to-use alarms designed specifically for older people. In an emergency such as a heart attack, the user can call for help with one touch of a button, day or night. All alarm users receive 24/7 support from our UK-based Response Team. What’s more, we’re accredited by the Telecare Services Association, so you know you’ll receive a platinum level of service.

Our standard alarm plan starts from just £12.49 per month or £119 for an annual plan, giving you three months of free service! We also offer automatic fall detectors and intelligent GPS-enabled alarms for maximum peace of mind. To find out more about the Lifeline Alarm service, please read our simple guide here or give our team a free call on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, feel free to contact us online or request a call-back.

4. Help them rebuild their strength

Recovering from a heart attack requires lots of rest. As a result of spending lots of time in bed or sitting down, heart attack survivors can lose stamina and muscle strength. Therefore, as soon as they’re up to it, it’s important to help them build their strength and stamina back up. This is called cardiac rehabilitation. When they feel able, help them do very gentle exercise such as walking around the house. Give them as much assistance as they need, especially when going up or down the stairs.

Then, as they feel stronger, they can keep building their activity. Start with a short walk outside, increasing the distance over time. Their healthcare team may also provide a programme of cardiac rehabilitation including regular assessments, exercise sessions, and advice from healthcare professionals.

5. Look out for mental health concerns

After a heart attack, feelings of anxiety are fairly common. After all, having a heart attack is a frightening, traumatic experience. Listen to what your parent is saying and let them talk about these feelings. Similarly, many people experience depression following a heart attack. Here are some of the warning signs to look out for:

If these symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks, it’s important to seek help. If your parent is reluctant to ask for mental health support, remind them that depression and anxiety can also have an adverse effect on their physical recovery. Encourage them to reach out to their GP. If you have power of attorney, you may wish to reach out to a doctor on their behalf.

More Support from Lifeline24

With these five simple tips, you will be able to support your elderly parent through their recovery after a heart attack. Remember to keep taking care of yourself too. Carers who look after relatives are often at-risk of burnout and exhaustion. However, many carers feel unable to leave their loved ones unsupervised in case something happens. This is another area where personal alarms can help. With a Lifeline alarm system in place, your parent will be able to call for help instantly when they need it by pressing the button on their Lifeline pendant. Our 24-Hour Response Team will answer the call straight away and get in touch with the alarm user’s emergency contacts. If necessary, the Response Team will also call for an ambulance.

Remember, the vast majority of our customers are eligible for VAT exemption, giving you a considerable saving. Click here to find out more.

To find out more about the Lifeline Alarm service, or to place an order, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can also order your Lifeline alarm or contact our customer service team online.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 25th November 2021 to reflect current information.

For many people, it’s hard to imagine life without the internet. The world wide web has totally changed the way we work, shop, and communicate. In part, that’s thanks to social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube keep us connected, no matter how far apart we are. But aren’t they just for teenagers and young people? Not at all! According to a recent Ofcom report, nearly half (48%) of internet users aged 65-74 have a social media profile. For over 75s, that figure is 41%. However, some older people are at risk of being left behind by the social media revolution. With this in mind, we’ve put together a detailed guide to social media for older people.

The Benefits of Social Media for Older People

If you’ve never used social media before, you might be wondering why you should start. In the last few years, social media has become immensely popular with people of all ages. There are plenty of benefits when it comes to social media for older people.

Fighting Loneliness

Firstly, social media connects us with our friends and family. This is especially helpful in the fight against loneliness. Loneliness is a huge concern for many older people in the UK, particularly since the coronavirus pandemic began. More than half of people over 75 in the UK live alone. Naturally, isolation has a detrimental effect on mental health. But did you know that it can also affect your physical wellbeing? According to a 2010 study, loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Furthermore, lonely people are more likely to develop dementia and heart disease.

With this in mind, the social benefits of sites like Facebook and Twitter seem clear. Social media for older people is a convenient way to keep in touch with loved ones near and far. What’s not to like?

Reconnect With Old Friends

Since so many older people are using social media these days, the chances are that lots of people you know are online. This likely includes people who you may have lost touch with over the years.

Once you sign up for an account, why not try searching for an old school friend or work colleague? You can even filter your searches by age and location – if you know your old friend’s birthday/year or the city where they live, you are even more likely to find them. From there, it is easy to send them a message and start catching up!

In the past, it was all too easy to forget somebody’s phone number or lose an address and then have no way to reach them. Gone are the days of losing touch with loved ones, thanks to social media.

Stay Up To Date With The News

Newspaper sales have been on the decline for some years. It would seem that social media is at least partly responsible. As a result of websites like Twitter, it is now easier than ever to keep track of current affairs as they unfold. What’s more, users can choose to receive news alerts from trusted sources like the BBC when important stories break. This is another great benefit of social media for older people. Now, instead of seeking out the news either in a newspaper, on the radio, or on TV, the news can come directly to you.

 

Boost Your Income

As far-fetched as it might sound, there are plenty of people (of all ages) who make their living on social media. From so-called ‘influencers’ on Instagram to video-gamers on YouTube and Twitch, there is plenty of money to be made online. People with popular social media accounts will often make sponsorship deals with big brands, or offer premium, exclusive content for a subscription fee. On platforms like YouTube, revenue from advertisements makes up a huge chunk of online income.

Keen video gamers often post live videos of themselves playing their favourite games (known as ‘streaming’). This is a lucrative business! 83-year-old American grandmother Shirley Curry has more than 200,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, making her the world’s oldest professional streamer.

Impress the Grandchildren

Lots of older people believe social media is just for teenagers. Similarly, many younger people believe that older people just don’t understand social media. Of course, we know that both of these beliefs are false. How satisfying would it be to show off your social media skills to the young people in your life? Imagine surprising your grandchildren with a Facebook friend request or following them on Instagram!

Most Popular Social Media for Older People

The benefits of social media are pretty clear. But how do you get started? Which websites should you sign up to? Next, we’ll answer all these questions and more.

Facebook

Facebook is perhaps the most widely-known and well-established social media site out there. It’s been around since 2004, when it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard students. With more than 30 million users in the UK alone, it is by far the most popular platform and an excellent example of social media for older people.

With a Facebook account, you can send friend requests to people you know. Once you are ‘friends’ with another user, you can like and comment on each other’s posts and send each other messages. Alongside profiles (regular accounts for everyday users like you and me) Facebook also features pages for just about any organisation you can think of. From A List celebrities to tiny local businesses, there is probably a Facebook page for everything.

In addition, Facebook’s Messenger feature allows you to make voice calls and video calls for free. This will be particularly useful for those who have friends and relatives abroad. Say goodbye to pricey international call rates!

Social Media For Older People - Facebook

Twitter

Twitter might not have quite as many users as Facebook, but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in speed. Posts on Twitter (otherwise known as Tweets) have a 280-character limit, making them very easy to read and write quickly. Once you have signed up for a Twitter account, you can Tweet to your heart’s content. Anyone who ‘follows’ you on Twitter will see your Tweets on their news feed (also called a timeline). Similarly, you will see Tweets from anybody you follow on your timeline. You can follow friends and family as well as celebrities and other public figures/organisations.

Twitter is also home to the hashtag. A hashtag is a way of indicating the topic you’re talking about. Clicking on a hashtag will show you other Tweets discussing the same topic. You can also search for a particular hashtag, but remember not to include any spaces between words. For example, to find Tweets about your favourite baking show, search #GreatBritishBakeOff

We’ve included Twitter in this guide to social media for older people because it’s a great source of news as well as social interaction. When lots of people Tweet about a particular topic, such as a news event that is currently unfolding, the topic will ‘trend’. Trending topics are easily visible, meaning that users can follow current affairs with ease on Twitter. In our hectic modern world, it’s more important than ever to stay up to date.

 

Instagram

For the more visual thinkers out there, Instagram is a great example of social media for older people. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where the primary focus is on text posts, Instagram puts images front and centre.

Anyone with an account can post photos to their personal profile. By default, your profile will be public, meaning anyone can discover it and become a follower. However, you have the option to make your profile private. This means that friends and family can still find your profile, but they will need to request your permission to follow you and view your posts. Instagram also uses hashtags to organise different topics. From holiday snaps to arts and crafts, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, with more than 100 million photos uploaded to the site every day. You can fill your Instagram feed with things that make you happy by following profiles that relate to your interests. If you are a keen cook, follow celebrity chefs and amateur food bloggers for gorgeous food photography. If you are an avid movie-goer, follow your favourite actors to see film trailers and behind-the-scenes snaps.

Social Media For Older People - Instagram

Pinterest

Pinterest is slightly different from the other social media platforms on this list. It’s a little more like a search engine, which allows you to ‘Pin’ images and websites you like to your personal ‘board’. You can create as many boards as you like with different themes. Pinterest is a great way to organise ideas or prepare for a project. For example, you could use it to plan a holiday or prepare to redecorate your home.

You can also follow your friends (or follow particular boards) and search topics like recipes, gardening, or fashion to look for inspiration. Once you follow new people or boards, their contents will show up in your ‘home feed’. Pinterest will also show you Pins and boards they think you will like, based on your interests. If you see something that you know your friend will love, you can send it to them directly in a message. You can also work together on group boards. If you’re using Pinterest to plan a surprise party, for example, you can make your board secret. This gives you control over who can see your boards.

YouTube

The last platform on our list of social media for older people is YouTube. This is the world’s biggest video-sharing website, with an estimated 2 billion users worldwide. Anyone with a YouTube account can upload videos to their own YouTube channel. You can also subscribe to other channels and watch videos from creators around the world. In addition, a YouTube account allows you to like and comment on videos and save videos to your own personal playlists.

Here are some ideas for playlists you might want to create:

YouTube is also a great educational resource. There are videos on all kinds of subjects, from chemistry to literature and everything in between. YouTube’s handy search feature helps you find the videos that interest you quickly.

If you are so inclined, you can also post your own videos to YouTube. Since August 2018, YouTube has been the second-most popular internet site in the world, just behind Google. Therefore, you’re more than likely to find an audience out there somewhere.

Social Media For Older People - YouTube

Protecting Yourself on Social Media

Venturing into the world of social media for the first time can be very exciting. However, it’s important to think about your safety online. Overall, there are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to internet safety. Don’t worry though; we’ll go through the main concerns here.

Choosing Secure Passwords

One of the best ways to protect yourself online is to choose a good, secure password. BT has provided some helpful guidelines for password selection:

We also recommend using a password manager. These are apps which keep all your passwords safe. In addition, they also eliminate the need for you to remember all your passwords. Therefore, a password manager is perfect for the more forgetful among us.

Social Media for Older People - Passwords

Privacy Settings on Social Media for Older People

Lots of older people have concerns about their privacy online. This is perfectly understandable, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying social media. It’s absolutely possible to enjoy social media while keeping your information safe. Every major social media platform allows its users to control their privacy settings. Generally, these settings let you decide who can see your online profile. Specific options will vary from website to website. Luckily, you can find all the details in the articles below:

Warding Off Trolls

So-called internet trolls are people who post offensive or malicious content online, in an attempt to cause distress. Unfortunately, ‘trolling’ has become more common since the advent of social media. This might be one of the drawbacks of social media for older people. However, there are ways to push back against this sort of harmful behaviour.

One widespread piece of advice is ‘don’t feed the trolls.’ Anyone who engages in ‘trolling’ is just looking for an emotional response from their target. By denying them the reaction they want, you aren’t letting them win.

What’s more, you can block, mute, and report people on every major social media platform. For anyone who isn’t familiar with these terms, you can find definitions below:

Since the Communications Act 2003, malicious trolling is a criminal offence. You can therefore report trolling to the police by dialling 101. It helps to take screenshots of the posts in question to submit as evidence.

Internet Scams

Overall, the internet is definitely a force for good. However, a few people will always try and exploit others for their own gain. Online scams are where criminals try to convince people to hand over money or personal information. Common internet scams include emails claiming to be from your bank asking you to confirm your account details and copycat websites posing as trusted platforms like Facebook, government websites, or HMRC. Which? has a guide to online scams which you can read here. So, how can you avoid an online scam?

In Conclusion: Social Media for Older People

All in all, social media is a great tool for older people to stay in touch with friends and family in our modern world. While you may have some privacy concerns, it is easy to protect yourself and enjoy the many benefits of the online world. The internet can be a great source of information and inspiration too. Whether you’re looking for new hobbies or hoping to reconnect with old friends, we would definitely recommend giving social media a try.

Personal Alarms for Older People

In this article, we’ve discussed staying safe online, but what about staying safe in your home? Our life-saving personal alarm service offers you 24/7 protection 365 days a year. If one of our alarm users feels unwell or has a fall, they simply need to press the button on their pendant. This will connect them to our Emergency Response Team, who will assess the situation and send assistance directly to their home. Usually, this assistance will come in the form of the user’s Emergency Contacts. We recommend choosing friends, family, and/or neighbours for your Emergency Contacts. When there is a medical emergency, our team will also call the emergency services.

To find out more, you can read our brief guide to the Lifeline alarm service. Alternatively, you can call our Customer Service Team on 0800 999 0400 or fill in the Contact Us form on our website.

 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 18th November 2021 to reflect current information.

There are several different benefits available to those over the age of 65 in the UK. Attendance Allowance is perhaps one of the least widely-known, but could be incredibly useful to people who qualify. With this in mind, we’re sharing our detailed guide to Attendance Allowance. This article will discuss the criteria for claiming, how much you can claim, and the other benefits you might also be entitled to.

For information on other benefits for pensioners and older people, read our comprehensive guide here.

What Is Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people who require help or supervision as a result of a physical or mental disability. Unlike many other benefits, Attendance Allowance is not means-tested. This means it is available to anyone who meets the criteria, regardless of income. Furthermore, the amount you earn or have in savings will not affect how much you receive.

Who Is Eligible For Attendance Allowance?

In order to qualify for Attendance Allowance, you must have reached State Pension Age. If you aren’t sure whether this applies to you, use the government’s State Pension Age calculator. Besides, you will need to meet the following criteria:

There are some slightly different rules for those with terminal illnesses: most importantly, the 6 month qualifying period does not apply.

Note: You cannot receive Attendance Allowance if you are already in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

How Much Could You Claim?

There are two different rates of Attendance Allowance. Which one you receive will depend on how much help you require. This will be determined via an assessment.

You don’t necessarily need to have a carer coming in already in order to qualify. The assessor just needs to see that you would benefit from assistance with certain tasks. This includes things like washing, eating, getting dressed, getting in and out of a chair etc.

Those who qualify for the lower rate of Attendance Allowance will receive £59.70 per week.

Those who qualify for the higher rate of Attendance Allowance will receive £89.15 per week.

It’s important to note that this is a tax-free benefit – in other words, you do not have to count this money among your taxable income when doing any tax calculations.

 

How To Claim Attendance Allowance

If you are a resident of England, Wales, or Scotland, call the Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 (textphone 0800 731 0317).

If you are a resident of Northern Ireland, contact the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone: 0800 012 1574).

After this initial phone call, you will receive a claim form. Alternatively, you can download the claim form here (or click here for the Northern Ireland claim form).

Once you submit your form, the relevant people will contact you to arrange your assessment.

Other Benefits You Could Be Entitled To

If your Attendance Allowance application is successful and you or your partner are already receiving means-tested benefits or tax credits, you should notify any offices which pay them to you. This is because you may be entitled to an increase in other benefits, or some entirely new benefits.

These other benefits include:

Click here to read our detailed guide to benefits for pensioners and older people.

Receiving and Spending Your Attendance Allowance

If your application is successful, your Attendance Allowance will be paid straight into your bank account every 4 weeks.

You might assume that you are required to spend your weekly Attendance Allowance on hiring a carer. However, this is not the case! You are free to use the money however you see fit. If you don’t want a carer coming into your home, you could put your Attendance Allowance towards a mobility aid or other helpful equipment, for example.

Consider a Lifeline Alarm

If you make a claim for Attendance Allowance, why not put it towards a Lifeline personal alarm? Our life-saving system is perfect for those with disabilities and long-term medical conditions, because it lets you call for assistance whenever you need it. If you ever have a fall, feel unwell, or are at all concerned for your safety, you would simply need to press your pendant button. Our 24/7 Response Team would answer your call within seconds and send help directly to you. What’s more, we pride ourselves on providing a platinum service at an affordable price; the lower rate of Attendance Allowance would cover the cost of a Lifeline Pendant Alarm with plenty to spare!

For more information, read our quick guide to the Lifeline alarm service or give us a call on 0800 999 0400. Our friendly Customer Service advisors will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You can also order your new personal alarm online today.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 15th November 2021 to reflect current information.

We all know the danger of smoking cigarettes, but lots of people continue to smoke. Whether you’ve tried quitting before or you’re ready to make a change, today’s article will give you lots of helpful tips to quit smoking. Giving up smoking can reduce your risks of several common medical conditions and help you live a healthier life.

Stop Smoking Tips

Below you’ll find lots of tried and tested tips to help you stop smoking for good. There are also lots of useful services available to help you quit – see the NHS website for more.

1. Think About Your Habits

Experts say that the key to giving up smoking is understanding what kind of smoker you are. Think about how many cigarettes you smoke each day and any places, people, or activities you associate with smoking. Are you a social smoker? Do you find yourself craving a cigarette after a meal or with an alcoholic drink? Once you understand these triggers, you will be better equipped to avoid them.

2. Set a Date to Quit Smoking

Lots of people try to give up smoking and fail because they aren’t prepared to make a change. Make sure you’re ready to stop smoking by taking some time to get ready. Set a quit date within the next week or two. This will give you several days to prepare before you stop smoking, to give you the best chance of success. For example, if you often smoke at work, try quitting on the weekend.

3. Throw Away Your Cigarettes

By the time your quit date comes, you might still have some cigarettes left, but it’s important to throw them away. You should also get rid of lighters, ashtrays, and other smoking-related objects. In addition, it might be helpful to wash any clothes and clean anything that smells of cigarette smoke. The idea behind this is to remove anything that might tempt you to smoke again. Having cigarettes in the house will make you far more likely to smoke again when the cravings kick in.

4. Get Ready to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

Once you stop smoking, you’ll likely feel a few withdrawal symptoms. If you prepare for these in advance, you’ll have a better chance of resisting the cravings. Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Remember that these symptoms are temporary – they’ll go away once your body has flushed out all the cigarette toxins. Let your friends and family know that you’re quitting, so they can understand any changes in your behaviour.

5. Beat the Cravings

When you give up smoking, you’ll probably encounter some cravings for a while. It’s difficult to avoid them, but you can find ways to overcome them. Here are a few tips:

6. Use Nicotine Replacement Products

Lots of people try to quit smoking cold turkey. While this can be successful, you’re twice as likely to stop smoking for good with nicotine replacement therapy. There are a range of products available, including patches, gum, nasal spray, and inhalators (which look and feel like plastic cigarettes). Patches release nicotine slowly while inhalators and gum act quickly to help you beat cravings as they arise. E-Cigarettes (or vapes) are popular among those trying to quit smoking. However, it’s not yet clear whether vaping poses any long-term health risks. As such, they are not available on the NHS.

7. Learn From Any Slip-Ups

Choosing to stop smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Lots of people try to quit several times before it sticks and they give up smoking for good. With this in mind, don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself slipping up and reaching for a cigarette. Instead, use this slip-up as a learning curve. Ask yourself what made you smoke again? Think about all the hard work you’ve put in and be proud of how far you’ve come. Most importantly, make sure to get rid of any cigarettes that are still in the house, especially if you’ve bought a new pack.

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe

For some extra motivation, why not read our top 10 reasons to quit smoking?

Giving up smoking is one of the healthiest choices you can make. For more information, click here to read our guide to healthy living.

If you are worried about your health or independence, it might be time to consider a Lifeline alarm. To find out more about the personal alarm service and how it can help you, give us a call on 0800 999 0400 or get in touch online today. You can also order a Lifeline Alarm system online and get free next day delivery. What’s more, 95% of our customers are eligible for VAT exemption too!

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on November 11th 2021 to reflect current information.

In our detailed guide to 20 common medical conditions which affect older people, you can find a brief overview of Parkinson’s disease. Today, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at this condition. Specifically, we’ll be discussing the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition which causes damage to the nervous system. In short, Parkinson’s reduces the level of dopamine in the brain. Without enough dopamine, the brain struggles to send messages to the muscles. This leads to issues with co-ordinating the body’s movement.

The Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

There are three main symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Besides these, there are two categories of other symptoms to keep in mind. Motor symptoms (to do with movement) and non-motor symptoms (psychological symptoms and other physical symptoms unrelated to movement). If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should make an appointment with your GP. To find out more about the condition in general, you can read our detailed guide to Parkinson’s disease.

It’s important to note that not everybody will experience the same symptoms. In most cases of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms will appear very gradually and may be very mild for a long time.

Main Physical Symptoms

Tremor

One of the first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor. If you start to notice a tremor, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Parkinson’s. There are other types of tremor that could point to other conditions, such as:

An essential tremor is a common type of tremor that does not necessarily point to Parkinson’s disease. An essential tremor is a trembling in your limbs, head, or voice, usually noticeable when you are moving.

dystonic tremor is a symptom of dystonia, a rare neurological disorder that is separate from Parkinson’s.

According to Parkinson’s UK, a Parkinson’s tremor can appear in two different ways.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a Parkinson’s tremor and other types of tremor. If you are worried that you are having Parkinson’s symptoms, you should make an appointment with your GP. From there, the GP may refer you for a specialist assessment. The specialist can carry out a variety of tests in order to reach a diagnosis.

However, according to the NHS:

No tests can conclusively show that you have Parkinson’s disease. Your doctor will base a diagnosis on your symptoms, medical history and a detailed physical examination.

Slowed Movement

This symptom of Parkinson’s is also known as bradykinesia. It can be hard to spot.

If you experience this symptom, you might find that you walk with slower, shorter steps. You might take longer to do things in general and notice that your co-ordination is worse than usual.

Physiotherapy can alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s, particularly slowness of movement. There are also certain medications available which can be very helpful.

Muscle Stiffness

Muscle stiffness – or rigidity – is the third of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

People with Parkinson’s can experience muscle stiffness in both the face and the body. If you experience rigidity it can be especially difficult to write by hand. In general, it might make it harder than usual to move certain parts of your body or make certain facial expressions.

Muscle stiffness can also cause painful cramps. However, regular exercise and physiotherapy can combat these cramps. If you’re experiencing facial muscle stiffness, a speech therapist can show you helpful exercises to keep your facial muscles flexible

Physical Symptoms

Balance Issues

In some cases, Parkinson’s Disease affects the part of the brain that controls balance. For lots of people with Parkinson’s, balance becomes more challenging and less automatic.

Unfortunately, this means that people with Parkinson’s can be prone to falls. Physical therapy can improve balance and make you less likely to fall. However, if you’re worried about falls, you should consider getting a Fall Detector alarm. A Fall Detector is programmed to the wearer’s height. When it detects a sudden drop, it automatically sends an alert to our 24/7 Emergency Response Team. This means you will always be able to get the help you need, even if you are unable to call for help yourself. To find out more, you can read our Fall Detector guide.

Reduced Sense of Smell

A weakening sense of smell can be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s. However, it can be hard to notice, since it tends to happen very gradually. After a Parkinson’s diagnosis, lots of people realise they had been losing their sense of smell for a long time.

Dizziness

Dizziness tends to set in as a result of some Parkinson’s medications, rather than being a symptom of the disease itself. This is because the medications in question affect blood pressure, which can trigger dizzy spells. Some Parkinson’s sufferers experience postural hypotension – which you might know as ‘head-rush’. This is a feeling of dizziness triggered by changing position, for example when standing up from a seat.

Other Physical Symptoms

While we have covered the main physical symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, this is by no means an exhaustive list. For more information, see Parkinson’s UK’s guide to the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Psychological Symptoms

The most widely-known symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease affect movement. However, there are a range of other psychological symptoms that can also appear.

 

Fatigue

Fatigue is not the same as just feeling tired after exercise or a bad night’s sleep. Instead, fatigue is a feeling of tiredness without obvious cause or effort. In general, resting does not relieve fatigue. According to Parkinson’s UK, up to half of people with Parkinson’s experience fatigue, so it is relatively common.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Some people with Parkinson’s will experience something called ‘mild cognitive impairment’. This is a common symptom which can cause feelings of distraction, disorganisation, confusion, or difficulty concentrating. Mild cognitive impairment can also cause memory problems, like struggling to remember information or find the right words in conversation. Treatment for mild cognitive impairment can involve medication alongside occupational therapy.

Dementia

Certain types of dementia are more likely to affect those with Parkinson’s disease. These are Parkinson’s dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. They share very similar symptoms and are sometimes grouped together under the umbrella term ‘Lewy body dementia’. Someone with Parkinson’s might receive a dementia diagnosis if mild cognitive impairment symptoms begin to impact their daily life. Treatment consists of medication and cognitive therapy.

Depression

It is unfortunately common for those with Parkinson’s to experience depression. Research suggests that a lack of dopamine, the chemical that causes symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, can also trigger depression. However, the symptoms of Parkinson’s can make it difficult to spend time socialising, which can in turn lead to loneliness and increase the risk of depression. Sufferers can combat the symptoms of depression through cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, and medications.

If You’re Noticing Symptoms of Parkinson’s

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, you should contact your GP. However, experiencing any these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have Parkinson’s disease. Many other conditions share similar symptoms.

According to the NHS, around 1 in 500 people is affected by Parkinson’s disease. This is roughly equivalent to 0.2%. Men are slightly more likely to develop the condition than women. Regardless of gender, most people with Parkinson’s do not experience symptoms before their 50s.

You can read more about the condition in our guide to Parkinson’s Disease.

Read our guide to common medical conditions affecting older people.

How Lifeline24 Can Help People With Parkinson’s Disease

A Lifeline alarm can help to protect people who have been diagnosed with a long-term medical condition like Parkinson’s disease. If one of our alarm users has a fall or feels unwell, they simply need to press the button on their alarm pendant. Our 24/7 Emergency Response Team will arrange help immediately.

To find out more about our life-saving service, read our quick guide to pendant alarms or give us a call on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, fill in our Contact Us form online and we will get in touch as soon as we can. Our friendly Customer Service advisors are always on hand to answer any of your questions.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 21st October 2021 to reflect current information.

Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has affected care home residents and staff more than most. With inadequate testing and PPE, infection rates rose quickly in UK care homes. Furthermore, elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions are already most at risk from coronavirus. Therefore, lots of people are now understandably very wary of moving into residential care. When you or your elderly loved one is struggling to stay safe and independent at home, you might feel like a care home is the only option. However, there are several alternatives to care homes in the UK. Today, we’ll talk you through some of the other options with the costs and benefits of each.

Of course, there is no one single solution when it comes to care for older people. A care home could be the right option for somebody, just as an alternative could be the right option for somebody else. Make sure to do your research and investigate all the possibilities.

If You Want To Continue Living At Home

Lots of people are reluctant to move into a care home because they want to carry on living in their own home. You might want to stay close to nearby friends and family or simply surround yourself with precious memories. As long as you can receive the support you need at home, there may not be any need to move. Here are some alternatives to care homes which could allow you to continue living in your own home.

Lifeline Alarms

Thousands of families across the UK benefit from Lifeline alarms every year. With a Lifeline alarm system in place, the alarm user can call for help with just the touch of a button. You no longer need to worry about what would happen if you have a fall or medical emergency. This offers vital peace of mind to older people and their families. Lifeline alarms are simple to set up and easy to use, so there’s no complicated installation necessary. Just take it out of the box, plug it in, and you’re ready to go.

There are several different kinds of alarms available. Every Lifeline alarm gives you 24/7 support from our Emergency Response Team 365 days of the year. The standard MyAmie pendant comes with the Lifeline Vi Alarm unit. Whenever you need assistance at home, simply press the red button on the stylish pendant. You can also choose to upgrade to a Lifeline Fall Detector, which will raise the alarm automatically if the wearer has a fall. Finally, our newest and most advanced alarm is the Lifeline GPS Alarm. This cutting-edge device allows you to call for assistance wherever you are, whether that’s at home or out and about. To find out more about any of our alarms, just give us a call or read our in-depth guide to the Lifeline alarm service.

Adapting Your Home

As well as ordering a personal alarm, you might want to make some useful adaptations to your home. This might be a daunting prospect, but it could end up being more affordable in the long run than moving into a care home.

Grab rails are one of the easiest adaptations you can make around the home. These can be very useful in lots of places, especially in the bathroom and on the stairs. They’ll give you something sturdy to hold onto and help you keep your balance, preventing dangerous falls. Grab rails are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Some bigger adaptations could include installing a stairlift, a walk-in bath or shower, or building ramps outside the front and back door. These could be a little more costly, but it’s certainly worth it to make your home as safe as possible.

Domiciliary or Live-In Care

If you’re struggling to complete personal care tasks like dressing, washing, or cleaning, domiciliary or live-in care could be good alternatives to care homes. With live-in care, a qualified carer will move into your home to support you 24/7. You’ll normally be able to request a carer who meets your specific needs. For example, you could request a carer with access to a car or who is comfortable around animals if you have pets.

Domiciliary home care, on the other hand, involves having a carer come to visit on a regular basis. This could be as little as half an hour each week or as much as all-day visits multiple times per week. This is sometimes called respite care. It’s suitable for people who need regular support but not full time. It’s also a great option for those who are cared for full-time by a partner or relative because it gives the carer an opportunity to take a break and recharge.

If You Don’t Mind Moving Out Of Your Home

On the other hand, your current home might no longer be a suitable place for you. You might need certain mobility aids which make it inaccessible or inconvenient, for example, or it might be too far from your support network. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to start looking at care homes if you don’t want to. Here are some more alternatives to care homes which involve you moving out of your current home.

Move In With Relatives

If you feel apprehensive about care homes, speak to your family about it. Once they understand your concerns, you’ll be able to look for a solution together. This could mean moving in with a relative or close friend in order to get the support you need. Not only will this reassure you, but it’s also bound to give your loved one(s) peace of mind. This could be a very affordable route for you and your family, especially if you decide to sell your current home and put the funds towards any care expenses you might need to cover. If your loved one becomes your carer, you might also want to look into respite care from time to time.

Sheltered Housing

Another alternative to care homes is sheltered housing. This is like a middle ground between living in your own home and moving into a care home. It will allow you to carry on living independently, just with a little more support in a home that’s easier for you to manage. Most sheltered housing schemes also include access to an alarm system like the Lifeline alarm. Lots of local councils and housing associations offer sheltered housing schemes.  Get in touch with your local council to see what’s available where you live.

Assisted Living

This care home alternative is a lot like sheltered housing, but with a little more support. You’ll be able to receive assistance with tasks like washing and dressing, which isn’t usually available in sheltered housing schemes. However, you’ll still have your own space with your own front door – usually a self-contained flat. Assisted living housing is available to rent or buy, so think carefully about your financial situation before making a decision. Unlike sheltered housing, assisted living is regulated by the CQC, so be sure to look for inspection reports and ratings before you commit to anything. Age UK has more useful information on housing options for older people.

Stay Safe with Lifeline24

We hope these alternatives to care homes have been useful for you. Whether you decide to stay put in your current home or move elsewhere, you’ll almost certainly benefit from a Lifeline alarm. Our life-saving system offers unbeatable peace of mind both for you and your loved ones. In an emergency, you simply need to press your Lifeline alarm button and our expert team will respond in seconds. They’ll quickly assess the situation and send you the help you need without delay.

To find out more, read our guide to the personal alarm service or give us a call today. You can also order your Lifeline alarm online today.

VAT Exemption

The vast majority of Lifeline alarm users are eligible for VAT exemption. This means you likely won’t have to pay any VAT whatsoever on your new Lifeline alarm, giving you a considerable saving. You’ll qualify for VAT exemption if you have a long-term medical condition such as arthritis or hypertension.

Click here to find out more about VAT exemption.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 14th October 2021 to reflect current information.

In previous blog posts we’ve discussed the merits of home-cooking, from saving money to eating healthier.  Today, we’re focusing specifically on the mental health benefits of cooking at home.  You might have heard of music therapy or drama therapy, but did you know that culinary therapy is on the rise?  Some counsellors around the world are recommending cooking as a therapy tool for those who suffer from depression and anxiety among other mental health issues.  In this article, we’ll be sharing our top six mental health benefits of cooking.

Top 6 Mental Health Benefits of Cooking

1. A Healthy Routine

When it comes to protecting your mental health, it’s important to have a solid routine.  Without healthy structure, it can be easy to lose motivation or to feel stressed out by constant decision-making.  Building a routine makes life a little less unpredictable.  This helps by reducing your stress and therefore bolstering your mental health.  One of the mental health benefits of cooking is that it forms part of a healthy routine.

Cooking regularly, besides yielding tasty results, forces you to get organised.  Once you get into the habit of home cooking, you will be able to keep track of the ingredients you have in the house.  You will naturally build up a routine of planning your meals according to the ingredients you have, and stocking up at the shops when you need more.

If you aren’t able to get to the supermarket easily or regularly, don’t worry.  It is often more convenient to buy your groceries online and get them delivered to your home.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with this process, we have written a helpful guide to online grocery shopping.

2. Social Connection

Loneliness is one of the biggest risks to good mental (and physical) health.  Elderly people are especially prone to feeling lonely or isolated.  According to a 2014 study, those who suffer from loneliness are more likely to develop conditions like dementia.  Lonely people also suffer disproportionately from mental health conditions.  Therefore, it is important as we get older to find ways to connect with our loved ones.

One of the benefits of home cooking is that it brings people together.  Eating together with friends and family can give everyone involved a sense of community and security.  Furthermore, involving your loved ones in the cooking process can offer extra benefits.  Cooking in a group can foster good communication and give you quality time with the people you care about.  All of these things come together to improve your overall mental health.

3. A Creative Boost

Creative activities like drawing, painting, and writing have been linked to better mental health.  Research has found that creativity can lift your mood, give you a feeling of empowerment, and help you calm your mind by shifting focus away from worrying thoughts.  You may not think of cooking in the same category as these other artistic pursuits, but think again.  Finding and perfecting your favourite recipes can definitely be a creative activity.  The more you cook, the more you will discover.  From pairing new ingredients to trying out new techniques, you can reap the creative benefits of cooking.

4. Nutrition

Mental heath is undeniably linked to physical health.  We all know the importance of a healthy, balanced diet.  By cooking your own food at home, you can take full control over the quality of your diet.  Cooking high-protein foods like salmon can boost your body’s production of serotonin, a natural mood stabiliser which helps to reduce depression and regulate anxiety.

What’s more, a 2014 study found that cooking dinner 6-7 times per week was associated with consuming fewer calories and less fat.  As our bodies become healthier, our minds can follow.

5. Stress Busting

Some people may think of cooking as a chore.  On the other hand, lots of people see cooking as a rewarding experience.  The physical processes of cooking, such as chopping and stirring, demand your attention.  This allows you to put your focus entirely on the task at hand, which could be especially helpful if you are dealing with stress.  This is one of the best short-term benefits of cooking.  It requires you to slow down and take your mind off the stresses of everyday life.

6. Sense of Accomplishment

Mental health professionals often recommend setting achievable goals with positive rewards.  Whether you are struggling with your mental health or not, preparing a meal is a great short-term goal to work towards.  Watching your ingredients come together to form something healthy and delicious is very rewarding.  The sense of accomplishment that cooking can give you is a big boost to self esteem.

Staying Safe in the Kitchen

Now that you know all the mental health benefits of cooking at home, you might want to jump straight into the kitchen.  However, it’s important to remember that the kitchen can present several hazards.  For more information on staying safe while you cook, why not read our top 5 kitchen safety tips?

All in all, if you are at all concerned about your safety or independence at home, it might be time to consider a pendant alarm.  Our 24 hour service means you can call for help whenever you need it with just the touch of a button.  To find out how we can give you and your loved ones peace of mind, you can read our in-depth guide to the Lifeline personal alarm service or give us a call on 0800 999 0400.  Our friendly Customer Service team is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 11th October 2021 to reflect current information.

A change to the law in Scotland will mean that all homes need to have interlinked fire alarms by February 2022. What does this mean for you? Why is the law changing and what do you need to do? We’ve got all the answers here.

What is the new law on fire alarms?

In February 2022, Scotland will become the first UK nation to require all homes to have interlinked fire alarms in these places:

Having interlinked alarms means that if one of them goes off, they will all go off. Interlinked fire alarms help to reduce casualties in the event of a house fire because they’re more likely to alert everybody in the property straight away. The alarms are linked via radio frequency and therefore they do not need wi-fi.

If you have a carbon-fuelled appliance e.g. a boiler or flue, you will also need to have a carbon monoxide detector. However, this does not need to be interlinked with your fire alarms.

Why is the law changing?

The law on fire alarms in Scotland is changing in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, when a London tower block caught fire leading to 72 deaths.

Without interlinked alarms, a fire could start in one area of the house and trigger a smoke detector, but you may not hear it if you’re elsewhere in the house. With interlinked alarms, you will be much more likely to hear the alarm immediately, no matter where in the house you are.

So what do I need to do?

Every home in Scotland must have interlinked fire alarms by February 2022. You’ll be responsible for purchasing and installing your alarms if you own your home. If you live in a private rental property, it will be up to your landlord to ensure the property has the right alarms. Landlords have been required to provide these kinds of alarms for some time already. Similarly, if you live in local authority housing, your accommodation should already have interlinked fire alarms. The local authority will be able to enforce the new standards.

If you’re a homeowner:

If you own the home you live in, it’s up to you to comply with the new law on fire alarms. This means you’ll be responsible for covering the cost yourself. Of course, the cost will vary depending on which kind of alarms you choose to install. Some are easy to install yourself while other devices will need to be fitted by an electrician. According to the gov.scot website:

We estimate that the cost for an average three bedroom house which requires three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector will be around £220. This is based on using the type of alarms that you can install by yourself without the need for an electrician.

Is there any financial help available?

The Scottish government has allocated £500,000 of funding to support older and/or vulnerable people to meet the new safety standards. You will be eligible for financial assistance from Care & Repair Scotland if you meet the following criteria:

You can contact your local Care & Repair office by clicking here.

Interlinked Fire Alarms from Lifeline24

Here at Lifeline24, we don’t just offer life-saving personal alarms. We also offer smoke detectors, heat alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. Our alarms comply with all the standards of the new law (BS EN14604:2005 for smoke alarms, BS 5446-2:2003 for heat alarms, and British Kitemark EN 50291-1 for carbon monoxide detectors).

If you already have a Lifeline alarm, you can easily add a fire alarm system to your existing plan. Just call 0800 999 0400 and one of our friendly operators will be happy to help.

If you have a pendant alarm from another provider, it’s easy to switch to Lifeline24 and get the fire alarms you need at the same time. Call 0800 999 0400 to discuss your options or click here to find out which Lifeline24 alarm is right for you.

Keeping You Safe at Home

There’s an extra benefit to ordering your fire alarms from Lifeline24. We provide interlinked smoke detectors, heat detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors that meet the new standards. But what’s more, our fire alarms can also link with your Lifeline24 alarm. This means that if a fire starts in your property, our 24/7 Response Team will also be alerted when the fire alarm goes off. We will be able to contact you and call the fire brigade on your behalf if necessary, giving you and your loved ones more time to evacuate to safety.

We are currently running a special offer on our life-saving smoke detectors. They’re available at £49.99 each or two for £75 – giving you a 25% saving! To order your interlinked fire alarms, just give our friendly team a call on 0800 999 0400 today.

Fire Safety Advice

For more fire safety information and advice, read the following articles:

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