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Older South Australians offered upgraded personal alert devices

Older South Australians at risk of falls will soon be able to choose from a range of upgraded subsidised personal alert devices, offering new and better features and flexibility.

Photo: SA owned company Spacetalk makes the Spacetalk Life watch

Older South Australians at risk of falls will soon be able to choose from a range of upgraded subsidised personal alert devices, offering new and better features and flexibility, thanks to a revamp of a legacy State Government scheme.

Following customer and expert feedback, the new Personal AlertSA scheme will offer customers the next generation of personal alert system technology, including 4G GPS monitoring, and wearable options, including pendant models and smart watches.

From February 1, eligible new South Australians will be able to choose from five, new subsidised personal alert devices with a wider range of functions, based on a customer’s needs and choice.

Customers who wish to keep their existing devices are able to do so – and they will still be monitored.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the scheme’s overhaul was prompted by feedback from customers and their families, and advocacy from peak bodies, including COTA SA.

“Personal alert device technology has advanced rapidly in recent years and the State Government committed to reviewing the scheme in order to provide older South Australians access to a greater choice of personal alert devices to suit their needs,” said Minister Lensink.

“Many older people remain active in the community and we want to encourage and increase their independence with the help of these devices.

“Under the new and improved Personal AlertSA scheme, we have been able to broaden our offering to ensure we have a range of modern devices that are reliable and easy to use.

“New features include devices with falls detection, 4G GPS systems which may be monitored by friends and family or a monitoring centre, base unit and pendant models and smart technology, such as 4G smart watches.

“Throughout this process, customers have been at the centre of all decision-making to ensure their feedback is addressed and needs are met.”

Devices will be provided fully assembled and programmed by the supplier, dispatched within 24 hours of order, and tested in conjunction with the customer to ensure good working order.

Minister Lensink said the change was also prompted by advancements in technology and the upcoming closure of the 3G network.

“Technology has rapidly evolved in recent years which saw the need to review the current scheme to ensure it is sustainable into the future,” said Minister Lensink.

COTA SA CEO Jane Mussared said the updated scheme reflected feedback provided by her organisation and its stakeholders, which called for the next generation of personal alert system technology to be offered.

“People want technology that enables them to move about their community with confidence, that is simple to use and is up to date,” said Ms Mussared.

“We also wanted to see consideration of wearability and style, so it’s pleasing to see there are options such as the pendant around the neck, through to a smart watch around the wrist.”

Under the revamped scheme, the Department of Human Services has appointed Tunstall Healthcare and MePACS to supply devices from February 1 following a competitive tender process.

Personal AlertSA will offer a rebate of up to $380 for personal alert devices and $200 for monitoring services.

It is available to eligible South Australians aged over 75 years, or 65 years old for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, who are at risk of falls and have a major medical or chronic condition that requires an immediate and urgent response in an emergency and who also meet certain criteria relating to approved services under My Aged Care.

For more information about the scheme or to arrange a device, click here.

Find out more about the Spacetalk Life watch here.

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