Renfrewshire Council

Community alarms and telecare at home

What community alarms and telecare is, how it works, who can benefit from telecare, what types of telecare sensors are available, how much the service costs, how you can get an alarm.

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What community alarms and telecare is

The technology enabled care service assists people living in Renfrewshire who need some extra support to live in their own homes with the security of knowing that they can call for assistance in an emergency, such as a fall or an illness at any time of the day or night by activating an alarm unit connected to their phone line. Alarm calls are triaged by our alarm receiving centre.

The service operates 365 days per year and is available to any Renfrewshire resident. Referral is via self referral or assessed referrals via Health & Social care professionals where a resident has been assessed as being at risk due to age and/or disability and/or social circumstances.

The service has a dedicated responder team that respond to all activation calls 24/7 every day of the year. If preferred activation calls can be routed directly to a family or carer as an alternative to a responder response.

How it works

We install a community alarm unit by connecting it to a telephone line in the person's home. We are currently in the process of replacing our analogue alarms with digital ones which communicate through the mobile network rather than a landline. These alarms use roaming Sims which can connect to several networks and the alarms are subject to a reliable connection to these networks.The alarm is activated by either pressing the button on the alarm unit or the pendant worn by the person, this button can be worn on a wrist strap or on a neck cord and is waterproof.

Where possible we will place the alarm unit in a central point within the home in order to make the best of the two way speech system.

The alarm requires a modern telephone socket and a 13 amp electrical socket. These sockets require to be situated on the same wall. When the person activates the alarm, a signal is sent via the telephone line (or mobile network for digital units) to our alarm receiving centre which is staffed 24 hours per day. Our alarm receiving centre can speak to the person and find out what kind of assistance is required. Please note that all activations will incur a call cost to the telephone account holder. However with digital units the cost of the call is covered by your contract with the TEC service.

There is a number of ways we can provide help or assistance depending on the information that has been given:

  • Send our responder team to assist you
  • Contact a family member or friend
  • Contact your GP / NHS24 or emergency services
  • Provide reassurance via the alarm receiving centre

Who can benefit from telecare

There are many different reasons why someone may need a community alarm or a telecare installation. Here are a few examples of some groups of people who have benefited from a community alarm / telecare package:

  • Those who are vulnerable or at risk
  • Those who are frail
  • Those with mobility issues
  • Those at risk of falling
  • Those with learning disabilities
  • Those with disabilities
  • Those with sensory impairments
  • Those who live alone

What telecare is

Community alarm installations can be enhanced to provide automatic calls without the person having to activate the alarm on the unit or press the wrist /neck worn pendant.

Discreet sensors are programmed to the alarm unit that can send an alarm call automatically once a real time emergency has been identified. Telecare sensors are used to monitor for environmental risks such as smoke, floods, personal risks such as falls, dementia, confusion and learning disabilities.

Activations from these sensors connect 24/7 to the alarm receiving centre and result in a response from the responder team, emergency services or if requested can be directed to a family member/carer if this is preferred to a responder service.

Telecare enhanced installations are assessed by the Telecare Service Coordinator and are based on the service users' individual needs and a tailor made installation designed around the risk factors specific to the service user.

What types of telecare sensors available

The following sensors are available and can be used in certain situations where a particular need has been identified:


Personal radio trigger supplied with a standard community alarm installation. This sensor is waterproof and can be worn in the shower

Smoke Detector

For use where it has been identified that someone is at risk from fire, through cooking issues or smoking. Also beneficial where mobility or sensory impairment can restrict being able to exit a property (calls normally result in the deployment of the fire brigade)

Heat Detector

For use where it has been identified that someone is at risk from temperature extremes. Usually used in a kitchen to identify if a cooker has been left on

Flood Detector

Used to detect water spillage i.e. forgetting to turn taps off

Fall Detector

Used for people mobilising during the day with epilepsy/ mobility issues/Dementia or confusion

Bed Sensor

Used to detect when a service user gets out of bed during the night and fails to return after a specified period of time has elapsed. The installation can be set up to call the alarm receiving centre for a service user who lives alone or if requested call the mobile phone of a partner / carer who lives in the property as part of a carer assist solution

Pressure Mat

Used for people with Dementia who may be at risk when getting out of bed during the night. Can be used as a carer assist solution to identify if a partner is awake and moving around the home

Pill Dispenser

Provides an effective solution to support medication compliance by automatically dispensing medication and providing audible and visual alerts as to each time medication should be taken

PIR Sensor

PIR sensors can be installed to monitor "inactivity". Sensors are programmed to identify periods of non movement. Used for Diabetics who live alone who may be at risk of falling into diabetic hypo

Door Contacts

For use when there is evidence of someone going out at inappropriate times e.g. during the night

One Touch

A GPS safe walking device (to support safe walking in the community, allowing families to stay connected)


A movement assessment tool to record activity within your home via the website (installed for a 4 week period).

Online telecare self-check

If you are not sure what kind of an alarm will suit you, you can do an online telecare self-check 

You can do it for yourself or for someone else.

You don't need to submit any personal details, like a name or address, to complete the self-check and any of the information you provide will not be stored or shared.

How much the service costs

The weekly charge is £3.70 per week.

We can arrange for the bill to be sent to a family member, if you prefer.

You can contact our Finance Recovery Team on 0141 618 2547 or 0300 300 0197.

How you can get an alarm

You can apply online for a community care alarm.

If you would like to be assessed for a community alarm or telecare first, contact our Adult Services Referral Team at or call 0300 300 1380.

We'll need to know:

  • your name
  • address
  • next of kin
  • the names of 2 key holders who live in Renfrewshire.