Promoting friendship amongst older people in Dumfries and Galloway

Promoting friendship amongst older people

The Dumfries and Galloway Over 50s Group held their Open Meeting on Thursday 9th May, at St Teresa’s Church Hall.  The meeting was attended by group members, along with some welcome new faces.  The Group Vice Chairman, John Newton, chaired the meeting and welcomed those present.  Secretary, Jacquie Hannay conducted Group business.

The speaker for the meeting was Iain Callander, Telehealthcare Assessor Technician, CARE CALL, accompanied by two of his colleagues, Frank Dreszler and Ryan Glass.

Iain told the members about the service, what it can provide and who can benefit from Telecare.  The Telecare service provides a home safety and personal security system that enables people to live independently within their own home, by providing a 24-hour telephone link to the local monitoring centre.  In Dumfries this centre is based in a building at the Crichton and maned by local staff.  The service can provide confidence and reassurance, and is available to anyone of any age who would like to feel safer, more protected and independent.  This can include older people, the less-abled, individuals who have been discharged from hospital and require additional support and assistance at home, children and families – people of any age living alone or with parental/support network, carers and people at risk of bogus callers.  There are currently around 3,600 people using the service in Dumfries and Galloway.


The unit is not purchased outright; there is a standard weekly charge.  All that is required is a telephone line and an electrical power point.  The system can operate with a mobile phone if necessary, but a landline is preferable; being quicker and more reliable. The system is controlled through the base unit, which is plugged into the telephone line.  The power unit has back up battery, which should last around 24 hours in the case of a power cut.  An alarm pendant is worn around the neck or on the wrist and when pressed works within a 500 meter range of the base unit, from either in the house or garden.  This transmits a signal to the base unit, which in turn connects to the control room.  When an alarm pendant or sensor is activated and the message received from the monitoring centre, the trained operators take the most appropriate action, whether it is to contact a responder, doctor or the emergency services.  A minimum of two responders is required, who can be family, friends or neighbours who hold a key to the property and can respond in an emergency.  If the client has nobody they can use as a responder, they can be referred to the social work team for assistance and possible funding if required.


Iain explained about the various pieces of equipment that are included in the package; smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm, flood detector, extreme temperature sensor, kitchen fire alarm, medication dispenser, natural gas detector, pull cords for bathrooms, universal sensor – fitted to door and door frame to activate and send a signal when the door is opened, fall detector, pager, bed / chair sensor and pad, For the hearing impaired there is a sensor that can go under a pillow or on a bedside table, whereby a strobe light will flash and it will vibrate if activated.


There are other items are available, but not supplied by Telecare: Three rings – can be set up to call a responder that a piece of equipment has been activated, ie; a kettle, so that the contact knows the person is up and about, Insoles for shoes – with tracking devices, just checking system – assessment tool used by councils or social workers to measure ability over a 24 hour period, motion sensors positioned in various rooms – to log movements around the house and activity sensors that can be attached to equipment around the house, to the ballcock or sink waste pipe for example.


Iain’s talk was most informative and the members were given comprehensive information about the services available through Telecare.


The Dumfries and Galloway Over 50s Group meets at St Teresa’s Church Hall, Glasgow Street, Dumfries, on the second Thursday of every month, from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.  These meetings are open to anyone in the region aged over 50.  The next meeting will be on Thursday 13th June, which will be a Summer Tea and Social.  We will be joined by Ann Croucher, Tesco Community Champion.  There is no admission and refreshments will be provided.


You can contact the Group at:

D & G Over 50s Group, c/o The Hub, 24-26 Friars Vennel, Dumfries, DG1 2RL

Telephone messages can be left at the Hub on – 01387 269161