DUBLIN, Ireland - More than 50,000 people have been approved for the Seniors Alerts Scheme since 2015, the Irish government said on Friday.
More than half of these new participants have joined the scheme since last year following a significant increase in spending.
The Senior Alerts Scheme supports vulnerable older people in Irish communities by providing them with a free monitored alarm which they can activate if they get into difficulty or need assistance. This community led scheme, the government says, enables people over 65 to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.
"It's great to see how the Seniors Alert Scheme has taken off, especially in the last two years. I call on people with older relatives or neighbours to alert people to the scheme and, if necessary, to help them sign up," the Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said Friday.
"It's a good idea to register in advance of the arrival of winter when older people can feel particularly vulnerable," he added.
"The increase in users is a direct result of a significant increase in Government funding for the Scheme. Last year alone, more than €5.4 million was spent on the scheme with almost 20,000 new participants from around the country being approved for the personal security device. And in the first six months of this year, 10,000 people have already been approved," Ring said.
"Older people are safer and feel more secure in their homes when they have these monitored alarms and I'm delighted that there is now a greater demand for the Seniors Alert Scheme."
"The personalised alarms are provided free of charge by the Department of Rural and Community Development and monitoring is free for the first year. From the second year on a modest yearly monitoring fee is charged," the minister said.