AS the clocks go back and the nights start drawing in, elderly residents are being urged by Age Concern Swindon to take extra care in their homes this winter by carrying an alarm.

It comes after 658 pensioners in Swindon were admitted to hospital after a fall at home during 2006/07.

A fifth of the falls result in a fracture and although most do not result in a serious injury the person can also be at risk of hypothermia or pressure sores if they are unable to get up.

Ann Hurcomb, of Age Concern Swindon, said: “The risk of falling increases as we get older – an 85-year-old is five times more likely to have a fall than a 65-year-old – so it is important that help is at hand.

“Older people can often feel particularly vulnerable during the colder and darker winter months but there are some things they can do to help them feel more confident in their own homes.

“Regular contact with family and friends for example or, if this isn’t practical, a personal alarm system will make them feel safer yet still let them live their lives as normal.”

Age Concern’s Aid Call alarm enables an older person to gain instant help when they fall in their home, giving peace of mind to the older person while enabling them to maintain their independence.

The alarm operates a two-way speech link to enable the user to talk to an operator within seconds.

The operator can then contact the user’s chosen keyholder – a friend, neighbour or relative who will come to their aid.

“If there is no contact available, the emergency services will be contacted.

The alarm can be worn around the neck or the wrist and the cost can be tailored around an individual’s needs.

“We can offer a no commitment demonstration for people so they can see exactly how it works and go through the cost with them,” said Ann.

“There are different ways of paying. You can hire them, buy a second-hand one or buy the system for the rest of your life.”

Aid Call provides reassurance for more than 40,000 people every year and the 24-hour emergency response system can be installed in homes anywhere in the UK, where possible within 48 hours of the initial enquiry.

Chris Last, of Aid Call, said: “We have a dedicated Emergency Response Centre on hand, 365 days a year.”

To find out more about Aid Call visit Age Concern Swindon at Milton Road, or call them on 01793 692166.