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Monitored Alarms Vs. Auto-dial Alarms: Choosing the Best Personal Alarms for Elderly Loved Ones

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

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In the pursuit of a safer, more comfortable life for the elderly, choosing the right personal alarm system plays an essential role. These devices offer peace of mind and assurance for families and caregivers alike.

But when it comes to the choice between monitored alarms and auto-dial alarms, which offers the best protection? Let's explore both options.

What are Monitored Alarms?

Monitored alarms are personal safety devices that, when activated, send an alert to a professional monitoring centre. These centres are staffed 24/7 by trained professionals who can dispatch emergency services if needed.

Pros of Monitored Alarms

Monitored alarms offer comprehensive protection. As soon as the alarm is triggered, a professional is on the case, ensuring that help is on the way even if the user can't communicate their needs directly.

Cons of Monitored Alarms

However, these services come with monthly fees, and some users may find the monitoring to be intrusive or unnecessary for their specific needs.

What are Auto-dial Alarms?

Unlike monitored alarms, auto-dial alarms automatically call preset numbers - typically, family members, friends, or caregivers - when triggered. They do not connect to a professional monitoring service.

Pros of Auto-dial Alarms

These alarms often have lower costs, as they don't require a monthly fee. They also allow the user to control who is contacted in an emergency, which can provide a sense of independence and privacy.

Cons of Auto-dial Alarms

The safety provided by auto-dial alarms depends on the availability and proximity of the contact person. If the person called cannot respond promptly, it may delay the arrival of necessary help.

Benefits of Personal Alarms

Personal alarms offer a range of benefits, especially for the elderly, enhancing their safety and independence. Here's a look at some of the key benefits:

  • Enhanced Safety: Personal alarms can help to ensure the user's safety, alerting others in the case of falls or other emergencies.

  • Independence: With a personal alarm, elderly individuals can live independently with the reassurance that help is only a button press away.

  • Peace of Mind for Family and Caregivers: Knowing that their loved one can quickly and easily call for help in an emergency offers significant peace of mind.

  • Potential for Quicker Response Times: In an emergency, every second counts. Personal alarms can help to ensure that help is dispatched as quickly as possible.

  • Easy to Use: Most personal alarms are designed to be user-friendly, even for those who are not tech-savvy.

  • Wearable and Portable: Personal alarms are usually small and lightweight, meaning they can be worn around the neck or wrist, or carried in a pocket, providing protection wherever the user goes.

When Can Personal Alarms be Used?

Personal alarms can be used in various scenarios to ensure the safety of elderly individuals. These include:

Falls: Falls are a common occurrence among the elderly and can lead to severe injuries. A personal alarm can alert caregivers or emergency services immediately after a fall, helping to ensure quick response and treatment. Preventing falls is critical, and you can find some helpful tips in our post on preventing falls for seniors.

Medical Emergencies: In case of sudden health issues like a heart attack or stroke, a personal alarm allows the user to quickly and easily call for medical assistance.

Living Alone: For seniors who live alone, a personal alarm provides an easy way to call for help in case of any emergency, from injuries to potential intruders.

Wandering: For those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, a personal alarm can be a lifeline if they wander away from home and get lost.

Remember, the effectiveness of a personal alarm in these situations may depend on whether it's a monitored or auto-dial alarm, so choose the type that best fits the user's needs and circumstances.

Making Your Decision: Monitored Alarms Vs. Auto-dial Alarms

Choosing the best personal alarm for an elderly loved one in Australia depends on individual needs and circumstances.

Monitored alarms are great for those who value around-the-clock professional response, while auto-dial alarms are ideal for those who prefer to rely on personal contacts and value privacy.

​Monitored Alarms

Auto-dial Alarms


Personal safety devices that, when activated, send an alert to a professional monitoring centre.

Personal safety devices that, when activated, call preset numbers (like family members, friends, or caregivers).


Offers comprehensive protection, with trained professionals available 24/7 to dispatch emergency services.

Lower costs as no monthly fees are required. Allows the user to control who is contacted in an emergency.


Monthly fees can be costly, and some users may find the 24/7 monitoring to be intrusive.

The response time and effectiveness of these alarms depend on the availability and proximity of the people the alarm contacts.

​Best for

Elderly individuals who prefer round-the-clock professional response and don't mind the monthly fees.

Elderly individuals who prefer to rely on personal contacts in emergencies, value privacy, and are looking for cost-effective solutions.

The safety and comfort of our elderly loved ones is paramount. By understanding the differences and benefits of both monitored alarms and auto-dial alarms, you can make an informed decision to best meet their needs.

Remember, the best personal alarm for elderly individuals is the one that offers them the most comfort, security, and independence.


About Adaptive Clothing Australia

We are a Brisbane-based, family run business with more than 22 years' experience working with aged care mobility products and clothing. We pride ourselves on delivering quality services with a caring, personal touch. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing you with the most accurate and reliable information to help you make informed decisions about your adaptive clothing needs.

Affiliate links

Adaptive Clothing Australia has established affiliate partnerships with reputable healthcare product providers. When you make a purchase through our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help support our mission to provide valuable information and resources to our readers. We appreciate your support and trust in our recommendations.

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