An alarm bracelet

Assistance alarms go unheard due to tech faults

According to a new report, the alarm bracelets worn by hundreds of thousands of people in need of assistance in Sweden may not work, and the problems may continue.

The Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology studied a shift in technology for the alarms, worn by the elderly or disabled, over a three year period. The institute’s Claes Tjäder tells Swedish Radio News that users are often unable to tell if an alarm has reached the other end or not.

The example is given of a 76-year-old man who died of a heart attack in 2007. His alarm failed to trigger a signal from his telephone over the Internet.

Swedish Radio News says local authorities agree that the current alarms need to replaced with a digital system, especially as landline telephones are being phased out in some areas.

But even though a new system is supposed to be in place in two years, tests have revealed many technical complications, including coverage failures in the mobile telephone network, and over-reliance on expecting the users to be able to find an appropriate cellphone operator on their own.

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