Everyone wants to feel independent, in control and to feel cared about; the question is whether a personal alarm will support or hinder this. Many older people, and their support networks, start looking for personal alarms after an incident occurs or as part of planning for continued independence at home.

Personal alarms: safety pendants, watches and wristbands

Personal alarms come in many shapes and sizes; we’re focusing on safety pendants, medical watches and wristbands. Until recently, safety pendants worn around the neck were seen as the default choice for personal alarm systems. A plethora of safety pendants are available on the market, it is a tried-and-tested product that has a long history in aged care.

However, it has been found that safety pendants are not always successful at detecting falls because some people aren’t wearing them when they have a fall. People have described the ‘look’ of the pendants and the ‘stigma’ attached to wearing a safety pendant as the key reasons for not wearing them.

Each product will have benefits and shortcomings so it’s important to think about your lifestyle, your comfort with the technology and your purpose in having a personal alarm system before you decide.

In the table below we have selected three different safety pendants and three different safety watches/wristbands products to take a deeper look at. There are a huge variety of products available online, you’re not limited to this selection. You may also wish to explore smart watches (such as Apple Watch) and safety sensors (such as UMPS), which are also gaining popularity among older people for monitoring safety and wellbeing.

Personal Alarm Products
Safety Pendants Medical Watches / Wristbands
Live Life Alarms2021 Model VitalCALLPearl Medical Pendant Safety LinkSEVEN alarm MepacsWatch personal alarm LivelyWearable 2 eHomeCareiStayStafe
Automatic falls detection alarm YES NO YES YES OPTIONAL NO
User can activate alarm YES YES YES YES YES YES
24/7 monitoring NO YES YES YES OPTIONAL NO
Two-way speaker YES YES YES YES YES YES
24/7 monitoring NO YES YES YES OPTIONAL NO
Works out of home YES NO NO YES YES YES
Ongoing monthly fees NO YES YES YES YES YES
Ongoing monthly fees NO YES YES YES YES YES
Upfront cost OVER $500 YES NO NO YES NO NO
Choice of aesthetics (3 or more) NO NO NO NO NO YES
Long life battery (over 3 months) NO YES NO NO YES NO
Ease of use (less than 2 functions) YES YES YES NO NO NO
Requires Smartphone NO NO NO NO YES NO


  • Swinburne University of Technology – Don’t Leave Me Untouched: Considering Emotions in Personal Alarm Use and Development
  • Designing for Senior Citizens – Desiring to be in touch in a changing communications landscape: Attitudes of older adults
  • Better Health Victoria – Falls prevention at home
  • eHomeCare – How to select a personal alarm