AN innovative technology firm which helps thousands of older people to live independently in their own homes has joined forces with some of the UK’s leading universities to carry out a series of research projects.

Alertacall, based in Windermere, pioneered the OKEachDay phone to provide peace of mind and support for those who wish to enjoy fulfilled and active lives.

Now those at the helm of the innovative company are working with academics at leading academic institutions to uncover new and valuable insights into how people can be supported to live well at home for longer.

One study, completed as part of a link up with Lancaster University, has found a considerable number of health professionals are unaware of the full range of options available for older people who wish to stay at home.

It has resulted in older people being routinely offered a limited choice of assistive products - predominantly pendant alarms - to help keep them safe should they become unwell or suffer a fall.

Martin Cutbill, business development director at Alertacall, described the results as “extremely valuable”.

“We want to make sure people have all the options in front of them so they can select the one that suits their life best.

“Many people don’t wear a pendant alarm when they have been issued with one which can actually create a false sense of security for families.

“These people would be safer with a system like OKEachDay which does not rely on them being able to press a button if they need help.

“This study has highlighted the fact that many more people could continue to live independently at home for longer as long as they are made aware of the range of different products that offer help.”

Users of the OKEachDay phone simply press the button every day to signal that they are fine.

But if a customer does not make contact or respond to a call, the team will alert family, nominated friends or the emergency services to check they are OK.

The easy to use system has already helped to save hundreds of lives - responding quickly to those who have found they are unable to get up after a fall to customers who have suffered a stroke or other serious health issue.

Experts are now looking into the potential of Alertacall’s system for people who return home from a stay in hospital.

The technology was selected for a special three-month long study by the University of Manchester.

Martin, who highlighted the benefits of the system alongside its inventor, Alertacall founder James Batchelor, explained: “One of the key reasons why many patients stay in hospital longer than they need to is because of delays in setting up follow on care and support, largely due to cost and availability pressures.

“But we believe the service could help reduce the number of people who are readmitted to hospital within weeks of discharge because of the support and reassurance it is able to provide.”

Additional features of the OKEachDay phone is a useful messaging service which customers can use to provide them with reminders about hospital or GP appointments and when they need to take prescribed medication.

Martin added: “We are delighted to have the support of the University of Manchester.

“This will enable not just an effectively designed trial, but will also provide an independent validation of the benefits delivered.”

Alertacall founder joins Esther Rantzen's Silver Line charity

DIRECT ACTION: Alertacall founder James Batchelor with Dame Esther Rantzen. James has been appointed as trustee to The Silver Line, founded by Dame Esther in 2013, Picture: Johnny Fenn

THE founder of Alertacall has been appointed as trustee to a national charity which was founded by TV star Dame Esther Rantzen.

James Batchelor, the businessman and inventor behind the Windermere-based company, will support The Silver Line in his new role.

The charity was founded by Dame Esther in 2013, and was inspired by the loneliness she experienced after the death of her husband, the BBC producer Desmond Wilcox.

James said: “The Silver Line is the real deal, a direct-action charity that genuinely changes the lives of older people.

“Its overheads are low and that means you can have confidence that any money you donate to it, really will help older people feel connected, and part of the real world again.

“It’s a privilege to be invited to join The Silver Line and to be able to support something so important.”

The Silver Line operates the only confidential, free helpline for older people available across the UK which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week - and since being launched has received more than five million calls.

After interviews with existing trustees, James was invited to become a trustee of The Silver Line in January 2019 by Sophie Andrews, the CEO of the charity, who has overseen the growth of the organisation to several hundred team members based in London and Blackpool, and a network of thousands of volunteers.

Mrs Andrews said: “It’s wonderful news that James is able to join The Silver Line as a trustee. He has been a keen and helpful supporter of the charity for several years, is an expert on the ageing population and also an incredible source of ideas about how we can grow the charity - and do so sustainably.

“We’re delighted to have him on board and his experience will be invaluable.”

James, of Windermere, has helped to create a number of successful ventures over the past 25 years and for the last decade has been focused on creating clever ways to improve contact for older people through the award-winning business Alertacall, which employs around 70 people.

Inspired originally by the needs of his grandmother Eveline, James made more than 60,000 phone calls to older people and visited 1,000 in their own homes over several years to understand their needs, and so that he could invent ways to improve daily contact for them.

James has extended an invitation to individuals or organisations who want to support The Silver Line and its great work, either by donating to it or developing partnerships, saying he would be happy to facilitate introductions to the right people within the charity.

If you are or know of an older person who would enjoy the chance to speak to someone confidentially for advice, and friendship - The Silver Line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0800 4 70 80 90.

Time running out to take up free trial with Alertacall's OKEachDay phone service

THINK CLEVER: Alertacall’s Clever Contact phone

THERE is still time to try the innovative OKEachDay phone for free thanks to a generous offer from Windermere firm Alertacall - but hurry, because trial places are now very limited.

The company is giving 50 people the chance to trial the easy to use system for six months, with no catches or hidden charges.

The phone, which promotes independent living, simply plugs into a landline and can be used for normal calls.

But it is also fitted with an OKEachDay button which customers press daily to signal that they are fine.

They can then get on with whatever activities they have planned.

Alternatively, some people prefer to speak to a member of the friendly team.

If no contact is made, the team will check to make sure they are alright.

Anyone who would like to request an OKEachDay phone can call 0808 208 1234.

This can be on behalf of themselves or someone else.