A State Government commitment to provide personal alarm systems for seniors was boosted today with the presentation of a $500,000 Lotteries cheque.
Seniors Minister Judyth Watson said the statewide system, called CareLink, would contribute to seniors' quality of life by giving them independence.
"The service will start a new era of security and independence for up to 2,000 seniors in Western Australia," she said.
"Frail and at-risk seniors with CareLink will have a sense of being in touch in the event of an emergency.
"It will also ease the anxieties of family members, knowing that in an emergency their aged relatives will be able to sound the alarm even if they cannot get to a phone."
Racing and Gaming Minister Pam Beggs presented the $500,000 Lotteries cheque to the CareLink co-ordinator, the Silver Chain Nursing Association.
"The money will buy an initial 1,603 alarm pendants and special telephones," she said.
"CareLink has been successfully trialled in Bunbury with Lotteries funding and support from the Bunbury Elderly and Disabled Support Scheme.
"The concept has already saved lives and shown it can eliminate much of the physical and emotional trauma associated with age and illness."
CareLink was one of the commitments announced by the Premier in the Government's Social Advantage Package in May.
Dr Watson said the Office of Seniors' Interests would meet Carelink's running costs with $816,000 over three years.
"CareLink participants will carry pendants around their necks at all times except when they are in bed and have special telephones," she said.
"In an emergency, they will be able to press an alarm bar on the pendant to activate a phone message to the Silver Chain monitoring service.
"The Silver Chain will ring back to make sure the alarm has not been sounded accidentally, then will ring one of the neighbours or relatives nominated by the client.
"The Silver Chain will continue to monitor the emergency, and if necessary, send medical help."
Clients for the service will be identified by Home and Community Care Agencies.
Silver Chain are expected to start distributing the pendant-telephone sets during October. Most will be placed within six months and all of them within a year.
Mrs Beggs said the Lotteries Commission funded CareLink in line with its commitment to improve the quality of life for the widest possible range of West Australians.