Alarm pendants ensure safety of kaumātua, disabled and whānau at risk

By Jessica Tyson

Kaumātua, the disabled and whānau at risk have another way to ensure their safety with alarm pendants made by Whanganui-based company GPSOS.

The company provides personal security and medical alarms and are encouraging marae, businesses and iwi to get involved, spokesperson Scott Lee says.

“We want to make sure that the kaumātua, mātua, and lone workers that are working for Māori organisations are able to get the help that they need when they need it.”

The GP1000 pendant and the GP7.0 watch both provide a panic button and talk options that allows clear conversation in an emergency. The team at GPSOS have speakers of English and te reo Māori so can talk to users in both languages to provide reassurance until help has arrived.

“We’re providing people with pendants with 24/7 monitoring so that they can feel safe wherever they are," says Lee.

The pendant also has an accurate fall sensor that automatically notifies GPSOS if the person using it falls and the watch can monitor the person’s vital signs.

Recently a pilot study was conducted when the GPSOS pendant was integrated into the everyday life of some of the older residents at Ratana Pā.

User Grace Taiaroa was impressed with the service it offered her.

“It helps me to feel safe,” she says.

Lee says GPSOS has an iwi liaison group aimed at getting more whānau involved.

“We’ve got six amazing women and one awesome man who are out there. They have their own stories. They have their own lived experiences with their kaumātua, with their mātua and their whānau.”

The koroua of one of the group's member Te Rangimarie, had a fall during the night and the koroua couldn’t set off his St John pendant.

“He was found a few hours later cradled on the floor and, when he was found, he was able to get help. With this [pendant] you’ve got full detection so, if he fell, this would set off and you’d get help immediately.”

Lee says the GP1000 pendant is different from a St John medical alarm.

“The difference is that you can talk to us anywhere where you are when you’re in cell phone coverage. If you’ve got a St John medical alarm you can talk to them so long as you’re in the same room that the box is in but if you are in a bathroom or out in the garden and the box is in the lounge you probably can’t hear.”

Lee says GPSOS services across all of Aotearoa.