Social alarms

In Spain, social alarms are referred to as tele-alarms and telecare is known as tele-assistance. Tele-alarms are the most common form of ICT-based technology for independent living, and are available throughout the country. Take-up is estimated at between 3% and 3.5% of the population aged 65 years and older. The main providers are municipalities under the Autonomous Communities of Spain, who subsidise the service.

The Law on the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care of Those in Dependent Situations (39/2006) defines and sets the remit for tele-alarm and tele-assistance services. The aim of tele-alarms and tele-assistance under this policy is to contribute to ensuring that vulnerable people remain in their normal living environment, avoiding the important personal, social and economic costs which their uprooting from this setting would entail, making contact with their social and family network possible and ensuring immediate intervention in the event of a crisis and to avoid unnecessary admission to residential care.

As regards charging/reimbursement, each Autonomous Community determines the price of the tele-alarm service and the requirements for users to qualify for the different discounts available. Full cost might be between 15 and 20 euros per month, with a range of actual costs depending on level of discount (100%, 80%, 40% etc.).