What is a Panic Button and How Can It Assist Seniors and Caregivers?

As our loved ones get older, they require more care and assistance. Some people hire caregivers for their aging parents and grandparents, while others become the caregivers themselves for their loved ones. However, not everyone is able to provide the time and requirements needed for some of the elderly who may need extra care at home. Even though you surely don’t want to take away their independence, it is important to know that they are doing good and are safe on their own.

There are many different ways to keep your senior loved ones safe. One of these is by providing caregivers that will look after them. However, caregivers sometimes have different tasks to accomplish, and some seniors are not comfortable with the idea that someone is always looking after them. If you feel worried about your senior loved ones, particularly in case of emergencies, there are some devices that may help lessen your worries. Among these is the use of panic buttons.

Panic buttons are devices that seniors may use to call for help or assistance from their caregivers and other essential people in their lives. If you are curious about these and are looking into learning more, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you more information about what a panic button is and how it can assist seniors and caregivers. 

What is a Panic Button?

a man pressing a panic button

When an elderly loved one is faced with emergency situations, such as experiencing airway constriction, losing consciousness, slipping, and falling, it may be difficult to dial 911 and communicate with an operator. If a senior citizen lives alone, a choking incident or fainting spell can become terminal in just a blink of an eye. To make sure that vulnerable and high-risk populations are safe from any unexpected accidents, the use of a panic button may help.

A panic button is mainly a device used by seniors to ask for assistance in case of emergencies, such as falling or experiencing pain. They can be used at home as an alternative to living in assisted care facilities. When a senior needs help, all they need to do is press the panic button, and it will immediately notify a caregiver or loved one who can come to their aid. They are small and wireless buttons that are easily accessible to be useful for everyone, especially seniors. They can be kept in a convenient pocket, on a belt loop, or even around the neck. Just one push of a button will initiate the call for help.[1] 

How Do Panic Buttons Work?

elderly woman using a panic button

To use a panic button, it needs to be pressed and held for several seconds until you hear a sound or see a light to confirm that the button has been activated. It sends an instant alarm straight to caregivers and loved ones or sometimes to other essential services like hospitals, doctors, and more. The alert is sent over a Bluetooth or wi-fi network.

Some panic buttons may also provide accurate and real-time information on the whereabouts of the senior patient in order to summon help fast. But the capabilities of a panic button still depend on the type of automation devices installed at home.

There are panic buttons wherein a monitoring professional from the home security, or medical alert company speaks to the senior through the base station or control panel of the system. It also should not take more than a minute for someone to pick it up. The monitoring professional will then notify the appropriate personnel, depending on the emergency, such as emergency medical personnel, law enforcement, or fire department, to name a few. 

Different Types of Panic Buttons

There are various types of panic buttons available today that can be used by seniors and caregivers. These are wearable panic buttons, panic button apps, and fixed panic buttons. Below are more information about each of these types:[2]

Wearable Panic Buttons

a senior woman wearing a panic button pendant

Wearable panic buttons are the most commonly used type among seniors. They are small pendants that generally work over Bluetooth or wi-fi. These panic buttons allow instant activation and make it fast, easy, and safe for seniors to call for help in case of emergencies. These panic buttons can be worn as a necklace, attached to belts, or worn like a watch. If the wearer needs help or if they suddenly feel unwell, all they have to do is press the button, and the alarm will call out for help automatically.

Panic Button Apps

For those looking for a more affordable option, the use of panic button apps may help. This is a cheap and easy option for people who wish to be able to call for help fast. The features may vary depending on the app, but most of them allow the user to send pre-customized texts to certain contacts, which show their location at set intervals. There are also some that emit a loud sound in case of an emergency or threat. Some paid panic button apps are connected to a monitoring center for additional reassurance.

However, even though panic button apps can be useful, they do not provide the same instant call for help as wearable ones. Also, they can be unhelpful in places that do not have phone signals or wi-fi. Seniors may also find them quite confusing to use as they are installed on smartphones.

Fixed Panic Buttons

senior woman looking at an alarm panel fixed on the wall

Fixed panic buttons are those secured to the walls. Like wearable panic buttons, they also send a signal straight to security personnel or emergency services. They are fixed in place and can be great in homes where buttons can be quickly and easily accessed. It can be used to make a home security system, especially when a person has health issues that make them vulnerable to medical emergencies. However, fixed panic buttons are only suitable for seniors who can stand up and walk fast to the panic button in case of an unforeseen circumstance. For seniors with limited mobility, a wearable panic button is more suitable.

The Benefits of Using Panic Buttons for Seniors and Caregivers

a panic button on a senior’s hands

Panic buttons are a great way of providing some protection to your elderly loved ones. This way, if ever they need help or are faced with emergency situations, they will be able to ask for assistance with just one push of a button. Therefore, if you are often worried about an elderly loved one falling or not being able to call for help, the use of panic buttons may benefit both of you. If you are wondering how, below are the benefits of using panic buttons for seniors and caregivers:[3]

Immediate Medical Assistance

The thought of seniors living alone and struggling to ask for medical assistance when needed can be scary for family members and loved ones. One of the common emergencies among senior citizens is falling, which are incidents that are worthy of concern.

Based on the National Council of Aging, falling is among the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal accidents for seniors in the United States. One in four Americans aged 65 years and above experience a fall each year, and every 11 seconds, a senior receives treatment for an injury that is related to falling.[3] These statistics are indeed alarming, but through the help of panic buttons, seniors can instantly reach out to their caregivers and emergency services in case they fall and sustain an injury.

Aside from falling, panic buttons are very useful for many other scenarios, such as when a senior is not feeling well or even when they require simple assistance from their caregivers.

Peace of Mind

The use of panic buttons may provide peace of mind to both the senior citizen and the caregiver or loved ones. You no longer have to endure sleepless nights worrying about the safety and condition of your elderly loved ones. The senior citizen, on the other hand, also does not need to lose sleep over the thought of unfortunate incidents.

A panic button can ensure senior citizens and caregivers that the local fire department, police department, and a hospital are just a button press away. In addition to that, panic buttons may also provide comfort to anxious loved ones that are flooded with thoughts of emergencies happening. If your elderly loved one chooses to live alone, a panic button would provide them with 24/7 access to help.


There are times when technology can disappoint. Devices like panic buttons may have issues like batteries draining or the device itself breaking, which are quite inevitable. But as years pass and as technology advances, panic button devices have undergone a lot of developments, which allowed them to withstand the test of time. Most panic buttons today come in handy whenever seniors need help. The majority of panic buttons available today are waterproof and sturdy. This means that they can keep your elderly loved ones protected even when they are taking a bath.

Boosts the Independence of Seniors

All of us strive to maintain independent lifestyles. However, as we grow old, our physical and mental conditions may deny us the independence that we crave. Luckily, there are now technologies like panic buttons that can help regain the independence of seniors.

Most seniors who are sick or disabled require caregiver assistance 24/7 to offer help. However, with the use of panic buttons, seniors will be able to do their daily activities without much supervision needed. This means that seniors may visit their friends, go shopping, take a walk outside, and more without supervision. In case they need help, they just need to press their panic buttons.

Provides Well-Rounded Protection

Panic button devices can be worn at all times, no matter what your elderly loved ones are doing. That is why you do not have to worry about their safety while they are asleep or taking a bath. This flexibility factor makes panic buttons even more helpful compared to smartphones in case an emergency occurs. It’s because your senior loved ones will be able to ask for help no matter where they are and what they are doing at the moment.

Some may also think about the comfort of seniors when wearing panic buttons. Before you buy one, it is important to see if they are comfortable to wear. But most wireless panic buttons available today are hardly noticeable when worn. They are also usually low maintenance, making them perfect for senior use. 

However, like many other devices, there are also some downsides when it comes to panic buttons. One of these is that most wireless and wearable panic buttons are powered by batteries. This means that there are instances when seniors might forget to charge them. Also, some panic buttons have limited ranges. Therefore, it is important to check the range of the panic button first before purchasing one to ensure that it will really be useful for your loved one.


Panic buttons are indeed helpful for seniors, particularly those who are living alone. The device can help them regain their independence without causing worries for their loved ones. This makes the use of panic buttons beneficial to both seniors and caregivers. It puts everyone at ease that with just a push of a button, their loved ones will be able to ask for help, and assistance will always be available for them. We hope this post helped you learn more about what a panic button is and how it can assist seniors and caregivers.

If you are looking for product recommendations, you can check out our Guide to Selecting Caregiver Alarms and Pagers.


[1] Fritz, R. (2020, September 11). What is a panic button? Lifewire. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-panic-button-818095

[2] ROAR, E. (2023, January 4). What is a wireless panic button and how does it work? ROAR. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from https://www.roarforgood.com/blog/what-is-a-wireless-panic-button-and-how-does-it-work-roar

[3] Rupp, S. (2020, October 22). Electronic health reporter. Visit Scott Rupp’s website. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from https://electronichealthreporter.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-using-a-panic-button-device-for-seniors/