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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 10 December 2007

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OLDER people in Wirral can now feel even safer in their homes with the introduction of Age Concern’s new GE KeySafe™ facility for its personal alarm system, Aid Call. 

The Aid Call alarm system has to date been installed for people that were able to select 2 separate key holders (ideally living no more than 15-20 minutes away, at separate addresses) who could be contacted to come to their aid if necessary. With 14% families in Wirral living more than 30 miles away from their parents however, it is becoming increasingly difficult for older people to meet this requirement.

Now, the GE KeySafe™ provides an alternative solution for those in that situation, enabling emergency services to assist individuals when friends and family are not available or close enough to help.

Mark Cheeseman from Age Concern Wirral commented:- “Adult children of older parents worry that their mother or father will be left stranded if they are not around. The Key Safe facility is a simple way of offering peace of mind, reassuring the individual that should they ever need any sort of assistance, help is always available.”

The GE KeySafe™ allows the secure storage of a key accessed by use of a manual pin code. The code is held by Aid Call’s response centre and passed on to emergency services personnel or other authorised respondents should an older person need instant help in their home – in the event of a fall, for example.

“This year alone we have had just under 9,000˛ ‘no response’ calls into our response centre, which could lead us to ring the police if we can’t get hold of any contacts. With nearly 150,000 older people never leaving their house and nearly half a million never seeing their friendsł, the GE KeySafe™ facility will really make a difference to helping older people stay independent in their homes” adds Mark Cheeseman.

Aid Call provides reassurance for over 40,000 people every year and the 24 hour emergency response system can be very quickly installed at homes anywhere in the UK. 

To find out more about the Key Safe facility from Aid Call or to arrange a free no obligation demonstration please contact Age Concern Wirral on 0151 649 1760

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Will the internet ever take off?

SENIOR managers across North West are missing easy opportunities to hone their skills, as they fail to make use of the online resources available to them. Figures show that technological and cultural barriers have hindered widespread uptake of online learning in the region, despite recognition of the business benefits it brings. 

The findings, published by the Chartered Management Institute and Centre for Applied Human Resource Research, confirm that internet access is readily available for the majority of senior managers in North West (90%). However, most (67%) admit they spend 30 minutes or less using company intranets, the internet or e-learning materials to solve any one problem. 58% in the region have made use of online management resources in the past year and just 27% have participated in a structured e-learning programme.

The research, outlined in a report called Realising Value from Online Learning, is based on the views of 998 respondents. It also includes in-depth interviews with 12 large employers. Key findings include:

Business benefits:- 55% in North West suggest online learning is a powerful resource for today’s busy executives as they can ‘dip in and out as time allows’. 40% in the region also believe the ‘constant availability for reference is a benefit and 25% focus on the cost-effectiveness of online resources

Virtual reality:- 46% of respondents in North West claim resistance to e-learning is caused by the loss of the human touch. 74% still prefer face-to-face conversations and 34% suggest tutor-led development is most effective

Limited interaction:- 39% say they have ‘too many distractions’ diverting them from PC-based development and 18% in the region argue the content fails to engage them. 25% say they lack the motivation to complete online courses, with 22% also blaming lack of appropriate support.

The most common goal employers had for introducing online-learning was to enable cost-effective, rapid and regular updates to employees. A key driver in this process was the need for compliance training, with core topics including discrimination and health & safety.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management:- "There are clear business benefits to adopting e-learning models, but until organisations provide engaging development tools and support alongside these, uptake will continue to be slow. However, the integration of social networking with other online routes is likely to help this process, particularly as personal development will go beyond the boundaries of organisations.”

Analysing the online methods used by seniority level shows that more junior managers use blogs, e-books, e-learning modules and social networking sites than higher level managers. For example, 16% of junior managers rely on blogs compared to 10% of directors and more (40%) use e-learning modules than their senior counterparts (22%).

Causon adds:- “The results mean that those planning online learning need to carefully consider their audience. Rather than rely on online learning for all, they should use it as an extra resource to traditional development programmes. In the medium-term richer content will widen the use of e-learning, but only as part of a dual blended solution.”

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