A service which tracks the wellbeing of older people has seen a surge in interest as they are forced to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Alertacall, based in Windermere, runs the OKEachDay service - which requires users to either press a button at a time they choose each day to signal their good health, or speak to a team member in a contact centre.

Users of the service are provided with a device - usually a telephone - which has special buttons linked to the contact centre. Pressing the OKEachDay button signals the user is well.

If the button is not pressed during the agreed timeframe, the user receives a call. If they are uncontactable, then the matter is escalated and a nominated family member, friend, or in some cases the emergency services, is contacted.

Martin Cutbill, one of the directors of the business, said: "The service becomes particularly valuable when there has been a need for heightened communication, or there is increased concern for the elderly and vulnerable.

“There was significantly increased demand, for example, when we experienced the Beast from the East in 2018, or the more recent floods in many parts of the country. We are now starting to see an increase in enquiries and activity due to coronavirus.

“Older people are significantly more at risk and if, as we expect to be the case, the Government instructs them to self isolate for an extended period of time, it may be, therefore, that they are seeing far fewer people.

"With the OKEachDay service, will be able to check on their wellbeing every day, or potentially more if that is what someone wants.

“The other thing likely to be a big issue is an increase in social isolation, which will bring about all the associated effects of loneliness. What these people can do is speak to our friendly team members, potentially every day if they need to.”

The business has its own resilience plan in place to ensure continuity of service should members of the team need to self isolate.

User Anne Walker, from Cumbria, said the technology would make a long period of isolation easier to bear.

"I've been in now for a week and I won't be leaving the house until we're told it's safe,” she said.

"I've got around 10 days of food but some nice neighbours who will go out and get me what I need after that.

"This technology has always given me reassurance that help would be there if I needed it, but that reassurance is even greater now than ever before.

"I actually feel quite safe and secure. I'm doing all I can to avoid coronavirus, but if I was to become ill, it would be picked up without me having to do anything.”

The active 75-year-old has drawn up a daily timetable of activities and household tasks to keep her busy for the months ahead.

She added: "It will also keep me in my routine for the next few months. My art class is cancelled, I can't meet friends for a coffee or for lunch.

"I'm going to miss all of these things and I don't want to fall out of the habit of getting up and having some structure to my day.

"I worry that if I stop it will be hard to get out and get going again. But I press the button at the same time in the morning and evening and this won't change."