With a rising elderly population and a restricted care budget many people are looking to technology to find a solution for people retaining their independence and dignity for longer. From WiFi hearing aids to telecoms based alarms, new technological innovations can provide an answer to help with the UK’s current care crisis.
Independence is paramount
If you live in a Care Home or still inhabit your family house, you want to make sure that you are safe, that you can communicate with the outside world and that you still enjoy a good quality of life. It seems that every week the national press has a story about the problems surrounding the care of the elderly – a recent report highlighted the fact that 800,000 older people do not have the care that they deserve. This might be where technology plays its part.
New devices that help the Elderly
A home trip detector can save lives, boost confidence and help owner’s families go about their own lives, safe in the knowledge that if their parent falls, help will be at hand. The device is plugged into the telephone line, and connected through WiFi to a pendant that is worn by the alarm user. If this person has a fall, the signal from the pendant will be relayed to a central support centre that will summon medical assistance should it be needed. This wonderful machine removes the prospect of someone lying helpless on the floor for hours in the cold, waiting to be found.
Big Brother can be good for you
An article in The Daily Telegraph suggests that sensors placed in the home can also monitor whether general household tasks are being performed and even whether medication has been taken. This sort of technology will allow those suffering from early stage dementia to remain independent for longer and will let healthcare providers check that they are eating sufficiently and keeping up with their medication.
Technological help for diabetics
The Royal College of Art has devised a minute probe that can help those suffering from diabetes. The software is placed in a small strip, resembling a conventional plaster worn by the patient. It communicates with a blood sugar chart on the wearer’s mobile phone that will allow them to monitor their blood sugar levels.
This negates the need for people to actively remember to test their own blood sugar levels, which can easily be forgotten and particularly by the elderly.
The internet can help the Elderly
Loneliness can lead to depression in all ages, but this is a particular problem for the elderly. The BBC recently covered the results of a study carried out by Policy Exchange, which highlighted this growing problem and suggested that the internet could provide a solution. Skype means that far flung families can keep in touch, and the report also suggests: ‘from alleviating social isolation, bringing together communities, paying bills and now accessing public services online can improve lives.’