Balancing the desire for independence and the need for safety becomes increasingly difficult as you get older. We all like to enjoy our own space and privacy, but in later life we need to keep in regular contact with the people who care for our health and wellbeing. With that in mind, some new sensory technology is being trialled in Britain which allows health professionals to monitor your home activity without compromising your privacy. If successful it could decrease the need for visits to doctors and hospitals. It could also enable many older people to continue living in their own home, rather than a care home.
The technology allows the kitchen appliances and curtains of dementia patients to be connected to home systems so that they can be monitored remotely. Sensors on the appliances will monitor whether the patient is using the utensils, moving around their home and eating at regular times. To accomplish the introduction of this innovative technology, the NHS has teamed up with several technology giants including Google’s life sciences sector Verily, Phillips and IBM.
By the time 2018 arrives, nearly three million people are expected to have at least three medical conditions which include dementia, which in turn leaves huge pressure and demands on health and care services. The technology coming through will help free up resources, and release these pressures. It is estimated that this digital revolution will help save the NHS £5 billion over the next 10 years.
George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society told The Telegraph: “Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community and we know they want to remain independent and in their own homes for longer. Technology can be invaluable in helping people living with dementia to do this and improve their everyday lives – it can also aid health professionals to deliver person-centred care.
“A quarter of hospital beds are taken up by people with dementia and millions is spent on preventable admissions. Our NHS and social care system has historically been too reactive, dealing with a series of emergencies. With an ageing population and more people living with multiple long-term conditions it is right we focus on prevention and keeping people out of hospital – anticipating and preventing crises. Not only does it make good economic sense, but reduces the human misery associated with emergency admissions to hospital.
“With any implementation of technology it is paramount that the person living with dementia should be at the centre of any decisions made. Each individual is different and their needs should be assessed on a case by case basis.”
The new technology is now being trialled in Birmingham, Sheffield, Lancashire, London, Manchester, Surry and Sussex. Improving safety and independence at home is what Mobility Plus are all about, so we certainly wish it every success.