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Assistive Technology for Independent Living

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Assistive living technology is defined as any service or product that has been developed to provide independence for elderly or disabled people. These innovative systems and dedicated devices have been considerately designed to increase both the safety and ease with which essential tasks can be undertaken for such individuals.

Assistive technology encompasses a wide selection of unobtrusive yet supportive equipment and services. They can include specialist computer software for communication, advanced systems that use fingerprint recognition to open doors without ever needing a key or more physical solutions that offer users the ability to tend to personal needs independently without requiring a carer present.

The aim of assisted living technology is not only to offer greater levels of physical independence to disabled, incapacitated or older individuals. Solutions have also been created to enhance both mental and physical wellbeing by encouraging and facilitating social interaction with peers and family members.

The different options of assisted living technology available for use

You will find an extensive selection of assistive technologies available designed for a wide range of requirements, the following are just some of the products offered:

Telecare systems

These systems use powerful sensors positioned around the residence that can monitor a user’s safety and a relative or qualified carer can receive alerts immediately if an issue should arise. Telecare sensors can inform carers when those they look after get up from bed and do not return, leave water running or gas unlit or have not moved for a significant period.

Telehealth

This option delivers remote access to essential health care services for users with long-term conditions.

GPS trackers

Lightweight and easy for users to wear, these advanced trackers also include two-way communication, a fall detector, and an alert button. The tracker allows users to call for help or be found if they have an accident when out and about.

Memory aids

Available in many different formats, these innovative devices can offer reminders via bespoke voice messages on prescription medication times, hospital appointments or even what day it is.

Personal alarms

Kept on their person at all times, these small alarms enable users to call for help if they suffer a fall or other accident.

Home security and safety solutions

These devices include a wide array of gadgets for increased home protection and include dedicated security systems and smart doorbells.

Communication technology

From specialist phones that make calling easier for elderly people to useful apps for those with conditions impacting their memories, there are many different technologies to facilitate communication.

Assistive Living Technology - Smart Thermostat

Choosing the right solution for your individual needs

Selecting assistive telecare or technology is an exceptionally personal process. Solutions that may suit one individual may not be helpful for another. Some technology may seem complex when first introduced, but it’s crucial that you pick the products that are most suited to your individual requirements.

For help in this area, asking a professional is always a wise idea, you can get in touch with an expert in assistive technologies, like an occupational therapist (OT), who will be able to assess your needs and advise on the best devices. It may also be worth contacting the social services department of your local authority for advice on any options that are currently available in your locale but ensure that you request and complete a needs assessment. Additionally, your General Practitioner can also be called on for guidance.

While experts can assist, don’t be dissuaded from conducting research of your own, and if you feel confident you can purchase simple devices yourself, although for more complicated solutions and services, advice is a smart idea to ensure you get the ideal equipment.

Insurance if you are employing a carer or personal assistant

Help on hand for assisted living technology

Users seeking assistive technologies can receive funding as part of a local council care package, although an official assessment will be required to determine whether an individual qualifies to be granted support. You must contact your local authority’s social services department so that it can arrange your personal assessment with an occupational therapist or social worker, depending on your specific circumstances. It is worth noting that different councils will have their own ways of organising official assessments and provisions awarded.

If you are currently registered as disabled or are suffering from a long-term health condition, it may also be possible for you to claim an exemption from VAT when purchasing many assisted living technology products. This can lead to significant savings on what can sometimes be costly items to buy.

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