Use of technology to assist people in living their daily lives is nothing new. In the elderly home care setting, stair lifts, walk-in baths, personal emergency alarm systems and call-guard have been available for quite some time. But now there’s a next generation of technology offering app-style, interconnected solutions to further address some of these individual’s needs and offer them greater comfort, independence and security in their living arrangements.
These new solutions may substantially increase the prospects of care recipients safely remaining where they would almost certainly prefer to be – at home and living as independently and with dignity as possible.
The linked article, which explores the potential solutions now (or imminently) on offer, rightly points out the risk that these new technological advancements might not appeal to everyone. Some care recipients might well feel uncomfortably as though they are under surveillance and having potentially very personal information shared with others (even if it’s only your family). But that shouldn’t stop the concepts being explored and the benefits balanced against any potential concerns.
We have seen a huge cut on local authority funding in the past few years and, despite the vast majority of local authorities raising additional funds using the precept which permitted 2% rise in through a council tax uplift, there was still an overspend [on what? Care or local authority services more generally – we need to be clear on that] of £168 million in 2015/16.
The struggle to make social care affordable has led to a rise in reliance on domiciliary (home care) agencies which aim to support people remaining in their own homes when they require care. This agency-reliant model, whilst cheaper than residential care, has itself has come under increased pressure to ensure it remains financially viable for the agencies providing the care services. Issues such as those relating to working hours and the legal requirement to count as ‘working time’ the travel by agency care staff to the homes of care recipients, have not helped.
So with limited funds available publically, a (seemingly indefinite) delay in the introduction of the cap on the cost of care for individuals, and care providers struggling to maintain standards on ever tighter budgets, every piece of innovation that offers good quality of life and permits safe care in someone’s own home should be embraced.
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if what most people want is to be able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, then it’s sheer madness not to use every weapon at our disposal