A project to expand the use of equipment to help keep Nottinghamshire’s older and disabled people independent in their homes is set to save the County Council £1.5m over the next three years.
Assistive technology includes sensors that alert carers if a person wanders due to dementia, falls or has an epileptic seizure, changes their daily routine or if there is a fire or flood in their home.
Other assistive equipment can help older or disabled people to carry out daily activities, such as devices to prompt or encourage people with memory or mental health problems to take medication, attend appointments, go to bed, or lock their doors and windows.
Councillor Muriel Weisz, chairman of the Council’s Adult Social Care and Health Committee, said: “Technology is changing the way we all live our lives so it makes sense that we make the most of new equipment on the market to help older and disabled people live more independent lives, which is beneficial to them and helps reduce, delay and avoid the need for home care or residential care.
“In many cases, assistive equipment is in addition to a person’s support package and enables them to carry out some of their daily tasks without assistance.
“Where a resident is vulnerable, a 24-hour team is available at the touch of button or is alerted using sensor devices to respond an emergency or problem.”
In 2014 the Council saved £681,000 through reduced home care support and delay or avoid the need to place people in residential care through the use of assistive technology.
The latest project forms part of the Council’s budget plans for this year and will increase the use of assistive technology for people requiring Council social care support and raise awareness amongst people who are not funded by the authority but may benefit from its use.
The project is expected to cost £94,000, which is additional to the approved annual budget of £219,000 for assistive technology for the next three years.
Alison Brewer from Ordsall, Notts, has worked with the Council to set up an automatic medication dispenser in the home of her mother Jean Crookes, 75. Jean was diagnosed with dementia three years ago.
Alison said: “My mum has a large number of pills throughout the day for a number of medical conditions including her dementia and we found that she was forgetting to take them.
“The dispenser has an alarm that goes off every four hours and doesn’t stop until my mother picks it up and takes out the next round of tablets she needs.
“The difference in my mum is huge – she’s so much more chilled out and happier.”