Family carers in Norfolk need to keep up-to-date with the range of technology that can make caring easier and improve the health, safety and independence of the carer – and people they are looking after, according to a leading carers’ organisation.

Norfolk Carers says that there is a range of technology to support people to live independently and help with things like memory or mobility issues, risk of falling and security and communications:

Tim Allard, Executive Manager of Norfolk Carers says:

“Often it’s small, relatively inexpensive and readily available technology that can make caring much easier.  Smartphone apps, for example, can help family members  communicate with the person who’s being looked after, or with each other, to co-ordinate care between them and share details about appointments or medication.  A personal alarm with a pager, for example, may give a carer more freedom to pursue a task, hobby or activity, knowing that their loved-one can alert them quickly in the event of a problem.”

Other equipment that can be helpful to carers is becoming more available for carers to  purchase  in the high street, such as remote heating and lighting controls, and equipment such as a Wifi door entry system, means that a caller’s picture can be displayed on a smartphone and the carer can advise the householder whether the door should be opened.

Special phones such as those with speed dial and picture buttons are available from high-street retailers and those with clocks and calendars and prompts, may make it easier for carers looking after someone with memory or sight difficulties or to manage medication.

For those caring for a family member at a distance or working carers, for example, simple to set up cameras might be appropriate. Most link to a Wi-Fi connection so that a carer can view a live activity via their smartphone or other tech.  They do, however, raise concerns over deprivation of liberty and invasion of privacy and there may be less invasive options such as sensors.

There are a range of sensors available including, for example: panic buttons, smoke, heat and temperature, flood, falls, bed or chair occupancy and movement and door opening/closing, as well as systems to alert to bogus callers.  Sensors can be built into community alarm pendants to show information on line in real time and send a text alert in the event of a fall or other event. Norfolk’s Assistive Technology Team are exploring more use of technology such as GPS locators for people who may wander.

Sensors linked to a person’s community alarm are provided by Norfolk’s Assistive Technology Team, although the rental of the community alarm (which they link into) is the person’s own responsibility.

If a person has profound or complex physical disabilities home automation or adaptations may be available, however the person has to meet eligibility criteria and be referred by the GP or social worker.

The Assistive Technology service is for adults over 18 years living in their own home. If you already have ongoing support from Adult Social Services the social worker can refer into the service.  You can also contact Norfolk County Council to ask for a referral to the team. Although the assessment is free, some of the equipment may not be and the person carrying out the assessment will be able to suggest places where you can buy it directly.

For more information or support to find out what technology may available or any practical or emotional aspects of caring contact Norfolk Carers on 0808 808 9876  Twitter: NorfolkCarersUk   FB: NorfolkCarersUk