Science and Technology Committee Ageing Science, Technology and Healthy Living report image

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recently published a report, which outlines a series of recommendations to government to increase healthy life expectancy, with a focus on assistive technology and inclusive designs.

Entitled ‘Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living’, the report explores how health services could be coordinated to better treat people with multiple age-related illnesses.

The committee makes a series of important recommendations to the UK Government about how technology and services could be deployed more widely to support independent living in old age, such as including older people in the technology design process and making houses more adaptable.

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As well as inclusive technology designs and accessible housing, the report also considers the role of technology-enabled care (TEC) devices in helping older people to remain safe and independent in the home.

The digital switchover

The report recognises the potential of TEC solutions – also known as telecare devices – to aid independent living and give confidence to older people and their families about living alone.

Stuart Butterfield, Chief Executive of Canary Care, told the committee that the main telecare devices used in the UK are pendant alarms, pull cords and fall detectors, which send alerts to family members or service providers in the case of emergencies.

However, he said that although there are four million potential telecare users in the UK, there are just 1.7 million telecare users – a figure that has not moved in the past decade.

Many telecare systems’ technology is quite basic, the report notes, but significant change is expected in the next few years due to the digital switchover planned for 2025. Currently, many of the alarm systems use analogue technology (phone lines) to send the alerts, Stuart told the committee.

Newer digital technology, in contrast, can do more than to respond to incidents, the report states, as it can monitor people’s activities. This means that detection of a change in an individual’s routine could point towards a potential decline in function and trigger action to avert accidents. This could prevent health conditions from worsening and reduce hospital admissions through early intervention methods.

As a result, the committee recommends that the UK Government considers more widespread use of telecare services to monitor elderly individuals in the home so that they can live independently in their own homes for longer.

It added: “The upcoming digital telephone switchover provides impetus for this change and is an opportunity for local authorities to introduce more comprehensive services to facilitate safe and independent living.”

Throughout the past 12 months, the TEC sector has seen various M&As completed and partnerships formed, including Tunstall’s and AXA PPP Taking Care’s partnership in January 2020, SECOM partnership’s with Chiptech to launch a TEC service in July, and Doro’s acquisition of the assets of the Careline services from Connexus Housing Group in October.

This flurry of activity within the TEC sector comes ahead of the digital switchover of telecare services by 2025.

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https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Science-and-Technology-Committee-Ageing-Science-Technology-and-Healthy-Living-report.jpg?fit=900%2C689&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Science-and-Technology-Committee-Ageing-Science-Technology-and-Healthy-Living-report.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Sarah SarsbyNewsroomReports & ResearchSector Newsassistive technology,Canary Care,digital telecare,House of Lords Science and Technology Committee,TEC sector,Technology Enabled Care,Telecare,telecare servicesThe House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recently published a report, which outlines a series of recommendations to government to increase healthy life expectancy, with a focus on assistive technology and inclusive designs. Entitled ‘Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living’, the report explores how health services could be coordinated...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals