Smart homes for older people

A new report has been launched that explains the many ways that smart home technology can enhance independent living, and it details how health and social care services need to be reformed with technology at their centre to enhance the lives of older and disabled people.

The report, ‘Smarter Homes for Independent Living: Putting people in control of their lives’, comes from cross-party thinktank Policy Connect and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) as the final stage of its Commission on Smart Homes and Independent Living.

It draws on the combined expertise of healthcare practitioners, the scientific community, policymakers, business and the third sector, to develop a forward-looking set of recommendations to government, local authorities, the health and social care sector, and technology companies.

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In the report, Commission chair Sir Paul Carter CBE and author Clive Gilbert discuss good practice case studies of the impact smart home technology can have. The report outlines tangible actions for government and industry to help people take full advantage of tech. can reduce financial pressures on the NHS and the social care system.

The report’s key recommendation is for the government to create an Independent Living Technology Grant to boost access to life-enhancing technologies. This grant would overcome the inflexibilities of existing public funding sources and help disabled and older people invest in, and acquire, consumer products as well as receive any support they might need to use and maintain them.

Sir Paul Carter CBE commented: “Many disabled and older people have not benefited from the dramatic growth of the consumer smart home market in recent years. The lessons of the pandemic and the vision for adult social care set out in the White Paper present an opportunity for ministers to ride the current wave of social and technological change and renew the government’s commitment to protect disabled and older people’s right to live the lives they deserve and improve their quality of life. Our proposals set out how they can seize that opportunity.”

When implemented correctly, smart home technology works alongside people’s care networks rather than replacing social contact. It can also reduce financial pressures on the NHS and the social care system, the report argues.

Bournemouth University and Coventry University sponsored the report, and a professor from each university sat on the steering group and gave evidence to APPGAT’s sessions.

Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, Professor of Social Care at Bournemouth University commented: “Independent living and smart home technology should enhance wellbeing and social inclusion to support people to live their best lives.

“As part of this it is important that older and disabled people are involved in decision making and the development of high-quality evidence of the impact of technology on their lived experience.  This requires a commitment to co-producing new solutions based on the peoples’ experiences and a need to respond to issues of access and digital exclusion.

“All disabled and older people should have equal access to person-centred smart technology to enable them to live the lives they wish to live. Within a challenging national context of social care provision, it is essential that independent living is prioritised within sustainable funding and resource structures, to support the independence, health and wellbeing of all disabled and older citizens.”

Professor Sally Dibb, Coventry University’s Centre for Business in Society added: “At this crucial time for health and social care, effective policies are needed that will enhance the use of assistive technologies to enable all those in society to live well.

“This report draws on the combined expertise of healthcare practitioners, the scientific community, policymakers, business and the third sector, to develop a forward-looking set of recommendations.

“I am delighted that Coventry University has been able to sponsor this report and to contribute to the evidence sessions.  The holistic approach taken by Policy Connect in examining this complex issue, has enabled the joined-up thinking necessary to bring about much-needed change.

“The emphasis placed on the needs of users and carers who can benefit from these technologies is to be commended – resulting in findings that reflect the needs of those who are most important. I particularly welcome the recommendations to improve access to innovative assistive technologies for older people and those with disabilities.

“Every member of our population has the right to live independently and well. The Smart Homes and Independent Living Commission recommendations are an important step towards achieving this goal.”

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https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/APPGAT-smart-homes-report.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/APPGAT-smart-homes-report-150x150.jpgLiane McIvorHousingNewsroomSector NewsBournemouth University,care,Commission on Smart Homes and Independent Living,Coventry University,disabled,HoME,older,report,smart,technologyA new report has been launched that explains the many ways that smart home technology can enhance independent living, and it details how health and social care services need to be reformed with technology at their centre to enhance the lives of older and disabled people. The report, ‘Smarter Homes...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals