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Showcasing how assistive technology can be used to enable vulnerable adults to live independently in their own homes, national charity Hft created a pop-up smarthouse in Exeter chock-full of assistive tech innovations.

The Smarthouse boasted a range of interactive technology, including a talking microwave, safety sensors to prevent flooding or injury, and finger-print activated door locks which replace the need for keys.

It was featured at the Matford Livestock Centre in Exeter from the 26th-28th November and was funded by Devon County Council as part of its drive to see technology used more to enable people to live as independently as possible. The project aims to raise awareness of assistive technology and the outcomes it can deliver, as well as informing staff about how to obtain technology for their clients.

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“More and more people living with health and care needs are doing so safely at home, helped by technology,” commented Jennie Stephens, Chief Officer for Adult Social Care at Devon County Council.

“I believe that people are increasingly comfortable using technology and are embracing its potential across all aspects of their lives, including meeting health and care needs. That’s why events like these are so important to showcase the range of easy to use technology available from higher-tech sensors through to everyday household items that can make such a positive impact to people’s lives.”

At the event, social workers, carers, service users and council staff had the opportunity to experience interactive demonstrations of the types of technology used by Hft to help people live more independently and safely.

Technology on display included a ‘holiday kit’, which enables people with epilepsy to remain independent and secure outside of their usual living environment. The kit includes a door sensor and an epilepsy sensor, which detects repetitive movement and raises an alert on a staff pager if somebody has a seizure during the night.

In addition to the ‘holiday kit’, Hft showcased support buttons, which enable individuals to alert a staff member quickly and easily if they need support during the night. Able to be worn as a wristband or pendant, the buttons facilitate independent living with the reassurance that help is accessible, if required.

Over the three days, Hft’s specialist Personalised Technology team – which offers training, assessment, installation, advice and consultancy services – also ran a series of sessions for those wanting to try out the technology, learn more about how it works and ask questions.

Emma Nichols, Hft’s Personalised Technology Manager, said: “We were delighted to display our Smarthouse at this event, which was a great opportunity for people to find out more about the role of technology in enabling people with disabilities to live with as much independence, choice and control as possible.

“Every day we work with people with disabilities, their families and support staff to find creative ways to support people to achieve the things they want to do. It’s been really valuable to share our expertise with visitors to the Smarthouse and demonstrate how technology can discreetly fit into and enhance the quality of people’s lives.”

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