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PSTN Switch Off

PSTN Switch Off: Overview, Impact and Next Steps

By Blog

In 2017, BT Group announced that they will be suspending and switching off the PSTN (Public Service Telephone Network) in 2025 in favour of an all-VoIP network, marking the biggest change in the British telecoms industry for over 30 years. 

With this switch off comes great challenges for health, housing and care providers who currently rely on these services to deliver essential telecare and telehealth services to over 1.7 million people in the UK. But what does this switch off mean for you, and how will it impact your business and services? 

In this article, we outline the timeline for the switch off, the potential impact it will have, and the next steps you need to take to ensure continuity of services. 

PSTN Switch Off

What is PSTN?

The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is the existing infrastructure that enables people to communicate from different locations by voice using analogue phone signalling. Commonly known as ‘traditional telephony’ these analogue signals are sent through copper and fibre telephone lines. 

The PSTN currently supports a number of Openreach products which Communication Providers (CPs) purchase and distribute to businesses and consumers via line rentals, broadband and call package deals; this includes Wholesale Line Rental and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) which will also be withdrawn by 2025. 

PSTN has been used as the primary method of transmitting phone calls for many years across a range of consumer products and services, including telecare and telehealth. For many telecare service providers, PSTN is the foundation of their communications – with many telecare alarm devices and peripherals relying on this network, health, housing and care providers must act to avoid threats to the continuity of their services. 

What is the PSTN switch off?

In 2017, it was announced that the PSTN would be switched off by BT Openreach by 2025. This means that everyone using this service, including hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of consumers will need to migrate to a new service by that time. 

As part of the switch, customers will be switched over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP facilitates voice-based communication using an internet connection instead of the traditional telephone lines used by PSTN. 

VoIP has many benefits for both businesses and consumers, which is why the switch off is taking place. As PSTN became more expensive to maintain, VoIP offers a notably cheaper solution that also delivers faster call connections, is more resilient and enables service providers to update the service more efficiently. 

For telecare and telehealth providers and users, the switch off and migration to a fully digital service creates new opportunities. With more choice of new technology enabled care services, speedier alarm connections and the use of a more resilient and efficient service, telecare users can benefit fully.

What is the timeline for the switch off?

The PSTN switch off was originally discussed in 2015, and by 2017, a 2025 deadline was set. Since then, BT Openreach has been involved in several trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall to upgrade the existing PSTN network to a fully digital service. As part of the timeline for the switch off, BT Openreach has announced several ‘Stop Sells’ which stops the sales of some of their products, including PSTN based services including WLR and ISDN by 2023. A full timeline of the switch off can be found below. 

PSTN Switch Off Timeline

1

November 2017 - BT Openreach announces its intention to switch off the PSTN in 2025.
2

June 2019 - Trial sites in Salisbury and Mildenhall announced, and Openreach strengthens the fibre network.
3

December 2020 - Openreach starts the process of retiring PSTN and ISDN. Stop sell notice of legacy services in Salisbury trial site.
4

May 2021 - Stop Sell notice of legacy services in Mildenhall trial site.
5

December 2022 - Salisbury and Mildenhall trial sites -withdrawal of legacy products and services.
6

September 2023 - STOP SELL notice issued. No new line installations, line conversions or ISDN channels.
7

December 2025 - PSTN and ISDN switch off

What impact will the PSTN switch off have on my business?

Around 2.4 million businesses, local authorities and public organisations currently operate on PSTN or ISDN, and through the withdrawal of these services, these organisations will face significant disruption through the loss of connection and communication lines if their services aren’t upgraded by the 2025 deadline. Services that will be impacted include: 

  • ADSL Broadband 
  • FTTC Broadband 
  • Digital Telecare Systems operating over ADSL and FTTC
  • Analogue Telecare and Critical Care Systems
  • Analogue Fire Alarm Systems
  • Analogue Payment and Card Processing services
  • Analogue Security Systems, including CCTV

Impact on telecare and critical care systems

For housing, health and social care providers who deliver essential care services supported by telecare, the PSTN switch off provides significant cause for concern. If local authorities, housing associations and other care providers fail to address the switchover in a timely manner, vulnerable adults may be left without the emergency assistance they rely on. 

Within the telecare space, there is a misconception that analogue telecare units will still work within digital telephone networks, such as VoIP. However, research has already shown that analogue telecare equipment will not work within the digital requirements, and will cause an influx of call failures, which could be fatal for service users in need.

Next steps – get ahead of the PSTN Switch Off

To get ahead of the PSTN switch off, businesses and service providers need to act now by upgrading to VoIP. Migrating from PSTN to VoIP requires careful planning and checks to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Organisations should consider the following steps: 

1. Audit your current systems

The first step in migrating to VoIP is to audit your current networks and set up. This will involve creating a catalogue of everything your organisation has that operates via PSTN, including all hardware, software and processes. Some considerations could include:

  • Understanding your existing phone service, including the number of telephones you have, how you answer and take calls, how you record voicemails etc. 
  • Existing broadband connectivity 
  • Existing health and safety systems, including fire alarms, Co2 alarms, building security, CCTV 
  • Any telecare hardware and software you rely on, including Alarm Receiving Centre software 

For many small businesses, this audit process may not take long. For larger local authorities and housing associations, you must take into account all hardware provided to your customer base. It’s important to start now and not risk delaying this process until you are close to the deadline.

 

2. Create a defined plan of action

Once you have created a catalogue of existing hardware, software and processes, you must create a clear strategy and plan on how you will replace these systems and who will be involved. In this process, you should consider:

  • Service Offering – What kind of digital service you wish to provide. Should you replace systems with like-for-like alternatives, or should you implement new and exciting services to provide your business and customers with more choice and flexibility? 
  • Technology – What technology do you want to use? What technology do you want to equip your customers with? 
  • Capacity/Resources – Who will help you transition? What capacity do you have internally to make these changes? 
  • Operational Procedures – Have you mapped out what procedures need to be altered to make the transition successful?
  • Business Continuity – Do you have a business continuity plan in place if things don’t go smoothly? 
  • Budget – Have you mapped out the potential cost of replacing your existing equipment and systems?
  • Digital Skills – Does your organisation and customers have the relevant digital skills to ensure success?
  • Communication – Do you have the communication plans in place to effectively communicate migration to your internal teams and external customers? 
  • Third Parties – Have you considered the readiness of third party providers? Is your Alarm Receiving Centre or monitoring partners equipped with the tools to handle digital calls or alarms? 
  • Cyber security – What measures do we and third parties have in place for cyber security for a new digital network? 

 

3. Partner with a VoIP provider/digital services partner

As part of the migration to a VoIP service, you should consider working with a company that can deliver everything you need identified in step 2 and help you to migrate smoothly. This should involve working with a VoIP provider that provides excellent support and security. Since VoIP operates from the cloud, a provider with high security credentials will be able to keep your network safe and secure from cyber attacks. 

 

4. Test, test and test again

When implementing new hardware, software and processes under a new VoIP service, you should ensure that all functions are tested. Depending on your organisation, this stage may involve testing communication lines, but for larger organisations responsible for telecare services for example, you must ensure that there is a secure and resilient line of communication in place, as without it, you could put vulnerable people in danger of not receiving emergency support. 

To test effectively, take a leaf out of BT Openreach’s book and create small trials and test beds to safely test your new hardware, software and processes with customers who aren’t high risk. Once you are satisfied that everything is working effectively, you can begin the process of implementing the system on a wider scale.

Migrating to digital with Communicare247

Communicare247 is a digital service provider, delivering a suite of solutions for housing, health and social care providers. Our products and services are designed to support & empower greater personal freedom and independence. We enable our customers to make proactive, informed decisions, which means service providers can predict & proactively support their clients to live independently in their homes and communities for longer. 

Through our Archangel® cloud system, our customers can integrate a choice of digital home and mobile equipment, IoT devices, ambient sensors and monitoring tools to protect and respond to the needs of citizens. 

Archangel® delivers complete flexibility and functionality, enabling providers to migrate to a digital system their own way, securely. Through Archangel®, service providers can access our Interoperability Gateway, a secure middleware cloud technology which enables the two-way exchange of data between analogue and digital devices and IoT systems. Featuring open APIs, connectivity plugins and our Analogue to Digital Bridge, the gateway supports providers by integrating existing analogue devices and social alarms, enabling existing devices to work with a fully digital system. This supports the smooth migration of services, and consolidates multiple data silos into one complete system. 

To find out more about Archangel, our Interoperability Gateway, and how we can support you in the transition from analogue to digital, please download our brochure below, or get in touch with our team.

Archangel Brochure

Download the Archangel® brochure

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About Communicare247

Communicare247 is a health and social care service provider which delivers connected care solutions. Using secure digital technology and monitoring services, we enable citizens to remain safe and independent in their own homes for longer. Cloud services and effective technology provide valuable reassurance for individuals receiving care and permits sharing of information with families and care providers. The service helps to support service commissioners in balancing their duty of care with practical efficiencies capable of meeting modern day audit and resource challenges.

Coping with Fireworks

Tips for coping with fireworks and other triggers

By Blog

Each year, celebrations involving fireworks are held across the country, usually throughout Bonfire Night (November 5th), Christmas and New Year celebrations. Whilst this is an enjoyable time for some people, for older people, autistic adults and children, and for people who live with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), celebrations involving fireworks are often unpredictable, unsettling and distressing. To help people cope, extra measures may need to be taken to help people feel safe and happy at home.  

Coping with Fireworks

Understanding why fireworks are distressing

Fireworks and events involving fireworks are often distressing for many people. For people who live with PTSD, the nature of fireworks can often remind them of traumatic experiences they have lived through in the past, including war, abuse or natural disasters. Due to the loud bangs and flashes, smell of smoke and usually large crowds who can be loud – the sight, smell and sound of fireworks can often be triggering for people with PTSD, and can also impact older adults and people with Autism who can experience sensory overload as a result of firework displays. 

As we approach the season where firework displays are more likely to occur, it’s important to make changes in your home and community to support these people.

Tips for coping with fireworks and other triggers

 

Understand the potential distress

For many people, fireworks may be a new or developing source of distress. If you care for someone who is older, has sensory issues, PTSD or you may suspect they will be distressed due to other experiences, it’s important to have a conversation with them to find out how they feel about fireworks and if they are likely to upset them. 

Understanding potential triggers for distress can help you put a plan in place to help your loved ones feel more comfortable and safe. 

Make a plan 

Many people may wish to get out and join in with celebrations, despite having a level of discomfort. If you find this is the case, it’s important to have a plan in place if and when a loved one feels uncomfortable due to fireworks or triggers relating to the event. 

If you do wish to celebrate events like Bonfire Night, Christmas or New Years with fireworks, it’s important to attend a professionally organised event. By attending a professionally organised event, you can check with the event organisers when to expect fireworks and you can find out more information about accessibility arrangements that are in place. 

If you attend an event, engage with those who support you to arrange a plan to help cope with your reaction to fireworks. This could involve spotting signs of discomfort, communicating when you feel distressed, planning a route back home, or arranging a place to go to calm down and escape from the distressing environment. 

If you are having your own fireworks or sparklers, have a plan of what they are going to be, what they will look like and sound like and when they will be set off. The National Autistic Society recommends that writing this information down, or communicating it through a visual story can help a person with autism understand what to expect from the event. 

Coping with Fireworks, man listening to music

Create a calm environment 

To avoid the impact of fireworks, it’s important to create a calming home environment. To help do this, you can close all windows, doors and curtains to help create a sound barrier between you and the fireworks. You can also try implementing existing comforts used to help you relax, such as putting on your favourite music, white noise, or your favourite television shows or films to distract yourself from the loud noises outside. 

To block the sound of fireworks, you can also consider using headphones (noise cancelling ones are best!) or ear defenders.

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About Communicare247

Communicare247 is a health and social care service provider which delivers connected care solutions. Using secure digital technology and monitoring services, we enable citizens to remain safe and independent in their own homes for longer. Cloud services and effective technology provide valuable reassurance for individuals receiving care and permits sharing of information with families and care providers. The service helps to support service commissioners in balancing their duty of care with practical efficiencies capable of meeting modern day audit and resource challenges.

Older adult falls over

Falls in Older People: Risks and Prevention

By Blog

Key Facts

Falling can happen to anyone, but for older adults, the risk is particularly high and the consequences can be severe. 

Falling can cause significant injury and psychological impact to older adults. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries for older adults, and in 5% of cases, can cause fractures, leading to extended recovery periods in hospital. Falls not only cause physical injuries, but severely impact an older person’s confidence and levels of independence. Falls can cause older people to avoid physical activity due to fears of falling again, which in turn, can be detrimental to their health by leading to functional decline and decreased quality of life. 

There are around 255 thousand fall-related emergency hospital admissions in England among patients 65 and over each year – around 30% of these adults aged 65 and older will fall at least once per year in the UK, and for those aged 80 and over, 50% are likely to fall. Statistics show that falls are the number one reason older people are taken to A&E, and each year, can cost the NHS up to £2 billion and over £4 million in day beds. 

By preventing falls and reacting quicker to falls in older adults, we can improve the quality of life of older adults, and drive down costs faced by the NHS. 

Older adult falls over

What causes falls in older people?

Falls can occur for multiple reasons and are usually a result of the interplay of multiple risk factors. These risk factors can include:  

  • Existing medical conditions (including Parkinson’s, dementia, poor vision or frailty caused by a previous injury) 
  • Effects from commonly prescribed medicines or combined medication (polypharmacy) 
  • Physiological changes such as poor eyesight, loss of muscle strength and balance 
  • Environmental hazards such as ill fitting shoes, poor lighting, slippery surfaces
  • Lifestyle, including excessive alcohol or lack of physical inactivity 

How can you prevent falls?

As stated above, falls can occur due to a multitude of risk factors that often overlap. To prevent a fall in the home, it’s important to consider your environment and personal risks, and devise a plan to reduce these risks. Some tips to help prevent falls in the home include: 

Improving your environment

  • One way to reduce falls in the home is to improve your home environment. This can include:
  • Immediately mopping up spillages
  • Removing clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpets
  • Using non slip mats and rugs
  • Making sure all rooms, passages and stairways are well lit
  • Organising your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum and to avoid bumping into things

Improving your clothing 

Clothing can be a major factor in the likelihood of falling. To reduce this likelihood, consider:

  • Not walking on slippery floors in socks or tights 
  • Not wearing loose-fitting, trailing clothes that might trip you up
  • Wearing well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle

Improving strength and balance 

A major cause of falls are due to poor balance and muscle strength. Improving your own physical strength can help reduce falls. If you are able, perform a form of physical activity once per day – this can include doing things you already enjoy, such as going for short walks, or dancing. The NHS has some great guidelines to support you, click the links below to find out more. 

Falls
Implementing support measures

Another way you can prevent falls is by putting support measures in place. This can include getting more help from family and friends, or by implementing technology in the home. You should consider: 

Considering the impact of medications 

Medications can often cause drowsiness, confusion, visual impairment and more, especially when mixing doses with other medications. If an older adult has a fall and you think it may be due to their medication, consider: 

  • Reviewing medication to identify and review any medications that may be contributing to risk of falls. 
  • Alerting an older adult’s GP to changes in mobility, balance and coordination.
  • Encourage the person taking medication to avoid sudden postural changes, especially when getting up in the morning
  • Encourage the person to eat several meals per day 

Fall detection and alerting with Communicare247

At Communicare247, we champion independence and empowerment. By offering technology that can be used in and out-with the home, we help older adults by improving their confidence to live independently and safely with measures in place to oversee their safety at home and in their communities. 

Our Freedom Device is a comprehensive personal safety alarm that has SOS functionality, automatic fall detection and alerting, and GPS location monitoring built in, helping older adults to go outside with confidence knowing that help is only a button press away. With these features, older adults can improve their physical activity, helping to prevent future falls, whilst also providing the reassurance and immediate assistance needed in the event that a fall does occur. 

Click here to learn more about the Freedom Device
Woman holding the Freedom Device
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About Communicare247

Communicare247 is a health and social care service provider which delivers connected care solutions. Using secure digital technology and monitoring services, we enable citizens to remain safe and independent in their own homes for longer. Cloud services and effective technology provide valuable reassurance for individuals receiving care and permits sharing of information with families and care providers. The service helps to support service commissioners in balancing their duty of care with practical efficiencies capable of meeting modern day audit and resource challenges.

The impact of Covid-19 on older people’s health, wellbeing and independence

The impact of Covid-19 on older people’s health, wellbeing and independence

By Blog

Extensive research has revealed the impact of the Covid-19 on older people’s physical and mental health.

Conducted by Age UK, the research highlights how the coronavirus has severely impacted the independence, confidence and overall wellbeing of older individuals, with calls for the government to provide the NHS and social care services further resources to boost recovery. 

The impact of Covid-19 on older people’s health, wellbeing and independence

Impact of Covid-19 restrictions on Older People

Independence at home and in the community 

A number of older adults have seen a decline in their overall independence as a result of the pandemic. With prolonged periods of isolation, increased anxiety and deteriorating health conditions all impacting the general health and wellbeing of millions of older people, the pandemic has had a negative effect on levels of independence.  

Around 12% of older people in the UK (approximately 1.9m people) felt they were less independent since the start of the pandemic. A further 54% of older people felt less confident attending a hospital appointment, and 18% of people felt less confident leaving the house by themselves. 43% of individuals also said they felt less motivated to do the things they enjoy since the start of the pandemic. 

The impact of Covid-19 on older people’s health, wellbeing and independenceCognitive decline and mental health

Lockdowns, shielding and general anxiety surrounding Covid-19 has caused older people to spend prolonged periods of time in isolation, with reduced social contact and limited mental stimulation. Research has found that this level of isolation has accelerated cognitive decline for older adults, with 22% (around 3.2m) older people now finding it harder to remember things since the start of the pandemic. 

This distress also exacerbated existing symptoms with older people with existing mental health conditions, with many over 65’s now experiencing increased levels of anxiety, low moods and depression. 

Research conducted by Alzheimer’s Society (2020) found that people living with dementia had exacerbated symptoms due to the pandemic.  Increased memory loss, difficulty concentrating, agitation, restlessness, stress and depression were the most common impacts to people living with dementia. 

The impact of Covid-19 on older people’s health, wellbeing and independenceImpact on physical health and wellbeing 

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen more older adults experience adverse effects to their physical health, with older people with pre-existing health and care needs and lower incomes hardest hit. 

45% of older people living with a long-term health condition were living with more physical pain since the start of the pandemic, whilst 29% of older people on lower incomes lived with more physical pain compared to 20% of older adults with higher incomes. 

10% of older people also reported difficulty walking up and down stairs compared to their previous physical abilities, and 9% of older people were finding it difficult to walk short distances. 

It is clear that the pandemic has had a lasting impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of older people in the UK. Not only has this created challenges with living independently, but also highlights the long battle many of our older population will experience to regain the levels of physicality and positive mental health they once had pre-pandemic.

To read more about the report by AgeUK, click here.

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About Communicare247

Communicare247 is a health and social care service provider which delivers connected care solutions. Using secure digital technology and monitoring services, we enable citizens to remain safe and independent in their own homes for longer. Cloud services and effective technology provide valuable reassurance for individuals receiving care and permits sharing of information with families and care providers. The service helps to support service commissioners in balancing their duty of care with practical efficiencies capable of meeting modern day audit and resource challenges.

Older woman feeling lonely whilst starting out the window

What is loneliness and social isolation and how does it impact you?

By Blog

Experiencing loneliness and being socially isolated is a prevalent issue in our society, even before the coronavirus pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness was set to reach two million by 2025/6. Latest figures suggest that we have exceeded expected 2025 levels, with 7.2% of the adult population feeling lonely (3.7 million people) as a result of a range of factors relating to the pandemic. 

As a universal human experience, loneliness and social isolation is both complex and unique to everybody. With different factors leading to both experiences, the prevention and treatment of this state of mind and physical experience can vary dramatically. 

In this blog, we will look at what loneliness and social isolation is, what the main causes are and the effects each feeling has on your physical and mental health. 

Older woman feeling lonely whilst starting out the windowWhat is loneliness and social isolation?

Loneliness and social isolation are often used interchangeably to describe the feeling of being alone. Whilst the two terms are closely related and denote a degree of social disconnection, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. 

Social isolation can be defined as an objective state where an individual has few or infrequent social contacts or interactions. Being isolated can mean staying at home for long periods of time with no one to talk to, having no community involvement or no access to services, and having limited or no communication with family or friends. 

Loneliness is the subjective and distressing feeling that can be caused by instances of social isolation and is often defined by the discrepancy between actual and desired levels of social connection. However, it is possible to feel loneliness even when you aren’t alone. 

What are the main causes of loneliness & social isolation?

There are many causes of loneliness and social isolation that affect all people from different age groups, environments and backgrounds. Sometimes, we may not know why we feel lonely, and that’s okay. 

For some people, certain life events and experiences can cause them to feel lonely. This can include:

  • Experiencing loss or bereavement 
  • Experiencing a relationship break-up or losing a friend 
  • Moving away to a new place without family, friends or a local community network
  • Retiring or moving jobs, losing the social contact you had at work 

Other research suggests that people who live under certain conditions and circumstances are more vulnerable to loneliness, this includes people who: 

  • Have no friends, family or support network
  • Are a single parent or carer who may find it difficult to maintain a social life 
  • Are excluded from socialising due to mobility issues or shortage of money 
  • Belong to minority groups without a local network of support, including people who face discrimination due to disability, gender, race or sexual orientation

Impact of loneliness and social isolation on your health and wellbeing

Loneliness and social isolation has a wide range of negative effects on your physical and mental health. Recent studies have highlighted that experiencing loneliness has significant health risks and found that: 

Impact of loneliness and social isolation inforgraphic

  • Social isolation increases a person’s risk of premature death, a risk that rivals those of smoking, obesity and physical inactivity. 
  • Social isolation was associated with a 50% increase in risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
  • Poor social relationships (characterised by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with 29% increased risk of heart disease and 32% increased risk of having a stroke.
  • Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. 

The same report also highlights that vulnerable adults from minority groups are at most risk of the negative impacts associated with loneliness and social isolation. This includes people who are immigrants, LGBT and victims of elder abuse. In the UK, loneliness has a large impact on the elderly community, with stats that show that well over half of those aged 85 and over and 35% of those aged 75 and 84 live alone. Half a million of older people have also reported going five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. 

Resources to support you

There are a variety of things you can do to help with your feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Remember, help is out there and support is available to help you feel better. 

Here are a range of resources you can use to combat loneliness and social isolation: 

NHS: Things you can try to help with loneliness 

NHS: Loneliness in older people 

Mind: Tips to manage loneliness

Leonard Cheshire: Guide to delivering an accessible activity for disabled people in your community 

National Autistic Society: Making friends – a guide for autistic adults 

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About Communicare247

Communicare247 is a health and social care service provider which delivers connected care solutions. Using secure digital technology and monitoring services, we enable citizens to remain safe and independent in their own homes for longer. Cloud services and effective technology provide valuable reassurance for individuals receiving care and permits sharing of information with families and care providers. The service helps to support service commissioners in balancing their duty of care with practical efficiencies capable of meeting modern day audit and resource challenges.

Man and woman hug outdoors

How assistive technology can help to improve dementia care

By Blog

Retired couple looking at each otherDementia poses one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia and in the UK, More than 920,000 are living with dementia, a number expected to rise to over one million by 2024 (Alzheimer’s Society, 2019). 

With an ageing population, people are more likely to be affected by dementia. Currently, 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 live with dementia, narrowing to 1 in 6 people over the age of 80. As the number of people living with dementia rises, the amount of support and care also increases, creating challenges for health and social care providers, families and unpaid carers. 

To alleviate some challenges associated with dementia care, and to provide more support to individuals caring for others with dementia, assistive technologies can be introduced. Through this introduction, people with dementia can also benefit with an avenue to live more independently and safely for longer in their own homes and communities. 

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology refers to different types of devices, systems or applications that help to maintain or improve a person’s ability to do things in their daily lives. 

Assistive technology could include:

  • Smartphone or tablet applications
  • Portable GPS enabled devices
  • Wearable technology such as a watch or wristband 
  • Environment and activity monitoring sensors
  • Voice assistant technology 
  • Automated devices, such as ovens, showers, and window controls

Assistive technology can help with things such as: 

  • Memory problems
  • Problems with carrying out tasks 
  • Communication, including speech and hearing
  • Mobility
  • Keeping safe inside and outside of the home
  • Maintaining independence and self confidence
  • Socialising and doing things you enjoy 
Senior lady wearing assistive technology wristband

How can assistive technology help people with dementia?

Assistive technologies come in all shapes and sizes, from stand alone mobile devices to fully integrated care systems built into the home. Depending on the technology you introduce, people with dementia can take the steps towards maintaining their independence, keeping safe and staying active in their own homes and communities.

older lady using a kettle

Everyday Living

Assistive technology enables people with dementia to live more independently with different technologies available to assist with their daily needs. This can include environmental tools such as climate control, temperature sensors, humidity monitoring, light activation and curtain and window controls. Assistive technologies can also include automated ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, electric showers, automated taps and toilets, making life more accessible and comfortable for people with dementia. 

Assistive technology can also be introduced to help people with dementia to manage and monitor their own health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Smart watches, wristbands and other tools can monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and general activity levels, raising alerts when daily health levels dip. These devices can also be fitted with fall detectors and voice prompts and reminders, improving a person’s daily safety and medication management. 

 

Personal Safety

Woman holding the Freedom DeviceAssistive technology can support people with dementia to live with more safety and security, whether they live at home, in supported accommodation or in a care home setting. By introducing a personal safety device fitted with an SOS button and fall detection, people with dementia and their care circle can feel reassured of their safety whilst they are at home or in their community, with automatic alerts when an SOS is raised. 

Assistive technology such as ambient activity sensors placed in living spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens can also alert carers and family when a loved one with dementia is active in their home. These sensors placed around the home can also report on inactivity, raising a rule based alert when no activity is registered after a certain period of time. 

In a person’s home, safeguarding technology such as flood, smoke, fire and carbon monoxide sensors can also be introduced to help improve personal safety by automatically summoning help in an emergency situation.

 

Older woman walking alone in remote areaMonitoring

By introducing assistive technology, family members and carers can better monitor their loved ones with dementia who may be out walking and active in their community. Providing a loved one with a GPS enabled device or app with automatic fall detection and an SOS button enables people to go walks safely, whilst their location can be monitored in the event of an emergency. 

For people with dementia who are prone to wandering and disorientation, this same GPS device can be used to trigger an alert when a geofence is breached or entered. A geofence is a predetermined area that is outlined by a family member or carer that may be of danger if a loved one enters or exits this area. Geofences are commonly placed around areas of water or dangerous roads, or can be placed around a person’s home, community or care home. 

To help people who commonly wander and have disorientation, door contact sensors can also be fitted to alert family members and carers when a loved one has left their home at a specific time, such as during the night. These same sensors can detect when doors have been left open, raising relevant alerts to assure loved ones are safe. 

 

Older woman using assistive technologyCommunication

Assistive technology can help people with dementia to communicate more effectively with loved ones, their carers and other health professionals. With the use of different video conferencing technologies, people with dementia can talk to loved ones, contact their carer for extra support and have video consultations with relevant health professionals. Similarly, mobile apps with built-in support functions can help people with dementia to contact friends and support to request for assistance, request emergency help or to generally chat. 

By introducing assistive technology such as an Amazon Echo Show, people with dementia can stay entertained at home whilst staying connected to friends and family, reducing social isolation, a prevalent issue for people living with dementia. Devices like the Echo Show can also help people to receive prompts, food and medication reminders and comfort messages throughout the day, enabling people to stay independent and on top of their own daily routines. 

How to obtain assistive technology

If you are living with dementia or supporting someone with the condition, you can obtain assistive technology to help support care and everyday living. There are a number of ways that you can obtain assistive technology, this can include: 

  • Contacting your local authority for a needs based assessment
  • Contacting your housing provider who may supply technology in supported, sheltered or extra care housing 
  • Buying it yourself 

At Communicare247, we offer a range of assistive technologies to support people living with dementia. Our range of connected devices are designed to support people to live safer, independent lives at home and in their communities and consist of a variety of mobile devices and at home sensor technologies. 

To find out more about how Communicare247 can help you get started with assistive technology, click the links below to explore our range of products and services.

The Freedom Range

The Freedom Range provides mobile devices and apps to use at home and in your community. Featuring an SOS button, fall detection, GPS monitoring and mood indicators, the Freedom Range helps you live independently and safely, reducing social isolation.

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The Liberty Range

The Liberty Range features a range of sensors located around the home, including room activity monitors, smoke and CO detectors, door monitors and voice assistant technology such as Alexa to help care circles stay informed of their family members health and to help spot signs of deteriorating health early.

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The Live Well Range

The Live Well Range features tele-health monitoring devices to monitor vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate to better manage health at home. This technology helps care circles to stay informed and helps to spot signs of changing health conditions.

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You can find out more about how Communicare247 can help to manage health, wellbeing and safety by visiting our How We Help page. Professionals can also visit our dedicated For Professionals page. 

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About Communicare247

Communicare247 is a health and social care service provider which delivers connected care solutions. Using secure digital technology and monitoring services, we enable citizens to remain safe and independent in their own homes for longer. Cloud services and effective technology provide valuable reassurance for individuals receiving care and permits sharing of information with families and care providers. The service helps to support service commissioners in balancing their duty of care with practical efficiencies capable of meeting modern day audit and resource challenges.

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