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Technology has, and always will, evolve and provide efficient and updated tools to help us complete tasks we wish to complete. From the invention of the wheel to help us transport goods, the invention of the lightbulb to provide a constant light source, up to the invention of computers to help us work and communicate at ever increasing speeds. Necessity is the mother of invention.

So it is that technology can provide benefits to how we look after ourselves and those important to us. Where once it would be difficult to know if a loved one had fallen out of bed without being with them, sensors can now be used to send an alert if that occurs. This aims to provide some reassurance to those outside of the home that who they are caring for is well, and also help with a quicker response to the initial fall rather than waiting until they are visited.

As we enter a digital world, the tools available to us are becoming more and more advanced in the range of functions they can carry out, and are being cleverly designed to support complex and pressing care scenarios.  For example, there are digital tools available to support and maintain independence in a variety of ways, including:

  • GPS (Global Positioning System) devices that show where an individual might be in real time displayed on a digitised map
  • Digital virtual assistants that can help automate your appliances or search online for information using your voice
  • Applications or programmes for a smart mobile phone that can allow you to keep an eye on how a friend or relative might be managing at home
  • Digital content that provides advice on caring, and how to look after our mental health

It is right to recognise that whilst some positive outcomes can be achieved from using technology, this approach might not be for everyone. The use of technology should be something that is an option for those who want to use it, and used to compliment and support the innate human side of caring. It might be the tools we would like to use create more problems than they solve, they might not work as they should because of where we live, or they might have a financial cost to them.

Technology should be an option for all.

Q. I would like to use technology but not sure I can afford it?

A. Please see some advice on funding and grants on Gloucestershire’s Your Circle advice page: https://www.yourcircle.org.uk/Information/g2d_2EDM1ik

Q. I would like to use technology but what is out there?

A. Please see the following link from Carers UK for advice on what could help you around the home? https://carersuk.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/ . Alternatively, please see https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20792/independent_living_centre_ilc_and_virtual_house/5264/virtual_house_tour

Q. I would like support with getting online but I’m not sure where to go?

A. There are a growing number of voluntary, community and social enterprise groups who provide in-person support in helping people use computers and access the internet. Your local library will be able to find a group near you. AgeUK Gloucestershire have expanded their Digital Connections Volunteering Team, who help people embrace technology for the first time. They can be contacted on 01452 422660 (option 1). Alternatively Gloucestershire County Council’s Adult Education Department offer a range of IT Courses for beginners. Please call 0800 542 1655 for further information.

For Gloucestershire County Council’s Adult Social Care, our aim is to increase our use of technology throughout people’s care journey wherever there is an identified need that can be met, in part or in whole, by new technologies.

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