2nd March 2018Category: Working Carers
Technology has become a part of our lives so quickly that we can become dependent on it in a short space of time. For example the Internet is integrated into our daily lives and all age groups are using it. Technology is having a big impact on the medical world as well as the care sector. It can support someone to remain safe and help stay living at home for longer or to detect life threatening conditions. This week we have selected a range of devices and products to show you how technology can support you as a carer and how it may impact us all in society.
Landline and mobile phones have now been designed so they can block nuisance calls. They also can be pre-programmed with frequently used numbers. It means you only have to press a button to contact a relative. Some telephones are even designed so only pre-set numbers can be dialled.
Barclays are currently working on a ‘carers cards’ that will be launched this year. It is a card linked to the account of the person you care for. The debit card will have a separate PIN, have a limit set on the spending and restrictions on where it can be used. This will make shopping and paying bills a lot easier as well as reassurance to both parties especially those who do not have power of attorney.
If the person you care for has dementia, how to keep them safe in their home can be a worry, especially if they live alone. You want to ensure they still have independence even though the level of risk has increased. There are lots of devices out there to reduce these risks. Products such as:
These can be used to help someone find things they regularly misplace, such as keys or a wallet.
A small electronic tag is attached to each item and if the item is mislaid you just click a button on the locator device to make the tag beep.
If your loved one acknowledges they are at danger of falling or becoming lost, with no way to communicate or get help (for hours or perhaps days) what to do next can become a dilemma for the family.
Many people are turning to GPS technology embedded in products so help can reach them in an emergency as quickly as possible. It is providing peace of mind as reports show that 60-70% of people with dementia and Alzheimer will get lost at least once, and nearly 50% can die if they aren’t found within 24 hours.
The technology can range in its capabilities but they tend to include:
As you all know, Cumbria’s signal can be patchy at best so the tracker may not work as well as expected. Plus there is the assumption that the person you care for will remember to wear or take the device with them.
The NHS has launched a new device in England designed to accelerate the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm disorder) and a contributing factor of up to one in five strokes in the UK. The device, about the size of a credit card works with a smartphone or tablet to record electrical activity through a person’s fingertips. The app saves the recordings so they can be shared with doctors.
In November 2017 a pilot scheme in greater London was launched for NHS patients, offering GP consultations via videolink on smartphones. Patients check their symptoms through the mobile app and then have video consultations within two hours of booking. There are concerns about this method being used for more complex issues however this pilot scheme shows potential for the future of GP services.
There are lots of different medication aids available on the market for people who need reminding about their medication schedule. It may help to talk to a pharmacist about the best option. Automatic dispensers for pills mean when medication needs to be taken, the dispenser sets off an alarm and the right compartment opens, allowing the person to access their medication. The alarm may continue until the pills are removed from the dispenser.