Independent living

As we survive longer, the idea of living at home into our old age is now a key part of today s healthcare policy. But to make this work in practice, it helps to find the right practical information about equipment and services at the right time. Information about enabling people to stay at home is not news, and so, it is not in the media. Voluntary organisations that provide useful information and services are often on the margins of healthcare; sometimes even local healthcare professionals don t know what is available. The language doesn t help. Assistive technology (AT) is the official term. Most consumers don t use this term; they talk about easier living equipment and alarm call systems. Now we have Telehealth and Telecare. community alarmsThis article aims to point you to useful starting points —key information and advice organisations. Where to start? —offers a touch screen service to signpost people to a wide range of agencies to help. For information about specific disabilities/impairments, where better to start than with the people who know —the charities that specialise in that condition? —Arthritis Care — SIA (the Spinal Injuries Association) — Some charities now sell products, for example, Action on Hearing Loss has an extensive range for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, while the RNIB has a range of items for blind and partially sighted people. Sense and Deafblind UK aim to help people with dual sensory loss. Design consultants The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) www.rics.orghas a list of Inclusive Environment Consultants: Computers and technology for older/disabled people AbilityNet — —has information on hardware and software and useful factsheets. Digital Unite promotes technology for anyone who wants to learn, providing home tuition, useful learning contacts and an online community.

community alarmsTelecare and Telehealth

1.7m people now rely on a Telecare or Telehealth service in the UK. The Disabled Living Foundation, provides impartial information on products and has a Telecare section: www. livingmadeeasy. org. uk For people who are living with dementia, ATDementia — —features products such as prompts and reminders. A community alarm is the button you press if you are in danger of falling over, (see inset image). Ricability published an independent report of independent tests of community alarms equipment: Calling for help: a guide to community alarms. Often, it is not the equipment you need to know about, but local services; the Telecare Services Association consumer section has a list. Visit Counsel and Care also publishes a guide: Telecare and telehealth: what it is and how to get it Find sale coupon at 

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