How technology such as telecare can help people with dementia and those who care for them in a way that promotes independence as well as managing risks.
In the UK someone develops dementia every three minutes. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that the number of people living alone with the condition will double to 240,000 over the next 20 years.1
This equates to around 225,000 people developing dementia each year – a massive figure. It therefore has never been as important to introduce measures into people’s lives to protect their dignity and support their independence, as well as reducing interventions which are currently costing the UK economy £26.3bn a year2.
Technology is crucial in enabling the delivery of care, which means people living with dementia can enjoy more independence for an extended period. It can also help to relieve the pressure on carers, improving their quality of life and enabling them to care for longer. In the UK, social care and health systems continue to experience limited budgets and rising demand, it’s becoming increasingly important that providers employ solutions which enable care to be delivered in a more effective and person-centred way.
A range of solutions
Telecare systems can be tailored to the needs of the individual, helping to manage events such as falls, medication management and people leaving their care environment and being unable to find their way back.
The systems can be configured to ensure help is automatically provided in the event of an emergency, 24 hours a day, from a carer, response service or the emergency services as appropriate. Systems can also enable carers to carry out daily activities or have uninterrupted sleep as they know they will be alerted in the event of an incident. The earlier technology is introduced, the easier it is to understand the eventual outcomes and how support can be given, enabling greater patient-centred care.
Integration is key
Although technology is a fantastic resource when it comes to reducing the pressures on care homes and the needs of residents, it should never be used to completely replace human interaction and care. Technological solutions should always be connected to the wider cycles of care within housing, health and social care to reap as many benefits as possible. Dementia sufferers often express feelings of loneliness, so giving them the opportunity to feel safe whilst also encouraging carers to interact with them regularly and family members or friends to visit, will make a huge difference to their life.
No matter the technology that is being used, it is important to remember that a digital transition has been announced which represents a huge opportunity to make services faster, more efficient and more insightful. Care home providers worried about the digital switchover and how this may affect their staff and residents, should always seek advice.
Gavin Bashar, Managing Director of Tunstall Healthcare. Tunstall are welcome sponsors of ADASS which furthers our charitable objectives