Assistive technology is the name that categorises products, equipment and services that assist an individual with daily life.
As the population ages and more people are living with disabilities, the need for residential care may become more apparent in some instances to receive the care required.
The decision to move into a care home setting is not an easy one, however, for the aging community, assistive technology may enable the person to continue to live at home and delay or prevent the need for intervention or residential care.
Assistive Technology Assisting With Daily Needs
One in eight elderly people state that they live with some level of unmet need that limits their ability to carry out important daily tasks. Consequently to meet the needs of the population, new and innovative assistive living technologies are being developed to support people to live more independent and comfortable lives within their own homes.
By adopting assistive technology, the user has an increase in choice and and a deeper sense of control of their personal care. It also improves the safety of everyday life for the user and thereby reduces accidents and falls in the home.
Quality Of Life
Assistive technology can improve support for people living with long term health conditions and ultimately improve the quality of life for the individual and those caring for them.
Assistive technology has the capacity to maintain or improve an individual's independence and functioning, resulting in improving their quality of life and mental well being. Assistive technology allows individuals to feel less isolated and excluded from opportunities, consequencing in less strain placed on a family and the society.
Assistive Technology Users
There are several groups of people that may benefit from assistive technology;
- the frail elderly,
- individuals living with disabilities
- individuals with gradually declining functions
More than 1 billion people globally need or use one or more assistive technology products and with an aging population who are living longer it is predicted that by the year 2030 more than two billion individuals will require an assistive technology product. Wheelchairs, glasses, hearing aids, shower chairs and commodes are all examples of assistive technology products.
Examples of Latest Assistive Living Innovations
Telecare systems use sensors placed around the home to remotely monitor the safety of users. Alerts can be sent to a 24/7 monitoring centre, carer or family member if there’s a problem. Telecare sensors send alerts when someone hasn’t moved for some time, has got out of bed and has not got back in again or has left the gas on or their bath running.
Pill dispensers can be useful to set a reminder to take medication or avoid taking repeated doses. Some of the more advanced pill dispensers can be loaded with up to four weeks’ medication at a time.
Cortech Healthcare’s have recently launched the Komodo Electronic Shower Chair Commode, which uses rechargeable batteries to achieve a wide range of positioning assistance, increasing the dignity of the user and removing some of the strain from the carer.
The Komodo features both a stand and shower assist function that mimics human movement, re-engaging the correct leg muscles to improve user mobility. Komodo is lightweight for ease of movement, comes with a handset remote control and is optimised for use by a single carer.
Assistive Technology Benefits
Assistive technology has many benefits, giving many people the opportunity to live independent, healthy and dignified lives. By implementing assistive technology into day to day life it can reduce the need for interventions by healthcare professionals and in depth assistance from support services. It can also reduce long term care and the strain and workload placed on caregivers and traditional healthcare services.