Technology and the Future of Care
The last twenty years have seen an explosion in technology – including smartphones that connect us to anywhere in the world at the touch of a button, doorbells that can show us who is outside and deliveries of food and goods by drone. And the flood of technology set to improve our lives doesn’t stop there. In the future, technology is set to help revolutionise the care industry, with robots and apps set to transform our golden years.
Here we look at some of the ways technology will be shaping the future of care, both today and over the next few decades.
Starting in the here and now, currently there are a variety of different tools to help people lead more comfortable lives. These don’t need to be high-tech – often simple things can make a huge difference, like an additional half step to help reduce the height a person needs to step to get into and out of their house, or it could be crutches or a walking stick to help give more confidence when walking. When adjusted to the right height, these can be simple but invaluable to helping someone.
Medicare bracelets are another simple tool to help people to stay safe – these bracelets or necklaces are printed with important health care information on the back – so if anything happens, carers, GPs and emergency services know exactly what conditions you have and what medicines to use or avoid. There are also emergency alarms fitted into bracelets that if someone has a fall or an accident, they can press the assistance button and it will send an alert to a carer or a family member.
Rails and handles put into bathrooms, or temporary drop-down seats, can make it safer and easier to move around the room. While chair lifts can help people move between floors move easily. But even assistance tools like lid removers or electronic tin can openers, can give back elements of independence and control that are really important. Adaptations don’t need to cost the earth, they just need to be well thought out – by putting the client into the centre of their care, we can help to implement meaningful and impactful changes.
For those in need of further help, one of the tools used in the care industry is the hoist, which is a piece of equipment to help someone get into, or out of, bed or a chair. At Good Oaks Home Care, all our care professionals are taught how to use these, so that the transfer process is as simple and easy as possible.
There are lots of devices that can help people to stay mobile and active, including walking frames, mobility scooters, wheelchairs (both electric and manual,) and beds that adjust. All of our Visiting Care Professionals have their own cars to help clients get out and about – whether it’s to appointments, or to see friends and family, we are there to help you stay independent and live life to the fullest.
With the rise of smartphone technology, it has never been easier to order groceries, goods and services from your phone or tablet. Apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp can keep people connected to their loved ones instantly in a cost effective away.
But apps (or applications,) can be used for more and will certainly help in the future of care. For example, apps are being developed that can help track a person’s movements if they move outside of their normal sphere. This could be used to help those who have dementia, so if they move outside of their normal routine area, nominated individuals will be informed. Apps like this could help reduce the time it takes to find a person who is wandering and return them to safety.
From robots that cut your lawn to those that make your coffee in the morning or vacuum the house on a timer, there are lots of helpful robots currently on the market. One example of how technology has changed the way we live, is the rise in popularity of the virtual assistant technology – like the Echo Dot or Alexa. These can be set to control the lighting in your home, the temperature, start your devices like the coffee machine, play your favourite music on demand and call your family.
However, in the future, we may see robots taking a more active part in care. There are already robots in the making that will cook dinner, clean and help people out of bed. Think robotic butlers are a thing of science-fiction? These home helps, could soon be making a big impact into the industry, helping people lead healthier and safer lives in the comfort of their own homes for longer. But that’s not to say the human touch won’t also be needed, with companionship becoming more important than ever. We believe that robots won’t replace human carers, but they will add another element of help to the care profession.
How Good Oaks Home Care can help – both now and in the future
If you would like help or support for you or your loved one, please feel free to get in touch for a free consultation about the care we could provide. You can find the contact details for your local branch here: goodoakshomecare.co.uk/contact-us