What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology (AT) is a term used to describe any device or system that can help a person to accomplish their daily living tasks and/or increase the ease and safety of undertaking these. AT can support all people, from those with very low needs through to people with complex physical and/or mental health needs. AT can also support carers to stay connected with others, enhance safety through monitoring or help to complement care and reduce strain.

Examples of assistive technology

Examples of assistive technology include:

  • cleverly designed or ‘low tech’ daily living aids such as easy grip cutlery, anti-spill cups and medication organisers
  • lifeline pendant or wrist worn alarms that can be used to alert a family member, carer or call centre following a fall
  • memory clocks and devices that prompt to help with remembering time, date, appointments and mealtimes
  • smartphone or voice activated (high tech) systems to control areas in the home such as door opening, turning heating or lights on/off and opening/closing windows
  • monitored items such as Global Positioning System (GPS) devices that can help family to locate a person who has not returned home or may have gotten lost
  • applications (apps) on mobile phones - such as an app to help those who share caring responsibilities, to coordinate care and communicate better, or to help someone to initiate tasks/manage coping strategies

How does the assistive technology service work?

AT makes a real difference to people’s lives, not only for those using the service to help maintain their independence, but also their families and loved ones who really appreciate the peace of mind that it can bring.

AT is a range of equipment installed in your home - what is installed will depend on your needs.

For example, a lifeline (sometimes known as telecare) is linked to a base unit in your home. This is connected to a control centre through a telephone line which is available 24 hours a day. To install the monitored telecare service you must have a telephone line and a power point within six feet of each other. Some newer AT solutions are available which, do not require a hard wired phone line.

If you press your personal alarm, or one of the sensors detects a problem, then the lifeline will call the control centre. Then a trained member of staff at the control centre will be able to respond. The trained staff member who answers the call will assess the situation, check if your okay and take appropriate action. This could include calling a family member, a friend or the emergency services.

You may wish to consider purchasing a key safe to enable fast and easy access to your home in an emergency. The control centre can store information about your key safe PIN, which they can pass onto friends, family or the rapid response service in an emergency.