Australian seniors part of ‘smart home’ boom

Australian seniors part of ‘smart home’ boom

500 smart homes and counting!

Australian seniors have joined the telecare ‘smart home’ revolution, with LifeLink celebrating 500 installations since first introducing the technology just 18 months ago.

The popular and innovative telecare service (such as personal safety alarms, inactivity sensors, medication reminders and property exit [wandering] sensors that are linked to a 24 hour response centre) was among the first to be introduced in Australia.

500 senior Australians have transformed their homes into a residence that now provides safety and peace of mind that should they suddenly become sick or immobile, an alarm will be raised and help can be promptly sent. LifeLink is available nationally, however, the greatest areas of uptake have been the Hastings Shire (120 smart homes) and the Tweed Shire (117 smart homes).

Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said telecare technology is the way of the future when it comes to supporting the independence and safety of the senior community.

“As reflected in the Productivity Commission’s draft report, Caring for Older Australians, more and more people aged 65 and over want to remain in their homes for longer. They aren’t as willing to leave their family home and want to have services and support offered to them there,” said Ms Buckley.

“Following a pilot program in 2010, we have enhanced our community services and now offer telecare technology as a mainstream service. The rapid uptake by seniors shows that this is a viable support solution.

“Sometimes it takes only one undetected fall for a senior in their home to set off a chain of events that can lead to premature admission to a nursing home. Telecare can provide piece of mind knowing that an alert will be raised (by the senior or by an inactivity sensor) and help can be on the way.” Ms Buckley said.

Any existing home can be set-up as a ‘smart home’ with a variety of advanced technology, with enhanced services for people living with dementia such as property exit sensors and pager transmitters. When any of the technology alarms are triggered an alert goes through to a 24 hour response centre that can contact family, a carer or if necessary, emergency services to assist the person in the home.

Elaine Phillips, 78, has LifeLink’s inactivity sensor and pendant alarm in her home and it has already helped her in an emergency.

“One day I was feeling very dizzy, my vision went blurry and I felt very unwell. I tried to make myself feel better by resting on a chair but even after sitting I felt terrible. So, I pressed the alarm and (the response team) talked to me (from the base alarm). I told them I wasn’t feeling well so they organised for an ambulance to come over – they came straight away,” said Ms Phillips.

“It was definitely worthwhile having the alarm – I was lucky to have to it! My daughter was also very relieved to know that I was able to get help straight away. I would never go without the alarm again and I never take it off!

“Any senior living at home alone should have the (telecare) alarm system. It’s a life saver,” Ms Phillips said.

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