Experts in Lincolnshire think they may have found a solution to supporting vulnerable adults in their homes through assistive technology. The research has been spurred on by the recent Covid-19 lockdowns and the increase in technology in our lives during these times.
The research has been carried by the University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire County Council and public service provider Serco, who have been investigating how home tech could improve the lives of 12,000 adults in Lincolnshire. Dr Salah Al-Majeed of the University of Lincoln said she was excited about the potential for the rest of the UK too, pointing to the country’s 14.1 million disabled people and 5.3 million people aged over 75 who have to be cared for every year.
The study claims that technology offers great potential for new methods of diagnosing, detecting and monitoring warning signs in vulnerable adults. They added that it could also help to connect friends, families, carers and communities, providing a useful support network.
The study has already highlighted a number of interesting findings, including how people are actively using Alexa-enabled devices for tasks such as medicine reminders, controlling lights and heating in the home, and food delivery.
Although technology provided many clear benefits to vulnerable adults, the researchers said that devices should be seen as a replacement for a physical carer’s role. The study also raised concerns about privacy and the need to protect the personal data of users.
Dr Al-Majeed said:
We are completely appreciative of the fact that technology can’t do everything – it can’t put you to bed, clean you or give you a hug, but it can do other things which then allows the most valuable resource – social workers, occupational therapists, carers – to do other things for you that are also hugely important.
Image by the University of Lincoln