At least 14% of the general population identify as having limited mobility, usually due to a lifelong disability, a medical problem such as stroke or injury, failing eyesight or simply the process of ageing. The latter is a contributing factor which is set to increase dramatically, as by 2040 nearly one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 or over. A large number of these people live independently, placing them at risk of having no immediate help at hand in an emergency. For people with mobility issues, having a telecare alarm can provide a lifeline in times of need as well as providing crucial reassurance and a sense of security.
Telecare is a blanket term which describes the various methods of assistance and support provided to people who need it from a distance. It is a remotely operated service which utilises technology to monitor and communicate with clients who are in need of some support to be able to live independently, Telecare services vary depending on the provider and the needs of the client. They can include monitors which detect things like gas leaks and remind people to take medicine or emergency aids like pendant alarms, which are worn like a necklace and provide the user with a direct line of communication to a team of people available 24/7.
The operator responds to either a warning from the remote system or to the activation of the pendant alarm. They can then call emergency or other medical services on the client’s behalf or offer support as necessary. Some telecare systems include sensors which can be set up to alert carers when someone with dementia leaves the house, or communication channels which allow users to let their caregiver know when they need something. That is a useful service for those living close by a relative they cannot be with 24 hours a day. Multilingual support is also available through some providers such as the Aster telecare service.
Whether someone needs a permanent or temporary hotline to the outside world, being able to get immediate help, advice and support, whatever their situation, is a huge confidence booster for both them and their family. Many people are able to continue to live as part of their community because they have this extra level of support and security to rely on. The peace of mind this service provides is immense, and telecare services have a tremendous impact on the lives of those who use them. Users are said to have mortality rates nearly 50% lower than their contemporaries who do not have access to aids such as a pendant alarm. The general health of telecare services users seems to improve overall too, with less time spent in hospital or visiting accident and emergency departments. These services adopt modern technology to improve the lives of those who, by being able to access remote support, are able to retain their independence.