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Carers in Norfolk advised to get technology savvy

PUBLISHED: 12:18 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:44 19 September 2017

Jenny Mayne from Norwich cares for her son, Rory Fairfoot, who has severe autism and learning difficulties.  Picture Hannah Hutchins/Norfolk Carers

Jenny Mayne from Norwich cares for her son, Rory Fairfoot, who has severe autism and learning difficulties. Picture Hannah Hutchins/Norfolk Carers

Hannah Hutchins/Norfolk Carers

A carers’ organisation has suggested family carers in Norfolk need to keep up-to-date with technology to make caring easier.

Norfolk Carers says that there is a range of technology to support people to live independently and that will improve the health, safety and independence of carers and the people they are looking after.

Currently, Norfolk County Council offers an assistive technology service for adults over 18 years living in their own home. Assistive technology includes sensors for things such as smoke, heat, temperature and falls. Sensors can be built into community alarm pendants to show information online in real time and send a text alert in the event of an incident. Norfolk’s Assistive Technology Team are also exploring use of technology such as GPS locators for people who may wander.

There is also equipment which can be purchased by carers independently. Tim Allard, executive manager of Norfolk Carers, has highlighted the usefulness of readily available technology such as smartphone apps and personal alarms.

He said: “Often it’s small, relatively inexpensive and readily available technology that can make caring much easier. Smartphone apps, for example, can help family members communicate with the person who’s being looked after, or with each other, to co-ordinate care between them and share details about appointments or medication. A personal alarm with a pager, for example, may give a carer more freedom to pursue a task, hobby or activity, knowing that their loved-one can alert them quickly in the event of a problem.”

And equipment such as remote heating and lighting controls, as well as special phones with speed dial, picture buttons, clocks and prompts, are becoming more readily available.

Technology can also help those caring for a family member or friend over long distances. Setting up cameras could be useful to monitor the wellbeing of those being cared for. This technology has to be used sensitively however, as it raises concerns over privacy.

For more information or support to find out what technology may available or any practical or emotional aspects of caring contact Norfolk Carers on 0808 808 9876 or visit www.norfolkcarers.org.uk

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