Assistive Technology (AT) is broad term covering a wide range of technology solutions from simple low technology such as: Bath Boards and Cutlery, through to higher technology electronic based solutions such as: Telecare, Home Environmental Controls and Alternative and Augmentative Control solutions. The term Assistive Technology as its name implies, is there to support and enhance the function and capability of individuals who otherwise might not be able to carry out the normal daily living activities for one reason or another.

Marshall, (2000) defines AT as “any item, piece of equipment, product or system that is used to create, maintain or improve functional capabilities for individuals with cognitive, physical or communication disabilities”.

This covers a wide range of assistive technology solutions including whole systems such as Telecare which not only uses the sensor technology to provide the alerts and inputs but also requires the monitoring and response elements to enable Telecare to fully function as a System.

Cowan and Turner-Smith (1999) consider AT:

‘to be an umbrella term for any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed.’ There is no defining the technology necessary, only of the task it seeks to address.

Carers, both informal and formal, play an important role in supporting living at home, the increased use of technology has a role to offer in supporting and maintaining greater independence and quality of life around the general activities of daily living and being able to live independently as far as possible, whether within the home, work, education or socially.

Matching the person to the appropriate type and level of technology is where the skill lies and many factors need to be considered. These include not only the user and their input, but also the environment in which the technology is being used, and by environment I mean not just the physical environment but also the social/cultural/workplace.

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