There are many other types of assistive technology that can work alongside Telecare to help support independence for users and their carers within the home. Indeed, many can stand alone and can often provide simple alternative solutions, some of which can be at the low technology end of the the assistive technology spectrum. Often it is about the application of the technology including the clever use of the transfer of technology from other areas to suit individual needs.

Magiplug

An example of a low technology solution is the Magiplug, this is a plug which can replace the standard bath, sink or basin plug and can offer overflow and flood protection when taps have been accidently left on.

It uses a preset spring pressure valve within the plug which opens to release the bathwater when the water level within the bath has risen too high and is in danger of overflowing because the taps have been left on and unattended. It maintains the water level at the factory fixed preset limit until the taps have been turned off. Simple technology – no batteries!

Magiplug

As an additional safety benefit the internal plastic moulding is made from a temperature sensitive material that indicates by a change of colour that the bath water may be too hot and may need some additional cold water.

The Magiplug offers a very cheap solution to potential flooding problems and could be useful for those of us who are forgetful including those with mild Dementia.

starfish-alarm-situ Starfish bath water level alarm

This is an alternative solution to the Magiplug to avoid water overflows in a bath. It sticks to the side of the bath at the required water level and gives an audio warning when that level is reached. We could all do with one of these! Especially if distracted by something like a telephone call.

In addition it has a water temperature read out so you know how hot the water is.

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Pressure warning mats

These are mats which can be placed on a chair, under the bed mattress or on the floor under a carpet. They are often  used within and as a part of a Telecare assessed solution to manage falls/dementia of users and to provide an alert to a monitoring centre of a potential difficulty. However, they can also be used as a stand alone tool.

Frequency Precision

During the night a bed sensor mat can be used for when a person leaves the bed, to automatically switch on a lamp to safely  illumiate their surroundings and so help avoid a potential fall when wandering around the room perhaps when going to use the bathroom, it can then alert a carer by operating a pager. This usage is helpful where the user may have mild Dementia or be particularly frail so that carers or family who do not sleep in the same room are aware of what is happening. During the day when a user may be sitting in a chair fitted with a sensor, it allows the carer some respite to get on with jobs such as gardening, knowing that if their loved one does get up they are aware of what is happening.

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Riser recliner chair with Pressure Mat fitted

Complementary stand alone technology such as chair leaving pressure mats are very useful in supporting the care and safety of dementia suffers for their carers, however, these mats often just sit on top of the chair not only looking very unsightly and undignified but also prone to interference by the users. Would it not be a good idea to somehow incorporate it within and as part of the chair? These are my thoughts.

I had already approached A. J. Way Co Ltd, a long established and well known manufacturer of specialised lounge chairs and other furniture, they had agreed to kindly supply me on loan with some chairs for a Smart Flat I was developing for a local authority client.

I put forward the idea of incorporating the mat within a recess sculptured out of the top of the seat cushion but covered by the original seat material with a zip to remove / replace the pressure mat as required. A. J. Way were very receptive and enthusiastic with the idea; the radio transmitter for the pager was to be incorporated within a pocket on the chair back. Frequency Precision kindly supplied the pressure mat and pager system which is of high quality and can incorporate a radio socket to automatically turn on a lamp if required.

a-j-way-riser-with-occupancy-sensor A. J. Way riser recliner chair showing pressure mat recessed into seat cushion with seat cover unzipped.

a-j-way-chair-with-occupancy-sensor-enclosed A. J. Way riser recliner chair showing the seat cushion zipped up making it look  like a normal lounge chair.

The pictures show the finished and very neat result produced by A. J Way who are keen to exploit this type of technology, we now have a lounge chair that is able to perform not only the riser recliner function but also to operate a pressure leaving mat to alert a carer when a person leaves the chair. All finished in an unobtrusive way, retaining its normal comfort and attractive appearance whilst giving dignity to the user. This should be the way forward in developing this type of technology solution.

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Cooker Stove Alarm and Stove Guard mains electricity cut – off switch

Here is another useful and simple to install device that I have come across. It can alert users when a cooker has been left on and there is a risk of a fire. It senses a rise in temperature if for instance , a  ring has been left on and no cooking pan is present. Ordinary cooking activities are unaffected.

Stove Alarm SA102SA101 Stove Alarm

This device is attached magnetically to a cooker hood or to the wall using screws. It detects unusual rise in temperature patterns, it will transmit an alarm to alert the user. It is able to be reset using the button. The Stove Alarm is unaffected by normal cooking activities. This is ideal for the forgetful and complements other detectors such as: smoke, C0, Gas etc. It is has a up to 10 year battery life and is relatively inexpensive.

There is also a Stove Guard Cooker Safety Kit available which includes a radio frequency version of the Stove Alarm. This links to the Stove Guard switch via an internal radio transmitter to automatically switch the cooker off.  The Stove guard will also respond to the audible signal from a smoke alarm. Although this is primarily aimed at the vulnerable and those of us who are forgetful or have mild dementia, it is equally suitable for those with families.

Both products have CE certification. For further information and downloads of instruction/manual sheet please see Telehealthcare/AT Products to purchase section.

Pill reminder Medication reminder (Tabtime)

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