Telecare is the use of of sensors within the home both passive and interactive, which are continuously and remotely monitored and can provide real time information on the well-being of users and  their home  environment to support and contribute towards managing the risks associated with supporting independent living within the home for the frail and elderly. When an alert is raised by one of the sensors, it is transmitted down the telephone line to a monitoring centre who are able to identify the type of alarm raised and take appropriate action. This may be by calling the person back through the hands free telephone within the home, or if no answer  is obtained calling one of the designated contact numbers or response service, it may also be necessary to call the emergency services if a smoke or heat detector is sending the alert.

Picture courtesy of Tunstall

Two men having a friendly chat outside, the alarm pendant can be clearly seen on the pocket of gentleman wearing the check shirt, enabling him to have social interaction and yet able to summon assistance if so required should he experience say, a fall.

Many different types of sensors can be employed, smoke and room temperature sensors are particularly important as these provide basic safety back up, particularly if the person has poor mobility or is unconscious and is unable to respond to a potential fire alert. Other sensors include those to monitor falls either by wearing a small fall detector device, or by the use of room sensors to detect non activity especially when used in connection with bed or mat sensors which detect if a person has left the bed but has not returned within a reasonable and mutually agreed time frame. These sensors are often programmed to turn on a bedside light at the same time to assist a person to move around safely at night, for instance, to  reach the bathroom.

A Monitoring Centre will usually require at least two contact telephone numbers of family, carers or neighbours who are willing and able to reach the home of the person within a short time period.

An outside wall keysafe is a must to enable entry for emergency use.

New developments in the Telecare field are the use of smart mobile phone technology to continue the support outside of the home using an expanding range of Apps which can be downloaded. These applications can potentially offer all sorts of possibilities around suporting work and leisure activities.

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