Guest article: Carers Week 2020 – Making Caring Visible
In this article for Carers Week 2020, Gavin Bashar, UK Managing Director of connected care and health solutions provider Tunstall Healthcare, discusses the role of assistive technology in supporting carers and how we can keep them visible through offering support and resources with AT Today.
Gavin Bashar UK Managing Director of Tunstall Healthcare According to Carers Week, there are over 6.5 million carers in the UK, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, more people than ever are taking on caring responsibilities for vulnerable people living with a disability and mental or physical illness.
Caring impacts every aspect of daily life from relationships and health to finances and work, and many carers report feelings of isolation and that their role is hidden or isn’t appreciated by society. This is exacerbated further by crises such as COVID-19 where the loss of funding for charities has led to a decrease in support and there is the increased worry of protecting the vulnerable people they care for from infection and hospitalisation.
Caring without the right information and support can be challenging, therefore carers must have constant access to the information, guidance and the support they need to continue caring successfully, whilst also maintaining their own health and wellbeing.
This Carers Week (8-14 June 2020), Gavin discusses the role of assistive technology in supporting carers and how we can keep them visible through offering support and resources.
The role of technology
Technology can greatly support carers and help relieve the pressures they experience. It also enables them to care for someone for longer at home, so that they can stay in familiar surroundings for as long as possible, helping them to enjoy a better quality of life.
Technology such as community alarm systems, also known as telecare or assistive technology, helps to manage common risks such as fires or falls, giving reassurance to carers that they will be alerted if an event occurs.
Appropriate, unobtrusive sensors can be placed around the home, which, if triggered, send an alert via a central home unit to a specialist monitoring centre, where trained operators can alert a carer, keyholder or the emergency services. Telecare can also be used to alert a carer in the home directly via a pager or during the night by a vibrating pad under the pillow.
Systems are tailored to individual circumstances. For example, a sensor placed under the seat pad of a chair can alert a carer if their loved one leaves their seat. This means the carer can carry on with daily life, such as making dinner or putting the washing out, knowing they will be notified if the person they care for may be at risk.
Making caring visible
There are many stakeholders who are integral in ensuring that carers are visible and enabling them to receive the support they need to fulfil their role successfully....