A new drive has been launched that aims to help older and vulnerable people use devices to stay in the home they love while also managing to save Surrey County Council up to £600,000.
It is expected to help 1,500 people get telecare equipment by next April so they can keep their independence longer and to make savings, mainly on the cost of residential care.
The push to help people use technology such as electronic pill dispensers, bed sensors and fall detectors is being co-ordinated by Surrey Telecare, which is made up of the county council and the 11 borough and district authorities.
Elizabeth Tysoe’s father was diagnosed with the early onset of Alzheimer’s at the age of 82. The family wanted him to stay at home near Staines and got a personal alarm and a pill dispenser.
She said: “Up until that point in his life he had been fit and well, was not taking any medication and lived independently. As a family, we wanted to ensure that he remained in his own home for as long as possible, in familiar surroundings and with support as required.
“We are convinced that by introducing the ‘kit’ when dad’s condition was relatively innocuous he adapted to using it and it became part of his daily routine, so that when his condition worsened he still remembered how to use it because it was part of his longer-term memory.”
Michael Gosling, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Telecare gives older people and those living with long-term conditions priceless years of independence, helping them stay happy at home and in their communities.
“It also reduces the burden on hospitals and cuts the need for residential care that people tell us they do not want to live in. This saves local taxpayers’ money – up to £600,000 in a year – at a time when demand for care is rising.
“However, while these devices deliver round the clock support and peace of mind for older people and their loved ones, what will never happen is technology being seen as a replacement for human contact.”
The number of residents aged over 85 in Surrey is projected to double to 60,000 over the next 20 years.
For more information about the Surrey Telecare Service visit www.surreytelecare.com, call 0800 195 6035 or text 07976 843825.
Surrey residents who will benefit from telecare get it free for 12 weeks.