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Independent Living: Technology for Healthcare at Home

SPONSORED STORY - The median age in Australia is on the rise and over the next several decades, the trend will continue. This has significant implications on work and everyday living, particularly within the health and aged care sectors.

Technologies can enhance people’s quality of life (Source: Legrand)
Technologies can enhance people’s quality of life (Source: Legrand)

Growing older is often identified with negative connotations, but meeting the 'suave senior over 60’s club' can have a silver lining. Thanks to the technological advances in the health and aged care sectors, our ageing population can live with independence, confidence and freedom.

As a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, Legrand knows first-hand how much these technologies can enhance people’s quality of life.

“As an example of how technology can make a difference: according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, an estimated 60-70 percent of hospitalisations for the elderly occur as a result of falls,” Legrand’s National Category Manager of Wiring Devices and Home Systems, Guillaume Gimaret explains.

“Sadly, these incidents often mark the watershed between being able to live safely at home for an individual and needing to move into a nursing care environment.

“However, with the simple implementation of appropriate measures, falls can be prevented from occurring in the first place.”

Mr Gimaret says the implementation of a range of automated illuminated pathways, for instance, has been “proven to deliver a threefold reduction in the number of falls, while providing a tangible sense of safety and security for elderly people still living on their own.” This not only provides more confidence for the person at home, but gives their family extra piece of mind that they have the proper mechanisms in place to support their day-to-day functions.

“Similarly, the elderly often have trouble seeing and manipulating conventional switches, which can prove frustrating, inconvenient and at times dangerous,” Mr Gimaret adds.

“The solution: a range of oversized switches that are easy to identify and operate, such as those available in the Como family of electrical switches and sockets.

“This range also includes sensor-activated lights, as well as the option to integrate emergency safety lighting into wall switches to provide several hours of light in the event of power outages.”

Mr Gimaret also acknowledges the vital role communication plays in ensuring older people can remain at home securely.

“Arguably the biggest issue for senior citizens living alone – and one readily identifiable to  anyone who has an aged relative trying to remain independent – is communication, especially in emergency situations,” Mr Gimaret says.

“Providing the means to stay connected is often the simplest and most effective way to provide peace of mind to both the elderly and their family.”

Guillaume explains that there are a number of Personal Emergency Response Systems on the market, which can be tailored to individual requirements. He highlights the Tynetec Reach Plus 3G as a “good example” of a sophisticated at-home alarm systems available, providing a reliable and versatile means to call for assistance from within the home.

“The mark of a good at-home alarm unit is its ability to be adapted for different applications – recognising that no two person’s needs are the same,” Mr Gimaret says.

The Tynetec solution comes with an optional range of compatible ‘add-on’ devices which can be integrated with the base system to match the exact requirements of the user For example: a personal emergency-call-button pendant worn by the user; a wrist-worn automatic fall detector; a smoke detector; a bed/chair sensor; and a movement detector.

These options provide an adaptable and unobtrusive way of monitoring the user’s daily activities. They can also be programmed to deliver an intelligent monitoring solution that provides predictive capabilities to give carers an opportunity to react before something serious happens.

Mr Gimaret says healthcare solutions such as these will play an “increasingly significant role” in helping older Australians retain their independence and enjoy a safer quality of life.

“Effective aged care can often be a battle of wills between an individual wanting the dignity and freedom to remain in their own home and their family, who want to keep them safe and well.

“Fortunately, the new generation of home-healthcare technology can tick both boxes: extending independence for the elderly; and providing peace of mind for their loved ones.”

For more information about Legrand's solutions for in home support, visit www.legrand.com.au, or contact 1300 369 777.

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