Day centre users at Age Connects Torfaen try out tech to help them live safer and more independent lives
Technology can play a huge role in helping people live safely and independently in their own homes for longer. Age Connects Torfaen and Digital Communities Wales worked together to enable day centre visitors to try out some of the latest gadgets available.
Age Connects Torfaen provides day activities for people with reduced health and mobility as well as a specialist dementia day service which offers support, activities and care in a stimulating environment.
Emma Wootten from Age Connects Torfaen was aware of the ever increasing range of technology available which could makes things better for service users and their families. Activity monitoring systems, intelligent hydration systems (which remind people to drink), voice controlled computer devices and video doorbells are just some of the devices which can help. But they all come with a cost and Emma wanted to give people an opportunity to try things out before making a financial commitment.
Age Connects was able to borrow equipment from the Torfaen County Borough Council Assistive Technology Service, whilst Digital Communities Wales provided an Oculus VR Headset and an Amazon Echo Dot for people to try out.
Around ten clients who attend the day activities sessions had the opportunity to use the equipment. The clients whose family members regularly use technology were very keen, as they were more familiar with a range of devices and felt less fearful of trying them out. Less confident people were given help from staff and volunteers to have a go.
Staff at Age Connects Torfaen reported that the clients thoroughly enjoyed using the devices, including the VR Headset and the Echo Dot; both gadgets created lots of excitement and conversations and people enjoyed trying new things.
The Amazon Echo Dot was used to find out about the news, the weather and other information that the clients were interested in. Some of the people who lived alone said they would like to have a device of their own.
One particular lady, who doesn’t normally engage in any of the activities, became very animated when using the VR headset. The lady, who doesn’t normally communicate much, was able to describe what she could see and clearly gained lot of pleasure from doing so, which staff said was lovely to see.