Category Archives: Independent living

News Society Older people 'Most of these elderly people have a simple need – not to be on their own'

For thousands of isolated older people whose families are far away and whose council help has been cut, innovative community schemes are tackling the ‘generation strain’ of lonelinessare


Eric Clayton, kneeling, with volunteer Brian Slack on their allotment at Garforth, Leeds.

Richard, 79, a retired railway engineer in the Midlands, is cheerful and courteous on Good Friday as he explains that since the council axed the Dial-a-Ride scheme his social life, including a lunch club, shopping and outings, has been reduced to a single visit each week to church. A neurological condition means that Richard (not his real name) needs a wheelchair. A member of the congregation comes to push him the short distance to church. “I’m extremely lucky in that respect,” he says. Richard is now confined to his room in his sheltered accommodation, six days out of seven. A reduction in staff from six to two also means that his fellow residents are unknown to each other, as there is no extra help to arrange social events.

The preventative care revolution depends on closing the digital divide

Across the UK, 11 million people have poor digital skills and half those who are offline have a disability. Digital inclusion is now a matter of life and death


Over-65s account for half of NHS spending, but more than a third have never been online.

There’s a clear consenus over maintaining the great national treasure that is the NHS and preserving its ethos of providing care free at the point of delivery. But demand for health services is rising fast as society changes, so how on earth do we afford it?

It’s crucial that the NHS makes the best possible use of the funds available. Preventive care is key objective: by encouraging people to take care of their own health, pre-empting and preventing illness before it happens, the NHS can ensure its limited resources are directed towards those who need them most.

Can technology help with a preventive care revolution in healthcare? Many of us now have constant internet access and can find health information easily. I see it every day: patients use wristwatches, GPS devices and apps to track steps, heart rate, calories burned and other personal statistics.

Robots to help people with dementia in Western Isles

NHS Western Isles is putting robots into the homes of people with dementia as part of a pilot scheme


Members of the Remodem project team with the Giraff robot
Backers of the plan believe robots can replace the human touch

NHS Western Isles is putting robots into the homes of people with dementia as part of a pilot scheme to help them to continue to live independently.
A relative or carer – potentially hundreds of miles away – can drive the machine around the house to check that everything is all right.
The pair can also have a chat through a two-way video call system.
The Giraff robots are 1.5m (4ft 11in) tall with wheels, and a TV screen instead of a head.
A relative or carer can call up the Giraff with a computer from any location. Their face will appear on the screen allowing them to chat to the other person.