Preventative solutions in social care
In a White Paper by the Department of Health entitled “A Vision for Adult Social Care: Capable Communities and Active Citizens” which was published on the 16th of November 2010, a key issue that was raised was the “vision for prevention”. This vision emphasises that there should be a shift towards less of a reliance on the state for support, instead the state should employ measures to empower people, by working with them to help them retain their independence, because it acknowledges that it is “far better to prevent or postpone dependency than deal with the consequences”.
In addition to a network of carers and strong community support systems, new technology is one of the key preventative measures highlighted in the paper. Telecare can help people stay in their own homes and live independently for longer, and is key in helping the Government realise a system that does not rely on intensive state support until it is absolutely needed. It’s also worthwhile bearing in mind that technology solutions can be cost effective to implement, so if telecare can help prevent (or delay) the cost and labour intensive use of personal care, then it is surely a good thing, particularly in the current climate of Government spending cuts.
Our view of telecare is that it should be a simple to install, cost effective and non-invasive solution that allows an ageing population to prolong their independence at home. Assistive technology can be a DIY solution and if this is the case then it can take pressure off of the Government’s support system and place the responsibility of care with the families of the elderly, for example. However, this responsibility does not have to be a burden because of the nature of the technology – a system that allows one to passively monitor their relatives at home and receive alert notifications only when there is a problem, offers peace of mind to the carer and the user whilst not being intrusive to either's lifestyle.