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This is what independence looks like

15 Feb 2021
Amit Chakrabarti

Amit Chakrabarti

Head of Vodafone Business Ventures

As countries and cities all over the world use lockdown restrictions to control outbreaks and new strains of the coronavirus, for some that means even longer in self-isolation.

This is something that is tough for everyone, but even more so for those that need additional help and support day-to-day.

It’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake up call to the crisis taking place in social care, with older people and those with learning disabilities being disproportionately affected.

In fact, Public Health England registered the Covid-19 death rate for people with learning disabilities as six times higher than the general population.

And for those providing care, it adds another layer of complexity to an already challenged system.

Even if vaccines are rolled out quickly, and coronavirus stamped out, there is still the impact of an ageing population and a rise in chronic conditions for the care industry to tackle.

Growing care demands

As our population is increasing, so too is the demand for care as ageing brings with it other conditions such as hearing loss, blurred vision, arthritis, diabetes and dementia.

By 2060, 44.4 million people over the age of 65 will require assistance with activities of daily living – double today’s figures. In addition, the traditional care structure was designed to support a population living to the age of 60, not 70 and beyond.

And with 15% of our global population experiencing some form of disability, it is clear that social care organisations across the world must reimagine the way they give care to become more efficient.

Care recipients currently rely on a patchwork of options. These include government-subsidised task-based care providers and informal support from family members, friends and others.

While these are all important contributors to the overall care ecosystem care recipients deserve a more consistent approach to care. 

That is why we believe there is a better solution: empowering those with care needs to manage their conditions themselves using technology.

Connecting care

Connected Living has been working hard to keep care connected during isolation.

The new digital care service empowers care recipients, the elderly or those with learning disabilities, carry out every tasks with greater independence.

It incorporates easy to use and intuitive Internet of Things-enabled devices that are paired with a specially developed Connected Living app.

Findings from a recent Connected Living pilot scheme saw 72% of people with a learning disability say they had experienced an improved quality of life through using the app; whilst 62% reported increased independence in completing tasks more comfortably, easily or quickly*.

In particular, the easy to use interface on the tablet device enabled people to create picture guides for everyday tasks. The My Talk function also gives those with language difficulties another way to communicate – via images and text, resulting in 80% saying the app was either ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’.

Whether it was making a cup of tea for the first time or chatting to a family member more often, Connected Living was able to support the little tasks that can make a big difference to someone’s world.

This is what independence looks like

This is what independence looks like

 

Shaping the future of care, together

After a challenging year for social care we can now see a future where technology such as Connected Living will enhance the quality of life for people with care needs, such as those with age-related difficulties.

Connected Living can help these people feel more in control of their own environment, whilst also giving their carers complimentary tools to use, enabling more tailored and personalised support.

When incorporated with a comprehensive support package of devices, such as front door security cameras, smart lighting, and wearables like pendants and watches, we can begin to work with care providers globally to tweak the platform to unique requirements and objectives.

Together we can inspire more independent lives. 

Find out more about Vodafone Business Ventures and Connected Living.

* The pilot was rolled out to 127 people across 37 locations in Leicestershire, Hampshire, Somerset, Cornwall, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk between November 2018 and March 2020.  Although the pilot has ended the solution is still in place and Vodafone has continued to support during the pandemic. The evaluation period ran from October 2019 to March 2020.
 
 

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