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Gadgets and devices to use around the home

All of us use technology every day.  For example lighting, telephones and vehicles make our lives easier. Choosing the right equipment and 'gadgets' will help you stay independent, and increase your confidence inside and outside your home.

Video calling 

Video calling is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family who are not local. You will need a telephone with a video display, capable of simultaneous video and audio for communication in real time.  Video calling can be particularly useful if you are deaf or hearing impaired because you can use sign language.

Apps such as Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Apple Facetime have video calling capabilities.

Social media

From online personal support networks to meal sharing initiatives, social media can help to you stay independent and connected to others.

Social media can be accessed from Smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Age UK has an article on staying safe with social media.

Mobile devices and applications (apps) are increasingly being used to monitor health, wellbeing and fitness. Apps can help with a variety of issues including  diet, mood, health advice (for instance giving up smoking). They can also link with health devices to monitor blood pressure and weight. Apps can also be used to access information and advice and services offered by the NHS, local authority and other providers.

A new app to help people find NHS services in the Cambridge & Peterborough area has been launched by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG. The app, called MyHealth Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG is designed for iPhone and iPad and you can download it from the Apple app store.

The app provides up-to-date information about the locations and opening times of a range of health services in the area.

You can find a list of NHS-approved apps online at the NHS App Library.

There are lots of ways that modern technology can help you to save energy and control your home environment from your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Some of them are detailed below:

Smart Meters

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. Together with their accompanying in-home displays, smart meters will help you keep track of the energy you use in your home, and will cut out the need for meter reading.  The UK Government plans for every home and business in the UK to have a smart meter for electricity and gas by the end of 2020. 

Smart Heating Controls

Smart thermostats are a new type of heating control which connect to the internet, allowing them to be accessed and adjusted remotely. They can give you much greater control over your heating, from wherever you are, at any time of day. There are a range of different smart heating controls currently on the market - each works slightly differently and has different features. 

Smart Plugs

A smart plug is a device that plugs into an ordinary socket. The device itself has its own outlet, so in a sense it's like an extension. Instead of plugging your lamp into the wall, you plug it into the smart plug (which is itself plugged into the wall). The benefit is that the smart plug can be controlled remotely, whether by using a home automation smart hub or connecting to the smart plug with the relevant mobile app. Some plugs are even programmable so that they automatically turn on or off depending on certain timers or events.

Making things easier in the kitchen

Gadgets for the living room

Illustration of a living room

If it is getting harder to use the telephone or television you can buy easy to use telephones and big button remote controls.

An extra loud doorbell can help you to hear when people come round.

Bathroom, washing and toilet aids

Illustration of a bathroom

There are tools which can help with:

Bed aids

Illustration of a bedroom

You can buy equipment such as:

Our partner, NRS Healthcare , has a wide range of aids and devices. You can buy similar equipment from other retailers.

Steps, stairs and moving around your home

  • You can buy ramps and hand rails to help with steps and stairs.
  • Some people choose to move to a more suitable home, such as a bungalow. 
  • If you have the space and facilities you could choose to live downstairs.
  • Depending on your home and circumstances, a stairlift may be an option.

Find out more about adaptations to your home.

Wheelchairs and walking aids

A wheelchair might be the right equipment to help you remain independent - either short term or longer term. You can talk to your GP for initial advice.

If you are already a wheelchair user, you can contact the local wheelchair service directly for reassessment, repair and maintenance, and advice.
Telephone: 0808 169 9633
Email: [email protected]
Website:  AJM Healthcare

Your GP can also talk to you about a wide range of walking aids, such as frames. These can help to to remain independent and keep doing the things you enjoy. You can also buy mobility aids yourself.

Safe and Well support - including occupational therapist

Safe and Well Cambridgeshire provides information and advice on a range of equipment and devices. Go online to use a questionnaire to help identify things that might help you, or telephone 01480 415 719 to talk to an occupational therapist.

Community alarms and detectors (Lifeline)

There are various community alarm services in Cambridgeshire (sometimes referred to as Lifeline/Life Line). A community alarm is a pendant alarm in your home which, when pressed, contacts a response centre to notify the service that you need help. A community alarm service can contact the emergency services and arrange for a GP, district nurse, next of kin, or named key holder to visit or help you. Some providers also offer a Key Safe so that trusted people can access your home in an emergency.

If you have a community alarm or lifeline, you can benefit from non emergency support from the Enhanced Response Service

Assistive Technology Smart Flat - Peterborough

An Assistive Technology flat, designed to showcase how the latest technology can support independent living, is at Kingfisher Court, Peterborough.

The equipment is fully operational from voice activated bed sensors, to property exit sensors and medication reminders. The Lifeline personal alarm system is also live so you can see how the control centre responds to calls.

For more information please email [email protected] .

Related links

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