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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 really 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.

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, and physiotherapy. 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.

Related links

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