Volunteers Could Receive Over £600 Worth of Devices to Trial Innovative Technology Scheme

1 June 2020 2:21pm

News from Shropshire Council

Shropshire Council has joined forces with global technology giant Samsung to launch a pioneering scheme helping people to stay independent, safe and active in their homes. 

Volunteers who sign up for the new ACTIVAGE scheme will receive technology worth more than £600, including a smart watch, and state-of-the-art sensors.  

The ACTIVAGE Shropshire scheme is being launched this week and is offering people who are 55 and over with a broadband connection, tech equipment worth over £600 for free. This equipment can help support people to stay independent, safe and active for longer, especially if their carers or family aren’t close by.  

The technology package includes a free Samsung watch and smartphone which will be posted to those eligible for the scheme. Also included in the tech package are home sensors, though due to the current restrictions, these will be issued later as they require installation. 

ACTIVAGE Shropshire, an EU funded project led by Samsung, is a collaboration between Shropshire Council and the global tech company that aims to see how consumer technology such as smart watches, smart phones and sensors, can be used or adapted to support the health and social care needs of vulnerable people. 

Through technology, this programme helps people to monitor their activity levels and to keep connected with others, and for those with health conditions it will help them to monitor their health using apps. 

Although some people will be shielding, all eligible people (those over 55) should consider signing up for ACTIVAGE. Keeping healthy through this pandemic and keeping connected through technology is of huge importance to supporting our communities. Those who care for people who fit the criteria can also apply on behalf of the person they care for. 

As well as being completely free, what’s great is that you get to keep all the equipment when you complete the project. 

How does it work?  

Volunteers will receive a Samsung smart watch and smart phone as well as a set of home sensors* (which will be installed at a later date)  that can be attached to your doors and electrical appliances that will let your carer or family know that you’re active and safe. These are not cameras, they are just movement sensors that register when you move around, open doors or use the fridge.    

The smart watch can count steps, sleep, heart rate and daily activity. It can also be used to record how much water or caffeinated drinks you’ve had in a day and set yourself reminders and alarms. The smart watch also has a falls alert function on it, which learns about your movements and will detect whether you have fallen.     

All these devices link up to a hub which pulls together the data from these devices onto an APP on the smart phone. The ACTIVAGE APP will provide information on your, or if you are a carer, the person you care for, movements, heart rate, steps and sleep as well as their day-to-day fluid intake and how often they use household appliances such as a fridges, kettles and microwaves.  The data can also show how much energy is being used in the house.    

What are the benefits?    

By looking at the ACTIVAGE APP, the person or their carer can see whether they are drinking enough fluids and not at risk of dehydration, that they’re not at risk of falling and that they’re moving around the house on a regular basis. The APP can also help the person or their carer to monitor and review home energy consumption and see how they can reduce this and save money.  

ACTIVAGE Shropshire can  provide the individual and their carer with peace of mind and a degree of freedom based on the knowledge that the people being cared for still have support in place, especially if the carer or family aren’t around.    

For people using the devices, the benefit is increased reassurance, with less intrusion in their lives. The main benefit to carers is that it can give them more personal freedom and more time to concentrate on the human aspects of care and support.  

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for Organisational Transformation and Digital Infrastructure, added: "We are really looking forward to working with Samsung and launching Shropshire ACTIVAGE across the county.

“We want to make the most of the opportunities that digital and assistive technology offers to help improve the health and wellbeing of local people and communities. Also, these new technologies give us an opportunity to transform services so that they are better able to cope with the challenge and pressures we are seeing across the health and social care sector.

"This is fantastic opportunity for residents to trial high street technology, free of charge, to help them maintain their independence, keep safe, and stay active and involved in community life.  I would therefore strongly encourage anyone who feels they qualify for the project, to come forward to take part and reap the benefits of this innovative scheme."

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member Adult Social Care, Public Health and Climate Change, said: "ACTIVAGE is a hugely exciting project for Shropshire, launching at a time when we need something to look forward to, encouragement to keep moving, to keep active, and if we can, to enjoy the outdoors as part of our daily exercises during the pandemic.

"Assistive and digital technology can offer an important contribution when developing services, not least because they can provide an opportunity for people to have more control over their lives.

"We know than many of us worry when we see our loved ones become more vulnerable and or frail and this can become quite stressful for everyone involved. What this scheme can offer is to help reduce these concerns and provide some reassurance and peace of mind for both the individual and their family.

"Shropshire ACTIVAGE is not just about equipment. We understand that technology can’t, of course, replace human care, and we wouldn’t want it to, but it can assist in reducing the need for care particularly where the care is predominantly about monitoring and managing risks. This type of technology will run alongside, not replace, traditional support such as carers’ visits, increasing independence and freeing up carers time to provide the human care that only a carer can provide.

"If you feel you could benefit from this scheme or if you care for someone who would, then sign up and register today."

To sign up, whether for yourself or on behalf of someone that you think fits the criteria, visit  www.activageshropshire.co.uk.

For more information about the scheme click here or if you have any queries contact us at support@activageshropshire.co.uk.      

Further information   

Why are we doing this?   

It is well known that health and social care organisations are facing unprecedented challenges in meeting the needs of a rapidly growing older population who have increasingly complex needs.    

This is particularly felt in Shropshire where we have an ageing population, which is higher than the England average. In addition, more people are developing long term conditions, which places a strain on health and social care services. Also, the rurality and sparsity of Shropshire’s geography can lead to those residents living in rural areas feeling isolated which can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing.   

These pressures are prompting health and care services to help more people look after their health and wellbeing more effectively. This includes focusing on prevention, so that people remain in their own homes for longer, in turn, reducing demand for more critical adult care services and or avoidable admissions to hospitals and care homes.    

Assistive technology has an important part to play in addressing these challenges. Such technology can help manage risks in the home, such as fires or falling, aid mobility and communication, deliver greater privacy and can also connect people with their community. For people using the devices, the benefit is increased reassurance, with less intrusion in their lives.   

Assistive technology can  provide the individual and their carer with peace of mind and a degree of freedom based on the knowledge that the people being cared for still have support in place, especially if the carer or family aren’t close by.  The main benefit to carers is that it can give them more personal freedom and more time to concentrate on the human aspects of care and support.