The Government’s new NHS Long Term Plan, announced in January 2019, promises to support ageing, increase independence and make sure older people are getting the help they need. Statistics and projections produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have long highlighted that the UK’s population is ageing, which means an increasing amount of assistance is required.
So what practical measures are available to support this ever-growing section of the community?
Why Go Smart?
Smart home technology is one way to help people live independently for longer.
Smart home technology learns routines within the home and spots changes early. It provides invaluable reassurance that activity is happening as expected, thanks to its easy-to-install and non-intrusive sensors, and sends an alert if changes are detected – either sudden changes or more gradual differences in routine over a period of time.
Speaking about the uses of Smart Home technology, Co-founder of Howz, Louise Rogerson responded, “The smart home monitoring system should be reassuring, without having to require the installation of cameras, which many people find too intrusive. It is also really important to offer a system that is as affordable as possible. They should be easy to set up and adept at collecting data to build a picture of the typical routines that go on in the home, so it can let the user know when something is out of the ordinary.
“The app can be used to check that their mum or dad has had their morning cup of tea, but you could also gain an insight into whether someone is having more disturbed nights, or is starting to leave home less often. It’s all about helping people gain the insight they need to spot any changes early.”
Managing Your Medical Data
Although many users share their data with friends or relatives, others use the system for personal insight, or to gain good quality information to share with their doctor or medical team. Simon Brodie, 61, was a Business Development Manager in a specialist division of IBM until an MS diagnosis, just over three years ago, eventually led to him retiring for medical reasons.
He read an article about Howz in a technology magazine and wanted to see if the system could provide him with meaningful and relevant information to help manage his condition.
Simon said: “I’ve been able to share my data with my uro-neurology team, who have now given me a particular course of specialist treatment. The knowledge Howz provides me with allows me to feel more in control of my MS, which is really important. I am more in command with that knowledge.
“At the moment I don’t feel I need to share my data with my daughters, but it’s really reassuring to know that, should I need to in the future, I could easily ask one of them to keep an eye on me via the app.”
The Howz Smart Home Monitoring system was created by a physiotherapist in response to patient needs. Employing simple, easy and quick to use sensors and an app, Howz’s smart home monitoring system swiftly learns your routine, from when you usually make your morning cuppa to how you tend to move between rooms. You’ll soon forget the sensors are even there and, within about ten days, Howz should be able to establish a pattern. You can, then view activity around your home, on a smartphone or share the information with anyone you would like to.
Howz has been working closely with EDF Energy’s innovation accelerator, Blue Lab, since winning EDF Energy’s start-up challenge in 2016. The energy company tested the original Howz home monitoring system with 200 of its elderly customers and helped further develop the product ahead of its launch.
Jean-Benoit Ritz, Director of Innovation and Blue Lab at EDF Energy, said: “EDF Energy is committed to developing services for our customers that make life easier. We are delighted to partner with Howz and to offer a smart home solution that supports independent living.”
Start your journey to independent living at https://howz.com/