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The Future of Assistive Technology in Care

9 months ago by
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Canalys predicted that by the end of 2019, over 200million smart speaker units will have been sold, which sees sales almost doubling from 2018 (up a huge 82.4%!). Furthermore, it is expected that smart speaker ownership will even overtake that of tablets by 2021, when units sold are forecast to approach 600 million. But how does this benefit those who require assisted living? 

Senior Analyst at Canalys, Jason Low, says; 

“Smart assistants are becoming a conduit to offer services, such as assisted living, health care, and government services.”

Technology such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod have recently been hailed for their assistance in day to day issues, such as:

  • memory problems

  • problems with planning and carrying out each step of a task

  • communication, including speech and hearing

  • keeping safe both inside and outside the home

  • maintaining independence and self-confidence

  • socialising and doing things you enjoy

Specifically, for those with disabilities such as Dementia or Alzheimers, these technologies can really ease the day to day tasks. For example,  they can assist in something as basic as checking the weather, to creating a fully ‘smart home’ system which plays music, controls lights and is even able to adjust the central heating (when the necessary extras are purchased, such as bulbs/devices that can connect).

They can also be very useful for setting daily reminders for task such as remembering to take medication or as a reminder to attend appointments, or can create shopping lists and even order products online.

They can be useful for lots of different purposes and you can add new functions as they are released – such as adding a home alarm system that will ‘listen’ for sounds like glass breaking and can alert you remotely.

Mid-2019 also saw Amazon and the NHS joining forces in the hope of helping patients with blindness/partial site/the elderly or those who cannot easily search for health advice on the internet to access the information through the AI-powered voice assistant, Alexa.

Using Alexa’s sophisticated algorithm, questions such as “Alexa, how can I treat the flu?” can now be answered via the voice assistant, using credible NHS-verified information, in the hope that this will ease the pressure on the NHS.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock,said: “Technology like this is a great example of how people can access reliable, world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking GPs and pharmacists.”

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