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Tuesday 8 January 2013

Spread the warmth


Cheshire East Council and Age UK Cheshire, in association with their partners and the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

The Council has put together a wealth of detail in one place at: where residents can find advice on a wide range of topics from heating, eating and winter safety to school closures and public transport.

This week, we look at the offer of electronic assistive technology and how it can keep people independent in their own homes for longer.

Electronic assistive technology – keeping people independent

Cheshire East Council aims to help people be as independent as possible and to remain in their own homes for as long as they can.

Through its social care support programme, the Council is using electronic assistive technology to play an important role in achieving these aims.

Staff sit within the Council’s SMART teams (Skilled Multi-Agency Response Teams), which are made up of social care workers, occupational therapists, district nurses and community matrons and are aligned with local GP practices.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care services, said: “We want people to stay safe in their own homes and there are various ways in which this can be done. Homes can be fitted with sensors which will trigger an alert if smoke or a rapid rise in temperature is detected.

“Carbon monoxide or water on the floor, which may indicate a flood, can also be sensed automatically. Alerts can be set up so that someone is contacted immediately and action taken to help prevent more serious results.

“We aim to help people to be independent, which can be achieved by light sensors, which turn lights on and off automatically, save energy and reduce the likelihood of falls.

“Sensors can also be placed in the bath to make sure that the temperature is just right and so that the bath isn’t overfilled.

“If falls do occur, assistive technology can help by ensuring help is there when needed. For example, wearing a fall detector can alert a chosen person automatically in the event of a fall, amongst other options.”

There are a number of different technological aids which can also keep people in touch with their family and friends and ensure a full assessment of need.

A service called Telecare plays an important part in the offer of assistive technology and is provided to Cheshire East customers with eligible needs.

At a small charge of £1.14 per week, responders can be available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year to come out to properties, if this is required, within 45 minutes of an alert being raised.

Should an incident be deemed more urgent and require the emergency services, then Telecare will act on this immediately following the alert.

Sean Reynolds, the chair of the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “Telecare is the use of technology that helps to give people a better quality of life by improving their confidence, developing and maintaining their independence, and enabling them to stay living at home.

“It offers more choices for people living at home and can provide reassurance for carers. I support any initiative which can help to improve people’s health and wellbeing.”

Cheshire East Council’s service is available to all adults over the age of 18 who have been assessed by a care manager or occupational therapist as being someone likely to benefit from Telecare.

For more information on this service, which is operated by Peaks & Plains in Macclesfield, call 0300 123 5010 or email

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