The project aimed to help Disabled people with daily living through using ‘smart’ technology devices such as the amazon Alexa, smart plugs, voice-controlled window and door opening systems, voice-controlled heating and lighting systems and voice-controlled curtain and blind openers. Every participant was issued a tablet device to allow them to control the apps that each of the smart devices used.
The project aimed to aid daily living, help people to avoid emergency admissions, enhance quality of life, reduce or delay the need for care and support and to prevent falls and accidents within the home.
The project aimed to achieve these outcomes by fitting participant homes with smart technology financed through the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).
The focus for this pilot was on owner occupiers and housing association tenants. The people who participated in the project all lived in the Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council area and this included Coalition members.
Before the project started, we held a series of ‘lunch and learn’ events at Astolat which all involved time in our ‘demonstration suite’ (which is actually the Coalition office!).
The results demonstrated the positive impact that smart technology can have on the ability of an individual to live independently and on the quality of life for both the participant and family carers. In addition, participants reported a decrease in their feelings of loneliness and/or isolation.
We have submitted a full evaluation report to the Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council. We hope that the learning from the pilot project will help to influence the future provision of smart technology at home through the Disabled Facilities Grant by helping to shape a robust and integrated service.
Surrey Coalition learned a huge amount coordinating the project and it laid the foundations for other technology related work that could benefit our members. We plan to continue to develop our demonstration suite and this is open for bookings from members and professionals who want to learn more about how technology can help at home and beyond.