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Tenants’ lives enhanced with Assistive Technology

Published: Mon, 16 Jul 2018
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Melissa and her son Adam Keenan receiving Assitive Technology
The Housing Executive uses Assistive Technology
The Housing Executive is an early adopter of cutting edge Electronic Assistive Technology and is currently using a range of smart home technology such as the Amazon Echo (ALEXA) to improve the quality of life for tenants in Derry/Londonderry.
An ‘Assisted Living’ pilot scheme is underway, at a cost of approximately £30k and in partnership with the Health and Social Care Trust Occupational Therapy Service and Hive Studios. It aims to improve flexibility, mobility, social interaction and security for a pilot group of 18 households with elderly, disabled and/or vulnerable tenants, aged between 6-68, who have a range of disabilities, challenges and family circumstances.
Working together to identify assisted technologies to support the circumstances of each individual tenant, the partnership have deployed a range of fully customizable, broadband-enabled ‘smart devices’ to each of the scheme’s participants.
Technology used includes: Voice & video-enabled Amazon Echo for communication and control of the smart devices; smart lighting & power socket systems, smart thermostats, video-enabled door security systems, and smart home monitoring devices for the benefit of the elderly living alone.
“Hive Studios are delighted to be partnering with the Housing Executive in the development and delivery of this exciting 12 month Assistive Technology Pilot Programme, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
Assistive Technology is rapidly advancing and Hive and the Housing Executive are at the forefront of innovating smart home solutions designed to help those with a variety of complex needs.” Kevin Hippsley, Manager, Hive Studios
“The Assisted Living pilot is an exciting opportunity to explore how service users could realise their potential through the latest innovative technology to control their home environment thereby maximising their full participation in day to day activities.” Karen Telford Head Community Occupational Therapist, Community OT Department
“Historically the Housing Executive has offered a variety of services to its tenants with disabilities, therefore it is delighted to embrace the current technical innovations and to be involved in the Assisted Living technology pilot.” Kathryn Trainor, Adaptations Manager, The Housing Executive
“This has been a really exciting and worthwhile project to be involved in. We can now monitor our entire home and ensure the safety and well-being of my autistic son Adam. Adam’s bedroom has also been equipped with sensory responsive lighting and he has his own Echo Spot which he loves. It’s great to see the Housing Executive partnering with local businesses to offer innovative services like this to the community.” Melissa Keenan, Tenant
“When I first heard about this project, I couldn’t wait to get involved. When you have mobility issues – the ability to simply ask Alexa to do a range of tasks for you like turning the heating off and on, seeing who’s at your front door and being able to let them in, turning your lights off and on – even simple stuff like reminding you at the right time to take your medication - is a godsend. Also, the ability to add remote monitoring and call my buddy features is a major life-line for some people living on their own. Even in terms of reducing isolation and of increasing my independence – this project has been invaluable.”  Mark Gamble, Tenant