There are a lot of online tools available through TEC packages today. Some are being offered through the NHS or local councils. Some tools will be free and others will incur a cost. There are also tools aimed specifically at carers.
TEC can also make use of technologies you might already have. These can be phones, tablets, computers and even TVs or smart speakers.
You might want to choose a TEC tool or package for yourself or someone you are looking after. But it is a good idea to take some time first to understand the different tools that are available. This could help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of tools available
What is the difference between different types of TEC tools?
Basic or enhanced TEC?
TEC can range from basic equipment to more developed technology. Basic options include emergency pendants or smoke detectors that can raise alarms. Developed technologies can include anything from medication dispensers to infra-red sensors.
Basic TEC equipment works great for those who are mostly independent. It can provide extra security and peace of mind.
Enhanced TEC is aimed at individuals with more complex needs. These technologies can target these needs specifically.
Which needs are you looking to address?
Carers UK have created a great list to categorise TEC. It summarises technologies according to the health and lifestyle needs that they target:
- Everyday needs: there are many various apps and online websites available. They can help with daily tasks such as shopping or looking after money. They can also help you keep in touch with friends and family.
- Environmental monitoring: some technology can help you manage your home. You can do this using many devices, apps, smart home controls or even your voice. They can help you manage your heating, lighting or even door entry. There are also specialist systems called environmental control systems. These can help with more complex needs.
- Remote alerts: this technology can help check whether a person at risk is safe in their own home. If something goes wrong, automated alerts can be raised. These are sent to carers or to 24-hour alarm and response centres.
- Monitoring vital signs: technology can measure health signs. This includes blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate or even sleeping patterns. This can be done through apps or bespoke devices. Some tools can even raise alarms. Others can help avoid lengthy hospital visits for routine checks.
- Accessing remote healthcare and advice: some technologies can help you access services remotely. This means that you might be able to receive advice via telephone, email or video sessions online.
- Medication management: some devices that can help keep track of medications. They can remind you when you need to take prescribed medicine and offer reassurance.
- Self-enhancement: some tools you can use to improve your skills and abilities. These range from hearing aids to fitness apps.
Who are the tools for?
TEC offers benefits to both people receiving support and their carers. If you are a carer yourself, finding the right TEC for the person you support can help them stay independent. But it can also give you peace of mind.
There are also a lot of tools that aim to make caring easier. So, when you’re looking for a tool, consider your needs alongside those of the person you support. You might be able to find some technologies that tick both boxes.
Some apps aim to help families organise care or manage emergencies. They can also provide an overview of the wellbeing of the person they look after. There are also tools aimed at the person receiving support. Sometimes, these can be provided through housing associations or care providers.
Everyday tools or bespoke devices?
You might already own a tool such as a smart phone, a tablet, a computer or other types of electronic devices. With the rights apps or software, they can function as TEC tools.
How can I choose the right tool for my needs?
The Telecare Self-Check tool should be your first stop. But there are other useful sources of information you can try.
- ADAM is a tool developed by Alzheimer Scotland. It can help people living with dementia and those around them find the technology they need. It is free to use by anyone and can offer very useful prompts and advice. To use it, answer some questions about what you would like help with. In return, ADAM will offer recommendations tailored to your needs and preferences.
- Care Technologists are part of a project by Scottish Care. They work with people in care homes and care services to use technology help them to live better and more independently. The role has been implemented across services and care homes in Glasgow, East Ayrshire and Aberdeen.
Find out more:
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- About / How to use this guide
- The big picture
- Digital tools for self management
- Digital NHS services
- Technology enabled care
- Safeguarding and self-evaluation
- Glossary and references