Care needs can be met by ‘harnessing technology’

15 December 2017

15 Dec 2017

Four recommendations have been made to the government on the use of technology in supporting the UK’s ageing population and improving social care. The open letter, signed by the Council for Science and Technology’s Co-Chair, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, called for new solutions to the growing problem.

‘The number of older people having problems with at least one activity involved in daily living, such as eating or bathing, is projected to grow from 2.9m in 2015 to 4.8m in 2035,’ the letter reads, with increased pressure on family and friends to meet the care needs of society.

As a result, the Council for Science and Technology has made four recommendations – developed through a series of expert workshops – based on the employment of assistive technologies into modern care. They are:

  1. The government should develop a Healthy Ageing challenge within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
  2. A National Centre of Excellence in Ageing and Design should be established to improve household technologies for the elderly
  3. The government should review all available assisted living products for quality and consistency
  4. Industry should be encouraged to share data generated by smart home and assisted living devices with the NHS to improve care standards

In her written response to the letter, Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘The government fully agrees with [the Council] on the importance of supporting people to remain independent and well as they age, and is keen to work with the care sector and wider industry to transform products and services to better the needs of older people.’

The UK’s Ageing Society was named as one of the government’s four Grand Challenges in the publication of the Industrial Strategy White Paper last month, and a Green Paper on care and support reform has been promised for publication next summer.

By Georgina Hines

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