Even if we were living in normal times, looking after vulnerable people would pose enormous challenges.
We will argue here that technology such as the solutions developed by Briteyellow can help aid, respite and relief to those people showing love and care on the front line.
Take people living with dementia as an example, many can live fulfilling, independent lives contributing to society, but they might need a little help to be able to stay safely in their own homes.
The task of ensuring safety has mainly been offered lovingly and without complaint by an army of relatives, spouses and care professionals. Often, the family carers strain under an emotional and physical burden with very little respite.
As the population ages, more people are expected to succumb to dementia. Some reports say the numbers are due to double by 2040.
The Alzheimer’s Society says there are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.
This is projected to reach 1.6 million people in the UK living with dementia in 2040.
By 2040 the cost of care is set to rise to a staggering £94.1billion.
At the same time the care sector is in the middle of a funding and staffing crisis.
Funded by local authorities, which are themselves seeing grants from central Government reduced year on year, care homes have struggled to make ends meet for years.
A promised review of the sector seemingly as far away as ever.
At the same time many care providers are having to find ways to utilise staff who are incredibly dedicated but who struggle to find the time.
In the domiciliary care sector, for example, there are stories of some professionals only able to spend less than 20 minutes with each of their clients in their own homes.
That’s 20 minutes to have a chat, see how their client is doing, to perhaps administer medicines correctly and just check that they are doing OK in their own homes.
These are not normal times; with the coronavirus pandemic putting a layer of extra strain on the sector. Time is needed to put on and remove personal protective equipment, contact restricted.
And this with people who struggle to understand what is happening; why their families cannot visit them, and why everyone is wearing alien face coverings.
If only technology could help…
Technology is coming to the rescue of hard-pressed professional care workers, managers and family carers.
Many of you will have seen those cute Japanese robots, which have personalities, and seem to form bonds of almost friendship with their human charges.
But it’s not just the headline-grabbing robots that can offer help. There is also an array of wearables, including from Briteyellow, that can assist.
People are aware of wearables in their lives. Fitness trackers have been around for years but health wearables take the next step forward.
Wearables, in association with indoor location data and artificial intelligence, give care professionals and family members the comfort of knowing that their client, patient, spouse, or relative is safe.
Briteyellow’s BriteCare will send an alert if something is not quite right with a wearer’s indoor location.
If mum always wakes at 7am, moves to the bathroom and then the kitchen before sitting in the living room, then when she does not follow her normal routine, that might be the time to pay them a visit or make a phone call to check.
Artificial intelligence, allied to indoor location data and geofencing technology, can also send an alert if the wearer leaves an area. Perhaps they are prone to wandering off; so, sending a signal when they leave is going to give carers an invaluable head start.