The Havering Council gadgets saving the lives of the elderly and frail

It may sound like something from a sci-fi film, but a range of high-tech gadgets used by Havering Council are helping to save the lives of the elderly and vulnerable.

A special demo room shows how more residents can now live independently at home, knowing help will be quickly at hand through a range of buzzers and sensors.

The gizmos – known as Telecare – can detect falls, doors opening, overflowing baths and can even remind people to take their medications, before sending alerts to a 24-hour a day call centre.

A trained officer will then respond promptly to check the resident is all right.

An estimated 10 lives were saved last year as a direct result of the technology.

Clara and Joseph Jacobs, from Harold Wood, have been using the Telecare service for 18 months.

Clara, 85, has trouble with her balance and falls over regularly, often in the middle of the night.

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Joseph, 88, is unable to help her to her feet, so the 24-hour Telecare service is a huge support.

Clara said: “It’s marvellous knowing that someone will come around at any time of day or night to help.

“One time I had an awful fall and hit my head on the radiator. My head was bleeding at the back. I pressed the button on my pendant.”

Telecare responder Jon Holmes was first on the scene and immediately carried out first aid.

“I came in and saw Clara on the floor,” he said. “She was distressed and I applied some compression to her head to stop the bleeding. The Telecare centre had, in the meantime, called for an ambulance and they arrived soon afterwards.”

Joseph said: “It’s very reassuring to know that someone will come.”

They are really good people

The room, in Yew Tree Lodge, Yew Tree Gardens, Romford, has a door, shower, armchair, bed so residents see exactly how each device works.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for housing, said: “These high-tech devices not only allow elderly residents to continue to live independently in their own home, but they can and do save lives.”

She added: “This room is an excellent way to demonstrate in practice how much these gadgets work.”

The standard package involves the resident wearing a pendant with a button that can be pressed for assistance.

Enhanced packages including the pendant and two other gadgets which are also available – and new devices are becoming available all the time.

The standard package including a pendant is �4.37 per week and enhanced packages are �6 a week.

This includes full installation and the 24-hour monitoring service.

Residents who qualify for social care may receive these packages free of charge.

The council can offer seven different types of sensor.

n To book an appointment to visit the showroom call the council on 01708 756047.