Before you buy, consider the points below:
- If you or someone that you care for would be unable to recognise or respond to risks at home here are some devices that can help them to stay safe at home
- Risk of fire: the local fire service will carry out free home safety assessments for anyone who is vulnerable at home. They will install appropriate smoke alarms and take action to limit fire risk in the home. Smoke alarms can be linked to the care alarm call centre who would call the emergency services and a local key holder if the alarm was activated
- Risk of extreme temperature: sensors can be installed to link to a call centre if the temperature drops or rises to a dangerous extreme. The call centre will respond by calling a key holder or the emergency services. The sensors can also be linked to automatic window openers to increase air circulation when temperature is too high. An off-site carer can also monitor and adjust heating remotely using a ‘smart home’ system via a mobile phone
- Risk of flood from leaving the taps running in bathroom or kitchen. Flood detectors are available to raise the alarm at home or through a call centre when the flood has already happened. Prevention is preferable: removal of plugs when the bathroom is not in use can help to prevent floods, the Magiplug can be purchased in hardware shops; It will drain water from a sink or bath when the level rises too high. Taps can be installed with a timed function to switch off automatically or a tap that automatically switches off when water level reaches the overflow. An in house stop cock switch can be installed to turn water off in specific rooms at certain times of the day
- Risk of gas: All appliances must be checked by a registered engineer to ensure they are safe and not emitting harmful fumes. Carbon monoxide detectors are available as stand-alone alarms or connected to a call centre. Natural gas detectors are not effective in a domestic situation
- Risk of cooker use: modern cookers have a built in device to turn off the gas if left unlit. If carers are concerned about a person using a gas cooker when home alone, the local gas supplier can install a gas shut off valve with locking key, free of charge see www.sgn.co.uk the cooker can then be unlocked when safe to use. There is a device that can be fitted to electric cookers to limit cooking time. Sensors can be fitted to the plugs of kettles and other kitchen appliances to alert off site carers if the appliance has or hasn’t been in use.
Technology Enabled Care should enhance independence but could be considered intrusive. The person must consent to use of any monitoring device.