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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Home alarms to help older people
Malcolm Chisholm visits a West Lothian project
The communities minister saw the benefits of the scheme
Up to 75,000 old and vulnerable people are to benefit from electronic alarms in their homes.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm has announced that 8m is to be made available over the next two years.

He said the alarms would reduce the need for hospital or care home places and give older people independence, with the assurance of emergency help.

The gadgets provided will include smoke alarms, panic buttons, emergency cords and movement detectors.

The alarms, which could include reminders to take medicine, are wired up to an emergency call centre.

Older people who may otherwise have gone into full-time residential care can feel more secure at home
Malcolm Chisholm
Communities Minister

The Telecare scheme detects a person falling, smoke, extreme heat or flooding and has been pioneered in Armadale, West Lothian.

The Scottish Executive will be making money for the scheme available to all 32 of Scotland's local authorities.

About 2,300 people across West Lothian have benefited from the system and Mr Chisholm visited Colinshiel Court - a Hanover (Scotland) housing association development - where it has been installed.

Another 3,000 people in West Lothian are expected to receive the sensors this year.

Mr Chisholm said 9,000 dementia sufferers would benefit from the technology.

"Telecare can help Scotland's increasing number of older people to lead fuller and more independent lives," he said.

'Peace-of-mind'

Mr Chisholm said the number of older people was predicted to rise significantly over the coming decades.

"Telecare is an excellent example of how services can be redesigned in more integrated and imaginative ways, by using the latest technology to complement traditional, one-to-one (assistance) from trained, professional staff," he said.

"Older people who may otherwise have gone into full-time residential care can feel more secure at home, giving them the confidence and reassurance that help is at hand if they need it.

"It also provides peace-of-mind for their families and support for their carers."

Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said: "Research has consistently shown that people want to stay at home as long as possible and we are committed to enabling that to happen where appropriate."

He said the Telecare pilot had reduced the number of patients staying in hospital longer than necessary, cut the average length of stay in care homes and had improved the quality of life of its users and their carers.




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