Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 13:44 UK

Hi-tech help to keep older people at home

A telecare system
A total of 16m has been invested in telecare technology since 2006

Hi-tech devices to help older people remain independent in their own homes will be funded with a new grant from the Scottish government.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison announced £4m of funding for the "vital" telecare technology.

The devices include vibrating "rumble" pillows to alert people with hearing problems if there is a fire alarm, and electronic medication reminders.

Funding is available for all 32 council areas and could help 13,000 people.

Every local council and health board partnership is to be offered £120,000 to spend in 2010-11, but each authority has to provide match funding.

A total of £16m has been invested in telecare technology since 2006, with 25,800 older people having benefited.

We are firmly committed to free personal care but we need to change the ways we deliver care
Shona Robison
Public Health Minister

Ms Robison said: "Investing in telecare is vital if we are to remain ahead of the game in meeting the needs of our growing older population.

"Telecare can help older people remain independent in their own homes - something we must explore further if we are to rise to the challenges we face."

The public health minister recently warned Scotland's care bill could rise to £8bn in just over two decades unless changes are made to "shift in the balance of care from institutions to home".

She said: "We are firmly committed to free personal care but we need to change the ways we deliver care, and investing in new technology like this has enormous potential to help us."

By helping older people remain at home it would help avoid an estimated 21,000 hospital admission days and allow them to continue contributing to their community, she added.

The funding would also be used for fire, flood and intruder alarms linked to a staffed 24-hour response service, and emergency pendants to call help in a crisis.



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