Case study - Digital technology supporting housing with care

Digital Coventry- granny

Mrs S is 89 and has angina, hypertension and dementia. She is physically quite fit, and having run a farm with her husband before retiring to a bungalow she is used to spending time outside each day. As Mrs S’s dementia progressed she began to need more support, and in 2008 she moved to a Housing with Care scheme, in her own self-contained flat.

A system was fitted that included a property exit sensor. Staff at the scheme turn the sensor on in the evening, and if Mrs S leaves her flat during the night it raises an alert on the night staff’s pager. They can then assist Mrs S back to her flat.

Mrs S has also been given a GPS device which is placed in her handbag. As Mrs S always takes her bag with her when she leaves her flat, this means the monitoring centre can locate Mrs S and alert her family if she becomes lost.

The system means Mrs S has been able to remain in the flat she has called home for seven years, close to her son and daughter who live nearby.

“I think the system is marvellous. I'm so grateful it's been put in, it gives us such peace of mind. Mum has been able to maintain her independence and stay out of residential care."

Mrs S's son

She remains part of her community, going out with family and friends and spending time with other tenants living at the scheme. She also continues to enjoy visiting the nearby dementia day centre.

Remaining in familiar surroundings may also have helped Mrs S to remain more independent, as changes of environment can be detrimental for people with dementia.

The GPS device has now been in use for 88 weeks, and has avoided approximately £25,000 costs to the Council.

“We didn't want to see Mrs S go into residential care, as she's really happy living here. With the new system we know that if she does go out, the family will be alerted and can contact us. We can look on the system and see where she is. It has maintained her independence and her safety and meant that she can stay here where she is happy."

Member of the care team at Mrs S's Housing with Care scheme