Assistive technology to support independence within the home
Assistive technology is a term used to explain any device that can assist you to live more independently within your home. It can support you to maintain a safer home environment or help you to complete daily tasks and reduce the risk of accidents.
Using technology and devices could increase your independence. It may reduce or prevent you needing care, both now and in the future.
- Equipment to help with daily tasks
- Calling for help in an emergency - Technology enabled care
- Stand alone technology
- Smart technology
- Help to install and fit assistive technology devices
- See examples of assistive technology devices and Telecare systems
- Ask for help and advice on assistive technology
- Assistive technology for people with severe physically disabilities
Equipment, tools or technology such as grab rails, toilet frames, bed raisers, adapted cutlery and electronic devices can help you to remain independent in your own home.
You can request this type of equipment directly from the council if you are over 18 years old with long term needs due to an illness or disability.
There will be no charge for equipment that is approved and issued on long term loan to you.
To check if we can help and to find out how to request equipment, visit our Equipment to help with daily tasks pages.
If you do not have long term needs due to an illness or disability or you would like to buy your own equipment, the Disabled Living Foundation Living made easy website has information on a wide range of daily living aids and devices. You can purchase these online or from your local mobility shop. To find your local mobility shop, use the ‘Search for information and service’ at the top of this page.
The Alzheimer’s Society has information on the different types of assistive technology and how they can help people living with dementia.
Technology enabled care, which is sometimes called ‘Telecare’ is a remote monitoring service, using sensors and emergency alarms which can help you live safely and independently in your home.
It gives you, your family and carers the reassurance that help is at hand should you need it.
For more information about our technology enabled care service, including the types of sensors and alarms, cost and how to get started, visit our Technology enabled care pages.
Other companies and organisations offer Telecare. The following providers and products may be of interest, depending on individual circumstances, however please note that by including them here, South Gloucestershire Council and its partners are in no way recommending or endorsing them:
'Stand alone' assistive technology devices used in the home are not linked to a call centre. This type of technology relies on you or a carer to set it up and respond appropriately.
There are a range of devices that can be purchased from local DIY and retail stores. For example automatic timers, which you can plug in to a lamp to turn on/off automatically.
There are also devices such as motion sensor light bulbs and lamps which go on automatically when they detect movement. This can help prevent falls in the dark as well as maintaining safety and security.
Examples of smart technology include:
Video calling door bells which allow you to see on a smart device, for example a phone, who is calling. This gives you the opportunity to choose whether to open the door.
Home automation systems such as the Hive Connected system or Nest let you control your living environment and ensure your home is safe and secure. You can operate these systems using your phone, computer, tablet or through a voice activated device such as Alexa or Google Home.
Home automation systems offer a range of facilities that can be controlled including thermostats, light bulbs, smart sockets as well as motion sensors and indoor cameras.
You can find more information about home automation systems such as Hive or Nest on their respective websites.
Smart speakers are internet-connected speakers that are controlled by spoken commands. They are capable of streaming audio content, relaying information, and communicating with other devices. These speakers, for example Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home are becoming widely used to support independent living.
They can for example:
- help you make a shopping list
- make phone calls (if connected to a mobile phone app)
- tell you the time of day
- set automatic reminders, this may be for appointments or to take medication
- set alarms, to wake you up or remind you to take food out of the oven
- listen to music, play games and quizzes
- link to other smart devices so you can turn on electrical items, such as lights and switches by a voice command
You can link your technology with other devices, including those belonging to friends and family. You may want to use this technology as an alternative or to compliment traditional Telecare so that other people can help you to monitor your home.
The Hft Virtual Smarthouse website showcases some of the assistive technologies that people may use around their home to improve their independence and quality of life, and increase their safety.
The My House of Memories app allows you to explore objects from the past and share memories together. It can be used by anyone, but has been designed for, and with, people living with dementia and their carers.
If you purchase an assistive technology device such as a video calling door bell, yet are unable to fit this yourself, the South Gloucestershire HandyVan Service may be able to help you. There is usually a charge for this service.
South Gloucestershire Council has an adapted house called the Celestine Home Adaptations Centre. You can make an appointment to visit the house free of charge to explore and experience different assistive technology. The team at the Celestine Centre can help you learn about the technology that is available for you to buy and how it may be used by older and disabled people.
If you would like to talk with someone about assistive technology, South Gloucestershire’s telecare service will be happy to discuss your needs and which devices may work for you.
To contact the Telecare Team directly call 01454 866898 between 8.30am – 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30 – 4.30pm Friday.
To find out more about the role of an occupational therapist visit our occupational therapy page.
North Bristol National Health Service (NHS), provides an assistive technology service specifically for individuals with chronic health conditions, for example multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, paralysis and muscular dystrophy.
The Electronic Assistive Technology Service provides electronic assistive technology to enable people to live more independently at home. Their Environmental Controls webpage can tell you more about the service and how they can help.
People are referred to this service by their GP or a health care professional involved in their care. A family member can also complete the referral forms, but a letter from your GP is required upon receipt of a referral.