Could technology help you or someone you care for to live more independently for longer?

Leeds City Council’s Activage Project is an EU funded initiative, working in partnership with technology giant ,Samsung, aimed at promoting healthy and active lifestyles and reducing social isolation amongst people aged 65 and over through the use of technology. The project has a number of sites around Europe but Leeds is the only one in the UK.

So what is Activage? People who participate will be given a ‘smart’ watch that can count how far you walk (or run or swim), how much sleep you’ve had, monitor heart rate, send and receive text messages and also tell the time! The watch can also be configured to provide prompts and reminders e.g. to take medication, to move around a bit more or to go an appointment. Participants will also receive a smart phone with an App linked to the watch which will also allow for personalised alerts and can monitor patterns of activity over a period of time. The devices can be set up to allow family or friends to know how active you’ve been. Smart phones are supplied without a SIM card but participants are welcome to buy one to use in the phone or can transfer one from an existing phone.

In addition to the ‘smart’ devices participants can have a number of small sensors fitted in their home which help to build up a picture of someone’s daily life; how often someone goes out, puts the kettle on or switches on the TV for example. Family or friends can be alerted to significant changes in routine, for example if someone goes out but doesn’t return at the usual time or maybe if someone hasn’t got out of bed.

Carers who came along to an Activage information session at Carers Leeds recently were really enthusiastic about signing up to participate in the project, or encouraging the person they care for to sign up and thereby allowing them as a carer to know that the person they care for was up and about for example.

For working carers, caring for someone aged 65 or older, the Activage project  could provide reassurance that mum is out of bed, the kettle and the microwave have been used, she’s moving about in the living room and that she will have received a reminder (on her watch or phone) to take her medication.

To get involved you must be aged 65 or over and live in Leeds. If you care for someone aged 65 or older who lives in Leeds (and you are under 65)that person would be the participant, but they could allow you access to the data collected about their activities. If you fit the age criteria and the person you care for does too you can both potentially participate. The house where the participant lives needs to have Wi-Fi or a broadband connection. People who participate in the project for 12 months are able to keep all the equipment for free!

If you are interested in finding out more about Activage please ring Anne on 07891 279805 or email Carers Leeds also has some application forms which can be requested at reception.