Smart homes report launched at the House of Lords, with support from Bournemouth University

A report into smart home technology to support independent living has been launched at a special meeting of the All-Party-Parliamentary-Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) in the House of Lords.

The ‘Smarter Homes for Independent Living’ report explores how technology can help older and disabled people live more independently in their homes.

The report outlines tangible actions for government and industry to help people take full advantage of technology and help people live better, for longer in their own home environment, and reduce pressures on the NHS and social care system.

The report author, Clive Gilbert of Policy Connect, said, “Our recommendations will help millions of disabled and older people lead more fulfilling lives by putting their needs and aspirations at the center of technology design and care services. Independent living has long been a key tenet of the disability rights movement. With the aging society, this demand is being embraced by a growing section of society. With appropriate support from carers, family members and friends, smart home technology promises to give people more choice and control in their lives. To achieve this, we must reform the way technology is used in health and social care services. The technology market must also be made to work better for disabled and older consumers.”

Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, Professor of Social Care at Bournemouth University was part of the Commission Steering Group and took part in the panel discussion at the event. She said, “Independent living and smart home technology should enhance wellbeing and social inclusion to support people to live their best lives. As part of this it is important that older and disabled people are involved in decision making and the development of high-quality evidence of the impact of technology on their lived experience. This requires a commitment to co-producing new solutions based on the peoples’ experiences and a need to respond to issues of access and digital exclusion.

“All disabled and older people should have equal access to person-centred smart technology to enable them to live the lives they wish to live. Within a challenging national context of social care provision, it is essential that independent living is prioritised within sustainable funding and resource structures, to support the independence, health and wellbeing of all disabled and older citizens.”

The event at the House of Lords was introduced by Liz Twist MP, with an introduction from Clive Gilbert. A lively Q&A session took place with panel members Vic Rayner OBE of the National Care Forum, Jo Chandler of the NHS Transformation Directorate, Bournemouth University’s Lee-Ann Fenge and Graham Fisher of the Disabilities Trust.

The report was written by Clive Gilbert, Policy Manager for Assistive and Accessible Technology at Policy Connect and sponsored by Bournemouth University and Coventry University. Bournemouth University was thanked for its contribution to the Commission during the event.

The full report can be downloaded from the Policy Connect website.

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