Source : Press Association
Published on 07 September 2012 11:00 AM
Four million people in England could benefit from telecare technology, but families need to make this happen, according to research funded by Age UK.
The report into who uses telecare - a range of personal alarms and alerting devices - by the Strategic Society Centre found that only 113,000 people in this group currently receive care from their council.
A total of 1.9 million people rely on care from family members and a further 1.9 million receive no support at all.
Notably, the findings reveal that anything between 30% and 50% of telecare users pay for the service privately. This indicates that the private market is substantial, even if councils remain the drivers of telecare use.
James Lloyd, director of the Strategic Society Centre, said: 'The research shows how few current or potential telecare users are actually in regular contact with local authorities.
'Most potential telecare users rely on informal care - nearly two million - so we must help families incorporate telecare into the way they support each other.'
He added that telecare has 'huge potential' and could save local authorities £1bn if they boosted take up.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, claimed that telecare - which has long been known as a low cost form of support - could help give older people greater independence in their lives.
'Good quality telecare could make a real difference to millions of older people making them feel safer and more secure in their own home,' she said.
'It's an important way for some older people maintain independence at home for longer by giving them more choice and control over their own wellbeing.
'We are particularly interested in seeing the preventative benefits of telecare exploited by more local authorities.'
Copyright Press Association 2012
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Caroline Abrahams is Age UK’s Charity Director, and has worked predominantly on children and family issues throughout her career.
She was Director of Policy and Strategy at the children’s charity Action for Children and Chair of the End Child Poverty campaign before joining the Local Government Association.
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She was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from 1999 to 2003, and from 1983 to 1993 she worked for Consumers’ Association.
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