Hull and East Yorkshire-based housing association Pickering and Ferens Homes (PFH) is working with its residents to launch smart devices into their homes in order to help improve independent living, as well as tackle loneliness and isolation experienced by some older people.
Up to 50 PFH residents will trial the use of tablets and internet-enabled devices, such as a Google Home or Amazon Echo, in their homes to see how they can improve their ability to connect with people and services through the use of IT as part of the housing association’s digital inclusion project. The project aims to help the residents to embrace technology and use it to their benefit.
As well as using the devices to help residents make notes of shopping lists or find out what is happening in the local area – it is useful in providing an easy method to Facetime or Skype friends and family, so residents can see others when talking to them. This is one of the latest initiatives in which PFH has actively looked to reduce loneliness and isolation experienced by some older people and keep them better connected with others.
PFH has successfully secured National Lottery funding, through the Awards for All grant fund, and is engaging interested residents in this exciting digital inclusion project.
PFH resident George Stewart, who is also part of the board of trustees, said: “I think technology is something we should all embrace. To see what these devices can do is astounding – especially considering I remember using pennies to call people in phoneboxes just a few decades ago and now, we can speak with people instantly and so clearly.
“Technology has come so far and our residents should welcome it with open arms – an initiative like this is very positive for everyone.”
Claire Champlin, Independent Living Manager at PFH, is co-ordinating the project. She said: “Projects such as this go a long way to boost independent living in older people for longer and considering the technology is widely available, it is something we want to introduce to residents.
“Over the last few years, we’ve worked closely with KCOM to provide digital inclusion classes, which help residents understand how to use devices in the way they need to. The funding provided to kickstart this project allows us to take our aims to the next level in helping our residents.”
Once residents have completed the project, they have the option to buy and keep the equipment after the trial has been completed. Residents participating are asked to answer questions at the beginning and end of the project, which would focus on the level of impact the smart technology has had on their day-to-day lives.