Ofcom reports on assisted living technologies for older and disabled people

Wednesday, 2 June 2010 11:19am

Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, has commissioned a report on the potential impact of assisted living technologies (ALTs) on the social inclusion of older and disabled people. Assisted living technologies for older and disabled people in 2030: A final report to Ofcom explored a range of possibilities which ALTs may provide for disabled and older people.

The report notes that, as in Australia, there is a demographic shift occurring in Britain as the population ages. The costs of providing social and health care will rise dramatically as this occurs, whilst the capacity for the state and carers to provide these services was not likely to increase on current levels. Therefore, the needs of disabled and older people for alternative sources of care and inclusion is viewed as a paramount concern.

The report examines the potential development of telehealth and telecare, where communications technologies are used to complement traditional care services, to lead older and disabled people to live longer, more fulfilling lives. Digital participation is viewed as an important tool for promoting social inclusion and economic welfare, allowing disabled and older people to socialise and work from home.

Although prices for ALTs are currently high and availability is low, the report suggests that prices should fall and availability should increase over the next 20 years. The report stresses that it is important that the Government and the private sector work together to provide complementary and full-scale progress on developing and promoting ALTs.

Access for people with vision, hearing, mobility, and motor-skill impairments is raised as an issue.  The report suggests that the private sector has led the way thus far on providing accessible technology, and should continue to do so, but that the Government also has an important role to play. It suggests that ALTs could be customised to suit the particular needs of individuals if the market for providing ALTs grows large enough.

For more information, read the report, Assisted living technologies for older and disabled people in 2030.


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