Hi-tech sensors helping people to live independently at home

Find out about the successful pilot scheme and the next stages

As part of a new scheme in Surrey, hi-tech sensors have been fitted in everyday objects around the home to help enable older people, like Joan* in our video, to live independently for longer.

Surrey County Council teamed up with Mole Valley District Council to trial the use of a revolutionary home monitoring system which can help identify early warning signs of declining health or mobility and help prevent falls.

Sensors are fitted to appliances such as kettles and fridges are used to monitor movement and daily routines in a discreet way without the need for cameras or microphones, with all the information fed into a central dashboard which is monitored by an alarm receiving centre (ARC). If subtle changes are detected which may indicate something is amiss, the individual, their family and health or care worker is alerted.

The trial scheme involving 53 residents in Mole Valley proved so successful at helping people lead more independent lives and providing reassurance to families that the pilot has been extended to two further Surrey areas, Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead.

Joan* was one of the residents who took part in the pilot and benefitted from having the sensors in her home. It provided both her and Sue, her daughter, with the reassurance that if something were to happen, her family would know. Her daughter Sue told us, "Mum wants to be in her own home as long as possible and we want the same. It's put my mind at rest a lot, just to know that mum's safe."

How can the sensors help identify early warning signs of declining health?

In one example of how the technology helped a resident, the system flagged an increase in frequency of visits to the bathroom outside the normal routine of the person, raising concerns of a urinary tract infection. The community nurse confirmed the diagnosis and secured antibiotics, probably avoiding a return to hospital for the resident.

What's next?

The findings from the expanded pilot will then help to roll out the technology to other parts of the county and also enable people who fund their own social care to gain access to the system. Self-funders would be able to purchase the devices and a subscription to monitoring services.

Visit our Staying Independent webpages on the Surrey County Council website for more information.

*Name has been changed for anonymity

More from health and wellbeing