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Smart-homes help dementia sufferers 'maintain independence'

30th January 2007

Pioneering technology to help people with dementia remain independent in their own homes has been showcased for the first time.

Developed by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME), the technology uses sensors to "talk" to household devices – such as the cooker, taps and light switches – and responds to the behaviour of the resident.

It aims to help dementia sufferers cope on their own without the help of care staff.
For example, the device would advise residents of the time and encourage them back to bed if it detected a door opening at inappropriate times.

The technology would also automatically turn taps off, and after offering prompts, alert care staff to the danger.

"The really smart thing about the wireless technology we have used in this flat is that we can take the elements that clients find particularly useful in the smart home and install them in their own home," said Roger Orpwood, the director of BIME.

The project is being run by BIME, Bristol City Council's adult community care service, a local primary care trust (PCT), Dementia Voice and Housing 21.