Having been involved in Smart Home technology for many years, I am a great advocate of the positive effects that technology can have on our everyday lives. When I need to find some assistive to support my father with dementia to live independently at home, I was really surprised by the lack of appropriate products and services. There are hundreds of stand-alone, single purpose products but none that are integrated or intelligent in their application. Very few, if any, of the products sold to support people with dementia have been actually designed for their specific care and support needs. I have even seen a standard doorbell listed as an item of assistive technology – are they being serious?!
The lack of an available alternative got me thinking about the extensive array of smart home technology that has been the core of my business for more than a decade. Surely many of these products, with a proven track record and fantastic reliability, could be used to meet the care needs of my father and others like him. I started to adapt some of the products we have used for many years and installed these in my father’s apartment. I linked up with John Osborne a friend, health and social care professional and fellow carer for family members with dementia and BENDIGO was born.
Assistive Technology Failing to Reach its Potential
But what is the failure of assistive technologies to meet the highly acclaimed potential really about? Is it lack of understanding of the condition of people with dementia, a form of discrimination or is it a mindset that seems to equate assistive technology within care with telecare?
Perhaps it is all three, but I think the lack of real progress in developing truly effective assistive technology is the lack of integration. There is no shortage of products but they perform single functions and are not responsive to the individual needs of the user. What use are these if they do interact with the home environment or combine to provide data and effective monitoring that does not just record what has happened but can be used proactively to engage with what is happening and moderate the environment?
In developing BENDIGO we have sought to incorporate these features as central to our technology. That is why I believe we have a unique response that changes the face of assistive technology.
For more information about BENDIGO or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us.
Co-Founder & Director
Bendigo Systems Limited