The Future Of Our Care System Is Looking Bright*

*This is a collaborative post*

The percentage of elderly folk amongst us is rising daily as we continue to live longer than our predecessors. Our needs become more sophisticated as we reach old age which means that care homes need to use greater amounts of, and more intelligent, assistive technologies. 
Most of you reading this will know of someone who has had no choice but to move into a care home. It can be a sad and distressing time and as such it's vital that a care home is chosen well, with both the home and the staff creating a supportable and comfortable living environment for those needing appropriate care. Many residents also require everyday supervision so this should be considered too. 

Put the focus on quality 

By 2040, research has shown that both private and social care homes will highlight quality within their ethos. In the Silver Chic report on the future of care homes, Jane Ashcroft suggested that this strategy has the potential for people to ‘live healthier and longer lives.'
Care home design will lead with quality as housing will be applied on a turntable – this will allow the residents to be exposed to sunlight for longer periods of time than they currently are. As well as this, connectivity will also be a priority to help combat loneliness. To do this, care villages will use small bridges intersecting various gardens so that residents will be closer to both their natural environment and other residents within the community. 

Technology is changing how we run our care homes

As technology is becoming more advanced in a modern society, it is in turn having a greater impact on how our care homes continue to run. Reassuringly, technology is continuously helping care home staff maintain quality care for residents which overall allows individuals to live healthy and happy lives.
Of course it's almost impossible to watch residents 24/7 and as such certain strategies need to be put in place to help where possible. For instance, utilise sensors are now often being used within each room of care homes to alert staff members if a resident has fallen. This means that rather than them being left unattended until someone happens to find them, a staff member can instead go and assist straight away. Alert systems are going to prove hugely beneficial in quality led care.
These systems will in turn also help those living with dementia as clusters within buildings can be coloured variously with different lighting so that residents are able to recognise their own living quarters. These types of technologies are specifically designed to ensure patient/resident comfort, and help to guarantee their safety whilst living in care.

Care with greater independence

One of the main distressing aspects when someone moves into the care system is the feeling that they've lost their independence. However, technologies in the future will help to  enable those who have varied care requirements to live life in a more self-sufficient way.
Certain pieces of technology are able to monitor steps and the distance covered, as well as a resident’s heart rate. In the future, these will also help to monitor fluid retention and respiratory rates, helping to lower hospital admissions and allowing residents to understand their own symptoms more effectively before they require medical assistance. 
Although due to lack of government funding for care homes in the UK, Royal Blind who specialise in care homes for the blind and care homes in Paisley can assess how care homes will be run in years to come, but they will also have the ability to evaluate the technologies that will change the way people are cared for.


Dementia sufferers unfortunately have to deal with an inordinate amount of stress but there is good news in the way of robotic pets that can respond to human touch and respond in intelligent way. 
In the future, robots will be able to help with general tasks such as getting residents in and out of bed. Robotic suits will be used to help sufferers living with arthritis to walk and stand, and they will also help those with severe mobility problems to move around more efficiently. 
There will also be robotically controlled curtains with a voice commanding system that will help control the room lights. Other devices will be used to help those who are blind and have visual impairments. 
The future of care homes is thankfully looking more hopeful. The technologies that are already being utilised, and the systems that are being proposed, will help patients lead more independent and comfortable lives, so that they can live a happier and healthier life for longer. 

*Guest post edited by GGD

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