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Tech boost initiative for elderly people in East Sussex

Living Lab research project launched to see how using digital technology can improve the physical and mental well-being of elderly adults. 

A sheltered housing facility in Peacehaven, East Sussex, is part of a pioneering research programme centred on helping elderly residents to gain benefits from technology. The aim is to integrate the latest research and innovative processes into real-life settings within communities. 

Residents and staff at a sheltered housing facility in Peacehaven with their interactive games table

Photo courtesy of East Sussex County Council

A key element of the new project is the installation of a digital games table in the residents’ lounge. This uses interactive light projections to produce physical, social and cognitive activities such as puzzles, games and tactile challenges.  

In addition, virtual reality (VR) headsets will enable residents to take virtual day trips beyond the housing facility. Other options include the option for residents to have a heat sensor fall monitor installed or use a Smartwatch to monitor their health. 

The hope is that the initiative will provide residents with more agency – and fun – while also easing pressure on carers. It’s already proving to be a good talking point, encouraging interaction between residents and carers. 

This Living Lab is a one-year pilot project delivered through a partnership between East Sussex County Council’s Adult Social Care and Health team, NHS Sussex and the University of Brighton. Over the course of the pilot, the university team will evaluate the digital health benefits, which will help shape the council’s adult social care services in future and inform local public health commissioning decisions. 

Mark Stainton, Director of Adult Social Care and Health at East Sussex County Council, says: ‘We are delighted to launch this innovative Living Lab project, and hope our residents enjoy experimenting with the technology on offer. 

‘The feedback gathered from the pilot scheme will enable us and our partners at the University of Brighton and NHS Sussex to learn how internet-connected devices could help improve the health of older people living locally as well as see first-hand the positive impact this technology can have on their quality of life.’

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Simon Guerrier
Writer and journalist for Social Care Today, Infotec and Air Quality News

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