The failures and inadequacies associated with traditional approaches to managing the elderly has resulted to the development of new models that have sought to circumvent the failures of earlier strategies. Telecare which is any service that brings health and social care directly to users at their homes with the aid of information technology is a new approach to addressing the needs of the elderly in the community.
In telecare, monitoring involve the setting up of call or monitoring centres that are tasked with collecting data on various risks via sensors installed within the surrounding of elderly people. The sensors can convey information relating to gas leaks, bath floods and wander monitors for people with dementia. Telecare is growing quite fast considering that in the UK nearly 1. 5 million elderly people already use community alarms that can be used to call for help (Kingsfund 2010).
Though this is an elementary or basic level of the introduction of telecare, it points to the potential that telecare has in improving quality of life and ensuring that technology is used effectively to address aging as a social issue. Use of intelligent systems that have been designed to monitor changes in lifestyles and activity levels may facilitate detection of the state of health. Such detections systems are vital in providing data upon which early intervention strategies can be based with the key goal of preventing deterioration of health.
Recent literature show that the UK government believes that telecare could increase independence of elderly and their choice through helping them remain in their homes for longer. This implies that carers are provided with more freedoms and time to engage in other human dimension of providing care and support. This is important considering that care for the elderly has over the years been plagued by a short fall of employees.
Currently the elderly either have daily visits from care workers or have been totally neglected due to the limited number of carers (Kingsfund 2010). The use of technology under telecare can help in addressing this gap by ensuring that each elderly individual has access to health and social care. Recent approaches to telecare seek to promote it as an avenue through which the elderly can feel supported rather than be left alone (Kingsfund 2010). Use of assistive and home monitoring technologies is also characteristic of telecare.