With a wealth of assistive equipment available on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what item may be suitable for you, a friend or a family member.
As a parent, you want to ensure your child is safe at all times, particularly when you can’t be with them.
Izaac is a 15 year old boy who lives with his Mum, Mandy and Dad, Darren. Mum is a social worker who has a busy professional life and Izaac finds it challenging to be alone at home or go out on his own similar to other boys his age.
Mandy always makes sure she is home in time for Izaac to return back from school, but would love the opportunity for Izaac to feel happy, safe and secure at home for short periods of time.
In the past, Mandy has had to cancel work meetings as she couldn’t make it home on time for Izaac to return from school on the bus. Some days, Izaac has carers who help out at home while Mandy is at work but they sometimes run late, causing major distress to the family.
Izaac would love to go out on his own for short periods of time, or to stay at home when Mandy and Darren do food shopping, but they currently lack the confidence to leave Izaac unsupervised as they’re unsure how he would respond in an uncontrolled or emergency situation.
On being referred to the Independent Living Centre WA (ILC), Occupational Therapist Marti worked with Izaac and his family to achieve their ultimate goal – confidence for Izaac to be on his own for short periods of time and have increased community participation and wellbeing.
Izaac was provided with the opportunity to trial the Find-me Tunstall Carers Watch.
The watch offers the following benefits:
- GPS monitoring via an online portal.
- Making phone calls via two buttons on its side to two allocated numbers.
- Receiving phone calls.
- 24/7 call centre, monitored support with trained clinical staff, via a button on the watch.
- Personalised profile which has complete medical history, social approach and background.
Izaac has Autism and clinical anxiety, so it was important to consider what device would be suitable for him – not only in regards to functionality but also wear-ability and user responsibility.
This watch was chosen as the appropriate device for Izaac as not only did it carry the functional and practical benefits required to reach his goals, but he was used to wearing a watch already. This meant he was unlikely to remove the watch as he understood the benefits of wearing one. Izaac loved the idea of being able to speak into the watch, with his face lighting up with his first call from his Mum.
Izaac responded extremely well by phoning his Mum using the watch on his arrival home.
“It was lovely to hear his voice, opposed to a text message as offered by some mobile phone apps or the iPhone watch.
“I felt closure that he was safe as I was able to speak to him and also track him through the GPS portal,” said Mandy.
Izaac began to take ownership of being the first one home and once phoned his Mum specifically regarding a need at home. He had never shown this initiative in the past. The watch therefore opened up an opportunity for Izaac to explore some minor, initial responsibilities of adult life with the safety of being monitored.
“I haven’t had to cancel any meetings since having the watch, as I can reach Izaac through this wonderful piece of assistive equipment and let him know if I’m likely to run late,” said Mandy.
If there was any unforeseen chance of being late for his arrival home in the past, Mandy would have to reschedule her day as she couldn’t get in contact with her son.
“Darren and I can also go food shopping on our own without having to feel guilty in bringing Izaac with us every time, as he doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping.”
“We are now able to leave Izaac on his own for up to an hour, which is more reflective of his age,” said Mandy.
From a carer’s point of view it has brought Mandy and Darren a great sense of respite. They are also starting to relate to Izaac as a teenager now, providing a new identity to their relationship.
On rating Mandy’s confidence to leave Izaac unsupervised (at home and planned community situations) after a month of trialing the watch, Mandy gave an 8/10. This shows a marked increase in her confidence and a subsequent relief on her carer responsibilities, with the ultimate addition of Izaac’s happiness.
The ILC Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre (CRCC) recently undertook a project to identify the assistive equipment and technology needs of carers of people living with mental health illness. The aim of the project is to help shape future assistive equipment and technology services to better support carers.
Through ILC’s Community Allied Health Services, our occupational therapists and physiotherapists can work with you in your home, school, workplace or community to help you achieve your goals. Find out more about our Community Allied Health Services here.