New project explores AT as a carer respite solution

Head and shoulder image of mature couple with the lady's head on his shoulderThe traditional form of respite such as in-home or out-of-home respite or social and recreational activities is well known, however, have you ever wondered about alternative respite supports for carers? Could the use of assistive technology (AT) be a valuable option for carers seeking respite?

The Independent Living Centre WA (ILC) is excited to announce a new project in Perth’s northern suburbs to identify the AT needs of carers of people living with a mental health condition.

This project, supported by North Metro Commonwealth Respite & Carelink Centre (CRCC), explores creative alternatives to traditional forms of respite to help carers sustain their role and improve care for people experiencing a mental health condition.

ILC Occupational Therapist Nicole De Faria is running the project. Nicole has been working with organisations and carer support groups to introduce AT devices and apps that may help make carers’ everyday life easier.

“This projects offers the opportunity for carers to voice their opinions, share experiences and increase their knowledge on how AT may support them to sustain their caring role,” said Nicole.

“So far, participants have been particularly interested in exploring apps that could assist with managing their time. Other AT topics of interest have included carers’ wellbeing, medication management and safety at home and in the community.”

In the latest workshop Nicole was able to assist a lady whose son struggles to wake up in the morning as the usual alarm sound doesn’t suffice.

“We discussed the use of an amplified alarm and bed alarm shaker that has the ability to sync to her son’s mobile phone with its programed morning alarms. When the alarm goes off it provides not only the sound of the alarm but also a vibrating bed shaker to physically prompt him that it is time to get up.

“The carer identified that with implementing this solution it may reduce her need to assist him with getting up and she could spend her time on other activities.”

Image of SmartShaker and hand holding a mobile phoneThis product is called the iLuv SmartShaker and is listed on NED, the Australian national equipment database, along with over 10,000 other AT products.

There has been a range of encouraging feedback from the sessions, including this remark from Maria.

“I was most impressed with Nicole’s presentation, it was very well done and she certainly knew her products. She was able to point us in the right direction of where to get the necessary information. It was a very interesting and informative session.”

If you would like more information about this project or have an interest in how AT may benefit your life, please contact Nicole De Faria on (08) 9381 0612 or email nicole.defaria@ilc.com.au.

The outcomes of this project will be presented at the Carers WA Conference at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday 16 October.

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