Unpaid carers from Liverpool say loneliness prevention device, “Push to Talk” has helped them overcome social isolation.
Push to Talk is a new technology that connects unpaid carers to chat to each other, at the press of a button, at any time of the day.
Carers spoke about the innovative technology at an event to mark Carers’ Week (June 10-16 2019) at The Isla Gladstone Conservatory, Liverpool.
Mary Brandt from Kensington was introduced to the Push to Talk device by her Local Solutions team and says it’s brought her great comfort: “When Chris from Local Solutions came with the Push to Talk box my family said, ‘what do you need that for?’ I told them it was for carers in the same situation as me, people caring and living on their own who don’t always have somebody to talk to.
I love using it. I contact other carers and we talk and have a laugh, it does everybody good. We don’t always talk to each other about our problems, we just chat.
She added: “ My son who I cared for, for many years, doesn’t live with me any more, although I see him a lot of him. When I cared for him I hid it from people at work as I knew their thoughts about people with mental illnesses and didn’t want my son talked about that way. It made me feel quite lonely. When I met with people from Liverpool Carers Centre, Local Solutions, who introduced me to Push to Talk, I felt like they were giving a voice to the carers.”
8.8 million people are unpaid carers in the U.K and according to new research published by Carers’ Week 2019, they are seven times more likely to feel lonely than the rest of the population. *
Over half of those carers say they don’t like talking about caring to their friends and never get the time to socialise. Push to Talk is a valuable tool for those who feel isolated.
Patrick Fennah, from Defproc, who designed Push to Talk, said: It’s important to create opportunities for people caring for someone to connect with others who share their experiences.
Social isolation is a growing issue, innovative technologies can offer a lifeline to people.
He added: “We’re currently looking for new Push to Talk volunteers (unpaid carers) in the Kensington, Old Swan and Wavertree areas of Liverpool. There’s currently no cost to volunteers so if you’d like to take part in the project, get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 541 5322.”
Push to Talk is part of the Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care project, which is run by health, social care and technology professionals in Liverpool.
The teams have created loneliness applications so people can chat and play quizzes/ games. They’ve also designed health technologies that support people managing long-term health conditions at home. The new apps and devices are being used by volunteers in Kensington, Liverpool, as part of the project.
As people live longer - 39% of us will be over 65 by 2036 ** - more people will develop age-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. This means the NHS and social care services are looking after more sick people with less money.
In the future, these technologies can help professional carers continue to offer high quality care, whilst having the potential to offer unpaid carers greater support, time for themselves, and improved social connections.
The technology being used to support the health devices in Kensington is currently a 5G-style community intranet technology. It’s being supplied free to families, in Kensington, who need it to support their health devices.
A high speed wireless connection is transferred across small receivers. It is faster, transfers more data and is more reliable than other options. This reliable and affordable connection is vitally important for people who rely on their digital health device to stay well.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information about Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care visit: liverpool5g.org.uk
For more information about Defproc and Push to Talk visit: defproc.co.uk
• https://www.carersweek.org/images/CW19_Research_Report_web.pdf ••https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/july2017
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