The conversations of life

Did you know over a quarter of Australians aged 85-plus live alone?

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It’s no surprise then that social isolation is a growing trend. It’s been linked to an increased risk of death and diseases including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, suicide, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more.

It’s also one of the main reasons people decide to join a retirement village.

Now the Victorian Government is supporting the roll-out of a new pilot program that will use technology to connect over 30,000 Victorians with their families and friends.

Created by health technology company Gabriel Health Systems, the scheme is designed to not only help people living at home independently for longer, but also stick to their normal routines to prevent loneliness.

So how will it work?

Family and friends on demand

Participants will receive a custom-developed Unity tablet connected to the Gabriel communications platform. All you will need to do is click on someone’s photo and a video link will instantly be created through to that person and vice versa.

The technology will also incorporate features including motion detectors and voice recognition to alert family to any need for help.

Picture this: you’ve had a fall at home and can’t reach the phone. The system will pick up that you aren’t moving and trigger a warning. Or you’re worried about Mum because you haven’t heard from her today – you’ll be able to check her signs and call for help if necessary.

Retirement villages already provide home monitoring including emergency call and alert systems to many of their residents, but it’s great to see these kind of initiatives being made more available to the wider community.

The program will be rolled out from August across Melbourne’s metropolitan and regional areas. We wish them luck.

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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