Using assistive technology to live independently (Dara Woods Citizens Information Board)

Using assistive technology to live independently (Dara Woods Citizens Information Board)


>>Good afternoon, today I will show
you the Assist Ireland website by demonstrating a number of products
on the website to help people live independently, then Elfrieda Carroll
from the Sign Language Interpreting Service will talk about remote
sign language interpretation. First let’s look at what assistive
technology is and how it can help people with
disabilities to live independently. Assistive technology is a technology
used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions
that might otherwise be impossible. It covers everything from a
basic lever that allows someone with arthritis to open a tap, to
sophisticated communication aids. Judy Heumann, the disability
activist said, “Independent living… …is not doing things by yourself it
is being in control of how things are
done.” Assistive Technology gives people
with disabilities this control. It provides them with access to
and control over their environment, so they can live independently. Assistive technology enables people
with disabilities to access all areas of daily life, providing access to
the workplace, education, transport, communication and leisure. It covers everything from stair
lifts, automatic doors through to
screen readers. Assistive technology also enables
people with disabilities to control their own environment, switching
on lights, turning on the TV and opening curtains remotely. Where do you find out about assistive
technology equipment in Ireland? Information about assistive
technology products and who supplies them in Ireland is
available at assistireland.ie. The site has two main parts, a
products directory and an information
section. The products directory contains about
7,000 products, which are divided into 20 basic categories from wheeled
mobility to eating and drinking,
etcetera. Each product listed has an image,
a basic description and lists the companies that supply it. The information section provides
general information on how AT can be applied in
different areas of daily life. For example AT for communication. There are also about 30 information
sheets that provide information on particular types of products, for
example one is entitled choosing a
scooter. Assist Ireland has around 30,000
unique visitors and receives approximately 200 direct queries each
month, that keeps us pretty busy. There are thousands of AT products
available to help people to live independently, today I will show
you a few examples of these products on Assist Ireland so you can see how
the site works and how the products listed can make a difference
to someone’s ability to live
independently. Let’s use a case study to see how
the website and information contained on it can help someone live
more independently, John is an older gentleman, living alone who has
become nervous about answering the door, he has difficulty opening the
door as he has arthritis in his hand and he also has difficulty
hearing the doorbell at times. John has some mobility problems and
recently fell when alone in the house and was unable to
reach the phone to get help. He is starting to think he might not
be able to live alone any more though he doesn’t want to move as he
lived in the house all his life. Let’s see how the website can help
John find some assistive technology so he can continue living at
home safely and independently. In the building environment section
there is a subheading “door openers” where he can find a range of
devices to help him open the door. If he wants something basic to help
open the door he can get a doorknob lever or a key turning so it’s easier
to grip the handle or keys in the
door lock. For example the rubber doorknob
extension fits over round doorknobs providing extra leverage to open the
door, which can be helpful for people who find it
difficult to make a firm grip. The key turner is a large handle that
attaches to your keys so you can use a full handgrip to open the lock
rather than pinching your fingers around the top of the key. As with all products on Assist
Ireland these entries have a brief description, a small image and they
list the Irish suppliers on the
righthand column. John could also get a non-auditory
alerting device so he won’t miss the doorbell, most of these devices work
on the transmitter and receiver
principle. So for example the Byron wireless
light and vibration doorbell, the transmitter is the doorbell and when
it is pressed the portable receiver, which John carries around with him,
lights up and vibrates as well as
ringing. There are similar devices to alert
people that are hard of hearing to other events around the house such
as when the phone rings or the fire
alarm sounds. John can use one of these devices so
he doesn’t miss any more phone calls or visitors at the door. If John is concerned about
security there are a number of intercom devices, which allow you
to talk to and even see the caller before opening the door. Some of these systems allow you to
control the door from where you are sitting so you don’t have to make the
journey to the door if you are unsure
on your feet. He could look at the Videx door entry
system, it consists of a front door unit and interface to the telephone,
when the caller rings the doorbell the telephone rings twice as fast as
normal, when you answer the phone you speak directly to the caller at the
door, to let the caller in you press the number 9 button on the phone. For further security some of these
intercom systems will connect to your television, as well as your
telephone, so you can see and speak to the caller
before opening the door. Let’s see this in more detail on
the supplier’s website which you can access from the Assist Ireland
website by clicking on the supplier’s name on the product page. This image shows a close-up of
the intercom device installed at someone’s front door, the
caller presses the button on the intercom and the person inside can
speak to them using the telephone. This slide shows the CCTV camera
installed at the front door, when the doorbell rings it is linked to the
television which will automatically switch over to an image of the caller
outside, so you can see who is there and if you want to
answer the door or not. If John was worried about falling
again he could look into getting a
personal alarm. This means if he did fall he would be
able to get help even if he couldn’t
get up. Basic personal alarms like the family
and friends auto dialling panic alarm is worn around the neck and when
the button is pressed it dials up to three friends or
family members to alert them. More hi-tech devices can be provided
as part of a personal alarm package to monitor your home and activity
and alerts the emergency services if there is anything amiss. John can find general information
about personal alarms and how to fund them on the Assist Ireland
information sheet choosing a personal
alarm. So as you can see, there are a range
of options there for John that will allow him to live independently and
safely at home where he is happy. The assistive technology devices we
have looked at for John are fairly low tech but there are also a lot
of hi-tech products listed on the website, including access software
for computers and environmental
controls. Environmental controls really allow
people with disabilities to access and control their
environments with ease. As more and more households
devices and tasks become automated and controlled through infrared and
Wi-fi, it becomes easier for people with disabilities
to control things remotely. These days even smart phones have the
capacity to act as remote controls for a range of infrared
and Wi-fi connected devices. You could set up the iPhone to
control lights, windows and doors as well as TV and stereo in the house. Let’s look at a video of Ritva,
who was born with cerebral palsy accessing her environment using
an environmental control system. We’ll see her opening doors, using
the elevator, as well as controlling the TV and telephone using
a transmitter mounted on her
wheelchair. Hopefully this will work! [Video plays with
music in the background] That’s all I have
time to show you of that. So there are also some basic
environmental controls, for example the senior pilot, this remote
control transmitter can be programmed to operate up to 15 different
functions around the home, senior pilot is operated using the buttons
on the remote but can also be used by scanning with the switch. If John’s mobility becomes more of an
issue he could look into getting one of these environmental controls so he
doesn’t have to get up every time he wants to turn on the
heating or open the curtains. At Assist Ireland we always recommend
people get assessment and advice from a relevant health professional
or disability organisation before getting any
assistive technology equipment. So this presentation has just scraped
the surface on the range of assistive technology available that
could be used to help people to live independently, if you want more
information on any of the products, just log on to assistireland.ie
or call, email or text us. Now Elfrieda Carroll from SLIS
will provide a demonstration of Remote Sign Language Interpretation. Thank you for listening to
the presentation on Assist Ireland. Subtitles by Premier Captioning &
Realtime Ltd www.pcr.ie

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