Assistive technology: can we be of assistance?

Assistive technology: can we be of assistance?

Assistive technology is a range of electronic gadgets that can help an elderly relative to live independently in their own home. Many are available on free loan.

Norfolk County Council can help adults living in their own home with Assistive Technology. The Assistive Technology team will carry out an assessment to see if someone would benefit from having any electronic gadgets that would help them to stay independent and/or provide support for their carer. The assessment is free, and many of the gadgets are available on free loan. Email  Call 0344 800 8020

GPS tracking for wanderers


GPS location devices use a mobile network to raise an alert to a carer or monitoring centre. Perhaps the most well-known is the ‘buddi’ GPS device – its 24hr monitoring service can find information about your location.  Alternatively there is the Pebbell mini GPS Tracker, which is for use at home – due to its roaming SIM, it can also be used when you’re out and about making sure you have round the clock help.

So for example someone who is more than able to walk the dogs but who may lose their way can use the SMS text commands to get the exact location and up to three emergency contacts can be programmed in.

Some of the gadgets are simple but effective, including battery operated motion sensor night lights. The risk of falls at night is greater than in the day but a lot of people won’t put the bathroom light on at night because the fan comes on. Or else there are motion activated memo reminders where you can record a memo for playback, switch the movement sensor on, and when a person walks into the detection beam the recorded voice message is played back.

Chair and Bed Sensors


Chair and bed sensors – which come with pagers – can also prove helpful. If you needed to know someone was out of their chair for longer than half an hour, it would trigger a call.  The bed sensor works in exactly the same way, if you’ve got concerns about someone at night getting up and a high risk of falls. Another useful gadget for people living with dementia, are calendar and day clocks.

The Norfolk County Council Assistive Technology team can also offer ‘Just checking’- an activity monitoring system, for six weeks which creates a clear summary of daily living activity that can be viewed securely online, thanks to discreet wireless motion sensors and a plug-in controller.  If someone has concerns about someone being up all night and sleeping all day this could show if they are right and help inform a decision about having the system put in permanently.

Personal Alarms


There are half a dozen community alarm services across Norfolk, all of which provide 24-hour, year round monitoring and response service for older people who are vulnerable or at risk.

Age UK Personal Alarms can be purchased via the Age UK Norwich website, meaning that, at the touch of a button, friends or family can be alerted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering peace of mind and reassurance. The Age UK Personal Alarm is a rental system: there’s a one-off initial cost and then an ongoing fee. With the self-connect option, there’s a saving of £60, meaning the initial cost is £69 (plus £13.80 VAT) and the weekly cost is £3.47 (plus 69p VAT).Visit

Norwich Electronic Assistive Technology


The University of East Anglia has built a fully furnished domestic bungalow dedicated to Assistive Technology?Visit .  The Norwich Electronic Assistive Technology (NEAT) Centre is a unique interactive showcase for the latest and best in Assistive Technology, linking together education, research, training and product development. The

NEAThome is easily accessible for wheelchair users with a car park next to the entrance and easy access to the building.  Call 0800 028 8782.

We’ve also had a look at some of the amazing gadgets available from our shop with Spring Chicken… here are a few we really like.

1. Pebbell Tracker mark II in charging cradle, £164.99 – an attractive pocket-sized GPS tracker with SOS button and 2-way communication – really useful for anyone who goes wandering.


2. YouSafe CallerAlert Door Bell, £99 – never miss another delivery with this doorbell messenger (when pressed it lights up a sign which says ‘please wait’)

3. Canary Home Sensor Monitoring System, £315-£563 – Canary offers two packages – The Standard system with four room motion sensors and the Premium System, which has an additional two sensors, specifically to mount on two separate doorways to monitor movements in and out of entry/exit doors;


4. TOM Thermometer, £21.99 – it displays the temperature in figures and in simple text form: OK, GOOD, COOL, or COLD and flashes a warming if the temperature is dangerously low.

5.CPR Call Blocker – With Display Screen, £59.99 – hit the button and banish nuisance calls for good.

6. 3rings plug, £79-£288 – plug in the kettle or just about any other regularly used household appliance and 3rings will send reassuring messages to your smartphone, tablet or PC via the 3rings app. There are three different options to choose from: Monthly Open Subscription, 12 Months Subscription or 24 Months Subscription.


All of the items are available from our online shop with Spring Chicken, which has thousands of ideas for making life easier, including a technology section featuring: simplified mobiles, big button phones, tablet communications devices, home emergency alarms, easy remote controls, movement sensor systems, dementia clocks, and portable chargers.



Our Partners

Get our Free Coronavirus Guide
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.