Monday, 18 July 2011

Telecare cares when you can’t be there

Linda with her carer Angela and husband Paul

Are you concerned about the safety of an elderly or disabled loved one? Are you worried that they could have a fall, leave their gas turned on, go out of the house during the night or forget to take their medication when you're not there? If so, Telecare could help.

Telecare is an exciting initiative, which uses simple technology to help older people or people with disabilities feel safer in their own homes. There is a range of equipment available, which links up to an alarm system or to a carer. When a danger is detected an alert is automatically sent to a response centre who will then assist accordingly. The service provides peace of mind to people with family members that are prone to falls, have difficulty maintaining their own safety and have some level of confusion or memory impairment.

Telecare equipment includes smoke detectors, flood detectors, bed sensors, fall detectors, medication dispensers, epilepsy sensors, door sensors and bogus caller buttons. They are discreetly placed on household appliances, doors or walls or worn by the wearer.

When a sensor is activated it alerts the Leeds Response Centre, who can then make arrangements to help. This could be by contacting a family member, the emergency services or by simply contacting the service user to remind them that an appliance has been left on.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
“Telecare is a really great service, providing choice and control to people who may not otherwise be able to live alone.

“People are living for longer, and are increasingly choosing to stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Sometimes they need extra support to be able to do this safely, and Telecare can offer some great solutions and peace of mind.

“It’s not just a service for older people either. Telecare can help children and people with disabilities of all ages to achieve more independence. It offers vulnerable people more choice and control, helping them to be able to live their lives the way that they want to.”

An assessment is needed before anyone can have Telecare installed. This takes place at home and looks at whether the equipment could help to maintain a person's safety and wellbeing. Assessments are carried out by a professional from childrens or adult social care or health, such as an occupational therapist, social worker or nurse, to identify the specific needs of the user. It does not include a financial assessment. Telecare equipment can sometimes be provided free of charge or for a minimal rental fee. A decision on whether there will be a charge for the equipment will be provided before the date of installation.

Telecare equipment can reduce identified significant risks around the home, and is fitted by specialist Telecare technicians who explain how everything works on installation.

Case studies
Linda’s story
Linda is 43 and lives with her husband Paul in Middleton, with support from their carer Angela. Born in Horsforth, Linda describes herself as the middle, muddled child of a family of three sisters. She used to work at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School as a learning support assistant and has also worked in the local Morrisons supermarket.

Linda has mobility problems; and after a spell in hospital last May, Angela has been helping to care for Linda and Paul with a combination of equipment around the home, such as a walking frame, and ‘telecare’ – including medication prompts and smoke alarms. This gives Linda the reassurance of extra support.

Linda says that her children worried about her when she came out of hospital, but now feel much more reassured by the assistive technology in her home.

Linda really appreciates the help she receives from Angela and describes her as a ‘lovely carer’ and said:“I’m still upset about not being able to do as much as I used to, but the technology has made a lot of difference to me.”

Mr and Mrs A’s story
Mr A has lived in Bradford and Leeds and worked as a dental surgeon. For many years he enjoyed golf, swimming and cycling. Although he’s no longer able to play golf he still likes to visit the golf club and chat to his friends.

Mrs A came from Wakefield and trained as a shorthand typist. She loves children and eventually moved to Ben Rhydding to a live-in job looking after orphaned children.

The couple met through friends and have been married for 58 years. They have two daughters, one of whom is their main carer.

Mr A has osteoporosis, which led to a fractured vertebrae, and Mrs A has bipolar affective disorder (manic depressive illness) and dementia.

Both Mr and Mrs A have difficulties walking, getting in and out of bed and reaching up or down. This makes normally simple day-to-day activities, such as fastening and undoing buttons, very hard.

Mr and Mrs A were worried about coping on their own, and their daughter and son-in-law also became very concerned for their safety. One of the biggest concerns was that Mr A would fall and become injured, especially as he has problems with his balance and had already suffered several falls. There was also a concern that forgetfulness may lead to accident or injury.

Mr and Mrs A are now supported by various types of assistive technology, including a smoke alarm, heat sensor and carbon monoxide sensor. They also both have pendant alarms. Grab rails have been fitted to doors in the bathroom and in the bedroom, and they use walking sticks, a zimmer frame and a trolley.

Mr and Mrs A have said that they feel more reassured by the equipment in their home, and their carers have said that they feel better too, now that the couple have these safety measures in place. And the equipment has already come into its own. Mrs A recently left the hob on, with a grill pan on top, and the alarms and sensors installed ensured that the fire service arrived promptly.

Mr A has also suffered several falls and he and Mrs A have been able to call for help using his pendant alarm.

Julie Penkett, community occupational therapist for Mr and Mrs A, said:
“Both Mr and Mrs A have said that they really want to be remain in their own home, and the equipment has enabled them to feel more confident that they will be able to do this. Without it, they feel that they probably would have had to move into residential care. They are really pleased with the service and think it is excellent.”

Additional info

To hear experiences from people in Leeds and other areas talking about how Telecare is helping them live more independently in their own homes, visit the Leeds City Council website to view a selection of online videos

If you would like to talk to Leeds City Council about Telecare or any other service that could help you or your loved one to stay living safely at home for longer, please call Leeds 222 4401.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Young volunteers toolkit now available for organisations

A toolkit aimed at helping organisations make their volunteering programmes accessible to young people is now available from Volunteer Centre Leeds.

Produced by Voluntary Action-Leeds and the youth team at Learning Partnerships, the Young Volunteers Toolkit helps organisations that are looking to introduce young people into their volunteering programmes. It looks at the benefits of using young volunteers, and gives advice on safeguarding, insurance and health and safety considerations, minimum age, young volunteers on benefits and expenses.

The benefits of using young volunteers are many. They can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to organisations, plus heaps of energy and enthusiasm. Young people can help organisations to keep up to date with new media.

For young people themselves volunteering can greatly enhance their chances of getting a job, and can help them decide on a vocation or career pathway.

The toolkit will also help increase the number of volunteering opportunities for young people – identified as one of the key objectives of the 2011 European Tear of Volunteering in Leeds

Natasha Mort, volunteering development manager for Voluntary Action Leeds said:
“The Young Volunteers Toolkit complements the original Volunteering Toolkit, which was launched during the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering.

“Both of these documents provide useful information to help organisations that want to establish volunteering programmes, and now additional advice on how to extend this to young people and contribute to all the benefits that volunteering brings to them.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, champion for volunteering in Leeds said:
“Becoming involved in volunteering is extremely rewarding for people of all ages. I would like to encourage organisations to do all that they can to make their volunteering programmes accessible to young people, and this new toolkit is a great first step to help them to do this.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member with responsibility for children’s services in Leeds said:
"We want there to be as many volunteering opportunities as possible available for young people across Leeds to get involved in.

“Young people can offer so much to organisations in terms of ideas, enthusiasm and creativity, and the experience and new skills that they get through volunteering can prove invaluable in helping them to find jobs in the future.”

f you would like a free printed copy of the toolkit, please contact Natasha Mort, volunteering development manager at VA-L email or call Leeds 395 0405.

Download a copy from the VA-L website at


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Shop ‘till you drop at Kirkgate Market

Caption: Kirkgate market

A new, free of charge market service has been launched to let shoppers store their purchases on site and collect them at the end of the day.

Kirkgate Market has introduced a ‘shop & drop’ scheme, which allows customers to leave their shopping in a secure chill room any time from 8am, and collect it later in the day - up until 6pm.

The new cool store room is located at the bottom end of the market in the purpose-built information centre.

Customers wishing to store their purchases at the market, simply hand over their goods to reception, and are given a ticket to present when they come back to collect.

The scheme is not just for chilled items – the store room can accommodate heavy or bulky purchases too, which customers can collect later in the day. Between 5pm and 6pm cars can drive right up to the rear entrance of the market to make collection even easier.

Sue Burgess, Leeds City Council’s markets manager said:

“We are aware the market opening hours do not fit to everyone’s daily schedules, and therefore we have introduced the store room to allow people time during the day to do their shopping, without the worry of carrying items back to the office, or trying to store produce in the office fridge.

“Our new shop & drop scheme will allow customers to do all their shopping at whatever time of day suits them, and then they can come and collect their purchases up until 6pm.

“We think this is the first scheme of it’s kind in a UK market and aims to offer workers and residents across the city more options when it comes to shopping at the market.

Along with this new initiative, the market has also recently introduced smart new signage and a map of the market to make it easier to find your favourite stalls.

For more information about Kirkgate Market visit


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450