When Mags moved into the Don McCarthy Court in January the technology at her fingertips changed her life.
Mags lives with multiple sclerosis, scoliosis and asthma and relies on a wheelchair to complete day-to-day tasks. In the past she has had falls and accidents while struggling to do simple tasks like reaching for light switches or her heating controls. These incidents knocked Mags’s confidence and made her feel as though she “could not do anything”. This took a huge toll on both her physical and emotional wellbeing.
“I am not physically able to get around as I do not have the power of my legs and I require an electric wheelchair.
“Where I used to live I would struggle with switches and trying to turn on my lights as my hands are numb a lot of the time. I have even had to sleep with the lights on all night or the opposite and have had to fumble around in the dark if I can’t get them on.”
The flat in Don McCarthy Court is wheelchair accessible and fitted with smart home technology. This includes an Amazon Echo Show with Alexa, a smart heating system and video doorbell.
“I was offered an Alexa, and to tell you the truth I was not that keen as I had never used this before - but boy how this has changed my life!”
“Boy how this has changed my life!”
The Alexa devices are connected to the housing support team and can be used to contact friends and family, turn the lights on and off and control the smart heating system.
“I can just ask her to put my lights on and off, and my heating, which is important, as I tend to feel warm at certain parts of the day. I can video call the staff at the reception area and video call the housing support workers in their office. I can set reminders and I do not find myself disorientated with time of day anymore. I am hoping to be able to do this with my family soon as they are getting an Amazon Echo Show too. Then I could see my grandchildren, which will be great through these strange times.”
Loneliness is faced by many of our communities. Living on the estates with access to interactive technology and like-minded individuals can begin to combat this.
“Alexa keeps me amused and keeps my brain engaged as I always do quizzes, play my favourite music, and listen to the news – I ask her lots of things. Alexa is like having a helper or a friend.”
“Alexa is like having a helper or a friend.”
“As a disabled person it really has helped give me back some control over my life. There is a lot more that she can do and I am still learning.”
The smart home technology and community setting of the Hugh Fraser Retirement Estate have had such an impact on her wellbeing, showing that technology isn’t just for the young and tech savvy. Taking advantage of innovations in the right way can improve the wellbeing of all of us and change our lives.
“I feel I have made the best decision ever coming to the Hugh Fraser Retirement Estate and it’s a big thumbs up for me. I would recommend this estate to anyone who is looking for somewhere that is beautiful, staff at hand and you learn new things every day through the digital world.
“It also takes a lot of heavy weight of my family as they know that I am much happier and in a lovely, safe environment.”