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Technology to give dementia residents freedom

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Story image for technology from New Zealand Herald

In a first in New Zealand, innovative technology will give dementia residents at Whare Aroha Care’s new village freedom and movement.

The Ngongotaha-based dementia-friendly village has 13 homes, and when all stages are complete, will include a supermarket, cafe, hairdresser and clubrooms. It is set to open at the end of August.

Therese Jeffs, chief executive at Whare Aroha Care, said the technology was always going to be key to the village.

“It’s a move away from the institutional model to a health model, it’s the way forward for caring for our elderly.”

A combination of wired and wireless nurse call, security, CCTV, access control and communications technologies means the only external door will open solely for residents deemed safe to leave the village.

The residents who would not be safe will wear a wrist-band, similar to a watch, which makes the door self-lock.

“The door will open for those who don’t need the secure [solutions] . . . the wrist band is unobtrusive and won’t be heavy. It can’t be cut off,” Mrs Jeffs said.

The monitoring software will also let the nurses know when residents are in the communal lounge or their whereabouts in their own home.

In every home, a sensor will be installed alongside each bed, alerting staff when a resident gets up in the night, and depending on the resident the staff will respond immediately.

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