A GENERATION of older people are opting to live independently for as long as possible in a bid to protect their health.

With advances in healthcare, more people can expect to live well into their eighties and nineties than ever before.
But research on the issue has found more than 80 per cent of householders want to continue to live in their own homes into the future - with most having no plans to move into residential care or assisted living accommodation.

Now, thousands of residents are looking to find ways to protect their independence so that they can lead fulfilling lives while enjoying the freedom and familiarity of being at home.
Martin Cutbill is a director of Cumbria-based firm Alertacall - a company leading the field in technology that aids independent living.
He said there were a number of products on the market designed to help people to lead the lives they wanted. “People are living longer now and naturally want to stay in their own homes. What’s more, this is often the best way to maintain good health,” said Martin.

“Being able to do things for yourself and being in control of your own care has many benefits.
“It can help you to stay mobile, increase confidence and keep you connected with your social circle, all things proven to promote wellbeing.
“More important than age is ageing well and there are steps people can take to help keep them safe at home, no matter how old they are.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents found 316,669 over 65s were admitted to hospital in 2016 following a fall.
This equates to 867 people every day.
And Age UK has said falls were the leading cause of admissions to hospital for older people that year.
It is well known that lengthy hospital stays can accelerate problems with mobility - reducing the ability of a patient to be able to go back to their life of independence.
The issue is all the more acute in Cumbria, a county with a ‘super-ageing’ population where almost a quarter of residents will be over 65 by 2020.

Alertacall’s world-leading OKEachDay phone is now used in thousands of homes across the UK.
Users simply press the OKEachDay button to signal they are fine before getting on with whatever they have planned for the day.

The firm had more than five million interactions with its customers last year.
It was able to raise the alarm on behalf of people who had not made contact with them on 51,000 occasions - helping to get vital help quickly to those who needed it.
Martin explained that for many older people wearing a pendant alarm is recommended, partly because awareness of alternatives on the market is low.
He said: “Health, social care professionals and family members will suggest a pendant alarm for an older relative so they can summon help if they need it.
“These products can be lifesavers if someone is unable to move following a fall, for example.
“Unfortunately, we know that many people are resistant to having an alarm and for those with an alarm they are often kept on a shelf or in a cupboard.
“Research suggests that three out of four people don’t wear them all the time and a quarter admit to hardly ever or never wearing their device.
“This is a real concern because it will be assumed that if there is no activation then the person will be fine, when in fact they could just not be being worn.
“Many falls happen in the bathroom or at night when people have taken the pendant off.
“They also rely on the wearer being able to press the button which isn’t possible if someone is unconscious or very unwell and unable to reach the alarm.”

Martin added: “For those people who do always wear an alarm we have developed an alternative. The OKEachDay system works in a different way.
“If a customer doesn’t press the OKEachDay button on the phone we’ll check they are alright. If we can’t make contact we’ll alert someone that help may be needed.
“Lots of people prefer this because it’s unobtrusive, they’ve got peace of mind that someone is looking out for them and they don’t have to wear anything.
“This can make all the difference to someone who wants to be able to remain at home and protect their health and mobility for as long as possible.”


Inventor’s insight into how technology is improving lives

Hexham Courant: SUCCESS STORY: James Batchelor, chief executive of AlertacallSUCCESS STORY: James Batchelor, chief executive of Alertacall

THE boss of Cumbrian firm Alertacall was at the forefront of the news agenda this week when he took part in a radio discussion on how technology is helping to transform the lives of older people.
James Batchelor, chief executive of the company which specialises in technology to aid independence, gave an expert insight into national issues surrounding healthy ageing.
The inventor and technologist also talked about how he developed the OKEachDay phone to help ensure his grandmother Eveline could continue to live in her own home for as long as possible.
The world-leading service is now helping to protect the independence of thousands of people across the UK.

Each one simply presses the OKEachDay button every day to signal that they are fine before continuing with whatever they have planned.
Alternatively, they can chat to a member of the friendly team based in offices in Windermere and Warrington.
James said: “It was fantastic that BBC Radio Cumbria came to visit the Alertacall offices in Windermere and talked to us about how the company got started and our unique take on supporting older people through daily contact.
“As a business founder and owner, I was also asked my views about a number of regional and national issues.”
James added: “Cumbria has a thriving community of inventors, entrepreneurs and business owners.
“And while tourism and hospitality forms a large part of our local economy, I hope the programme has inspired people to believe that whatever kind of venture you want to start, Cumbria is a viable and magical place to do it.”


Your chance to try the service for free

Hexham Courant: ON THE BUTTON: Alertacall’s Clever Contact phoneON THE BUTTON: Alertacall’s Clever Contact phone

THE first batch of OKEachDay phones have been sent to residents across the region as part of a free trial offer from Alertacall.
The Windermere-based firm is offering 50 people the chance to try their Clever Contact service for six months - with no catches or hidden costs.
Those who have already applied for one of the easy to use OKEachDay phones, which simply plug in at home - are already using the service in a way that best fits in with their life.
Every day, they can press the OKEachDay button to confirm they are fine before getting on with whatever they have planned.
Alternatively, they can have a chat with a member of the friendly team.
But more OKEachDay phones are still available.
Anyone who would like to request one can call 0808 208 1234. This can be on behalf of themselves or someone else.