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'Robo-pets' and smart fridges point to future of elderly care

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Technologies like ‘robo-pets’ and talking walking frames could be used in the future by councils to take care of elderly people in their homes, cutting down on care home bills.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation for Usable Home Technology at the University of York found that various new inventions could be used to help people in their homes.

These include robo-pets that give companionship as well as being intruder detectors and containing hazard alarms; coffee tables that dispense medicines; walking frames that tell people where they’re going; fridges that monitor what food is in stock, suggest recipes and generate shopping lists; and suits which help people move and climb stairs.

The topic of technology for care will be discussed at a Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services conference in Harrogate.

Councillor David Rogers, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Futuristic telecare technology could help make huge savings on care home bills and allow people to live independently for longer. It already provides extra support and peace of mind for relatives and carers.”

Over the next 15 years the number of over-65s is expected to increase by three million, with the number of dementia sufferers also predicted to increase.

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