How ALONE is putting older people and technology in touch

bwellapp-techblog
Using the BWell App

Advancements in technology, charities and older people aren’t always things you think of in the same sentence, but ALONE is changing that.

Since January 2017, ALONE has worked in partnership with NetwellCASALA on a technology project that will enhance the lives of older people.

Through this partnership we have developed a technology platform that allows an older person to be more proactive in their health and well-being. The platform consists of a BSafe home sensor package, a BWell app, a BFriend app,  and ALONE’s Management Information System (MIS). The platform can be customised depending on the person’s desires and needs. The aim is to enable a community-based approach to ageing at home.

Here’s what the platform consists of:

The BSafe package is a set of individualised sensor kits for the home and wearable devices. They focus on mobility, physical activity and sleep. The data is then connected to the BWell app, so the older person can view it, and monitored through the MIS by the

  • That means if someone has a fall in the house, telecare would be alerted. Or if the person isn’t leaving the house as much as usual, we would be prompted to check in with them.

The BWell app focuses on all areas of social interaction in the older person’s life as well as their mental, emotional, and physical health.

  • The power is put into the hands of the older person to record their activities, review their data, manage their appointments and medications, and communicate with their support networks.

BFriend is an app available to ALONE staff and volunteers who work directly with older people. This app allows both groups to log their visit details, ensure quality of service with a history log, and keeps volunteers and staff safe through location sharing during visits.

  • It also allows staff and volunteers to report any concerns they may have about the older person, in real time.

ALONE’s MIS is our main data hub, which has been customised to meet the organisations needs and processes using the highest level of data security. It connects all of the apps to give us a comprehensive overview of an older person’s needs in real time.

  • Our MIS is high quality and low cost, and available for use by befriending organisations, community groups, and housing providers.
  • Five external organisations are currently piloting our MIS with plans to expand that to 75 organisations within 3 years.

netwell-casala

This brilliant advancement in technology and service at ALONE is the result of a THINKTECH grant received through Social Innovation Fund Ireland in association with the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government and Google.org.

Check out our video to learn more.

Volunteering with ALONE: The nitty-gritty details to getting involved

volunteering in Ireland, ALONE info session

We’ve all been there—wanting to volunteer but not really sure how. Where to begin and where to concentrate your efforts when there are so many places that could use volunteers in Ireland.

If you’re looking to provide companionship to an older person in your area, joining the Befriending service with ALONE is the place to start. We hold an Investing in Volunteers award and are the only place in Ireland to hold a Quality in Befriending award.

So, what’s involved when you volunteer with ALONE?

First, take a look at our website—see if you like what you see and if it’s something you’d be interesting in doing.

If it is, fill out a form to express your interest. You’ll be contacted and informed of our next volunteer information and recruitment session. This is a chance for you to get to know us and for us to have a short, one-to-one interview with you to gauge your interests and personality. Right now we’re looking at having the next information session in the autumn, so now is a great time to sign up

After that, successful applicants will be contacted to come in and do two hours of training where we go through details of how volunteering with us works.

We’ll then run a Garda vetting and check your provided references (of which we’ll need two).

All going well, we will then pair you up with an older person. Keep in mind that depending on the location you’re able to visit as well as the need in the community, the matching process may take a couple of months.

We ask that you commit to visiting the older person at least once a week for one year.

The two presenters were very good and opened up a discussion in a natural way. I feel ready to move onto the next stage and meet my befriended.

You’re truly part of the team when you decide to volunteer with ALONE—you have direct access to us and we provide support every step of the way. We’ll accompany you to your first visit and follow-up regularly to make sure you and the person you’ve been paired with are happy.

Daniel Egan is a brand new volunteer with ALONE who just joined the team. “The information session and training were both great, interactive sessions. It was nice to see a good balance of ages and sexes,” he says. “The two presenters were very good and opened up a discussion in a natural way. I feel ready to move onto the next stage and meet my befriended.”

The population of people over 65 in Ireland is 13.2%, representing 642,000 people. One in ten older people suffer with chronic loneliness, which can be as damaging to health as obesity and smoking.

ALONE is here to help the older population live their lives the way they want—you can be a part of changing an older person’s life and helping them age at home.

 

—ENDS