Smart way to independent living

Liverpool is pioneering the use of cutting edge technology to allow local people to live more independently in their own homes.

Mi – more independent – is a partnership that works together to transform lives through technology. It uses a wide array of gadgets and tools to support people who want to take control of their own lives, and their own health.

Funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, it is one of only four pilot projects across the country – and is currently on show at the waterfront location at the Museum of Liverpool.

The Museum is hosting the Mi Smart House – a walk-through installation that allows visitors to see exactly what tools are on offer, and how they can help them lead more independent lives in their own homes.

Carol Rogers, Executive Director Education, Communities and Visitors from National Museums Liverpool said: “It’s fantastic that we’re able to display the Mi Smart House at the Museum of Liverpool. One of the aims of the Museum is to be a hub of activity and information for the local community, so it’s great that we’re teaming up with Mi to help make the lives of Liverpool people living with health problems such as dementia, more manageable.

“The Museum of Liverpool is home to our House of Memories dementia awareness programme, which works with local organisations to train their staff to develop a deeper understanding of people living with dementia. These people are just some of the members of our community that will benefit from the service that Mi has to offer.” 

Mi offers a wide range of opportunities to increase independence, some of which are aimed at those with existing health needs, but it is also suitable for anyone who wants to make life a little easier. The gadgets offered – Life Enhancing Technologies – make everyday life simpler, help people to increase independence and to stay in touch with their family, friends and carers.

Some of the amazing technology on show includes:

• The MagiPlug, which stops the bath overflowing and changes colour if the water is too hot
• Phones with photos to press, an easy way of calling the right person
• Gadgets to help with simple household tasks such as cooking and cleaning
• Security systems that work on fingerprints as well as keys
• Voice prompts to remind you of things when you leave the house, such as: ‘remember your keys’
• Dispensers that remind you to take your medicines, and prompt you, or others, if your forget
• A talking microwave oven
• Alarms linked to a 24-hour helpline, in case of a fall, fire or other emergency

Dr Maurice Smith, Clinical Lead for Integrated Care and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Technology has already changed our lives – and Mi is all about harnessing that potential to empower local people to live more independently in their own homes, feel more secure and lead healthier lifestyles, where they are more in control of their own choices and lives. People are living longer – and Mi aims to help them to maintain their independence.

“The technology on offer is amazing – there are different tools for different needs, from someone who simply needs a little practical help, through to people living with long term conditions who need greater support. Some are also simply designed to improve quality of life, communication with others and contact with the wider world.

“I think anyone who visits the Smart House, either at the Museum of Liverpool or online, will be impressed with what is available.”

The Mi project aims, in the longer term, to bring about a reduction in the need for medical appointments and admissions, by supporting people to manage their own healthcare needs. Mi provides a combination of practical support, technological support and health monitoring – allowing those who use it to cope better and feel more in control, as well as offering peace of mind to loved ones.

You can find out more at http://www.moreindependent.co.uk/