Community Pharmacy

Boots Ireland and Motech launch new service to support older people to live independently

Boots Ireland has launched a new Home Assist range, designed to support Ireland’s elderly to maintain independent living.

With one in three people over 65 experiencing a fall each year, the Home Assist range provides round the clock monitoring that detects falls inside and outside the home – helping to promote both independent living and mobility.

Home Assist is powered by Tunstall and utilises the Tunstall range of personal monitors which includes the Motech CareClip™, and is available in selected Boots pharmacies nationwide. Home Assist monitors users activity, alerts for falls, disorientation or a panic situation, regardless of where the user is, giving them the confidence to remain at home and stay active within their communities.

Ireland has an aging population with over 637,567 people over the age of 65, with this figure expected to rise to over one million by 2031. The risk of falling increases with age for a number of reasons including muscle weakness, poor balance, gait or vision; being more prone to medical conditions that effect movement such as arthritis or Parkinson’s disease; increased use of medications which can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure leading to a feeling of faintness or weakness; and an increased risk of trips and slips.

Additionally, older people have a higher risk of serious injuries, disability, psychological consequences and death following a fall.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement, Family Carers Ireland has welcomed the new Home Assist service. “Many older people want to remain in their homes and stay active within their community for as long as possible, but if someone has experienced a fall it can be difficult to overcome the fear of further falls. There also may be a feeling of social isolation resulting from lack of confidence to leave the house and go about their daily routine. Services such as Home Assist are vital to provide reassurances to both the older person, who know support is on hand, but also so families know that their loved ones are taken care of at all times.”

Dr Ciara Kelly, GP and broadcaster said, “One of the biggest things that contribute to falls in older people is our muscles growing weaker and our balance becoming poorer as we age. The best way to combat this and decrease your risk of falls and improve your quality of life is by exercising regularly, at your own pace. The great thing about Motech’s Careclip, is that it is mobile and can be used outside the home, giving people that extra bit of security to go for their daily walk and remain physically and socially active outside the home to improve their overall health”.

Susan O’Dwyer, Pharmacist at Boots Ireland said, “Care for patients is at the heart of everything we do at Boots Ireland. By joining up with telecare specialists Motech  and Tunstall we are delighted to be able to bring the Home Assist proposition to communities around Ireland. It is our hope that the Home Assist solutions will facilitate more people than ever before to remain living in their own home whilst having the peace of mind of knowing that help is available 24/7 at the touch of a button.”

Supporting the elderly to live independently also has a positive impact on Ireland’s increasingly pressured healthcare system. In Ireland it is estimated that the annual healthcare costs associated with falls is €400 million and is expected to rise to €1 billion by 2020iii. Furthermore, just under 15,000 individuals over 75 years old were left waiting over 24 hours in hospital A&E’s in the first three months of 2018.

Paul Flavin of Irish company Motech, creators of The CareClip said, “If even 1% of older people aged over 65 in 2018 are able to remain at home with a digital care solution such as Home Assist, the annual saving could be €365 million. The real driver for Motech in developing market leading products for Senior Care is to allow people to live their lives independently with dignity. We have solutions to support this – we just need to help people access them and we believe the Boots Home Assist service is a great step toward this”.

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