'Smart House' shows what can be done to help the disabled

Electronic systems at showcase Scottish house enable people to live independently in their own homes

From the outside it looks like a normal two-bedroom bungalow, but inside one property in Cambus in the Scottish Borders is a ‘Smart House’ complete with a range of electronic wizardry to enable disabled people to lead more independent lives.

A joint project between NHS Forth Valley and Clackmannanshire Council, the house was funded through the Scottish Government’s Telecare Programme and aims to help show what can be done to help disabled people in their own homes. It is used for assessing and supporting people with physical disabilities, for respite breaks, and as a training and demonstration area for staff.

But the technology goes far beyond the traditional assistive equipment that can be plugged in to enable independent living. Instead, the ‘smart’ technology is built into the very fabric of the building to ensure that, as needs of users change, the house can be adapted, helping to improve a disabled person's independence and increase their safety.

Features include alarms and detectors, environmental controls, sensors, prompts and reminders, and remote monitoring.

Despite all this technology, however, the Smart House is first and foremost a home-from-home and maintains a warm and inviting environment.

Ann Allison, NHS Forth Valley’s telehealthcare lead, said: “This important new facility is already making a difference to local people and we have also had a number of referrals from other parts of Scotland.

“Staying in the house gives people the opportunity to try out the latest technology and explore what aids and adaptions might be suitable for their own homes.”

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