Technology helps older people to live at home longer

Vulnerable Queenslanders can now trial a wide range of technology to help them to live independently with the opening of a technology display centre at Newmarket.


While officially opening the centre, Community Services Minister Karen Struthers said LifeTec Queensland's Ambient Living Centre gives people a chance to see how assistive technology can help improve their safety and independence in their own home.


Each year, around 17,000 Queenslanders aged 65 years and older are admitted to hospital due to falls that are often preventable.


"There are simple, cheap devices like pencil grippers, lid openers and devices for turning taps on and off; as well as complex, electronically operated devices such as voice-control software and automated home systems," Ms Struthers said.


Ms Struthers said with fully functional kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and even a garden, the display centre gives people the chance to see what would work best for their own personal situation.


"For example, a women called Cheryl came to LifeTec to ask about trialling a variety of aids for her mother, Doreen, who was in the later stages of dementia," Ms Struthers said.


"They were very interested in trialling some manual wheelchairs to improve Doreen's access to the community as well as eating and drinking aids to improve her independence at meal time.


"Following talks and the trialling of a range of equipment, the family had a much clearer idea of what aids were best able to help Doreen to meet her goals.


"This is just one of many success stories and I commend LifeTec for providing opportunities that help to empower vulnerable Queenslanders."


Minister for Disability Services Curtis Pitt said the Bligh Government provided $286,000 in funding towards the centre under the joint State and Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) program along with almost $2 million for LifeTec's statewide information and education service for older people and people with disabilities.


The HACC program is worth $523 million to Queensland in 2011-12 and supports services that enable Queenslanders to have a better quality of life along with reducing the pressure on residential care and nursing homes.


People with a disability, their families and carers can find information on government supports and services at


8 November 2011.