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Internet of Things | 18 Dec 2020

People with learning disabilities embrace connected tech in Mencap pilot

The positive results of the Vodafone-powered pilot shows how Internet of Things (IoT) devices can help people with learning disabilities lead more independent lives.

People with learning disabilities who participated in an IoT pilot scheme reported that the technology helped them live more independently, with an improved quality of life.

More than 110 people took part in the pilot along with their support workers and families. Nearly three-quarters said they experienced an improved quality of life, while nearly two-thirds said they were able to live more independently, completing everyday tasks more comfortably, easily or quickly.

The Connected Living pilot took place at 30 of Mencap’s Supported Living homes across the UK, which had been equipped with specially designed IoT devices from Vodafone.

It’s been wonderful watching them grow in confidence since using the technology

(Sophie Baldry, Mencap support worker)

Each of the homes participating were equipped with IoT devices such as smart lighting, smart locks and a front door security camera. Residents could control them all using an app, My Life, which was designed based on their feedback and that of their support workers.

The My Life app also had other features, such as helping residents with their daily routines and communicating with support workers.

photo of a Mencap Connected Living participant using the Vodafone My Life app
The My Life app helps people with learning disabilities lead more independent lives

Sophie Baldry, support worker for pilot participants Martyn and Ashley, said: “The app isn’t replacing the care of a support worker, it’s helping us to do our jobs in a more effective and compassionate way.

“It’s been wonderful watching them grow in confidence since using the technology”.

Edel Harris, chief executive of Mencap, said: “With our lives becoming increasingly digitalised in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that people with a learning disability are not left behind.

“Accessible technology has a role to play in helping people with a learning disability live happy and healthy lives – just like anyone else.”

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