Technology to help you live independently

Learn about digital and assistive technology that can support you to live safely and independently at home for longer.

People using smartwatch and phone health app

How can technology help?

Technology, especially when connected to the internet, can be a lifeline for many people, especially if you're elderly, have a disability or have an illness.

This type of digital or 'smart' technology can:

  • alert others if you might need help
  • allow you to control your home environment
  • keep you connected to friends, family and your community

Types of technology

Sensors, monitors and alarms

Couple adjusting home lightingThese are devices which can be worn or fitted around your home.

They can help keep you safe by alerting others that you might need help, for example, if you have a fall. 

Some examples of this technology include: 

  • wearable alarms which either send automatic alerts or can be activated by you manually
  • lights which come on when you move, to keep you safe
  • video doorbells which can show you who is at the door, so you can decide whether to answer it or not
  • devices that will help people find you if you sometimes get lost

You should be aware of the legal and ethical considerations for technology that tracks or monitors people in the privacy of their own home. Read more about ethics and assistive technology.

Digital assistants 

Operating a smart speakerThese are internet-connected devices that can help you with everyday tasks and managing your home environment. 

You can interact with them by asking questions or giving instructions verbally.

For example, you can use them to: 

  • set reminders to take medication at a certain time of day 
  • play music or a radio station 
  • control things in your home such as lighting or heating
  • keep in touch with friends and family

Digital assistants at home are often used in the form of 'smart speakers' such as Google Home or Amazon Echo.

Mobile apps 

Healthy eating mobile appThere are thousands of apps you can use on your smartphone or tablet to:

  • monitor your health, fitness and wellbeing
  • make video calls to your friends, family or carer
  • keep safe
  • stay connected by using social media

These apps often don't cost much, and can sometimes be free. 

Here's a list of NHS-approved apps

You can also search on Orcha, who the NHS commission to support with reviewing health apps.

You can search for health, communication and social media apps for most devices on: 

Paying for technology

You and your family may be able to pay for the technology you need privately.

Arranging it yourself may be quicker and give you more choice and control.

You may already have some of it in your life but didn't know that it could help with keeping you independent and well.

You may be able to find what you need from:

  • large retailers such as Amazon or Argos
  • specialist technology and health shops online
  • app stores using a smartphone or other mobile device 

Suffolk County Council may be able to help if you're not sure what to buy or need financial support. However, there will be limits to what we can do.

Equipment and adaptations

You can find out more about: 

If you have more complex needs

You may need help beyond equipment, technology or adaptations to your home, such as social care support.

If you think you need more support, the first step is to self-assess your care and support needs.

The result of the self-assessment will tell you:

  • if you'd benefit from a full assessment of your needs
  • how to request social care support

Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to a care and support assessment from the council. This would tell us how we could best support you to live as healthily, independently and safely as possible.