Tech enabled homes are changing lives

Published: Thursday 17 March 2022

Betty McGarvie pictured in the doorway of her new home

The first resident of South Lanarkshire’s new tech enabled homes says she loves her house but can’t believe it is just for her.

Designed to be fully accessible and to support modern technology solutions for independent living, tech enabled homes are part of South Lanarkshire’s broader plans to modernise care, particularly for older people.

A 45 home development in Blantyre including 20 tech enabled homes is at the centre of those plans. Once complete it will also be home to a care hub, including 20 intermediate care beds.

 The other 25 homes on the site are being added to the council’s stock of houses for rent (part of the South Lanarkshire Home + programme to deliver 1000 new council houses).

The first tenant of the tech enabled homes, Betty McGarvie, has given the development a ringing endorsement.

Betty, who due to her disability requires a wheelchair, said: “It is the most beautiful wee house that I have moved into. The kitchen is massive I thought they had made a mistake and given me a home like this, but it was for me.

“I really love it, I feel a lot of contentment in here.”

Betty was offered a home in the development due to her disability. Previously very active and independent with a love of walking, illness resulted in her having her legs amputated.  

A lifelong Blantyre resident Betty has had great support from family and friends as she recovered, but her previous home was not suitable for an adaptation which led to her having difficulty preparing hot meals and carrying out simple household tasks.

The move into the tech enabled home will significantly improve Betty’s quality of live and give her back more independence.

The tech enabled houses are designed to be fully accessible, which means it is easy for Betty to move around her new home in her wheelchair and to reach light switches and power sockets.  The wet room further enhances her independence giving her the ability to self care.

The tech solutions can range from simple ideas that you would find in any smart home, such as voice activated lights and gadgets, to more advanced and specialised equipment including remote alert systems and fall detection. Together they enable the tenant to do more for themselves while being confident that any additional support required would be available.

Director of Health and Social Care Soumen Sengupta said: “I am delighted that Betty has settled into her new home so quickly and comfortably. All the evidence shows that if older people can be properly supported in their own homes they will have a better quality of life, and that is our goal.

“Increasing provision of homes such as these – that combine digital technology and modern design standards – means more and more older people can live with greater independence within what will be their own homes. Thanks to the work of our Housing colleagues and constructions partners, these new tech enabled houses demonstrate what modern social care provision can look like”

Executive Director of Housing and Technical Resources Daniel Lowe said: “The development in Blantyre will deliver a total of 45 new homes including the 20 tech enabled houses for Health and Social Care.

“As with all our Home+ developments these homes are built to the highest achievable standards to be warm, comfortable and energy efficient. The tech enabled houses have additional designed in adaptability to ensure they suit the widest range of resident’s needs.”

Betty said: “I have had loads of visitors, and I am really grateful to all the friends who helped make my move so easy.  I love my life at the moment, I really do.”