Canary talks about how technology helps provide better care on 5 Live


Live interview on Radio 5 Live on 22nd January 2016

Peter Allen (presenter):

Melanie Newdick, you use technology to help you care for your Mum

Melanie Newdick (who cares for her Mum who has dementia):

We do indeed, yes

We use a monitoring system called Canarycare, which we found on the internet. We’ve been using it for about 2 years and it means that we can dial in any time and see. It has monitors on the wall that show us where Mum is and where she has been moving around in the house


Like CCTV effectively is it?


Well it isn’t funnily enough which is one of the things we liked about it because homecare is done apparently where there is CCTV so this is just an infra red detector not a camera


You just pick up the fact that there has been movement detected in the room. We felt like CCTV was a bit of an invasion of Mum’s privacy to be honest so this was a really great system that gave us all the information

We get lots of information. We get movement which tells us things like whether she has been eating because we can see has she been long enough in the kitchen. It’s helped us understand her sleeping patterns. It also monitors temperature in the house so we know if the heating is working. It also monitors light and we have the door monitors fitted too so we can see who is coming in or out and whether Mum has gone out when perhaps she shouldn’t.

We can set up an alert so that if the door has opened and you chose how you receive the alert


So you could get a bleep on your phone saying have a look at this




Right, is it expensive, Melanie?


We bought our system and I think it was about £270 to buy and we pay about £15 a month for monitoring


So it’s not a fortune and presumably in terms of if you want to look at it in terms of a health spending perspective, you probably save someone a lot of money by doing it this way


I think we have and I think if we had looked at Mum’s dementia symptoms alone, we would have thought that she was deteriorating and she would have been heading for a home much earlier on but actually we know a lot of the problems are problems with sleep so yes I definitely think there are huge savings and also great peace of mind for us too.


Well that’s very interesting, thank you, Melanie. That’s a very positive story. Best of luck to you in the future. Stuart Sheehy, is Managing Director of Canary Care who supplied this technology to Melanie. Sounds like she has done the job for you really because she loves the system.

Stuart (Managing Director of Canary Care):

Yes it’s great for us to be able to help people like Melanie and her Mum using this technology and, you’re right, she has summed it up extremely well as to what we are trying to achieve with the technology and what the technology can do. It’s really about keeping people independent at home for longer, it’s about supporting carers and their families, giving them reassurance that their loved one is safe and well or giving them a message if there is something untoward…   if someone doesn’t go into the kitchen in the morning and they are still in bed then it allows you to intervene that little bit earlier, you can make a phone call, if a care visit needs to be changed and someone needs to pop in earlier then we can achieve that so it’s allowing the care system to adapt to the person that should be at the centre of the care package that is being delivered.


Yes and it gives you that monitoring ability……it doesn’t replace care does it but it means you can be a bit more specific about when and how you apply care


Absolutely, it’s about providing better, more timely care and yes this is absolutely not about minimising care, it’s about making the care as effective as possible and providing that care at the right time to the person when they need it


You may have heard the Government Minister saying we’re going to get involved in this sort of thing which sounds good, doesn’t it?


Yes, we’ve been partnering with Care City which is part of North East London Foundation Trust and Barking and Dagenham so this is actually bringing together the NHS and Social Services so that you can provide the appropriate care to individuals at home using both carers and health professionals as well.


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