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Smarthome Showcased by Sunderland

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A former janitor's house has been transformed into a smart home to showcase life-changing assistive technology.

Led by Sunderland's Adult Services Team and Sunderland Care and Support, the property at the city's Leechmere Centre has been developed to demonstrate technology that will improve the lives of people with disabilities and long term health conditions.

The house, which had previously been used as office space, is now a hub for researching and testing new assistive technology, supporting assessments, and sharing learning with students and partners.

The technology in the smart home is based on existing high street technology and can support with everything from opening curtains and controlling lighting to setting medication reminders.

Demonstrating it in a realistic home setting allows customers to determine what will help them in their own homes.

Cllr Kelly Chequer, Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Healthy City, said: "The smart house at Leechmere has an important role to play in our plans around health and social care as we want to make sure that nobody is left behind and everybody is supported to live a healthy, independent life."

The Smart House will be used by Occupational Therapists, technologists, their customers and their partners as a place to try out new ideas and train teams on how to use assistive technology.

Graham King, Director of Adult Services and Chief Operating Officer of Sunderland Care and Support, said: "We want our workforce to be able to use the house to work and learn together and next year we will develop the house further with an emphasis on dementia. At the forefront of our agenda is how we can all age well, with a focus on falls prevention, falls awareness and maximising independence."

Linsey Proud, Occupational Therapy Team Manager, said: "We really want to use this smart house to demonstrate how we can apply this way of working so that everybody in our city has an equal opportunity to see how tech can be integrated into their lives to support continuous independence through every stage of life.

"The technology is ever-developing and it's been amazing watching the house go from a shell to a place where we can demonstrate what is available for our customers in a real home environment that doesn't feel clinical.

"It was important from the outset that the home was as real as possible, that it was just like a normal home and uses technology that we can easily get hold of."

Find out more about the smart house here.

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