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Technology leading the way for new disability accommodation

A new home in Brighton East, Victoria, is offering people with an intellectual disability an improved level of accommodation and support courtesy of assistive technology.

Built by disability care provider St John of God Accord, the house features assistive technology developed by Quantify Technology and other partners, to give those with an intellectual disability an improved quality of life.

Quantify Chief Executive Officer, Brett Savill, said the Internet of Things company had designed a solution based on their existing intelligent building technology to match the needs and goals of residents moving into the house.

The devices that have been installed allow carers to focus on delivering better care outcomes, and residents to live safer, more independent lives by enabling residents to trigger customised living experiences such as morning and night-time scenes, using easily understood sun and moonsymbolled buttons.

Mr Savill noted the technology offered lighting, blind and door control, which could be adjusted via touch, app or using voice, thanks to Quantify’s integration with Amazon Alexa.

“We have tailored our technology with the intention to provide residents with an opportunity to experience a greater quality of life,” Mr Savill said.

“We do this by automating living experiences for common tasks, such as waking up, opening blinds or playing music, and linking these to verbal prompts and specific buttons, with simple icons, on our devices.”

He noted the technology was also designed to provide a ‘future-proof’ living experience.

“It will allow St John of God Accord to make changes to the way devices function over time, without the need for a specialist or electrician,” Mr Savill explained.

“This means, if a resident has a change in needs, the technology can adapt to suit their requirements. For example, if a resident finds their room too bright in the morning, the good morning routine can be adjusted to dim lights by 20 per cent and open blinds to 60 percent, to suit their needs.”

The five-bedroom home is designed to meet the high physical support needs of residents as set by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Specialist Disability accommodation design category.

Five residents, supported by the NDIS, will move into the home in the coming weeks and will receive ongoing support from St John of God Accord carers.

“The house and technology were specifically designed to match the needs of the residents and enable them to perform daily living skills with more independence and less anxiety and give them a greater sense of their own dignity,” St John of God Accord Chief Executive Officer Lisa Evans said.

“It will be exciting to welcome our clients into their new home and see the difference the design and technologies within the house have on their lives over the weeks, months and years to come.”

The effectiveness of the technology and house design will be independently assessed by Deakin University to help inform future houses, with St John of God Accord committed to investing $11.6 million in a further 10 houses for people with an intellectual disability over the coming years.

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