An EU-funded project set up to support elderly people across remote areas in the West of Scotland with long-term health conditions and chronic illnesses is celebrating a major milestone.
mPower has now helped 1,000 elderly people with its digital health interventions across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, allowing them to live safely and independently in their own homes.
In Scotland, the project operates across remote areas including Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and Arran and the Western Isles.
It aims to help people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by connecting them with activities in their community, as well as introducing them to health and wellbeing technology designed for home and mobile use.
Community Navigators work with those who have been referred from health and social care to teach them about the eHealth technologies available, such as video calling with health specialists to save them the trouble of physically going to multiple appointments, remote monitoring tools, and to develop health and wellbeing plans.
Digital health interventions can take many forms, from showing an elderly person who struggles to get out and about how to do online grocery shopping, to introducing someone on multiple medications to a text message reminder system that will help them take the proper medication at the right times.
Daphne Nisbet, 83, from Wigtownshire, is one of the 1,000 people who has been helped by the project, which is funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme.
Daphne uses Florence, a text-based medication reminder system to help her to remember to take her medication.
“Florence is just a text and it’s like a friend really. It’s definitely there to help you,” she said.
Alan Connor, Programme Manager for the mPower project, said: “I’m delighted the project has reached this milestone. I couldn’t be more proud of the teams who are making such a difference to the lives of people living in these communities and I have no doubt it won’t be long until we’re talking about our 2,000th digital health intervention.
“mPower is an exciting EU INTERREG VA funded initiative that will improve the health and wellbeing of older people and we’re thrilled to be at the forefront of rolling out the latest health technologies to support older people in their own homes.”
Stacey Halley, mPower Community Navigator in Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We’re looking forward to sharing these fantastic eHealth tools with a wider community of people. The project really puts the older person at the centre of delivery and decision making which is very important for sustaining long term benefits to wellbeing and maintaining independence.
The mPower project has a budget of €8.7million (£7.7 million) and is funded through the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
The project is matchfunded by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government and the Scottish Government.