Our team doesn’t just provide the Anthropos platform to customers, they also use it with their own loved ones. To kick off a new series exploring our stories, let’s meet our CEO, Jim Patience.
Having been involved with the development of the Anthropos platform when it was being used for energy and security purposes, Jim Patience knew the potential for connected technology in other sectors when he co-founded Anthropos back in 2018.
At the time, Jim didn’t know just how important the Anthropos Connected Care platform would become for him and his family.
In this interview, Jim talks candidly about why and how he uses connected care, and the profound difference the technology has made to the life of someone very close to him – as well as his wider family.
Hi Jim! First of all, can you tell us a little bit about how you personally use connected care?
We use Connected Care with my mum. She’s almost 90, and lives alone in the Scottish Highlands, where she’s always been.
My sister lives in the same village as my mum so she visits her every day – but there are still periods of time when mum is on her own. This is where the Anthropos platform really comes into its own.
She’s still got an incredibly positive outlook on life and a great sense of humour. She’s cheeky, feisty and still engages in lively conversation.. But she’s had falls and injuries in the past – and she also suffers from dementia. Even with my sister, and other family nearby, Anthropos adds peace of mind. Every day my sister and I check the family portal to see how mum is doing: it gives us access to the intelligence created by the platform (alerts, insights and reports).
When did you install a connected care system in her home?
My sister installed it in Mum’s home over a year ago around the time of the first Covid lockdown, and it just works. Mum doesn’t have an external carer so we’re using it as a tool to help the family. I’m probably the most prolific user of our family portal – I look at her details and activity graphs every day.
I started calling her every morning during lockdown and I still do now, but before we speak, I always check in on the portal to see what kind of a night she’s had.
The sensors will pick up if she’s been wandering around in the night, what time she got up and what she’s been doing since she got up. Then I’ll ring her as I’m taking my dog for a walk and she joins us looking mainly at what my dog is doing and taking in the views. She really looks forward to that hour in the morning when she gets to come with me (virtually) on my dog walk.
Because I’ve usually already checked in on her activity, we don’t need to talk about what’s been happening and whether she’s slept ok or anything like that… we can just enjoy chatting about the walk, the view and the weather.
To align with her care, we also put a Facebook Portal into her house – this meant we could speak to her on video every day during lockdown, which was really useful.
How does connected care help you care for your mum?
The insights into her activities and daily life are incredibly valuable.
For example, we recently noticed that she was up a lot in the night but barely moving in the day, when she’d fall asleep in front of the TV from being tired. So we decided to ask another relative if they could visit her in the evenings and prepare her for bed, to help her try and get a better sleep. Uncovering these unknown and unseen changes in the lives of older people can be incredibly important and often they let us take simple actions to remedy any issues.
It’s also important that she eats and drinks properly, which is another big problem for older people.
The kettle and fridge sensors give us an insight into this, and the sensor we’ve got in the bathroom lets us know how often she’s visiting the toilet and if we have any reason to suspect she has an illness caused by dehydration, like a UTI, which can be really dangerous for an older person.
As a result of the Anthropos Connected Care platform, my sister knows what to be aware of when she goes to visit and what she needs to remind mum of.
Does she know she’s got the sensors in her home?
She knew they were being installed but I think she’s forgotten about them now – they’re very discreet. We’ve got them in the bathroom, her bedroom, living room, hallway and smart plugs on the kettle and microwave, plus a sensor in the fridge.
Is there anything you’ve learned about the platform from using it yourself?
The platform has given us a lot of reassurance, but as the co-founder of Anthropos, it’s also been really important that I’m also a user of the platform. We know how much potential there is for this platform, and we know that it will continually get better and more powerful.
One of our key focus areas going forward is fall detection and in the longer term, falls prediction. Falls are the biggest unplanned reason for hospitalisation among older people – I personally worry about how frail my mother is, and I’m conscious of her wandering around the house at night.
It’s a real challenge. The current generation of older people don’t really get on with wearable technology, which would make fall detection so much easier. Older people also fall very differently to other age groups, and because they’re often frail it can cause a more serious problem.
We’re working on how to solve this, without requiring the older person to have a wearable. Our aim is to help reduce the chance of falls, by being able to detect when the risk of falls is increasing and alerting carers to take action.
What do you think the future looks like for connected care?
Anthropos will continue to help care companies and providers, but I see it being much more integrated. For example we’ll hopefully soon be connected with their care plans, so we can provide intelligence and receive intelligence back – closing the loop between the care plan and what’s happening in the home.
Right now, we’re all about monitoring what’s happening. We can use that valuable data, provide it to other systems that a care provider might be using, and help them get the full picture back – so an older person’s care plan can be perfectly tailored to their needs.
It’s not just about good data, it’s about good intelligence: learning that when we see a certain pattern of behaviour, there’s a likely outcome because we’ve seen it before. I hope we can use machine learning to create both insight and foresight: not just reporting when something has happened but finding the risks that something could happen, and taking action to prevent it.
Any final thoughts?
We’ve all got someone we care about that connected care could help. Anthropos is about improving the lives of older people, helping them stay safe, healthy, and at home for as long as possible. I’m confident that we can create this better environment for an older person and give their loved ones true peace of mind.
Find out more about Anthropos’ connected care.