Fire Safety, Smart Home

Supporting Dementia Action Week 2024

This Dementia Action Week, we explore how connected technology can help shoulder the responsibility for an individual’s safety at home.

Dementia Action Week, held 13‑19th May 2024, aims to encourage people to ‘act on dementia’.

During the awareness week, the Alzheimer’s Society hopes to encourage those who might be living with, or close to someone who might be living with, undiagnosed dementia to:

  • be able to understand and recognise potential dementia symptoms
  • come for guidance and support
  • feel empowered to take the next step
  • improve the diagnosis process for both them and healthcare professionals.

Identifying risk hidden behind closed doors

dementia action week

Dementia affects over 900,000 people in the UK, with that number projected to rise to nearly 1.6 million in 2040. Common early symptoms include memory loss, difficulty in concentrating, confusion about time and place and finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks.

The Covid-19 pandemic left many families unable to visit loved ones resulting in changing behaviours, such as those linked to dementia, potentially going unnoticed.

In order to help keep loved ones with dementia safe and protect those who live around them, it’s important to take steps to ensure their home is as safe as possible. Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service provides a fantastic list of precautions, with a few listed below:

  • Ensure any electric blankets has safety features, such as automatically switching off at a certain temperature.
  • Consider installing an isolation valve which can be fitted to a gas fire in the same way as a gas cooker.
  • Remove any potentially dangerous implements from the kitchen, such as sharp knives, but place items in everyday use within easy reach. Provide an electric kettle that switches itself off automatically.
  • If the person with dementia is likely to get up at night, leave a light on in the hall when you go to bed and a safe night light in the bedroom.
  • If you live with a smoker who has dementia, it may be safest for you both if you keep the cigarettes, or at least the matches.

Technologies that are already familiar to many, such as panic buttons or fall detectors, can also be combined with new sensors that build on traditional fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to provide holistic support.

Using connected technology to prevent fire risks

dementia action week

Dementia doesn’t care how old you are. It’s caused by diseases of the brain, with more than 40,000 people with dementia in the UK under 65.

However, for people aged 80 and above, the majority of linked dwelling fires are caused by the misuse of equipment or appliances. Alzheimer’s provides advice for staying safe in kitchens, where almost 50% of fires start.

When it comes to multiple occupation, terraced homes and high‑rise buildings, a major fire doesn’t just put the person with dementia at risk, but potentially hundreds of lives. Most people want to stay in their homes for as long as possible before moving to residential or specialist care, but that requires a safe environment in which to live with the right support.

Intelligent technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), can alleviate the pressure for people’s fire safety and has the potential to prevent life-threatening events by remotely monitoring the home environment 24/7.

Harnessing the potential of connected safety technology has the potential to identify a fire risk before it escalates to a 999 call.

Peace of mind with FireAngel Pro Connected

dementia action week

FireAngel’s range of Pro Connected smoke, heat and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and user-friendly app, offers you complete control and confidence when away from a loved one.

Featuring advanced sensing technology, including Thermoptek and Thermistek, Pro Connected alarms can be wirelessly interlinked, meaning when one sounds, they all sound. And with the addition of a gateway, you can use the Pro Connected app for remote testing and silencing of alarms on the move, without having to reach a ceiling mounted test button.

This is ideal for busy lifestyles, when tasks such as testing alarms can often be forgotten or put to the bottom of a long list of daily tasks.

With unlimited property allocations, an alarm network can be set up and notifications received for the homes of elderly parents, vulnerable family members or neighbours. When setting up a gateway, each alarm can be named to correspond with the room to identify which alarm has been triggered to support a rapid response.

An internet connection is required for the app push notifications however if this connection is reduced, all alarms will remain active within the home, giving complete protection.

Looking after loved one’s fire risk 

dementia action week

Also found within the Pro Connected app is FireAngel Predict®, a unique algorithm with patented application, that uses real‑time data to assess the risk of a future fire event.

Predict® gives potential fire risk level for the homes listed – invaluable for those caring for vulnerable family members. This enables proactive management and allows time to seek external help to reduce a loved one’s fire risk such as a Safe and Well visit from a local Fire & Rescue Service.

Fire and rescue services have become much more focused on prevention and increasingly recognise that some people – including older people and people with dementia – need additional support.

As well as conducting home fire safety checks and providing smoke alarms, fire retardant bedding packs and other equipment, local services also put people in touch with agencies that can offer additional measures.

Get prepared this Dementia Action Week

With community support and the right technology in place, you can build a tailored IoT network to detect fire, carbon monoxide, and dangerous temperatures in loved one’s properties who may have dementia or are showing early signs.

Find out more about seeking diagnosis from Alzheimer’s Society or what support FireAngel’s Pro Connected range could provide your family.