Elver: Community responding to the needs of disabled
Elver is an example of communal living where inclusion, maintaining functional capacity and meaningful everyday life are supported through a wide range of welfare technologies.
Elver is a multi-level subsidised housing neighbourhood for 400 customers in Holland. Clients live in the area and attend school or day activities depending on their age and needs. The workers live in the village around the area and most of the working age people in the local area are employed in Elver, demonstrating a commitment to community action.
A lot of welfare technology is used to support the wellbeing and meaningful everyday lives of residents. The daytime activity unit we became familiar with utilizes welfare technology daily. Residents have access to technology enabling rehabilitation and inclusion and there are many elements of gamification to ensure motivation and comfort.
Customer involvement is supported, for example, by a tablet that senses eye movement, which transforms elements or letters selected by gaze into speech. The solution allows expression and participation in conversation, when producing speech and using hands is not possible. The push-button that connects to electrical appliances can be turned on when the fine motor skills of the hands do not allow you to press the on/off switch. However, this device allows the customer to participate in using technology e.g. drying their hair or making smoothies for themselves.
The meaningful everyday life and ability to function were supported by, among other things, a magic carpet, electronic memory and word games, and a sensorised pad to play games in the absence of fine motor skills. Maintaining functional capacity through meaningful doing was seen as important.
The daytime activity center also had a multi-sensory environment, which was used to calm down and relax, for example, customers with autism spectrum. The room had utilized various materials, sound world, lights and water elements.
In Elver, the safety of residents is supported through a wide range of technology. We got acquainted with the welfare technology unit, where night surveillance is centrally handled with welfare technological solutions. The flats were equipped with passage monitoring, door alarms, motion sensors to provide video and voice access to the control centre to the rooms during the night time. However, the devices were used very deliberately and in conversation with family and to ensure the privacy of residents. During the day, alerts came on staff mobile devices, which were also used to get voice access to the room without the customer having to do anything.
Elver has been given resources by management not only for medical personnel but also for the maintenance and user support of technical solutions in welfare technology. The impression left from the visit that holistic care had been taken into account in the community for the benefit of the client and the inclusion of clients and diverse opportunities to rehabilitate and develop themselves.