Walkerburn turns to technology to help the elderly

Molly McIntosh.
Molly McIntosh.

PENSIONERS in Walkerburn are set to benefit from a project which could see new technology help avoidtrips to hospital and health centres.

The project, called Walkerburn Watch, has been funded by the Scottish Government through the £70million Older People’s Change Fund.

The funding, managed locally by a partnership of the NHS, council and independent sector groups, has enabled a project worker to be put in place.

The project will see a ‘health hub’ created at the village hall, and while it will look at more traditional health advice, such as exercise classes, diet advice and home and personal safety, the project will also seek to use cutting-edge technology.

Project worker Steve Bonner said: “It is anticipated that the equipment will allow users to live more independently and be able to check on their health with medical professionals without having the inconvenience of travelling out of Walkerburn.

“The health hub will connect the community with NHS staff, and the equipment has the potential to be used in the homes of residents who are unable to visit the village hall due to ill health or mobility issues.

“As Walkerburn does not have its own health centre or pharmacy, Walkerburn Watch will provide an invaluable service.”

The project is funded for a year, but Mr Bonner hopes to be able to attract other funding or sponsorship to enable the scheme to continue, and maybe even be rolled out across the Borders.

Molly McIntosh, community councillor and member of the steering committee, said: “This is an exciting phase in the development of the health and care support services being provided in Walkerburn.

“We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the drive to develop community-based services in Walkerburn and it is testament to the hard work in the community that we are able to attract Scottish Government funding for projects of this type.

“Working in conjunction with NHS Borders, Walkerburn Watch will help to greatly improve the health and well-being of older residents whilst enhancing their independence, general well-being and ability to socialise.”

An information day will be held in the village in the coming weeks.