STATE-of-the-art technology similar to that used by Professor Stephen Hawking is set to improve the lives of vulnerable adults in Wyre Forest.

Elderly residents at Kidderminster independent living facility Berrington Court can now switch on lights, close curtains and open the front door with the blink of an eye, thanks to innovative mobile and interactive technology installed by Worcestershire Telecare.

The not-for-profit organisation has teamed up with Worcestershire County Council to roll out the Alexa-style technology across the region in an effort to improve quality of life and independence, while also tackling financial pressures within adult social care.

Cabinet member for adult social care Councillor Adrian Hardman said: "We think that this is a major way of controlling demand and letting people live independent and fulfilling lives for longer in their own homes.

"Assistive technology I think will be buried into the care package we roll out to homes as a cornerstone from now on - and there is no doubt that by using the technology, it will have an affect on the county council budget in due course.

"Hopefully the outcomes to our services will be better."

The technology, which can be helpful for people with anxiety issues, dementia and epilepsy, includes an Eyegaze system which allows those with serious mobility issues to control items within the home with their eyesight.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

Other devices include a GPS pendent, fire guard, and interactive programs on large tablets.

Rupert Lawrence, head of Worcestershire Telecare, said: "Where this is different from previous services is that it's tailored to the individual and their support network and it's making the best use of digital technologies as well.

"We are now living in a digital world and there are a lot more possibilities with technology."

It is estimated that 20 per cent of people who receive home care from the council can benefit from using the technology, with the expected cash saving averaging £90 a week compared to home care - or £140 where the technology prevents residential care.

Neuro campaigner Bryan Gould, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, said: "Worcester Telecare provided me a pendant device which gives me independence to walk freely alone, and in the countryside safe in the knowledge that if I was to fall, I could raise an alarm if I couldn't get back to my feet.

"Within 60 seconds, the call centre based here in Worcester could be in touch with me, have my care records and next of kin details and could assess whether I need assistant from a loved one, or more importantly, the emergency services."