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Independence and Empowerment With ‘Just a Little Bit of Tech’

South Shore Supportive Services’ assistive technology is changing the face of home care in Massachusetts

Independence and Empowerment With ‘Just a Little Bit of Tech’

South Shore Supportive Services’ assistive technology is changing the face of home care in Massachusetts

Published 07-10-23

Submitted by Enbridge Inc.

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Christopher, left, has been training on the assistive technology at South Shore Supportive Services’ short-term respite apartment in Cohasset, MA.

How does this Massachusetts organization help those with intellectual disabilities and autism achieve independence?

With “just a little bit of tech.”

South Shore Supportive Services (SSSS), based in Weymouth, MA, provides resources for individuals and their families through respite and home care. Served by the Department of Developmental Services and by MA Health, the agencies work together to run several different supportive programs.

“From family to individual to employment service programs, we focus on individuals’ achievements versus the barriers they face due to their disabilities,” says Amy Pratt, Development and Special Projects Coordinator.

“There have been so many advances in recent years that the breadth of support available now is really amazing.”

Just over a year ago, and in response to a shrinking pool of qualified applicants, SSSS embarked on a new direction focused on assistive technology and remote supports. The pilot project resulted in the establishment of a short-term respite apartment, intended to create an environment for independent living and offer families a break from their full-time care duties.

The apartment in Cohasset is equipped with a plethora of technology to help individuals—from automatic medication dispensers to door cameras to a smart 12-in-1 countertop oven.

Most innovative, however, is a remote platform installed into the room that offers a two-way communication device to reach an SSSS staff person if needed. Individuals can program the remote to provide any reminders they need to live independently, such as taking medication at set times and remembering to call mom.

“Ultimately, we want people to get used to trying these things on their own and getting help from staff remotely,” says Pratt.

In 2022, Enbridge made a $20,000 Fueling Futures donation to South Shore Supportive Services as part of our commitment to building vibrant and sustainable communities. The grant follows a $50,000 donation in 2021, which saw Enbridge fund the first year’s rent for the respite apartment during its pilot stage.

Pratt envisions the apartment project growing beyond the current model of offering two-night stays, although it does also serve a dual purpose as a training site during the week.

As demand grows annually for the support services, the payoff of seeing the impact that SSSS respite care has on families becomes even more meaningful.

“We recently set an individual up with remote support and his parents were able to go out for the first time in their lives,” she says. “It’s just so exciting.”

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Enbridge Inc.

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At Enbridge, our name spells out our mission: a bridge to a sustainable energy future. That bridge safely connects millions of people around the world to the energy they rely on every day, fueling quality of life. Whether it’s natural gas, oil or renewable power, the energy we deliver through networks spanning North America and our growing European offshore wind portfolio helps to heat homes, feed families, fuel vehicles and power industry. We’re investing in modern energy infrastructure to sustain access to secure, affordable energy. We’re also building on two decades of experience in renewable energy to advance new low-carbon energy technologies including hydrogen, renewable natural gas and carbon capture and storage. We’re committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the energy we deliver, and to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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