A Sydney research centre has received a $64,000 grant form the Commonwealth Government to trial and market a messaging system for older people living on their own or in care.

The Keep in Touch Australia system combines a touch-screen interface with mobile phones and email, allowing users to share photos and send voice messages.

Project developer, Warren Bradey said the product will help older people to stay connected with their family members and primary carers.

“We think it will significantly address the issue of social isolation by making it easier for families to keep in touch, particularly grandchildren,” said Mr Bradey.

“It’s a simple touch screen and messaging system that people will be able to pick up very quickly.”

“At the very best, we envisage that it could be something sitting in kitchen which people use as they go past.”

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr also praised the system.

“This means families and health carers can always have an eye on their older loved ones and ensure they are well,” he said.

Using the grant, a three-month trial will of the product will be conducted in a number of aged care facilities.

Mr Bradey said the product may even help improve efficiencies in residential aged care.

The grant money will also go towards developing a strategic business plan, conducting market research and formulating an intellectual property strategy.

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