Focus on: Mark Green

Mark, Life24 and Visiting Manager, with female residents at Flowers House, Bletchley

At Grand Union, we’re proud to offer Life24 – a unique telecare and support service helping those with disabilities and chronic conditions live with independence.

Life24 is for children, young people, adults and the elderly, who are at risk due to frailty, physical or mental health conditions, disability, impairments, fleeing from domestic abuse situations or addiction. It gives customers the opportunity to live safe in the knowledge that emergency help is available 24.7.

Launched in October 2020, Life24 involves a dedicated team of 25 colleagues – from advisors, who regularly visit customers, ensuring their wellbeing is maintained, to technicians, who help set up telecare equipment.

One member of the team, Mark Green, has worked at Grand Union for more than 15 years and very much enjoys his newly adopted role as a Life24 & Visiting Manager.

Mark said: “By far the best part of working in the Life24 team is knowing that the service is benefitting so many people – helping individuals live independently and giving families peace of mind. It’s such a rewarding position and being appointed as a Life24 & Visiting Manager last year is something I’m enormously proud of.

“Though I’ve worked in the social care environment for more than two decades, Life24 feels innovative, at the forefront of assisted living technology and our customers and colleagues are often really impressed by the service we provide.

“We offer Life24 not just for Grand Union customers, but for those in the wider community too, who aren’t living in our homes. I really enjoy getting out there and meeting different people who’ve directly benefited from Life24.

“In fact, we recently welcomed a new member to our team, who had a background in the charity sector. He was so impressed with how we build lasting relationships with our customers, regularly checking-in to monitor their wellbeing – it’s something that set Grand Union aside to other organisations he’d worked for.”

The personal touch

Life24 is more than just a remote telecare service. Uniquely, it provides a regular wellbeing contact to check-in with the customer. We believe that personal contact is important. Our Life24 Advisors schedule regular catchups, providing the opportunity for a one-to-one conversation and to make sure alarms, sensors and equipment are working satisfactorily.

“A part of the service I’m particularly proud of is our wellbeing checks – giving customers the option to be contacted up to three times a week, at least once in person. We understand the importance of physical presence – it helps build relationships, enabling us to fully understand their needs, and reinforces that we’re not simply an automated line at the end of a call.

“We even respond directly to people who have no nearby relatives out-of-hours, and I think Life24 is unique in that nature.

“During visits, people often say lovely and positive things about Life24, which makes me so proud of the team. I recently met someone who’d found signing up to Life24 seamless; they remarked that Donna, a Life24 Technician, was brimming with personality, so loving and caring.

“New customers are often vulnerable and don’t want to admit that they need a little extra support; I think there’s an unjust stigma attached to wearing a red pendant alarm around your neck. But we reframe it to individuals, reassuring that instead of confirming frailty, Life24 enables freedom and independence of living. It means that people can still live alone, without carers, if they wish to do so, opening up new opportunities and autonomy.”

Working in collaboration to help people of all ages

Life24 is quite literally a lifeline for many people. It enables patients who are being discharged from hospital, the elderly, and those with long-term conditions and disabilities live with a sense of security in their own home. We work closely with hospital discharge teams, commissioners of care packages, social services and GPs.

“Many assume that Life24 is purely for the elderly – but it is far from that; we offer the service to anyone of any age. The sheer variety of people we help makes each day varied and interesting.

“I often have meetings with colleagues and local authorities, ensuring we’re providing the best possible support to those using the service.”

Preparing for the future

Life24 was launched as part of our organisation restructure in 2020, which helped to provide an even better service for our customers. The changes were implemented using feedback from customers themselves – helping to put them at the heart of everything we do.

As such, our Life24 team has a keen eye on the future – ensuring that people receive the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art technology available. As Mark emphasises, it’s a key element of his job.

“Each day, I’m looking at how we can improve and modernise the Life24 service. We’ve got a keen eye on the new digital world – how this will shape telecare services of the future – and testing new products on the market.

“A huge part of my role will oversee the transition from an analogue, to a completely digital service by 2025. At the moment, we run telecare alarms through a customer’s landline but, going forward, we’re looking to use new units, running off sim cards. These can be used worldwide and from any location – meaning people have access to 24-7 support, even while out and about.

“Whatever the future holds, we’ll keep customer feedback at the forefront of everything we do, through regular surveys and wellbeing calls – ensuring that the service we provide is tailored to people’s needs.”