As a technology company specializing in solutions for senior care, we talk a lot about what tech can do for senior care communities of all types. How it can help make critical data and information more accessible, help staff be more engaged, how it can promote productivity and streamline necessary tasks. All valid points to discuss of course.
But every once in a while we are reminded that this sector’s ultimate objective is all about providing the best environment and care possible for society’s oldest citizens. We recently came across a story that reinforced this most crucial point.
In February 2017, the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing began a formal pilot program at retirement community Carlsbad By the Sea to examine the impact of voice first technology (Amazon Alexa) in conjunction with smart home devices. A timely effort given that, according to Gartner, 30% of Internet browsing will be conducted without a screen by 2020. Participants ranged in age from 79 to 100. Their goals?
Primarily Front Porch hoped to determine if Alexa could:
- help promote independence,
- prove to be a valuable resource for older adults,
- provide effective solutions for staff, caregivers and family in providing better care.
What they found was quite promising.
A few highlights:
- 75% of participants used their smart devices every day
- 100% said Alexa made their life easier overall
- 71% said they felt closer to family, friends and the community since beginning the pilot
So what did Alexa help with? The technology when used in conjunction with smart thermostats, enabled participants to control room temperature. It provided participants with sources of information like news and weather reports. It gave the seniors access to a wealth of other info and entertainment. And it allowed them to set important reminders for themselves.
The pilot also reinforced the importance of having dependable WiFi infrastructure – a critical component of using voice first technology like Amazon Alexa in a senior care setting.
We hope you will take a look at the full Front Porch pilot summary here. It’s definitely worth a read.
We are inspired by stories like this and are encouraged by the potential impact this type of technology can have for seniors over the next few years.
CareWorx provides complete technology solutions for senior care, including Wi-Fi infrastructure.