Three technology tools to help seniors combat isolation and loneliness

Three technology tools to help seniors combat isolation and loneliness

If a senior in your life is feeling lonely and isolated, they are not alone – social isolation is a widespread problem that affects more than eight million older Americans and has been identified as a public health epidemic by the medical community.

But there is hope. Recent innovations in interactive technology can help seniors increase their engagement in life; socialize more with family, friends and peers; and avoid health risks that accompany increased social isolation. Here are three potentially life-changing technologies.

Voice-activated speakers

Voice-enabled speakers can be extremely helpful for seniors with vision issues or lowered mobility, or who are intimidated by unfamiliar technology. Seniors who get flustered in the face of a new computer program, app, or web platform often find that voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo and Alexa can help them regain mastery over their everyday activities. These voice-activated speakers and similar devices allow users to access the internet’s trove of information, just by speaking out loud. People can seek answers to their questions, access the news, play music and video content, receive prompts to take medication, call family and friends, and even reach out to emergency services.

Robotic sidekicks

A 2017 review of the literature on socially assistive robot (SAR) technology noted its potential to improve health and social care for seniors. At home, robotic companions can help seniors reassert their independence and combat the psychological stressors of too much time alone.

Similar to voice-activated speakers, domestic robots and robotic companions help seniors with daily tasks and keep them company along the way. One example is designed by Intuition Robotics. The ElliQ proactive social robot serves as a social entity that anticipates the user’s needs and responds with suggestions based on data. Samsung’s personal domestic Ballie robot is designed to follow the user around the house and connect to various smart home or mobile devices. Lire la suite