Posted on: Mar 29, 2017
Many new cutting-edge innovations are designed with the needs of older adults in mind. In an effort to design the best products, some companies are garnering feedback from residents in retirement communities and Long-Term Care facilities.
Innovative Technologies Designed to Help People
The New York Times reported on a number of “new, battery-powered friends” welcomed by seniors. Maxine Duncan and her partner, Herbert Yarbruough, are testing a telepresence robot in their Walnut Creek, CA retirement community, The Heritage Downtown.
The robot, affectionately named “Jimmy” by the couple, was designed by OhmniLabs with the needs of the technology-averse in mind. The robot is connected to Wi-Fi, operated remotely, and helps its users connect more easily with their families through video calls. OhmniLabs reports it is working on training the robot to be able to pick up objects. Co-Founder of OhminiLabs, Thuc Vu said, “In five years, it will be able to wash dishes, do laundry and clean the house.”
The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing is a leader in testing new technologies and providing feedback to inventors. The center’s parent company, Front Porch, operates retirement communities in California. Recently tested inventions include a robot baby seal named Paro, to help people with dementia communicate, and a therapeutic, rehabilitative robotic leg. After testing in a retirement home environment, the bionic leg was altered to be lighter and fit better. The AlterGBionic Leg is now on the market.
Feedback From Older Adults, Listening to the Consumer
The commitment of some companies to gathering feedback from senior living facilities helps ensure new technologies address the real-world concerns and needs of seniors.
The Entrepreneur in Residence Program of Brookdale Senior Living, which boasts over 1,100 senior living communities in 47 states, is aggressively testing new technology to enhance seniors’ lives. The program invites start-up companies to test new technologies in its communities, including smart-medication devices, family connection apps, and virtual reality.
Rendever, an M.I.T. company, tested its virtual reality headset on Abdus Shakur, a Brookdale resident in Quincy, MA. Mr. Shakur found hope in the device, which allowed him to take virtual trips to a restaurant where he once worked as a chef, and to beaches in the Caribbean.
C.E.O and co-founder of Rendever regards virtual reality as a “mechanism to enhance life.” Rendever founders reportedly spent hundreds of hours living with senior residents in Massachusetts to better understand their needs.
New technologies designed to address the needs of aging adults will enhance their quality of life. Robots designed to help with daily tasks and virtual reality headsets that can stimulate the senses may become the norm in senior residential communities.
Making Arrangements for the Eventuality of Aging
At Elder Law Group PLLC we know that making arrangements for the eventuality of aging, Long-Term Care, and mental or physical incapacity can be very stressful and emotional. We strive to remove some of the burden from you and your family by helping you create an estate plan that addresses your needs in detail. A retirement community like Brookdale can be expensive, and we have the knowledge necessary to help you figure out how to pay for the retirement community that is right for you.
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