Imagine waking up and being greeted by a friendly digital companion that tells you the weather, sends you photos from your grandkid’s Instagram account, and reminds you when to take your medications.
Seniors At Home is working to make this vision a reality through a partnership with Intuition Robotics, an Israeli company that is developing a cutting-edge robot “companion” designed to help older adults age in place.
“Her” name? ElliQ.
The Power of Connection
Last fall Intuition Robotics approached Seniors At Home for input to the design and testing of ElliQ. The company met with Seniors At Home’s expert team to discuss how the new technology could best serve older adults living independently at home.
“Older adults are often left out of new technology advances, yet it’s the way we keep in touch with friends and family. ElliQ makes it easy to stay connected, and users don’t have to remember a password or be tech savvy, which can be a challenge for seniors,” says Traci Dobronravova, Director of Seniors At Home.
Traci adds that by no means can ElliQ take the place of a human caregiver or be a stand-in for human connection, but it can certainly help motivate older adults living alone to remain socially engaged – reducing their risk of depression, cognitive decline, and long-term illness associated with loneliness and senior isolation.
“ElliQ is fun to talk to, easy to use, and interacts with owners based on individual habits and personality,” says Roy Amir, Intuition Robotic’s Vice President of Products and Co-Founder. “Even when it might be harder to leave the house, it’s still possible to be engaged and connected to the outside world.”
Bridging the Technological Divide
Over the last few months, a select group of Seniors At Home clients have had the chance to test the robot in their homes.
Through machine learning ElliQ learns the preferences, behavior, and personality of her owner over time to understand what might be appropriate. Perhaps ElliQ will offer to play music or a game of chess or instead suggest a walk. All are based on the history with the client or pre-programmed recommendations by the owner’s family. The next phase of the project is to leave the ElliQ prototype with the testers for longer stretches of time.
Seniors At Home is one of the primary testing sites before ElliQ hits the market and is currently Intuition Robotics’ only U.S. partner.
About the partnership, Roy says it is Seniors At Home’s expertise and long track record of working with older adults that has made this such a great match. “We have a common passion in that we both want to find ways to help people enjoy and celebrate life,” says Roy.
Increasing Day-to-Day Independence
Through collaboration with Intuition Robotics and another recent partnership with ride-sharing service Lyft, Seniors At Home is using technology to enhance the lives of aging adults, who otherwise may see it as a barrier.
Traci says, “Our goal has always been to help our clients sustain as much independence as possible in their own homes, and I’m really excited that, with the right partnerships, we can use our expertise to help develop the technology changes needed to continue to care for the growing number of seniors that we serve and reduce senior isolation.”
To learn more about Seniors At Home’s partnerships, or how we can help you or a loved one, call 415-449-3700 or contact us online