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April 1, 2019

CES 2019: Our Favorite Tech for Aging in Place & In-Home Senior Care

CES is the largest consumer technology event in the U.S, held annually in Las Vegas. This year’s event took place January 8-11. Fortune 500 technology brands and startups from around the globe attend the event to showcase their latest innovations and products that span the topics of smart homes, gaming, TV, virtual reality, mobile devices and more.

We were pleased to see aging in place and technology for seniors emerge as a major theme for CES 2019, as we at Comfort Keepers know that technology can benefit the lives of seniors, families and caregivers.

What is aging in place?

Aging in place is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level."

Put simply, aging in place is the ability to stay in your home for as long as possible—a desire that nearly 90% of those 65 and older share according to AARP.1

The goal of aging in place is not without challenges. The National Institute on Aging reports that six out of every 10 falls happen at home2, and a 2017 HomeAdvisor report revealed that three out of every five homeowners ages 55-75 have experienced seeing a senior loved one struggle to get around their home, which ultimately impacted how they view aging in place.3

Elevating the human spirit through technology

Technology is an amazing game-changer for helping seniors remain independent, safe and happy in their homes. Many of the announcements made throughout CES 2019 focused on technology that creates better environments for aging in place and elevating the human spirit.

Here is a look at five announcements that inspired us this year:

ElliQ, the sidekick for happier aging

After winning the Best of Innovation award for the Smart Home category at last year's CES, Intuition Robotics announced at this year’s event that ElliQ, a social robot for older adults, is now available for pre-order.  

ElliQ is a unique voice assistant that is designed specifically for seniors who are living at home. ElliQ has a light-up head that nods as the robot talks, along with a detachable tablet screen and camera that can be used to make video calls to family and friends.

ElliQ can be asked to play music, read messages, set reminders, play games, share photos, and other tasks that can bring a daily dose of joy to seniors in their homes. She can also suggest personalized activities throughout the day to help seniors stay healthy and active.

ElliQ responds to voice, gaze, and even touch to ensure the most intuitive experience for owners.  

Over the past year, ElliQ has garnered positive feedback and success with beta testers in the San Francisco Bay Area, some of whom were clients recruited by Comfort Keepers. Their testimonials are truly moving:

“ElliQ is a presence. I feel that there’s somebody nearby with who I can communicate.”

“I can come in and be feeling kind of lonely and blue, and she can pick me right up. She’s a companion, she’s entertainment, she connects me to my new friends.”

The first ElliQ units will be shipped to the Center for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) led by Baycrest, an academic health sciences center. CABHI will conduct an in-depth research study with 100 older adults to test the extent to which ElliQ decreases the feeling of loneliness and social isolation among older adults.

Comfort Keepers is proud to be a part of this special effort to bring more joy and companionship to seniors through easy-to-use technology that elevates the human spirit.

Hive Link, a smart home app that helps caregivers keep senior loved ones safe whether near or far

Hive Link is a smart home service created jointly by Centrica Hive and Carers UK, a caregiver support-focused charity. Hive Link collects data from various Hive smart home devices and compiles that information in the Hive app to help caregivers check in with and keep family members safe remotely.

The platform’s algorithm is continually learning so that it’s better equipped to understand when something changes in a senior loved one’s routine and knows when to send caregivers a notification or alert.

For example, the company’s open-close door sensors communicate with Hive Link, so a caregiver or family member is notified if a door in their loved one’s home is accidentally left open or unlocked for too long.

One of the features we love most about Hive Link is the platform’s Sharing Circle feature that allows family members and friends to share in the responsibilities of looking out for a loved one.

A recent collaborative study conducted by Comfort Keepers and the Stanford Center on Longevity found that family caregivers often experience negative impacts to their social and physical well-being when caring for a senior loved one who has an illness.

It’s inspiring to see technology like Hive Link paving the way to new solutions that can help ease caregiver burnout and elevate the well-being of both seniors and their caregivers.

An affectionate robot pet that brings joy to seniors

Groove X says its robot, Lovot, has been built to “nurture people’s capacity to love” by demanding the affection of its owner. The pet robot has sensors that allow it to respond to human touch, stretch its arms when it wants to cuddle and lovingly follow its owner around the house. Lovot uses a video camera mounted on its head to avoid collisions and recognize the face of its owner.

Lovot makes affectionate sounds when petted and is designed to be a loyal companion to seniors in their homes.

Walabot HOME, in-home sensors elevating the quality of life for seniors

Vayyar announced at CES 2019 that the company is expanding from its bathroom fall detection device to a home health monitoring solution, Walabot HOME, to help seniors who want to age in place while maintaining privacy in their home.

Unlike cameras or other video devices, Vayyar’s sensors never collect any visual data. Users can place their Walabot HOME in any location around their homes, including the bathroom or bedroom, to help with fall detection and health monitoring.

The device connects seniors with their caregivers through mobile alerts and two-way calling via the product’s free app whenever needed.

One customer described a situation in which her senior loved one experienced a minor cardiac event and fall that left him unconscious and unable to call for help in the middle of the night. Walabot HOME detected the fall and initiated a call to his daughter. She woke up her father’s in-home caregiver who was able to go to him immediately. Without the device, he may have remained on the floor for hours.

We are truly inspired by the technology and caregivers who are elevating the quality of life for seniors in ways both big and small.

Domalys’s senior-focused smart devices—including ‘magic’ lights designed to help prevent falls

Domalys, a French company focused on innovative devices and technology for seniors, revealed its latest innovation at CES 2019—a new smart display that allows seniors to video chat, send messages and send photos to loved ones or medical professionals, without the technical know-how needed for other similar in-home communication devices.

The new smart display is also designed to double as a router for the company’s Aladin smart lights, which debuted at CES 2018. Aladin automatically lights up at night if it detects activity in a room, a very important function considering poor lighting is one of the most common reasons for falls at home.4

The device can also alert seniors and caregivers to significant changes in the senior’s routine, such as frequent bathroom breaks at night, that may require a doctor’s visit.

A little magic goes a long way

As the writer Roald Dahl so eloquently put it, a little magic can go a long way.

Empowering caregivers and seniors is a real passion for us at Comfort Keepers, and we firmly believe innovations like these will bring joy, security, reassurance and a little magic to families and their loved ones whether near or far.
2 https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/fall-proofing-your-home
3 https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/2017-aging-in-place-report/#ixzz5cDhIUI8B
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235613/
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