Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

Telepresence and Elder Care?

The increase in an elderly population has raised my interest in technologies that can assist. One of those has been evaluating whether or not the Amazon Echo helps with mental stimulation, being useful for someone unable to use any phone/tablet technology and providing some degree of companionship.

I’ve been thinking about other tools that might help. Apple Facetime is an obvious one but many elders are unable to use a mobile device at all. Another that occurs to me is a telepresence type device with the Double (doublerobotics.com) solving several issues. The Double is intended for remote workers but I think it may be applicable in other situations as well.

The advantages include the following.

  • remotely controlled
  • no knowledge or involvement required by the elder
  • very applicable for a single story or no stairs environment
  • the remote controlling person can start/stop it as needed at any time
  • it can charge itself, again the elder does not have to do anything to keep it functioning
  • provides video and audio interaction
  • allows the remote controller to assist in directing the elder by watching and talking
  • keeps the elder involved with the remote controlling person as frequently as desired

I suspect there are others as well. The cost is obviously a concern but not having to drive over or ask someone to stop by for trivial matter can save a lot of time and inconvenience.

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