Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone, but particularly for people over the age of 65 who may spend months shut away from loved ones and the outside world.
By: Carla Heyworth
May 28, 2020
To help combat this, K4Connect and Amazon have announced an initiative to provide more support to senior living residents during the outbreak. The two companies will distribute more than 8,000 Echo Dots to independent living communities across the West Coast of the USA, which has been one of the worst hit regions in the USA.
Longevity.Technology: Health and social care have long had a push/pull attitude to one another. The impact on both the physical and mental health of Covid-19 patients could prove to be almost as bad as the virus itself.
The deployment will allow residents to use voice tech to stay more connected in isolation. They expect the program to help more than 40 senior living communities across the region.
The Dot devices will connect with K4Connect’s enterprise solution for staff and residents of communities. According to the company, which aims to create a smart OS for senior living with a single interface for all technologies, this means that homes can get started quickly; all they have to do is plug in the new Echo Dot devices and Amazon’s Alexa will be at their service along with a host of functions from K4Connect including their Call-My-Neighbor feature and voice dialling.
Derek Holt, EVP of Development & COO of K4Connect said “We are excited to bring the power of voice technology to thousands of older adults with Amazon and our community partners, especially during this time when keeping residents connected, entertained and inspired is so important … It’s truly an exciting initiative and we’re thrilled to help make an impact during these challenging times.”
K4Connect has been making great headway over the last few years as it seeks to give older people better access to technology which can improve their quality of life and boost independence.
Back in March, founder F Scott Moody, former CEO of AuthenTec which was acquired by Apple in 2012, explained how the platform grew into an operating system for senior living communities, designed to combine all sorts of different health services and applications into a single system.
“Our mission is to make their lives better, right? We do that,” he said. “And we do it for a demographic that is generally very, very underserved by technology. We provide utility in their lives, whether it’s home automation, whether it’s communication, whether it’s engagement.”
At the best of times isolation is a challenge for the older generations. During the current crisis, the problem is even worse with studies suggesting people can struggle with relapsed symptoms and heightened anxiety .
Technology has enormous potential to improve the lives of people in supported living environments. However, it has struggled to take hold for two reasons: organisations often have limited IT departments which makes it difficult to successfully adopt technology, and users are put off by poor software.
Back in December 2019, Apple, Google, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance announced that they had decided to “play nice” by working together in a bid to make home technology devices compatible with different smartphones and voice assistants – we continue to see this as a growing opportunity; combating loneliness is a key challenge. King’s College’s Richard Siow told us that he sees AI as being a major contributor to addressing this growing issue.