Voice assistant can a great value-added service in an elderly care facility, since it is intuitive and easy to use and can help seniors better connect with friends and families, according to CT Home, a start-up company that develops custom Alexa skills.
The U.S.-based company recently assisted elderly care facility Park Creek Independent Living in Texas in a pilot project to install Echo speakers. The aim is to bring greater convenience to senior residents by using voice command.
“CT Home built out custom Alexa skills for the community so that residents can be more connected with what’s going on, and help them connect with others inside and outside their community,” said the company’s co-founder Tyllen Bicakcic.
So far two types of skills have been built: activity calendar and daily menu. The former will have Alexa read out events and activities at Park Creek and encourages engagement. “You really want to get seniors to get out of their apartment and have social connections with other people,” Bicakcic said.
The Alexa skills may encourage interaction between the seniors and their families too. Others can download the skills and be informed of what’s going on in the community. And then they may ask seniors “Hey, have you been going to the event?” or “How’s the lunch been?” This can help keep families connected.
And there is also voice-activated calling, which is a big thing too. Residents can call through their Echo devices, to the front desk if they need something, to residents in Park Creek or families outside the community.
“This is still all new for seniors, and you don’t want to overload them with too many skills. You want to get them more comfortable with using a skill that’s really valuable to them. And then as that starts to warm them up, we will provide further Alexa services,” Bicakcic noted.
Bicakcic can’t reveal too much regarding what new skills CT Home will launch next, but said it’s a check-in system or something in that nature, to make it easier for “scheduling purposes” and “things that can make administrators’ life easier.” “We are looking at building out skills that take will take user inputs and store their responses, as well as push notification skills for Alexa,” Bicakcic said.
An Unexplored Territory
Bicakcic and his partners started out outfitting smart technologies for residential and commercial buildings. And then they received customer feedback, as people said the voice technology would make so much sense for their parents. People are saying “I want to equip this now because I’m taking care of my grandparents and it’s going to help me relieve myself a lot of duty,” according to Bicakcic.
Senior living communities are similar to apartment complexes, but smart home technologies provided much more value as soon as CT Home switched over and pivoted, Bicakcic said. The voice technology had “great reception” at Park Creek and it was “really successful and impactful,” Bicakcic added.
CT Home is also looking to work with hospitals. The healthcare industry seems to have much potential. “This large landscape hasn’t been explored,” Bicakcic said.