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Talking Dogs as Companions for Seniors: Great Idea from GeriJoy

Talking Dogs as Companions for Seniors: Great Idea from GeriJoy

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Dogs can be great companions for our senior loved ones who are aging in place, as we discussed in a recent post, especially those who are living alone. Caring for the needs of a dog can be a challenge for some seniors, some of whom are the recipients of care themselves.

Companions with whom they can converse and who can let us know if the senior is in distress or otherwise needs assistance not only help our loved ones but provide us with peace of mind as well.

That means a dog with whom our senior loved ones can carry on conversations, can provide them information and let us know when they need help would be sort of a super companion, right?

But wait, a talking dog?

GeriJoy Companions

Yes, a talking dog – in a manner of speaking (pun intended, sorry).

Enter the GeriJoy companion, the closest thing we have seen to a true talking dog. GeriJoy is…

  • A companion with whom our senior loved ones can carry on intelligent and compassionate conversations
  • Someone in whom they can confide and share what is happening and has happened in their lives
  • Available whenever the senior needs to talk, 24/7
  • Our source for updates on our loved ones, not replacing interaction from us but providing insights on their well-being when we’re not there

How GeriJoy Works

GeriJoy is a tablet-based application that is internet connected and runs on the iPad and many of the Android tablets. That’s only one side of the magic, though, as it’s what is on the other end of the internet connection that we think makes GeriJoy truly amazing.

Behind the GeriJoy companion is a flesh and blood person – called a Helper – no robots or voice response systems here. The Helper is there whenever your senior loved one chooses to interact with their dog and uses the technology to instantly provide a response appropriate to the interaction.

More than just a conversational companion (as if that weren’t a lot already), the GeriJoy Helper can provide your senior loved one with pictures or news from you and information about what’s going on in the world. Seniors don’t need to have any computer skills, nor any desire to use a computer, to receive the benefits GeriJoy provides.

GeriJoy – Something Special

Ever have those “WOW, I wish I’d thought of that” moments? Or if you didn’t get the idea at least you could make money selling it? That was us when we first encountered GeriJoy at AARP’s Health Innovation@50+ Live Pitch. Theirs is an out-of-the-box product & service that has only gotten more attractive as it has developed further and as we learn more.

Many seniors could benefit if their family caregivers would learn more about GeriJoy (you can find them here) and, yes, purchase the system and the service. Sure, there’s an ongoing charge associated with the service. It seems reasonable, though, given Helpers are available 24/7 and is lower than the cost of having a paid caregiver drop in each day to chat with our senior loved ones to see how they’re doing.

We wish well to the team at GeriJoy and the families who are utilizing the service.

Do you have a story about GeriJoy in your senior loved one’s home (or your own)? If so, please share it with our readers in a comment to this post!

8 Responses to Talking Dogs as Companions for Seniors: Great Idea from GeriJoy

  1. vlgba8 says:

    GeriJoy offers an exciting new way for seniors living alone or in a care facility to experience the proven therapeutic and health benefits of owning a pet.

    Love this cute caring companion designed with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their family in mind. GeriJoy’s talking dog is truly the simplest solution to keeping the family connected and providing peace of mind to family caregiver.

  2. K K Putnam says:

    Seems a shame to send in a dog when a human would do… “Talking Humans”as companions for the lonely- now there’s a concept!

  3. Victor says:

    Hi Barry, thanks for your post! Really appreciate the support from you as a subject matter expert!

    K K Putnam, we have a whole team of care staff behind every companion, and they typically work from home no matter where they are in the world. That’s how we’re able to offer our always-available service at such a low cost compared to a regular caregiver for who may come in for an hour or so every day.

    It would be interesting to see how seniors react to speaking directly with the conversational staff, but especially for people with dementia, our feeling is that it can be difficult to establish an ongoing relationship when the person on staff keeps changing. Through our avatar technology we are able to provide a persistent personality that is always there for the senior, that integrates in seamlessly as a friend and new member of the family. As technology advances further we will definitely consider human avatars as well (check out http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/bickmore/ and http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/futureoftech/virtual-assistant-gets-emotional-command-1C8932485) but for now we are getting great results due to the emotional health benefits of owning and caring for a pet, and the fact that the relationships we build are much less intimidating and more lighthearted than one that you might have with a paid adult caregiver.

    In the end, we’re about creating the best possible long-term experience for both seniors and their families, and I invite you to try a free trial at gerijoy.com/order to experience for yourself the joy in GeriJoy! In fact, I’d like to thank Barry by offering any of his readers here an additional free month of service. Just type in “SENIOR CARE CORNER” for the Referral Code after you set up your Family Portal. :)

  4. jonathan says:

    GeriJoy is great. Its funny because my grandparents don’t speak english, so they will just speak to it in Mandarin, and when the dog responds they continue speaking in their native tongue…But one day we got a big surprise when we turned it on and the GeriJoy team had caught on and installed the ability for it to speak Chinese! Now I just need to find a suitable codec to such that the voice on our end of the Nexus 7 is a Chinese person.

    • Barry Birkett says:

      Thank you for sharing that, Jonathan!

  5. It’s cute! It sounds a fun idea but would it be much better to have a human companion instead? Just saying.

    • Barry Birkett says:

      Thank you for your comment Twila!

      Many seniors will agree with you but others won’t. Many don’t have that option while living in the home of their choice. In addition, GeriJoy and human companionship may together be a great choice for some seniors, such as those with dementia, or those who have lived much of their lives with beloved pets.

      Providing options for meeting the needs of seniors and their family caregivers gives more seniors a chance to live their aging years safely and comfortably in the way they choose. THAT is a great objective.

  6. I think if my family can’t find a better homecare facility for our grandparents nor someone to look after them, i think the talking dog would be a great companion. Sounds a reliable companion.

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