Why AI is Important to Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

Why AI is Important to Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is everywhere at CES® 2019 and may be the hottest topic in conference sessions and on the exhibit floor.

There are 490 exhibitors in the directory under the heading “Artificial Intelligence” and it seems like most of the other 4,000+ are talking about it as well.

With all the benefits of AI being touted for independent-living seniors — well, for everyone, really — it’s enough to cause a conscientious family caregiver to say “I have to go buy an AI for my senior loved one.”

No, you can’t buy an AI.

Then again, many of the technology devices, appliances, cars, smartphones and more we buy in the future will have AI in them — and that will be a good thing. Strike that, it will be a GREAT thing.

Then again, we already are impacted by AI in our daily lives without even knowing it.

What Is AI?

As with a number of terms, we have seen more than one definition of artificial intelligence. This may be the most straightforward, though:

Artificial Intelligence is when machines perform functions that, if done by a person, would be considered to require intelligence, such as learning and problem solving.

We saw a poster at CES, created by LG for its AI products, that seems especially appropriate for application to our senior loved ones. Think of a machine or digital device that takes this approach:

We think the best way to help you is to learn deeper about you.That’s why we work to understand your needs, your habits, your preferences, and even your moods.

As family caregivers, we know the care we provide our senior loved ones is the best we can do because we know and understand them and what they are going through. Ideally, the technology we use to support us in caring for them should do the same.

AI Caregiving Examples

Maybe the easiest way to understand what AI will mean to our senior loved ones is with a few examples comparing AI-enabled support to what we might expect for current technology.

Activity Monitoring

Current technology: Sends a notification if the senior is not out of bed by a predetermined time in the morning.

AI-enabled technology: Knows that the senior did not go to bed until later than normal and, when that happens, she typically stays in bed later. Thus no notification is sent.

“Wandering” Dementia Patient

Current technology: The senior’s activity tracker notes he has left the house when not scheduled to do so and provides notification as programmed into the technology.

AI-enabled technology: Observed that the senior’s best friend came to the home for an unplanned visit and, as typically happens when he visits, they went for a walk. Thus no notification is sent.

Injury Detection

Current technology: Home monitoring system notes senior moving about the home and provides no notification of needed action.

AI-enabled technology: Observes the senior is limping significantly and displays facial expressions indicating pain. Because the senior was observed having an unusual body movement (perhaps a fall) the prior day, the system determines there is an injury that may require medical care and sends notification.

Conversational Companion

Current technology: Companion robot or device carries on conversations with senior, responding to questions and providing feedback to the senior’s words, but provides no medical feedback based on the interactions.

AI-enabled technology: Companion robot or device carries on conversations with senior and notices changes in questions (including repetition), words used, and mood change overtime. As a result of observed changes, device provides notification that senior should be reviewed by a physician for potential Alzheimer’s diagnosis or depression.

These are but a few examples of the many benefits independent living seniors can realize from AI-enabled technology in their homes.

We Prepare Now to Help Them Prepare Later

The future benefits of artificial intelligence for our senior loved ones are the reasons why we believe family caregivers should start now in understanding AI.

If we are ready for AI to enter their homes, we can better help them prepare and accept the technology.

Remember, even the best, most intelligent technology will not provide benefits if the senior doesn’t allow technology into the home and put it to use.

Stay tuned to Senior Care Corner® for more of what we learned at CES 2019 regarding AI and other useful technology for seniors and family caregivers.

 

 




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