“I haven’t heard from Grandma today. I hope she hasn’t fallen again.”
“Why isn’t Dad answering his phone; is there something wrong or did he just forget to charge it, like last time”?
Those and similar sentiments are expressed every day by family caregivers of older adults across the US, especially if their loved ones are living on their own a long distance away.
Helping senior loved ones enjoy the independent life they desire is both a mission and nerve-wracking challenge for millions of family caregivers.
Caregiving While Honoring Desire for Independence
We know they want to live their own lives in the home of their choice, but we worry about what may happen when we’re not there to help, especially if our seniors have injuries or chronic health issues that are limiting.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow be there with them to ensure they are safe and their needs are being met but NOT there all the time, so we can honor their desire for independence and privacy? Maybe even provide some companionship to ward of the loneliness that is often experienced by those living alone?
Not to mention having time for the rest of our lives, jobs and families.
Competing objectives that can’t all be achieved, right?
It may be that way now, but we think we’ve found an answer that meets our seniors’ needs and desires while providing family caregivers the peace of mind we crave.
Enter the CareBot™ – – and a view into the future of senior and family caregiver support for independent living!
CareBot from GeckoSystems
The CareBot is a personal robot capable of automatic self-navigation that, according to GeckoSystems International (publicly traded at GOSY) and backed by the results of in-home trials, can meet the needs of many aging in place seniors and their family caregivers.
We first encountered CareBot a few years ago through our social media activities and learned about it through our research. According to the Gecko Systems website, it provides a number of benefits for older adults in their homes, including
- Cost-Effective Monitoring
- Virtual Visits
- Automatic Reminders
- Automatic Emergency Notification
Because CareBot is not commercially available yet, we were limited in what we could learn about them on our own, so were thrilled when we got a chance to sit down and talk with GeckoSystems Chairman and CEO Martin Spencer.
After spending three hours listening to Martin talk about the technical and human aspects of this home caregiver – somehow robot doesn’t say nearly enough – we knew it was a story we had to pass along. Martin agreed to sit down with us again in the future to record an interview, but we couldn’t wait to share with you.
One of a Kind “Family” Caregiver
CareBot is, as Martin explained to us, truly unmatched in its technology and what it can do for – and not do to – older adults in their homes.
This home companion will follow Grandma (or whomever is designated) around the home, always staying close by without getting in the way.
With multiple sensing systems, CareBot is always seeing, hearing, and using senses humans don’t even have to monitor what is going on with Dad and all around him in the home.
“What about Dad’s privacy?” you might say, knowing that privacy is important to our senior loved ones (and to us).
CareBot has that covered, as everything that is monitored through all its senses stays with the robot unless a triggering event occurs, in which case CareBot follows family-designated parameters to reach out and contact appropriate family members, neighbors, and/or first responders.
Some examples of events that might trigger notification to predetermined contacts:
- Mom has fallen and does not respond when CareBot calls out (yes, calls out) to her or she responds by indicating she needs help;
- Medication schedules have not been met or health tests (such as blood pressure) have not been done during designated time windows;
- Grandpa, who has Alzheimer’s disease, wanders out of the home alone and unscheduled;
- There is a fire in the home;
- Dad has not eaten for a predetermined period of time; or,
- CareBot did not see Grandma leave the home but has not been able to find her in the home for a specified period.
These are, of course, just scratching the surface.
CareBot is much more than a monitor, with artificial intelligence that allows it to interact, even converse, with your senior loved one, taking companionship beyond what their pet provides.
Based on what we’ve heard and read, CareBot sounds much more like a family caregiver than a machine you’ve brought into Mom’s home.
Designed to Care for Seniors
One of the things that sets CareBot apart from other household robots we have encountered is that it was designed with the needs of aging in place seniors in mind.
It’s not a general application robot repurposed for senior care but was created from the ground up based on the needs of seniors – by the family caregiver of a senior loved one.
CareBot is about, foremost, “safety, safety, safety” according to Martin. It determines the best way to go around obstacles in its path and never, never hits people, furniture, walls or anything.
We are now fans of CareBot and can’t wait for a chance to learn more, see one in action, and share it all with you.
Stay tuned . . .