A new program of the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and tech startup Intuition Robotics aims to provide a companion robot named ElliQ to several isolated seniors.
According to officials, the robot can send medication reminders, wellness suggestions, and friendly conversations from a “proactive and empathetic” in-home artificial intelligence.
Researchers have connected social isolation to a 50 percent higher chance of dementia, a 32 percent higher risk of stroke, and a 29 percent higher risk of heart disease. Therefore, the new initiative might drastically help in reducing these numbers by providing a companion robot to isolated seniors in the region.
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Moreover, the robot also comes with a screen that can display pictures, weather-related information, and also handle video calls, making it a highly capable robot.
“Despite misconceptions and generalizations, older adults embrace new technology, especially when they see it is designed by older adults to meet their needs,” said Greg Olsen, Director of NYSOFA.
He further added that ElliQ is an excellent addition to traditional kinds of social engagement and help from professional or family members for persons who experience some sort of loneliness and desire to age in place.
ElliQ focuses on what matters most to people, such as memories, life validation, connections with friends and family, and general health and well-being. According to an Intuition Robotics official, the initiative will begin with an informative webinar for the state’s case managers on May 31, following which they can begin nominating seniors who they feel would benefit the most from having ElliQ in their homes.
CEO and Co-founder of Intuition Robotics, Dor Skuler, said, “Many seniors live on a fixed income, so having state or federal programs to help alleviate loneliness is crucial in order to get ElliQ into the hands of seniors who can benefit from the technology.”