Here at Vigil we are always looking for ways to improve seniors’ quality of life through creative technology. Our signature product, the Vigil Memory Care System, was designed for the specific needs of those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Residents with cognitive issues are far less likely to remember to use a traditional call system which means that these residents may not be able to call for help when they need it.
Other senior living residents that may not be able to utilize traditional nurse call systems are those with physical limitations. Whether due to an injury, arthritis, or diseases like Parkinson’s or MS, the very act of pressing a nurse call button or pulling a switch may not be possible. With that in mind, Steven S. Smith, our VP of Research and Development, started looking into ways to allow residents with physical limitations to use their voice to call for help when they need it. After reading about Amazon’s new product, Echo, which allows users hands free control for audio, entertainment and even smart home devices, Steven realized that the technology was already out there, we just needed to make it work with Vigil.
How it Works
Vigil has teamed up with Amazon to allow residents in senior living communities with the Vigil system to call a staff member for help using only their voice. If a resident has experienced a fall and can’t move or cannot physically operate a button or switch for whatever reason, they simply need to ask Echo, nicknamed Alexa by Amazon, to “tell Vigil to send help”. The Vigil system then sends the message to care staff via pager, wireless phone or a mobile app on their smartphone so that resident can receive immediate help.
In a recent interview with Senior Housing Forum Steven Smith summed it up:
“Imagine if help were always instantly available to residents, regardless of where they are; even outside the reach of alert stations,” says Steven. “Their privacy would remain intact, and yet their needs could be met, almost as though the caregiver was standing right in front of them,” he adds. “That’s what drives us to keep innovating.”
Added June 12, 2017
Not sure if Alexa will work for seniors? Check out the article from MIT Technology Review on how Front Porch is already using Alexa to help their residents living in their communities.