This tech for your aging parents fights isolation, boosts awareness

CNET | 1/17/2019 | Abrar Al-Heeti
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Devices like this automatic pill dispenser called Pillo could make it easier for seniors to live independently.

Tom Neumann remembers the transformation.

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He was at a nursing home in Norwalk, Connecticut, last year, demoing a virtual reality platform he co-founded called Rendever. Mickey, an older woman who suffers from dementia and hadn't talked much or smiled in weeks, gave it a try. She put on the Oculus headset and was virtually transported to a room full of puppies.

Mickey instantly lit up. She smiled and called out to the puppies and sent them kisses. Neumann recalled that she reached out as if to pet them, making her caregiver tear up.

Mickey - Awe - Smile - Face

"This is absolutely unbelievable," Mickey said as she looked around in awe, a smile plastered to her face. "I can almost feel them."

Seniors may not be the first demographic that comes to mind when you think of VR. The technology, which uses a headset to trick the eyes and brain into thinking you're in a virtual location, has commonly been used for gaming. But it's hoped that VR, along with other tech like artificial intelligence, robots and motion sensors, can help seniors feel less isolated and, in some cases, live independently for longer. Several of these technologies were on display last week at CES, the mega tech show held in Las Vegas.

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Innovations geared toward older audiences could prove to be helpful for aging Baby Boomers, the last of whom will turn 65 by 2030, according to the Institute on Aging. By then, older Americans will make up 20 percent of the population. Add to this the fact that, according to AARP, nearly 90 percent of adults age 65 and up want to stay in their current home and community as they age, and it's no surprise companies are catering to this older demographic.

(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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