Technology is helping revolutionize healthcare. It is particularly important as seniors age and need more assistance.
Technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of healthcare for seniors, which is helping to address various health problems and improving overall well-being. Remote monitoring devices, such as wearable fitness trackers and smart health sensors, enable seniors to track vital health metrics in real-time, fostering proactive management of chronic conditions. Telemedicine platforms facilitate virtual consultations, allowing seniors to connect with healthcare professionals from the comfort of their homes, reducing the need for frequent and often challenging visits to medical facilities.
In addition to remote monitoring and telemedicine, technology aids seniors in medication management and adherence. Smart pill dispensers with built-in reminders and alerts help seniors stay organized with their medication schedules, minimizing the risk of missed doses or incorrect administration. Mobile health apps provide valuable resources for seniors to access health information, monitor symptoms, and even participate in virtual wellness programs tailored to their specific needs. By leveraging technology, seniors can take greater control of their health, receive timely support, and enjoy a more independent and empowered approach to managing health problems.
Unfortunately, seniors can’t benefit from technology if they don’t know how to use it. The good news is that new tools like Grandie can help them learn to use technology better.
Grandie Can Help Seniors Solve their Health Challenges by Learning to Use Technology Better
Senior citizens’ adoption of technology has grown significantly over the past several years. In fact, research from Pew indicates that while only 13% of individuals aged 65 and up owned a smartphone in 2012, 61% had a smartphone by 2021. Perhaps even more surprising, 44% owned a tablet.
While seniors have become more likely to own tech devices, how they engage with that technology tends to generally lag behind their peers. The numbers illustrate that seniors aren’t necessarily averse to new technology. However, many developers fail to account for the unique needs of seniors, resulting in designs and features that don’t provide a useful, frictionless experience.
This is where Isaac Lien, co-founder and Chief AI and Innovation Officer of GrandPad aims to make a difference. His company’s device has already proven to be a significant difference-maker in helping seniors become more engaged and comfortable with modern tech, and with the introduction of its “Grandie” AI, the company is poised to revolutionize senior engagement with tech even further.
What Is Grandie?
“Grandie is a new virtual companion designed to work with our GrandPad tablets, and we couldn’t be more excited about it,” Lien explains. “This AI tool is designed to provide a personalized and engaging experience with technology that specifically caters to older adults. Just like with the GrandPad itself, the goal is to provide a straightforward, easy to use technology experience that helps eliminate the barriers seniors often experience.”
As a conversational AI, Grandie works in a remarkably simple function. Users press a button to activate their device microphone so they can talk to Grandie, after which the AI will provide a text and audio response.
“We’ve designed Grandie with a comprehensive knowledge base so it can give seniors easy access to information ranging from gardening advice and cooking tips to history trivia and brain-teasers,” Lien explains. “Based on large language model AI technology, Grandie is able to deliver high-quality information and entertainment to GrandPad users, regardless of the type of request they have.”
In addition to providing helpful information, Grandie can help senior users access a variety of entertainment options, such as jokes, quotes, stories and cultural experiences, as well as offering deep dives into various crafts and hobbies. Grandie also makes it easy for users to save their favorite content to view again later.
Designing With Seniors In Mind
Generative AI is still very new to most people, with older adults in particular having mixed views about its applications. For example, an AARP and NORC survey found that while only 26% of older adults were uncomfortable with AI providing entertainment recommendations, majorities were uncomfortable with the idea of AI driving cars, providing hiring recommendations or providing financial tips.
Grandie was developed with these types of potential hesitancy toward adopting AI in mind. “We really wanted to ensure that Grandie provided empathetic interaction that our users could feel comfortable with,” Lien says. “It’s designed to engage sensitively and thoughtfully in guided conversations, talking in a natural way so that older adults can feel comfortable with the interactions it provides.
He continues, “To that end, knowing that older users may not know how to initiate an AI conversation, Grandie includes conversation entry points to make it easier to get started. We’ve worked to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.”
The conversation entry points can be used to start a conversation with Grandie, or to give users ideas of ways they can start talking to their AI companion. With this feature integrated right from the start, Grandie helps smooth out the learning curve of adapting to AI use until it becomes easy and natural for older users.
The Grandie interface delivers on this goal with simple button prompts. Seniors press a “Talk to Grandie” button to speak their prompt, rather than typing (which can be challenging for seniors with smart devices). When they are finished speaking, they tap a “Finish Talking” button, after which Grandie provides its response. Notably, Grandie’s response is delivered via text and audio, with a replay button in case users need to listen to the response again.
This simple approach is very much in line with the rest of the GrandPad’s user interface — simple prompts to provide an easier technology experience. With the help of this conversational AI, making full use of the GrandPad tablet becomes even easier, particularly for older adults who are more comfortable with a conversational approach to getting needed information or accessing desired features.
Streamlined and Successful
Thanks to the positive feedback received in the preliminary testing stages, Lien is confident that the full rollout of Grandie will be a success as well.
“No one should be cut off from the benefits of technology due to age or other limitations. By tailoring this solution to the needs of older adults, we can help them maintain equal footing in a constantly changing world,” Lien says. “We believe that the ability to stay connected with loved ones and the world in general in a safe, user-friendly way will make all the difference in helping older adults have a meaningful and beneficial relationship with technology.”