Smart speakers keep elderly residents company

Smart technology is being trialled in a Shropshire care home to give residents more independence and help combat loneliness.

Mark Waugh, Pat George and Haf Evans.

Staff at Montgomery House in Shrewsbury, which is run by Coverage Care Services, is introducing residents to the latest gadgets and smart-tech to support day-to-day living and recreation.

It comes after Newport-based business Be Bold Media gifted an Amazon Echo speaker to the home.

The gadget, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a built-in robotic personal assistant known as Alexa which responds to commands and can talk back, is already proving a hit.

Care home manager Carolyn Fisher said residents were using the speaker to listen to their favourite music, play games and even do their shopping online.

She said: “Most people these days have become reliant on some form of gadget whether it be a smart phone or watch or some kind of virtual assisted device inside their home so it’s been great to introduce this kind of technology to residents.

“The Echo speaker is already proving to be a great tool for supporting residents to be more independent and it’s also fantastic from a social perspective.

“It’s currently located in the home’s main living area and so residents often gather round and listen to music and take it in turns to choose their favourite songs or ask it questions.

“It’s great for triggering memories and is a useful way for residents to find out information such as the time and date. It’s taken some of them a little while to get used to it but the results have all been positive so far.”

In future there could be potential for the technology to be used to remind residents when they need to take medication or when it’s time for bed.

Mark Waugh, director of Be Bold Media added: “We’re delighted residents are enjoying using the speaker.

“Technology can assist businesses in so many ways and care homes are no different. We’re certain as staff and residents get used to having Alexa around they will find it more and more useful.”

Montgomery House is one of 14 homes run by Coverage Care – a not-for-profit organisation and Shropshire’s largest independent care provider.

For more information on individual homes visit https://www.coveragecareservices.co.uk.

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