Social isolation in senior citizens is all too common. While some older people have taken to the Internet to combat loneliness (see Proust, the new social network for nostalgic seniors), others have trouble navigating the ways of the web. Care Innovations Connect, a new device from Intel and GE's joint Care Innovations effort, aims to solve the loneliness quandary by bringing social networking for the elderly to a simple digital tablet.
The Care Innovations touch screen device is targeted primarily to seniors living in group housing facilities as well as elderly people living at home with private care. The device offers community news, calendars, and access to other members as well as wellness surveys, brain fitness games, and medication reminders. For caregivers, GE and Intel offer an online portal to keep track of community news and user wellness information.
"Research has shown that loneliness, as a health risk factor, is twice as detrimental as being obese, and equal to the risk of smoking cigarettes and alcoholism," said Louis Burns, Care Innovations CEO, in a press release. "With Connect, we’re helping senior service providers overcome this issue by helping them identify major health deterioration in their members, while enabling seniors to stay engaged and live more socially connected lives."
Care Innovations Connect focuses primarily on social networking, but Intel and GE have an array of other senior-oriented health devices, including the Health Guide personal telehealth system, a handheld reader featuring large text, and QuietCare, a remote monitoring system. Soon enough, it may be difficult for many seniors to avoid being part of the digital realm in some way or another.