How’s Mom? Ask Your Computer.

People with aging parents often worry about their moms’ and dads’ daily welfare. How are all the little things? Eating, exercise, checkups at the doctor’s office, etc.?

Well, now your smartphone can do all that worrying for you.

The Washington Post reports on a new mobile platform called GreatCall, a series of devices designed to keep the elderly in touch with their families using artificial intelligence.

While digital monitoring of the elderly is nothing new, GreatCall offers routine alerts with greater precision than you might expect. Consider, for example, this sample GreatCall alert from the Post piece:

“Grandma walked 41 percent less this week than she did the last three weeks. You might want to check and see if something is wrong with her.”

Talk about insightful! — Not to mention robotic.

A.I. in the context of senior care sounds surprising at first — after all, there aren’t a lot of sci-fi films set in nursing homes. But the practical applications are so obvious that it’s a wonder that iPhone-era interconnectedness hasn’t already caught on in elder care.

Of course, as the Post points out, the senior population adopts new technology more slowly than other demographics. Many seniors use smartphones and the like, but many still do not.

There are privacy concerns, too. Aging parents may not want to broadcast their every move to their kids.

On the flip side, though, those children might feel more comfortable affording their elderly parents greater autonomy if they know that GreatCall is keeping tabs on their daily wellbeing.

It’s fascinating to see mobile communication and robotic technology continue to manifest themselves where people least expect it: senior care. The trend’s bound to continue. GreatCall may be the marvel du jour, but that has to make you wonder — what’s next?


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