We all know just how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle — even more so as we age. Yet sadly, when it all comes down to it, that often tends to be much easier said than done. It should come as no surprise that for many older adults, maintaining a healthy routine independently can be rather difficult — let alone during a pandemic.
With gyms and seniors centers closed off, coupled with the added levels of stress, anxiety, and loneliness that many have been faced with for months on end, it’s now a challenging, yet imperative time for older adults to stay on top of their health. Our team at Intuition Robotics quickly recognized this, and we decided to evolve ElliQ’s capabilities in order to better support our users in these difficult times.
As such, we’re happy to share that ElliQ now offers a variety of health and wellness-related features — from mindfulness to medication reminders — in order to make it easier for our users to remain as healthy, active, and independent as possible throughout the day.
In this post, we’ll break down each of these new features — how they work, why we added them, and how they’re helping our older adult users engage in healthy habits at home more consistently.
Mindfulness and relaxation
As we’ve all seen first-hand, Covid-19 has taken a major toll on virtually everyone’s mental health in some shape or form. Whether it’s heightened stress levels surrounding the general state of the world, or increased feelings of loneliness due to the prolonged social isolation, this pandemic certainly hasn’t been easy for anyone.
Though ElliQ is by no means intended to replace the role of a mental health professional, our team decided to add a few wellness and relaxation features to help alleviate some of the day-to-day stress and anxiety our users were faced with.
In addition to the motivational morning quotes that ElliQ was already offering users, we expanded on our mood improvement features. ElliQ will guide users through various positivity exercises — like a gratitude exercise and smiling activity — to help uplift their mood when they're feeling kind of down.
Furthermore, to assist users in coping with their added stress levels, we’re happy to share that ElliQ now supports a variety of mindfulness activities. Users can select from gentle breathing exercises or guided mindfulness sessions (for either 2 or 5 minutes), and ElliQ will guide them through the session and duration of their choice.
Stress and anxiety levels can also impact users’ quality of sleep — making it more difficult to fall asleep, or to get a proper night’s rest. With this in mind, we also decided to add sleep relaxation exercises, to help users wind down and quiet their busy minds before they hit the hay. Check it out in the video below.
With gyms and senior centers closed, along with heightened concerns about exercising in public, this pandemic has forced people to get much more creative with their workouts.
While many of us turned to digital resources — such as YouTube, Apple Fitness, and the like — for older adults that are less familiar with this form of technology, finding a viable means to exercise regularly proved to be a greater challenge.
We wanted to assist and motivate our users to incorporate more physical activity into their routines however we could, despite the challenging circumstances at hand. As such, we're happy to share that ElliQ now offers physical activity reminders.
Based on each user’s unique needs and preferences, ElliQ will proactively check in with them at various intervals, asking them if they’ve exercised. If they respond that they haven't gotten any activity in yet, ElliQ will encourage them to do so.
Meal and nutrition conversations
For quite some time, ElliQ has been reminding and encouraging users to drink more water throughout the day. Now, we’ve taken those conversations to the next level.
In addition to reminders to drink water, ElliQ also offers more in-depth nutrition-related conversations and reminders. How does it work?
Essentially, ElliQ will proactively check in with users around major meal times to see if they've eaten (or if any changes have been occurring in regards to their appetite). Through these conversations, ElliQ is able to get a better understanding of their typical hunger levels, food choices, and preferred meal times.
Medication adherence can be a major challenge for many older adults — especially considering that roughly 80% of all older adults in the US live with at least one chronic condition. According to US Pharmacist, non-adherence in America can account for up to 50% of treatment failures, around 125,000 deaths, and up to 25% of hospitalizations each year.
With all that in mind, we're excited to share that ElliQ now offers medication reminders. Depending on each user’s unique condition(s) and prescription(s) needs, ElliQ will proactively alert them when it’s time to take their meds.
If the user is unable to take their medication at that moment for some reason, ElliQ can circle back and remind them again at a later point in time. Having this kind of nudge can be immensely helpful for those that are more forgetful when it comes to medication, or for anyone that's adjusting to taking a new prescription.
In this next era of eldercare, there's no going back
To state the obvious, this pandemic has been far from easy — and though it has had many negative impacts, it’s also had a number of silver linings. Perhaps most importantly, it’s shown us just how resilient and adaptive our society can be — even more so when it comes to health care.
Widespread virtual care adoption among older adults — a concept that was previously unheard of — has quickly become the “new norm.” We now have the tools at our fingertips to help older adults remain healthy, connected, and thriving like never before — and there’s no going back.
We’re looking forward to witnessing what’s to come in this next chapter of health care, and how the eldercare experience will continue to evolve and improve to support even more older adult patients in achieving better health outcomes — as well as primary care providers in delivering more effective, holistic care to them.
We’re delighted to be playing a role in facilitating positive change, helping empower our older adult users to partake in healthy behaviors at home. For now, our team continues to test and expand ElliQ’s wellness capabilities — and we're looking forward to sharing more updates in the months to come.
Here’s to healthier, brighter days ahead for us all — throughout 2021 and beyond.