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On-Demand Grandkids, Robot Pals to Keep Senior Loneliness at Bay


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Sue Karp says speaking to her robot companion is "like youre talking to another person."

Companies are offering seniors high-tech solutions and novel services to combat loneliness.

Credit: Justin Maxon/The Wall Street Journal

Companies are offering seniors high-tech solutions and novel services to combat loneliness, such as therapeutic robots to offer emotional comfort, and apps like Join Papa, which allows seniors to rent college-age people as "grandchildren on demand," through a gig-economy model.

The Rock Health venture fund estimates that venture capitalists invested a record $8.1 billion in digital health startups last year, compared to $5.7 billion the year before.

This wave of funding is partly thanks to how private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program have more flexibility to cover supplemental benefits, says Papa CEO Andrew Parker.

Studies have found therapy bots can help the emotional state of certain residents in senior care communities.

Apple is in talks with private insurers to pay for Apple Watches with fall-detection sensors, in order to monitor vulnerable seniors.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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