AI-driven app helps seniors keep in touch during coronavirus isolation

Seniors who experience social isolation or loneliness may face a higher risk of mortality and depression, a new report says, even as coronavirus protocols drive calls for “social distancing.”

While the term “social distancing” was probably unknown to most people just a few short weeks ago, there are few who don’t know what it means now.

And while the practice of keeping our distance from each other may be viewed as one of the most promising ways of limiting the spread of COVID-19, for senior citizens in particular the resulting isolation can bring burdens of its own.

An increasing number of seniors, however, are being kept in the loop, so to speak, by an AI-driven app from Wellzesta, a health-tech company working with eldercare organizations coast-to-coast.

"Senior living communities like Aldersgate in Charlotte, NC provide immediate health updates via our software platform, so the right message gets to the right person at the right time," said Kyle Robinson, Co-founder of the North Carolina-based company.

According to Brooks Shelley, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement at Aldersgate, "Our 500 residents at Aldersgate all get iPads along with training on the Wellzesta app -- our main point of contact. Not only do they get important up-to-the-minute information like the Coronavirus updates – Wellzesta encourages social interaction via the events and calendar feature. It's easy to RSVP to events and see who else is attending.”

The mean age user of the Wellzesta Life software solution is 84, and 79% of subscribers use the App daily, the company says, adding that the elderly are more susceptible to the virus and, as a result, may face fewer visitors either by facility restrictions or fear from loved ones.

The app “enables us to instantly communicate important information and tips to our caregivers and clients," said Bill Osborne, Owner, Right at Home -- a Veteran approved home care agency with offices in Belmont and South Charlotte, NC. As a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Adult Critical Care Specialist, and having worked on a critical care helicopter flight team for nine years, Osborne has a deep understanding of virus symptoms and the urgency to share precautions for everyone to stay safe.

"Our caregivers rarely use email while working. Texting isn't efficient. With Wellzesta's Thrive, they log on to a password-protected platform, which has everything for them in one place," he explained.

Seniors can stay engaged by signing up for sponsored events (they can see who is attending), do their own health journaling, or consume on-demand wellness articles and videos. Digital assistants, and digital coaches personalize the experience.