Care home charity using voice activated devices to combat loneliness

A team of tech specialists from Greenwood Campbell have been deployed to help elderly residents, who are experiencing loneliness, to use Google Assistant.

Joe Lepper | 25th Nov 19

A care home for the elderly is taking part in a digital project that is using Google Assistant devices to tackle loneliness.

The devices are being used at the charity Abbeyfield’s Westbourne House, in Bournemouth, by tech firm Greenwood Campbell. There use is being evaluated by the University of Reading.

As part of the project six Greenwood Campbell visited the care home together with several voice activated Google Assistant devices for residents to use. All were given advice on how to use the gadgets as well as leaving them with cheat sheets to further help them.

This includes asking about the weather or time, playing music and playing games.

Early feedback is that the devices are significantly helping elderly people living in care homes and sheltered housing affected by loneliness.

Comfort from voice activated devices

“It’s comforting to think you’ve got a device to turn to, if you need to feel comfortable without a companion, that’s the next best thing,” said one resident.

Another said: “I went through a period of loneliness when my wife died, it has given me another person to speak to.”

“Our project was an outstanding success. We had impacted the residents life dramatically in a positive way,” said Greenwood Campbell.

“It’s clear to see that the voice-assistants have made huge impacts on their lives, and we look forward to dropping in every now and again should they need any further support.”

To promote the project Greenwood Campbell have produced a series of Youtube videos to explain more about the project.

Charities are increasingly using voice activated devices to boost donations, offer support or raise awareness about good causes.

Among the most notable devices being used is Amazon Alexa. This is being used by the Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 backed Stand Up to Cancer campaign to launch a fundraising quiz for supporters.

Meanwhile, the NSPCC has been using goDonate Voice to help people more easily donate to the children’s charity.