When CMS (the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) slashed reimbursement rates for home health care, it placed significantly more pressure on the industry itself. Out of this pressure, though, came innovation. A lot of the innovation was in the form of technology and it has impacted millions of lives in the years since.
Hospitals are also under increasing pressure from the federal government to reduce their reimbursement rates and are, therefore, turning to home care as a support mechanism. With these pressures, new technologies and innovations are continually being developed to provide greater access to care, improve communication, and even ways to help seniors cope with various stressors.
One of these technological innovations comes from Ted Fischer who has developed a number of robotic pets. According to the CNBC news blog, 7 new tech devices for elder care that help seniors live happier, healthier lives, written by Julie Halpert:
“While working for Hasbro, Ted Fischer developed a series of robotic pets that were created with the intention of fostering meaningful connections through play. It turned out that their largest customer base came from the older adult market because of the robotic pets’ unique ability to engage, delight, provide companionship, calm, soothe and, most importantly, promote happiness — especially for those living independently or in care communities.”
Research indicates that the simple act of petting an animal can help to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve overall health, especially for older individuals. While research hasn’t yet moved into the realm of robotic pets, there is indication that these artificial companions can offer some of the same benefits.
Not only may it help to reduce blood pressure, stress, and anxiety, it also alleviates the added pressure of caring for another life, especially for somebody whose age and physical limitations make it difficult to do that in a safe manner.
The article also noted:
“In 2015, realizing now that play has no age limit, the toy company officially launched its brand of companion pets under the name Joy For All.
The robotic cats and pups have sensors that allow them to interact with a human companion as they would with a live pet. The cat responds to touch, rolls over and utters 32 different types of purring sounds. The pup’s heartbeat slows down if a hand is placed on its back.”
It may sound trivial or even far-fetched, but this type of technological innovation could have a profound impact the lives of those seniors who long for companionship and who may be struggling with certain health issues and love the idea of once again having a pet. It may also be a boon to some home care companies seeking to offer greater benefit to their client base.
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