The Importance And Opportunity Of Voice Technology For Older Adults And Care Providers

In long-term care, it is important to address your clients’ needs, whether those are physical, emotional or social. It can be quite common for older clients to live away from family members and rely on you, their care provider, to provide them with everyday support. As duty-bound care providers, that task seems easier said than can be done; there are just too many needs and too few staff members to do everything at once. Hence the question: “Can something be done?” 

Fortunately, modern voice technology lends itself to countless uses, giving a better quality of care to everyone. Whereas some are technologies that have long been in use, even before the turn of the century, others are fairly recent innovations at the cutting edge of their development. Here are some important uses that voice technology could give in caring for older adults.

Speech-to-text

Part of a provider’s duty is to have open communication with their clients. However, it is quite common to have older clients who have a hearing impairment, and might struggle to understand verbal communication over the phone or in-person. Enter speech-to-text. This technology is available for landline or mobile phones, so whether you’re speaking with your client over the phone or face-to-face, they can use it to transcribe everything you’re saying and read it off the screen, like they would if they’d be watching a movie with captions. 

Voice search

Another way that voice can help is by allowing clients to use voice-search for everyday needs, like checking the weather and staying up-to-date with news. Caregivers can use this to find out what they need to know while on the job, even if their hands are full. 

Voice commands

Another helpful feature of voice-activated technology is the ability to set up alarms, send text messages, start a video call or create reminders without the need of reading in or typing on the phone. Although this has already existed for a long time, newer services allow a greater number of functions, including making lists and sending scheduled messages.

Voice analysis for health conditions

In recent years, technological advancements have made it possible to detect and monitor for certain health conditions using voice analysis. Leveraging the non-content part of speech, and extracting certain parameters such as intonation, rhythm, pace and emphasis of a speaker, it is possible to detect conditions such as respiratory disease, heart disease and even certain mental or cognitive illnesses. 

Wearable health tracking technology

Although these are not voice technologies by definition, wearable health tracking technologies work hand-in-hand with other voice technologies to provide a better quality of life for users. The Amazon Halo does this by tracking the user’s current physical condition and sending this information to a smartphone app that is connected to the device.

Interestingly, the Halo can also detect emotion through the tone of the user’s voice. This can let the user and their healthcare provider know if they’ve been feeling stressed too often during a period of time.

Telecommuting interventions

Some voice technologies can be used for proper assessment and ensuing intervention. There is even a service that streamlines this process by having a virtual AI talk to patients on a daily basis. It can also detect their neurological health through the tone of their voices, sending information to the health care providers whenever needed.

Conclusion

Features such as advanced AI assistants and voice analysis have only been around for less than a decade. And yet, these things are now assisting both care providers and users in providing and receiving care. Sensi is a cutting edge solution that is based on this technology, and has the potential to revolutionize the way care is provided to older adults, all over the world.