We tend to think of wearables being for the techy early adopter, but a New Zealand startup called Clevercare is using the technology to help older people live more independent lives.
The Clevercare smartwatch is designed to help people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes, with features to offer piece of mind to caregivers as well as helping the user lead a more independent life.
Features include the ability to add reminders such as taking medication at specific times, which will appear on the user’s smartwatch. The alarms are set to repeat until the user dismisses them, to ensure that the user is constantly reminded.
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There’s also a GPS feature, which can alert the caregiver if the watch user crosses outside a designated boundary. Handily, the watch will also enable calls, so carers can speak to their loves ones using the microphone and loudspeaker on the watch.
The watch itself is a Sony SmartWatch 2,
which packs the Clevercare software. As the SmartWatch 2 ran a full version of
Android, it’s perfect for running bespoke applications.
Update: Clevercare has been in touch to say: "This graphic is a rendered 3d graphic we used to illustrate our concept. Our wearable smart watch is a standalone device and does not require a companion to a smartphone."
Peace of mind
It’s not the first wearable we’ve seen that’s designed for those needing care. We recently reported on the Lively smartwatch, that connected to an existing smart home system for elderly people, or those that need close care.
These wearable systems have plenty of potential to add extra peace of mind for carers, and can offer a degree of independence for both sides. Some dementia suffers could certainly benefit from some extra independence. It can also help carers take a break, knowing they have a direct line to their loved ones, even if it’s just a half an hour trip to the shops.
However, there are issues. Firstly, the use of a complex smartwatch for an Althzeimer’s sufferer could be extremely confusing, and there’s also the battery issue: at best, these devices will last one or two days on charge.
Clearly this type of technology is designed to supplement care, but careful consideration should be given to the suitability of the person in question.
The Clevercare watch is only available in New Zealand right now, and costs $99 per month to access all the features, including the all important reminders and direct calling.