Virtual assistant

Virtual assistant, virtual reality passes real tests at Civitas Senior Living

Civitas Senior Living, a management company based in Fort Worth, Texas, is testing a virtual assistant and virtual reality in the Lone Star State.

The company has partnered with Capitol Seniors Housing, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate investment acquisition, development and management firm, and CT Home, a smart home technology company specializing in custom solutions for seniors. seniors, to test the use of Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, in each apartment at Park Creek Independent Living in suburban Houston.

The test represents the first large-scale use of Amazon’s Alexa technology in Texas for seniors, according to Leon Coe, co-founder of CT Home.

“Civitas investigated technology that would make communicating with our self-reliant residents even more efficient – things like daily announcements, notifications, the community events calendar,” said the co-founder and COO of Civitas, Cooper Vittitov. McKnight Senior Residence. “We met the founders of CT Home, and they presented their platform to us. We like to be able to customize the data and deploy it according to our needs. Now a resident can simply ask, “Alexa, what’s for lunch today?” and get this information instantly.

Any Park Creek resident who chooses to participate in the program will receive a free Alexa device. Residents can also use the devices to set reminders, stay in touch with family and friends, and receive news or sports updates.

“Residents will be able to customize their own experience,” Vittitow said. “It makes their life much richer and carefree.”

The goal of the program is to enable residents to maintain their independence and freedom while ensuring that they are as connected as they wish to their personal network, fellow citizens and community programming.

For now, the pilot is limited to Park Creek.

“We are focused on independent living communities for the CT Home Alexa device, and Park Creek is our newest community that is strictly independent living,” Vittitow said. “This allows us to roll it out to a smaller audience and test it. As Park Creek grows, so will this new system.

However, Civitas plans to roll out the virtual assistant to its other independent living communities, Vittitow said.

“Really, our goal is six to nine months,” he said. “But we really want to understand the needs of our residents before launching the program in other communities.

The company’s portfolio includes 31 operating communities as well as 25 developing communities. Forty percent of them have an independent living component, according to Vittitow.

Virtual reality

Meanwhile, Civitas has partnered with Dallas-based MyndVR to introduce virtual reality to residents of Midtowne Assisted Living and Memory Care in suburban Dallas.

A recently launched pilot program explores the effects of curated virtual reality content on residents. The hope is that it will create happy, calming and memorable experiences.

“When it comes to using technology to enrich the lives of our residents, Civitas strives to be an industry leader, and the idea of ​​bringing virtual reality to our communities has really excited us. “, said Vittitow. “Our residents love the local trips we organize for them in our various communities. So how could we take it to the next level and take them on the journey of a lifetime without leaving their home? Virtual reality allows us to do just that.

Residents don smartphone-powered headphones and virtual reality glasses to experience various scenarios in two-minute 360-degree videos.

“They might visit a jazz club, go deep-sea fishing, or discover something familiar from their past,” Vittitow said. “We were impressed with the robust content offered by MyndVR and wanted to see how our residents reacted.”

The Civitas pilot project follows a recently completed large-scale nationwide pilot project by MyndVR that involved several hundred people in senior living communities, including people living independently as well as people with AD. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases, said Chris Brickler, co-founder and CEO of MyndVR. .

“We observed an improvement in mood, reduced feelings of isolation, triggering of memories, an increased sense of connection, and an uplift in spirit among participants,” he said.

For now, Civitas’ virtual reality pilot is limited to Midtowne, Vittitow said. It will last six weeks.

“Midtowne is owned by Civitas and is close to our headquarters,” he said. “It makes it easier for us to follow the program and measure residents’ reactions. Currently, we are testing virtual reality with our assisted living residents and hope to roll it out to the memory care ward next. »

In the long term, Vittitow said, Civitas could expand the program to other communities.

“After completing the program and analyzing the feedback, we will determine how we move forward,” he said. “We love the idea of ​​making virtual reality an integral part of our residents’ daily programming.”

Editor’s note, October 4, 2018: CT Home has changed its name to VoCo.