Tag Archives: health care

Meet Zora, the Robotic Caregiver

Aging is a fact of life. No matter how hard we try to fight it, the years keep adding up and our bodies keep aging. According to MIT’s Age Lab, the world is currently at a historical high of more than 600 million people over the age of 65! By the year 2030, there will be an estimated one billion people over 65, growing to 1.6 billion by 2050.

This growth, while affecting the entire globe, is of primary importance in wealthy countries where spending by and for this age group is in the trillions of dollars. The aging population will also require more caregivers than ever before. But there is a shortage of such people. Creative solutions are needed to address the gap. What can be done?

Meet Zora, the caregiver robot, now a resident of a number of care facilities in France and Australia. Zora can join with care facility residents for activities such as aerobics, singing, playing games, and reading. Although Zora is small in stature, she speaks an impressive 19 languages. And, Zora cares for children as well as adults. Patients develop an emotional attachment to Zora, holding, kissing, and cuddling the robot. More than 1,000 Zora robots have been sold to hospitals and care facilities; pricing is $18,000 per unit.

Of course, Zora is not a substitute for a trained human caregiver or health care worker, but she sure makes people smile!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the business of robotics. Where is it going? Who will benefit?
  2. Show Zora the robot: http://zorarobotics.be/index.php/en/
  3. Videos can be found at Zora’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbT8GS9L_IdYvpCeNRd2gVg
  4. Discuss the buying process for organizations. Who would influence the decision-making?
  5. Have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
    1. Problem recognition?
    2. Information search?
    3. Evaluative criteria?
    4. Purchase decision?
    5. Post-purchase behavior?
  6. What are key considerations in each step?

Source: Satariano, A., Peltier, E., & Kostyukov, D. (23 November 2018). Meet Zora, the robot caregiver. New York Times.

 

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Grandkids On-Demand

Even though it’s a fact of life, aging can be lonely. Friends and family members may have passed on, moved away, or moved into care facilities. And, caregiving for someone who is older can be hard when the caregivers also have other responsibilities such as families and full-time jobs. This was the need behind a new service called ‘Papa’ which helps provide senior citizens with a little extra attention through what it calls ‘Grandkids On-Demand’.

Papa has a simple premise – to provide college students to help senior citizens. It connects students with the seniors for tasks such as driving, shopping, reading, laundry, pet help, technology help, or even just companionship. It emphasizes a fun was for two generations to connect and frees senior citizens from being confined or left on the margins of life.

Members (the senior citizens) pay a monthly fee of $15 to $30 to belong, plus $15 per hour for visits from the Papa Pals (the college students). The Pals must be enrolled in college or working on a masters degree, social work degree, or nursing or medical degree. Pals must also have a four-door car and pass a background check. Pals are given the company’s personality test which look for people with empathy, patience, and the ability to draw people into conversation. The biggest focus is on curing loneliness; being with a younger person stimulates the seniors – relationships form to help both parties understand the world.

Become a Pal and help Papa.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Do they have family members or friends that fall into this category? How do these people get assistance?
  2. Review Papa: https://www.joinpapa.com/
  3. Make sure to show some of the videos available on the Web site to illustrate how the service works: https://www.joinpapa.com/video-gallery/
  4. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to analyze the market for Papa. (Ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  6. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board.

Source: Bahrampour, T. (20 June 2018). These college kids moonlight as ‘grandkids’ for hire. Washington Post.

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NBA Store is Sensory-Inclusive

When we think about NBA basketball games, or virtually anything that is sports-related, loud noises and bright lights immediately hit us – right between the eyes and ears. The excitement and crowds are definitely part of the atmosphere and usually helps get energy levels up. But that level of noise and light isn’t always a good thing. If someone is prone to overstimulation due to autism, PTSD, dementia or other sensory-processing disorders, overstimulation could cause a meltdown and panic or anxiety attack. It’s not just sports games; even crowded stores can bring on panic attacks. This was the concern driving the design of the newly opened NBA store in New York City.

In order to be more inclusive and assist those sensory sensitive fans, the NBA’s flagship store in New York City has become the first sensory-inclusive retail store in the world. To do this, the NBA partnered with KultureCity, a nonprofit that works to help make public spaces become more sensory-inclusive. The new NBA store offers bags containing fidget spinners, weighted lap pads, and noise-cancelling headphones to those individuals who may need them. In addition, the NBA store staff is trained to better understand, interact with, and identify visitors who may need assistance during shopping.

The NBA’s initiatives go beyond the store. There are now 14 NBA arenas equipped for the fans who need additional attention to deal with sensory needs. Four of the arenas have dedicated quiet sensory rooms to help fans. The objective of the programs is to enable the NBA to be fully inclusive and accessible to all.

Inclusion – it’s a good move on the court, and in the store.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Do they know someone who has sensory challenges and needs?
  2. Show a video highlighting the new store: https://youtu.be/zchmSWP1630
  3. Show a video about how one arena helps sensory challenged guests: https://youtu.be/3QRQKhGz6_4
  4. Also show the KultureCity Web site: https://www.kulturecity.org/
  5. Are there other venues or locations that could benefit from this approach?
  6. How should the NBA market this initiative?

Source:  Martin, B. (2 April, 2018). NBA store in New York becomes world’s first sensory-inclusive retail store. NBA.com.

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