I’ve written in the past about how innovations like Alexa, iPads, wifi-connected home devices, shared drives, and health care devices can materially help the way a senior navigates their home and interacts with caretakers. Today I wondered how a senior may be able to make use of ChatGPT in ways that are different than what’s already available through other popular technologies. Here are the top three suggestions:
Social interaction and companionship: Loneliness and social isolation are common issues among senior citizens. ChatGPT can be a source of companionship by engaging in conversations, listening attentively, and offering emotional support. It can banter about an enjoyed hobby or recently read book. Although it is an AI, it can still provide a sense of connection and reduce feelings of isolation. While I’d argue this is already available with Alexa, her rogue responses or “do not understand” responses can be maddening at times. Having the chat feature where words can potentially be typed more definitively than spoken makes this a great alternative. And there is the ability to enhance ChatGPT with voice features so the chat can be filled in with spoken word and responses read aloud. Also, the chat feature allows more natural back and forth without having to prompt, “Alexa,” each time to cue listening. Because loneliness and isolation are so important to combat, this goes to top of the list.
Assistance with technology: Many seniors may struggle with using technology or have questions about their smartphones, computers, or other devices. Help with tech is one of the most popular segments at any senior center or community. ChatGPT can offer guidance on how to use different applications, troubleshoot common issues, and explain various features. This is HUGE! Not only for seniors, but for the caretakers who are often the person answering these questions.
Health information: Seniors often have questions about their health, medications, or medical conditions. While ChatGPT cannot replace professional medical advice, it can provide straight forward general information and help seniors better understand their health concerns and the need to see a doctor. And it does so extremely fast. It can also offer suggestions for leading a healthy lifestyle. Click on the image to enlarge the response I received from ChatGPT when asking about swollen fingers.