Christchurch-developed technology helps retirement village residents keep healthy amid pandemic

While retirement villages across New Zealand are locked down to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19, new technology is allowing them to be more connected than ever.

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Residents can now exercise and monitor their own health at a touch of a button while isolating. Source: 1 NEWS

Residents of the Alpine View and Burlington retirement villages in Christchurch have been testing tablet-based technology developed by locally-based company Spritely for the past year. 

The technology, developed with retirement village owners Qestral Corporation, allows residents to record and keep track of various health-related measures, like blood pressure and temperature. They also have the ability to book a video call with nursing staff. 

Rhonda Brennan, a resident at Alpine View Lifestyle Village, said the technology helped her keep on top of her health.

“We have a responsibility, I think, as we grow older to maintain a health status.”

Spritely chief executive Christopher Dawson said there were now new ways the technology could be used during the latest lockdown.

“We can monitor residents without having to don PPE and turn up to the actual house, which could pose dangers,” he said.

“The residents use it mostly for booking activities during the week, which are very popular.”

The technology is set to get better with funding from the Government’s Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund.

With the funding, if any residents show any symptoms of Covid-19, the tablet will prompt a survey which will ask in-depth questions of symptoms and travel history.

Qestral Corporation managing director Simon O’Dowd says this kind of technology is the future of aged care.

“We can be offering predictive healthcare and it’s an opportunity for us to be proactively connecting with people.”

The new features will be trialled next month. If successful, it could be adopted in retirement villages around the country.