Dr. Alexis Approved: Claris Companion

September 4, 2013

Blog, Dr. Alexis Approves

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As much as the Apple iPad and other tablet devices cater to intuitive use, the Claris Companion is specifically designed to help older people with day-to-day tasks as well as with emergency situations. The Canadian company Claris Healthcare has created a device that is a smart way to keep in close touch with your aging loved ones.

I immediately noticed the design of the Claris Companion with its easy-to-use interface that takes cues from retro products such as the Etch A Sketch. Large buttons on the screen (with labels such as Call Me, Check In, Events, Messages, Photos and Exercises) are highly visible. So in addition to reminders to take medicine or ask the pharmacist to call, the Companion allows older people to text message, email, share photos – all the fun stuff. This is without having to download apps or update software and all that other fuss (like passwords) that seniors really don’t want to deal with.

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This device is well thought out and takes into consideration all the potential roadblocks seniors may encounter with technology. Even some tech-savvy folks I know have trouble setting up a plug-and-play Apple TV, so those who weren’t always surrounded by tech toys will appreciate the ultra simplicity of the Companion.

You can help the Companion owner setup his or her device through a secure website. So even if your loved one is thousands of miles away, you can set up this tablet.

“We’re living in an age when most people use some form of digital technology to communicate and keep on top of their own medical care, whether it’s email, text, or online services,” said Geof Auchinleck, co-founder and CEO of Claris Healthcare. “Unfortunately many seniors are left out of conversations because they’re not comfortable with, or unable to use technology. This can lead to social isolation and medical issues.”

Auchinleck created the Companion with the needs of his 93-year-old mother in mind. If the person who uses it doesn’t have WiFi access, the company offers a 4G networked version. The cost of the Companion is $549 (with a $39/month subscription data plan) for the WiFi version and $649 (with a $49/month subscription data plan) for the cellular 4G model.

What I especially like is that the Companion doesn’t skimp on quality where it counts. Real bamboo, a simple charging station and amplified speakers make for a nice package at a reasonable price point. Smart design, pleasing esthetics and a strong value are the qualities that make the Claris Companion Dr. Alexis Approved.

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