7 Creative Solutions That Care for the Elderly [LIST]

A showcase of creative solutions that help senior citizens age with dignity, love and smiles.

Nov 20, 2014
Caring for the elderly

American seniors chat with Brazilian students (Screenshot)

The elderly are the world’s fastest growing population, and as old age sets in, their need for attention and care often become more acute. Along with that, many senior citizens find themselves in difficult economic situations, and can’t necessarily afford the specific care they require. While not everyone deals with elderly care on a day-to-day basis, it’s an issue that touches us all - at some point or another. These seven initiatives offer creative solutions, helping people to age with dignity, love and smiles.  

1. PARO, THE THERAPEUTIC ROBOT SEAL

Animal therapy aims to improve social, emotional and cognitive function, and is often used to help care for the elderly, trauma victims and individuals dealing with serious illnesses. For cases when a real animal isn’t available or feasible, there’s Paro, the interactive robot. Taking the form of an adorable baby seal, Paro is equipped with five sensors that enhance its ability to connect with and heal people. Surprisingly lifelike, the fluffy robot has a moveable body, makes cute seal sounds and responds to touch and voice, adapting its behavior to suit the user.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: Masterminded by the Japanese company AIST, Paro is becoming a friendly fixture at senior citizens homes throughout the United States and Europe.

Paro the robot seal

Paro the robot seal (Screenshot)

2. AMERICAN SENIORS TEACH BRAZILIAN STUDENTS

CNA language school in Sao Paulo came up with an incredibly innovative idea to motivate elderly Americans and educate young Brazilians simultaneously - to match them up as teachers and students. Teaming up with a retirement home in Chicago, the language school created a Skype-like platform, which records each senior-student conversation and sends it to the teacher as a YouTube video. The results were more than just pedagogic - they showed the flourishing of beautiful connections that transcend both age and culture.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: The program went above and beyond just helping the students learn English and caring for the elderly. Research has shown that having a purpose in life - such as helping others - has a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Definitely a win-win!

Caring for the elderly online

Caring for the elderly while learning - online (Screenshot)

3. LOVE FOR THE ELDERLY, MAKING SENIORS SMILE WITH LETTERS

A typical teenager’s life revolves around school and hanging out with friends - but 14-year-old Jacob Cramer is not your average youngster. Cramer founded the nonprofit Love For The Elderly to distribute letters of kindness to seniors throughout the United States - just to make them happy! Started in 2013, Love For The Elderly is just beginning to gain steam, with letters streaming in from all corners of the globe - from Australia to Iceland.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: It’s super easy to join in Cramer’s kindness movement, whether you’re looking for a meaningful activity for yourself or the kiddies. Creative handwritten letters can be sent by snail mail, or perky enlivening messages can be submitted online.

Love for the Elderly: There's nothing quite like a handwritten letter

There's nothing quite like a handwritten letter (Screenshot)

4. HOGEWEY, THE REVOLUTIONARY NURSING VILLAGE

A nursing facility in The Netherlands is taking a revolutionary approach to caring for adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with Hogewey, a gated village that creates a sense of normalcy and everyday life for its residents. With specially-designed houses, a supermarket, a movie theatre and a café-restaurant, Hogewey aims to maintain 152 happy residents’ independence, granting the freedom to move around and go about their daily tasks in a safe environment. Special attention is poured into every detail, and each of the seven housing settings is tailored to the tastes and needs of each tenant’s previous lifestyle.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: The atypical institute provides round-the-clock care, provided by doctors and caretakers who don’t walk around in uniforms - but rather street clothes.

Shopping at Hogewey

Shopping at Hogewey (Screenshot)

5. TAIZO, THE FITNESS BOT

Like Paro the Robot, Taizo is a Japanese-produced robot made to care for the elderly - and he’s super cute, too! With about 30 moves up his furry sleeves - mostly while seated - Taizo is helping the rapidly aging population stay in shape in an easy and fun way.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: Taizo guides Japanese patrons through a calisthenics routine, a practice familiar to mainly Japanese - especially the elderly. Similar radio exercise programs have been popular in Japan for over 80 years.

Taizo: Whipping the elderly into shape

Whipping the elderly into shape (Screenshot)

6. GLOBAL CARE BANK SCHEMES

A growing trend in elderly care, ‘Care Bank’ schemes around the world are using the concept of Time Banking to help senior citizens get the best help possible. The concept is simple: members earn ‘Time Dollars’ for helping members of the community, which they can then use to buy care for their own aging family members, or even save for themselves down the line. For people with parents or grandparents living far away, this innovative platform means they can help out without traveling long distances - paying it forward in a brilliant way.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: Gaining popularity across the US and the UK, Care Bank schemes help the elderly while encouraging the spirit of volunteering in local communities.

Time Banking by reading to the elderly (Illustrative photo: Shutterstock)

Time Banking by reading to the elderly (Illustrative photo: Shutterstock)

7. RESERVE, THE NONPROFIT FOR AGING PROFESSIONALS

Another volunteering-based initiative, ReServe is an innovative nonprofit that matches continuing professionals aged 55+ with organizations in need of their expertise. Nonprofits and public agencies can tap into a lifetime of experience to fill staffing gaps, while the older participants get to do good for their communities by putting their professional skills to work.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS: ReServe partners with nonprofit organizations, public institutions and government agencies of all shapes and sizes across the US, and is supported by private and public grants and individual donations.

ReServists tutor reading

ReServists tutor reading (Screenshot)