Forbes: App helps connect isolated seniors with their families

The app, HiLois, links senior citizens with family members during social distancing

With the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered elder care facilities to visitors across the U.S. in the name of social distancing, a sudden spotlight has been given to services like HiLois, a private social network designed for seniors and their families.  

Brett Harnett, HiLois founder and assistant professor in UC's Department of Biomedical Informatics, came up with the idea for the app shortly after his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2014, as a way to remotely share photos and messages with her while living hundreds of miles away.

Now, facilities are reaching out to find out how they, too, can utilize the tool and connect residents with families. 

“These facilities, they’re playing tic-tac-toe with masking tape on the windows, holding up signs, chalkboards, whiteboards. This is their level of communication,” Harnett told Forbes. “They’re also bombarded by calls from families saying, ‘Does someone in there have an iPhone? I want to FaceTime with my mom.’ These organizations don’t have the resources to do that. This is what we’ve been hearing for years: that their resources are really thin.”

Read more about HiLois.

Featured photo courtesy of Rod Long/Unsplash. 

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