Editor’s Note: The 2020 winners of the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards are being announced Sept. 29 to Oct. 6. Senior Living track winners are being announced here by McKnight’s Senior Living. Senior Living track winners are being announced on the website of sister publication McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

A pursuit to adopt technology that serves and entertains residents paid off this spring for Williamsburg Landing, Gold winner in the 2020 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards for its High-Tech/High-Touch entry in the Senior Living track.

The Virginia community already had purchased two Temi robots when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, and leaders quickly reimagined how they would use the personal robots.

IT Systems Technician Derek Vinson spent weeks programming the units, equipping them with internal mapping capabilities and skills that would best serve residents during quarantine. Activities staff members were trained to use each robot on a daily basis across all care settings, using the robot’s screen to enable video chats with family members and friends or turn on ambient sounds or music to accompany a story time.

Temi also can share its own stories, play movies or encourage residents to take part in memory games or mental challenges such as Sudoku, for stimulation.

A third robot joined the team this summer, with two more on order. Communications Coordinator Alana White said that the robots had reached at least 200 residents by late September. Tasks might be as mundane as following a resident to his or her room while carrying a boxed lunch, but Williamsburg also plans to use Temi to start helping celebrate birthdays by delivering balloons or singing an extra “Happy Birthday.”

One of Temi’s best features, White said, is that, unlike many technology tools, the robot can speak and make sounds — meaning a resident’s poor vision won’t keep him or her from interacting with the robot. Alexa has allowed residents to ask Temi for an audible weather update or share aloud activities from the community’s K4Connect platform.

“We really try to stay as high-tech as we can with our residents,” White said. “With Temi, we were able to layer services in. …That’s made a lot of residents happy, because they can use the technology.”

Other High-Tech, High-Touch award winners in the Senior Living track:

  • Silver: Regency Fallbrook in California, for adopting Speak2 software that allows residents to use Amazon Alexa for service requests and to engage with people and entertainment sources from around the world.
  • Bronze: Indiana-based The Hearth at Juday Creek, for integrating Rendever’s virtual reality technology with in-person, themed lessons that more deeply connected residents with their virtual experiences and each other.

Competition entries were submitted earlier this year and judged by an independent panel of skilled care and senior living experts and industry professionals.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum sponsor of the 2020 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. MatrixCare is the Gold sponsor for the Senior Living track.