Technology for Seniors Who Won’t Give Up Their Flip Phones

Interested in a home robot assistant for an elderly loved one? Read “You Can Have a Robot for a Roommate,” a June 29,2022 article in PBS’s Next Avenue. Learn why experts are recommending technology or “home robot assistants” for older adults. The article, written by Jeanette Beebe features our SmartCompanion, the latest Alexa powered, voice-activated medical alert, video and audio calling system.

Beebe writes technology can make living alone safer. It serves as a bridge, a way out of the house, connecting to experts at the other side who are there to help.

What is a Home Robot Assistant?

A robot assistant can be any device used for a variety of purposes that utilizes software, the internet or artificial intelligence to automate and help with daily tasks.

Grandma Robot, Robot Pets and Robot Companions

While some companies offer devices that look like robots of yesteryear’s science fiction, others offer “pet robots” that resemble cats, dogs, or birds. Yet, just about any technology that taps into the internet of things, smart speakers and artificial intelligence (AI) is often described as a “robot” or “robotic.”

More than Robot Companionship

Many SmartCompanion users often refer to the system as their new roommate due to the companionship it offers. However, our SmartCompanion is much more than just a robot for companionship. It’s a complete smart system that replaces dated medical alert devices and connects seniors to the internet via Alexa.

It allows seniors to make voice-activated audio and video phone calls. The SmartCompanion is pre-programmed and customized for each user and comes ready to go. It reminds users of appointments, to take pills, turn of the stove or lock the door. It’s also fun. It can tell you jokes, play music, or tell stories. It’s useful. You can ask the SmartCompanion any question, get news or sports info. Forgetful users can repeatedly ask the Companion the same question and get an answer without judgement or an irritated tone.

SmartCompanion Care is affiliated with Veterans Home Care and offers the identical system branded as the VetAssist Companion to those who qualify for VA benefits. Certain wartime veterans or their surviving spouses can receive the VetAssist Companion system with no out-of-pocket costs due to their qualifying military service.

Watch the SmartCompanion Video

Watch the video to see how SmartCompanion can improve the safety and well-being of an aging loved one.

Addressing Privacy Issues with Home Robot Assistants

The Next Avenue article addresses privacy concerns and says not all technology is equally safe and secure. Location-tracking, voice recording and other data may be vulnerable to being stolen by hackers and sold on the dark web. Still, many families say that these issues pale in comparison to the potential benefits.

David Laiderman, CEO of SmartCompanion Care says that his SmartCompanion system, which uses military-grade encryption, fully complies with HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and comes with a privacy-protection guarantee.

SmartCompanion User Reviews

Companion user Bonita Hoyle was quoted on how the system saved her life. Unlike Alexa devices bought off the shelf, her system was pre-programmed in order for her to summon emergency responders. Erika Hilliard was quoted on how VetAssist Companion made life easier, not just for her mother but for her whole family.

SmartCompanion also featured in Market Watch & Money Senator

Similar versions of Beebe’s robot companion story were published in Market Watch, Can a robot roommate help you care for your aging parent? and Money Senator, Can a robotic roommate assist you take care of your getting older dad and mum?

About Author Jeanette Beebe

Jeanette Beebe is an independent, data-driven journalist whose reporting has appeared in Consumer Reports, TIME, The Daily Beast, NPR, Scientific American, Fast Company and elsewhere. She was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

How to Get A SmartCompanion or VetAssist Companion System

Families whose loved ones may qualify for VA benefits to cover the cost of the VetAssist Companion system can contact Veterans Home Care at 888-314-6075 or
Others who are not eligible for VA benes can purchase a SmartCompanion by emailing or calling 855-488-1081.

SmartCompanion and Friendship Village Execs Speak at National Home Care Technology Conference

SmartCompanion CEO, David Laiderman and Carmen Fronczak, Chief Revenue Officer at Friendship Village Senior Services addressed a large gathering of senior care professionals during the Home Care Technology Conference, September 7th at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.

The two senior care execs discussed how Alexa-powered voice technology can assist caregiving based on lessons learned from residents of Friendship Village in St. Louis who piloted the SmartCompanion system. Laiderman is also CEO of VHC’s affiliated company SmartCompanion Care.

Friendship Village is a St. Louis area not-for-profit senior living community serving 1,100 older adults with independent living, assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and home services.

Friendship Village began testing the SmartCompanion system last fall. The system combines voice-activated emergency response connection, audio and video calls, and Alexa’s virtual assistance. After testing the devices on their two separate campuses, the senior living community is now integrating SmartCompanion into their facilities’ communications systems with the goal of driving resident engagement and boosting staff efficiency.

Friendship Village residents reported what they like about SmartCompanion. “When my husband or I are alone, it gives us a much greater sense of security in case something were to happen,” said Friendship Village Chesterfield Resident Bernadette Travers. “The things Alexa can do are also very nice. We can have her read off the daily activities happening around the Village, and we can also access the dining menu. Alexa’s my new bestie!”

SmartCompanion is an effective way to keep all residents engaged with their community while reducing strain on the staff. “With this technology, we’re living out our promise to enhance the lives of our residents, extend their ability to live independently, and live life to the fullest,” says Fronczak.

The SmartCompanion is pre-programmed and customized for each user. It can be purchased by individual older adults at Certain wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who qualify for the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit may receive the Alexa-powered system with no out-of-pocket costs.

“We want more seniors to gain access to the ‘Internet Of Things’ (IOT),” says Laiderman. “The Companion system, with users from age 62 to 100+, is designed for seniors who don’t embrace technology.”

Home Care Technology Conference speaker, SmartCompanion CEO David Laiderman fields questions at the September 7, conference in National Harbor, MD.

Once installed in a home, this HIPAA compliant, video-enabled system can help other senior care providers deliver virtual care options. “Ideally, we’d like to see more providers utilize the system to remote in and monitor their client’s care.”

“The Home Care Technology Conference is an excellent forum. We’re all looking toward innovation and technology to help us meet the rising demand for home care, caregiver shortages and the silver tsunami,” says Laiderman.

The Home Care Technology (HCT) Conference was attended by home care and senior living providers, a spectrum of caregiving technology companies and payers from managed care, Medicaid HMO and Medicare Advantage plans and accountable care organizations (ACOs).

SmartCompanion Care LLC was launched in 2020 by the same senior care experts who founded Veterans Home Care to bring cutting edge technology and software solutions to disabled and older adults. The SmartCompanion system is a breakthrough hands-free phone and video calling system, a voice-activated medical alert device and a virtual Smartcompanion powered by Alexa. It reduces isolation keeping older adults engaged and enabling easy access to the internet. Each SmartCompanion system is pre-programmed and customized for each user. The identical system is branded VetAssist Companion for certain wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who qualify for the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit who can receive the Alexa-powered system with no out-of-pocket costs. For more information:, , 855-488-1081, or