Margaret Lambe and Kelly Mullen from the Hey Mylo team pictured at the Louth Age Friendly Conference. Picture: Fintan Clarke.
God be with the days when your granny had a pet cat which kept her company during the days when no family were about or the weather precluded her from pottering in the garden.
A cat called Mylo was the centre of attraction at the Louth Age Friendly conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel yesterday (Wednesday April 17) the central theme of which was ‘Ageing in place’.
Mylo is no ordinary moggy however, he is in fact a robot and unlike your granny’s feline, this three foot electronic puss is designed to help people live independently in their own homes, providing security for them and their loved ones.
Developed by CR Robotics in Dundalk, the cat-faced robot is paired with a health sensor watch that provides functions ranging from health to companionship.
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CR Robotics say Mylo's functions are that of a 'personal home assistant' - an affordable monitoring and support robot for individual use to prolong independence, aiding access to a better quality of life for an individual and their carers.
A daily ‘to do’ list, a good morning greeting and responding to an emergency are just a few of the services that Mylo provides – and the conference heard that this technology is both available and affordable for older people.
Mylo is extremely unlikely to get stuck behind the kitchen presses, steal the dinner off your table when your back is turned or stay out all night “on the tiles” and he has no claws to stick into your lap, just to show you who is the real boss of the house!
Here’s a video of Mylo making his TV debut on Ireland AM a couple of weeks ago:
Also at yesterday’s conference Louth County Council CEO Joan Martin, who has been elected as President of the EU Covenant on Ageing and, representing Ireland’s first age-friendly county, said she aims to lead the conversation on ageing in a European setting.
The conference looked at the key areas of the Louth Age Friendly Alliance strategy and engaged with older people on the direction it was taking.
The Alliance have held a number of workshops with the private housing sector to impress the need for a universal design on new builds to meet the needs of an ageing population.
The conference heard that housing needs to support the dweller for as long as possible and be able to adapt to changing circumstances.
“The building techniques and technology used in the age-friendly Great Northern Haven complex in Louth is an examplar for Ireland, and attracts visitors from around the world, most recently Hong Kong,” said Louth Age-Friendly County Co-ordinator, Mary Deery.
The HSE made a presentation on the Interreg mPower pilot project which uses technology to help people discharged with COPD from acute hospitals.
Under the project, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are now able to connect with discharged patients via video calling on tablets, thus encouraging ageing in place.
“The conference also explored the theme of social prescribing. While a medical doctor will prescribe pills, some of the physical things that are wrong with us come from loneliness and depression,” said Mary Deery.
“Social prescription looks at volunteers who could get people back involved in the community, through good morning call services, afternoon tea groups and general interaction with society.”
The Louth Older People’s Forum is carry out a study on the issues affecting older parents of adult children with disabilities.
“There are very real issues for older people who have been caring for children with disabilities all of their lives,” said Mary Deery.
“Parents worry about what happens when they are no longer there, what happens when one of them gets sick, how that may change accommodation and housing needs for their children, and who will then keep them socially active.”
Age-friendly transport was to the fore and rural transport programme Local Link were on hand to launch their new timetable for Louth at the conference.