After four years of volunteering at a retirement home and forming a deep connection with a resident who I watched get diagnosed with Parkinson's recede into her shell, I realized how much symptoms of Parkinson's like loneliness and depression affect patients and how much Parkinson's in general is overshadowed by other neurological conditions. Ruth passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic without saying goodbye and I was not able to provide her the company I used to due to isolation restrictions. Many retirement homes remain understaffed after the pandemic and healthcare workers overworked. That's where our new Alexa skill, Parkinson's Companion comes in.

Parkinson's Companion is a really smart and kind caretaker, friend, and loved-one all in one. When the skill is activated at time of choice by the retirement home resident, Parkinson's Companion asks the resident about their wellbeing, exercise, whether they've taken their medications, whether they would like to leave a note for their loved ones, directs patients through exercise and mindfulness techniques, and most importantly reminds the resident that they are not alone and are loved. Healthcare providers and family can view these interaction summaries in a website dashboard that we hope to make an EPIC API with in the future, allowing them to monitor and be with the resident at all times (HTML rough draft webpage). Nurses can set text reminders to retirement home residents through our Twilio integration feature.

We used Javascript, HTML, AWS Lambda, Twilio, and Python. With more time and expertise (most of our members had very little coding experience and did not know what an Alexa skill was at the beginning of the hackathon), we hope to enable a menu where residents are given the option to directly call family, have wearable data integration, a journaling feature, and much more. We plan to do this through Mallika's founded nonprofit Parkinson's Together, where we hope to use grant money to further develop our skill and interface! Thank you for your time.

Share this project: