REVIEW: The GeriJoy Companion (Part 1 of 5)

GeriJoy virtual pet

Hands-on review of the GeriJoy virtual pet and care companion

We tried the GeriJoy Companion so we could share our real-life experience and opinions with you. If you’re considering a monitoring or companion service for your older adult, this 5 part hands-on review lets you know what to expect from GeriJoy.

Find out how we ordered and got set up in Getting Started (Part 2). See it in action in May’s Experience (Part 3). See how families use it in the Family Experience (Part 4). Find out who we’d recommend it to and learn about future improvements in Our Final Verdict (Part 5).

 

What is the GeriJoy Companion?

The GeriJoy Companion is an interactive online puppy or kitty in a tablet device. It’s designed as a 24/7 companion for older adults. Seniors interact using voice and touch, so no typing or other skills are needed. A real person, called a GeriJoy Helper, controls the virtual pet’s speech and keeps an eye on your older adult.

For your older adult, the virtual companion is a pet that is always happy to see them, helps keep them on their routine, boosts mood and self-esteem, responds to petting, shows family photos, and more. GeriJoy Helpers use the tablet’s audio and video technology to know what’s going on in your older adult’s surroundings.

 

How does this help families?

For family caregivers, the GeriJoy Companion keeps your older adult happily engaged and gives you a look into their daily life via the daily Companion Log. In the Log, GeriJoy Helpers summarize the day’s conversations, activities, and observations. If a Helper notices a problem, they speak to the older adult or call for help. Helpers are also dementia-trained and can help calm agitated or disoriented older adults.

There’s also a Family Portal where caregivers can upload photos, family updates, and important information about their older adult.

 

GeriJoy virtual petGeriJoy avatars in action

 

Why would older adults benefit from virtual pets?

GeriJoy uses cute animals as the face of the companion because pet therapy benefits include reducing stress, increasing activity and appetite, and increasing engagement and socializing. It’s also a much less threatening way to introduce a monitoring device into your older adult’s home. Getting an older adult to accept a fun virtual pet is much easier than getting them to accept a monitoring system with a “Big Brother” feel.

 

Monthly fees and 30 day risk-free trial

The GeriJoy Companion costs $249/month. Check out our review and photos to see what’s included in the price. There’s also a 30 day risk-free trial so you can see if your older adult likes it. You’ll have to pay $249 up front, but if your older adult isn’t interested, cancel the service and return the tablet device within 30 days for a full refund.

 

GeriJoy Review Summary

We tested the GeriJoy Companion with May, our own 100 year old older adult who has good mental abilities, but can’t move around without help. Here’s a quick summary of our experience.

The positive

  • Every interaction with the companion is positive, happy, and full of warm feelings. The GeriJoy Helpers always find something nice or encouraging to say.
  • The ability to show photos and have personalized conversations make playing with the virtual pet a fun and engaging experience.
  • Older adults are instinctively attracted by the cute animal avatar and want to play and talk with it.

The negative

  • This doesn’t completely replace having someone there in person.
  • Even though GeriJoy Helpers typically check on your older adult 4 times each hour, the audio and video feed isn’t always being actively watched. However, there are alerts to let Helpers know if there’s a loud sound or motion within camera view.
  • GeriJoy Helpers can only observe what’s in the camera view or within hearing range. If there’s a problem, but it’s outside of hearing or seeing range, the Helpers won’t know to notify anyone.

The bottom line

  • It’s great for older adults who need added companionship and engaging conversation throughout the day.
  • It gives family caregivers added peace of mind.
  • GeriJoy Helpers can contact your chosen emergency contacts by phone or email if they see a problem.
  • You can read daily logs to find out how your older adult spent their time.

 

Next Step  See our experience with ordering and setup in Part 2

 

Find out how we ordered and got set up in Getting Started (Part 2). See it in action in May’s Experience (Part 3). See how families use it in the Family Experience (Part 4). Find out who we’d recommend this to and learn about future improvements in Our Final Verdict (Part 5).

 

You might also like:
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Caregiver
3 Types of In-Home Care
The Five Wishes Living Will

 

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Images: GeriJoy

Disclaimer: The product was loaned to us for the duration of this review. DailyCaring was not compensated and all opinions are based on our honest experiences. This is how we make money.

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