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Google is piloting a simpler Nest Hub Max interface at retirement homes

Last week, Mount Sinai showcased how it’s started using Nest devices to monitor patients remotely. Today, Google’s showing off how the Nest Hub Max is helping retirement home residents feel a little less isolated amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

To help matters along, the company is currently testing a simplified interface to make the smart screen easier to operate for less tech savvy residents. Google is currently piloting the device’s use by handing units out to people at Merrill Gardens in Washington State. They’ll be the first to get a crack at the new UI.

Updates include additional “What can you do” cards serving as shortcuts to common requests like alarms, weather and music. Recipients will also get their devices preloaded with contacts for video calls — likely the primary use, as homes across the country institute social distancing.

“It’s important for seniors’ mental and emotional health to stay connected, and social isolation during this quarantine makes doing that especially hard,” Google’s Molly McHugh-Johnson says in a post. “As I learned with my grandma, Nest Hub Max and Duo video calling can help keep us ‘together’ while we’re apart.”

Retirement and nursing homes have been disproportionately impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The elderly community in general has been hard hit by the virus, with a mortality rate of 3% to 11% for ages 65 to 84 and 10% to 27% for ages 85 and up. For that reason it’s become particularly important for communities to enact strong social distancing measures.

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