Seven years ago, Miles and his family were involved in a motor vehicle accident. Sadly, Miles incurred a bleed on his brain that left him with permanent brain injuries. The accident severely impacted the left side of his body. It resulted in 14-year-old Miles with issues to his arm and leg that do not function properly. The impact of the accident has meant that he has had to learn to walk and talk again.
Miles has cognitive impairment, and he cannot learn the same way as his peers. He has short-term memory loss and struggles with remembering things such as when to put on deodorant, when to brush his teeth, and when to take his medication. Activities that usually need no reminder for most kids his age. Miles is unable to read social cues and has difficulty understanding personal boundaries.
Seven Years on From the Accident
Miles’ mother, Simone takes on the role of his primary carer. She makes sure he gets dressed, eats meals, exercises, relaxes, attends appointments, and other daily tasks. Aside from this, her most significant role is that of Miles’ mother (and that of his three brothers). Simone also has a job and runs the household with her husband.
The mental load that comes with looking after four children, one of which is a teenager with a brain injury, is significant. The majority of her time she spends helping Miles, constantly checking in with him to make sure he has had a shower, brushed his teeth, and taken his medication, for example. Simone’s daily tasks consist of reminders to Miles while managing a household of 5 other people. It has made Simone feel like she has no time for herself or other family members.
With around 80% of her time centered around Miles, her relationship with him was suffering. She felt like all her energy was taken-up with following up Miles with his everyday tasks. For example, she would ask him if he had taken his medication, Miles would answer and follow her up on her request. This constant push and pull were taking a toll on the family who witnessed Simone’s ongoing reminders. It left Miles feeling like he was being nagged at by mum all the time and it was taking a mental toll on Simone too.
TEQ-Home – assisted living technology
At an appointment with Miles’ occupational therapist and neuropsychologist, Simone first heard about the TEQ-Home. They spoke about how it was a type of digital concierge that offers spoken word reminders. It would help remind Miles about everyday tasks that needed to be completed, like when to take his medication, for example.
Simone dismissed the idea as she wanted something more physical that would perhaps chime as a reminder until notified. She also admits she was intimidated by technology. A common occurrence when there is a lack of understanding in regard to what is possible.
However, the family was getting to the point where they were seriously considering getting a carer to help look after Miles. He did not want this.
TEQ-Home and Miles
Following some further thought, Simone decided to introduce TEQ-Home to Miles, and now upon reflection, she is so glad she did. Right from the offset, Simone says that the most significant benefit is that her relationship with Miles has dramatically improved. She feels like his mum again.
Miles loves that his mum does not ‘nag’ him, as he puts it, and he tells all his friends he has his own personal robot!
Miles loves the TEQ-Home, which he affectionately calls a ‘him’, and it holds pride of place in his bedroom. It is programmed to remind him to do his daily tasks at a specific time. For example, when to brush his teeth, pack his bag, eat breakfast, get dressed, and take his medication.
These reminders are added via the online SOFIHUB cloud portal and can be easily changed or deleted. It allows Simone and any other nominated carer to check-in virtually to make sure all is well.
Simone says the TEQ-Home gives Miles a sense of independence as he can control the SOFIHUB voice and helps her decide what reminders he needs that day.
Once the TEQ-Home voice speaks a reminder message to Miles, he knows he needs to complete the task. If Miles misses a routine like not getting out of bed in the morning, the system will notify Simone and her husband, and they can send a live text to voice message to the device to give him a little nudge when needed.
She also likes the safety aspect, as Miles does not have the same independence capabilities as his peers.
TEQ-Home during COVID lockdown
TEQ-Home was a lifesaver during the COVID lockdown when Miles and his siblings undertook their schooling at home. Simone found it terrific that the timings of the reminders for the TEQ-Home, could be customised.
For example, the TEQ-Home tells Miles when to wake up every morning at a particular time. However, during covid, the wake-up message could be changed later, as there was no need to spend time getting ready to attend school.
Another feature that Simone enjoys about this digital concierge is that messages are changed, so they are more dynamic. The previous method of having a written checklist of all the tasks Miles needed to do was static and never changed. It was the method previously used in conjunction with Simone constantly having to call out to follow up Miles all the time.
A positive outcome of the TEQ-Home is that it has had a significant impact on Simone’s language. She no longer feels like she is ‘yelling’ all the time to check that Miles has completed a task, as the TEQ-Home is taking care of all the reminders. The online portal is easy to follow, and in her opinion, as someone “who is not up with technology” she is very confident using the device. She also likes that you can gain access to the portal via an app on her smartphone.
Apart from the fact that this style of assisted-living technology is automated, Simone loves the fact the TEQ-Home does the executive function for him. It has given her back the opportunity to be ‘mum’, not ‘the nagging carer’ as she says, and this is something she missed prior.
Life with TEQ-Home
Simone will be returning to work soon from maternity leave and feels at ease knowing the TEQ-Home is in the background for Miles. She can customise the messages for different times. She can set a welcome message for Miles that says, ‘hope you’ve had a great day at school’ or ‘It’s Thursday, you have a swimming lesson, don’t forget to have a snack.’ Another feature of the TEQ-Home is that it can remind Miles that ‘it’s time to have a break.’ Fatigue is an issue for people the suffer from brain injuries as they sometimes cannot process the fact that their body needs to rest.
For Miles, Simone, and the family, the TEQ-Home has bought them closer. Giving Miles a sense of control and independence, Simone some free time and a more harmonious family life