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Padbots Are Making the Rounds in the Lehigh Valley

Robby the Robot01If you are a senior citizen in the Lehigh Valley, you may remember the days of the house calls, when the friendly neighborhood doctor would arrive at your home with his black bag and oral (or otherwise) thermometer. They say those days are over; however, a new visitor has come calling: the padbot.


What is a padbot? It’s a model of a telepresence robot. Simply put, it’s a mobile robot that can move around on wheels and tilt its “head,” which is controlled by a smartphone or iPad. The little visitor is impervious to germs and viruses, so it is the ideal tool for communicating between doctors and other healthcare workers and patients.


In this day of isolation and fear, people are getting used to alternate means of communication, including computers and phones. This is especially true in the healthcare and related fields. For example, The Pennsylvania Department of Aging announced that the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman has incorporated two Padbots as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance communication with residents in long-term care facilities. Padbots are designed to safely connect ombudsmen with residents via video when they may not be able to adequately correspond or don’t have their own communication devices.


The Padbots, nicknamed “Addie the Advocate” and “Pete the PEERbot,” are part of a pilot program launched during the COVID-19 emergency. Ombudsmen control the Padbots’ movements, and their faces are projected on a screen to allow personal, private interaction with residents without assistance from facility staff.


“Addie and Pete have been great additions to our ombudsmen’s arsenal. They really have allowed us to go into a facility safely and efficiently to connect with residents when face-to-face contact has not been permitted due to the ongoing pandemic,” said the Department of Aging’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Margaret Barajas. “Our ombudsmen have received very positive feedback on Addie and Pete so far. They brought smiles to peoples’ faces and helped to lighten the mood of interactions that we have had with residents.”


Far from the scary monster robots in the sci-fi films of the 1950s, though not quite as personable as Robbie the Robot and R2-D2, padbots are ideal workers that can help seniors get the assistance they need from various agencies and healthcare systems, without being unnecessarily inconvenienced or exposed to potentially harmful situations.


South Mountain Memory Care focuses on high-quality, personalized care. South Mountain Memory Care is proud to offer a wide range of resident-focused daily activity programming to our residents. Each neighborhood offers activity space for group and one-on-one activities.

The brand-new building is a stand-alone memory care community, meaning that the entire building, staff, and programs, are designed to serve residents with cognitive issues. To ensure person-centered care and attention, we have accommodations for up to 28 residents. The building is divided into two neighborhoods (wings), each offering 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites. South Mountain Memory Care is located in the Allentown suburb of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and is easily accessible from the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. For more information, go to

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