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The disease had progressed, often causing his thoughts to vanish mid-sentence.But Jim would rather risk living alone than be cloistered in an institution, he told Arlyn and her older sister, Layney.

Arlyn had moved from California back to Minnesota two decades earlier to be near her aging parents.

Now, in 2013, she was fiftysomething, working as a personal coach, and finding that her father’s decline was all-consuming.

“It’s risky to live here alone—”“No way,” Jim interjected.

He frowned at his daughter, his brow furrowed under a lop of white hair.

A nursing home certainly wasn’t what Arlyn wanted for him either.

But the daily churn of diapers and cleanups, the carousel of in-home aides, and the compounding financial strain (she had already taken out a reverse mortgage on Jim’s cottage to pay the caretakers) forced her to consider the possibility. “OK, Dad.” Arlyn’s house was a 40-minute drive from the cottage, and for months she had been relying on a patchwork of technology to keep tabs on her dad.His touch would send an instantaneous alert to the human caretaker behind the avatar, prompting the Care Coach worker to launch the tablet’s audio and video stream. The dog complimented Jim’s red sweater and cheered him on when he struggled to buckle his watch in the morning. ”south of Lake Minnetonka, in Monterrey, Mexico, Rodrigo Rochin opens his laptop in his home office and logs in to the Care Coach dashboard to make his rounds.He reciprocated by petting the screen with his index finger, sending hearts floating up from the dog’s head. ” Pony told him a month after they first met—something Care Coach operators often tell the people they are monitoring. He talks baseball with a New Jersey man watching the Yankees; chats with a woman in South Carolina who calls him Peanut (she places a cookie in front of her tablet for him to “eat”); and greets Jim, one of his regulars, who sips coffee while looking out over a lake. He’s a fan of the Spurs and the Cowboys, a former international business student, and a bit of an introvert, happy to retreat into his sparsely decorated home office each morning.So when she read in the newspaper about a new digi­tal eldercare service called Care Coach a few weeks after broaching the subject of the nursing home, it piqued her interest.For about 0 a month, a human-powered avatar would be available to watch over a homebound person 24 hours a day; Arlyn paid that same amount for just nine hours of in-home help. A Google Nexus tablet arrived in the mail a week later.When Arlyn plugged it in, an animated German shepherd appeared onscreen, standing at attention on a digitized lawn.