Many musicians tour worldwide. Some theatre troupes travel the globe to entertain the masses. But until now, no one has rocked out on a global scale to disrupt eldercare.
Meet Grace Andruszkiewicz (just don’t try to pronounce her surname). Andruszkiewicz is the director of community engagement for Aging 2.0, a mission-driven platform that is accelerating innovation in aging by “cultivating a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, investors, senior care providers and seniors themselves.” And she’s on tour, seeking global initiatives to make eldercare buzz-worthy.
Andruszkiewicz says, “The most important thing we’re looking for is impact. Is this [startup] doing something that’s going to really improve quality of life and the aging experience for older people?”
Cognitive Karaoke and Dry Derrières
Some of the companies Aging 2.0 applauds and awards are disrupting eldercare in ways that are greatly needed, if not glamorous. Sensassure, for example, “reimagines incontinence” with technology that detects wetness in an elder’s underwear. It may not be a popular dinner table topic, but this device improves life immeasurably for both patients and caregivers. Singfit, which won AARP’s Innovation@50+ award, turns music into medicine by addressing dementia and mood with elder karaoke.
But even these innovations may be outstripped before long. Aging 2.0′s startup search in Berlin found nine young companies competing for the next round, covering everything from robot technology to wearables for cardio e-health to elder-friendly tablet design.
Disrupting Eldercare is an Entrepreneurial Hot Button
The CB Insights tech market intelligence platform found eleven startups improving the lives of the elderly, such as 3rings, an ingenious “smartplug” that lets family members know a senior is OK by sending a message to the recipient’s mobile phone when the senior plugs in a domestic appliance, such as a coffee pot.
Another CB Insights find is HomeHero, which we’ve profiled in depth: a marketplace that helps families find, hire and manage quality in-home care providers.
Then there’s Stitch, a different kind of “dating” site, designed to help mature adults find friends, activities and travel companions as well as romantic connections. The founders say, “We built Stitch because everybody needs company, no matter what their age is.”
The Eyes Have It
ScienceMag.com reports ophthalmology tech now has an early diagnostic tool offering a bird’s eye view into Alzheimer’s, by detecting changes in the retina. This allows treatment to begin before patients exhibit any neurological symptoms.
As we explored in a recent technology update, virtual reality (VR) is sizzling — and now, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus, a virtual reality headset, it could fast-forward into health care. Fahad Aziz, co-founder of Caremerge, which coordinates care and communication across the entire health care continuum, believes that soon, “a doctor could be transported to a hospital in Kenya while sitting in the relative comfort of his clinic in San Francisco. The VR gear would allow the user to move around and interact with people in their environment, enabling participation in treatment, research, or even surgery.” Impressive.
So keep your eye on these and other visionary startups in the senior services space. Who knows, reverse mortgage professionals could be poised to join this august group as the new rock stars for smart retirement planning.