We’ve come a long way from “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”. Companies are noticing what a large demographic the aging population embodies, and are creating innovative solutions and services for seniors well beyond personal emergency response systems like Life Alert. From senior care apps and robot friends to renting a college student and connecting with other silver-haired friends online, here are some innovative ways companies are transforming the aging experience and improving the lives of seniors.
Cake provides a platform for proactive end-of-life planning for adults of any age. Discover, store, and share your healthcare, legal and financial, funeral, and legacy preferences all in one place. This helps get everyone on the same page and unburdens loved ones from decision-making.
Papa is a college kid rental service that helps seniors stay independent while living at home. The app connects older adults with college students to assist with transportation, household chores, technology, and more. The on-demand assistance service also provides college kid companionship if you want to go to a movie, play a game, or just chat. Services are available hourly or for a monthly fee.
Virtual reality is busting into the nursing home. Older folks are strapping on goggles and enjoying a computer-simulated 3D experience, “returning” to places they’ve been, or “traveling” to places they never thought they would, without having to actually go anywhere. The virtual reality company Rendever has created VR technology specifically for residents of senior living communities and their families. It is especially useful for those with limited mobility and is meant to help with depression and isolation, which the company notes is an issue for half of all long-term care residents.
Stitch is the social platform for people aged 50+. It helps elderly folks find companionship, activities, events, travel, and more. Part dating site, part social network, part community, Stitch “helps its members find and make new friends and companions who are enriching their lives through shared interests and activities.”
Breezie is for Luddites. If you’ve ever been intimidated by a tablet or “going online,” this platform is for you. This simplified operating system gives seniors easy access to the internet, enabling them to use online banking, find recipes, keep in touch with loved ones, stream music, and more. The best part? Users can contact Breezie support directly from their tablet or by calling a toll-free number anytime they need help with the hardware, software, internet connection, or apps. Breezie also provides solutions for organizations and caregivers to deliver services and care via the simplified personalized tablet interface.
Reemo Health out of Minneapolis has developed a smartwatch for seniors. This wearable assistive technology connects the patient’s health data to caregivers. Committed to advancing aging-in-place and remote care initiatives, the company provides “connected technology, services, and data insights to enterprise healthcare and life sciences organizations.”
Need a pillbox that will nark on you if you skip a dose? Tricella has a smart pillbox for that. This app and pillbox duo helps ensure that independent seniors take their meds on time. The Smart Pillbox has sensors for each pill drawer that connects to the smartphone application via Bluetooth technology to notify family members or loved ones via an alert, text, call or, audio if a senior forgets to take their pills.
GeriJoy provides 24/7 remote highly-trained caregivers to provide conversation, emotional support, and reminders when you or a local caregiver is not around.
Bet you never thought you’d have a robot friend. MIT artificial intelligence and robotics professor Cynthia Breazeal has spent her professional career researching anthropomorphic robots, and now she’s created one for seniors. Jibo tells jokes and stories like existing voice-activated virtual personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, but with even more capabilities, including the ability to mimic emotions. It only weighs about five pounds and stands nearly a foot tall with a six-inch-wide circular base, so it can sit on a desktop or table. Jibo responds to voice commands and is able to call friends and family, send emails, take pictures and videos, tell you what your schedule is for the day, and more. The system learns as it interacts with its users over time.
Liftware makes eating utensils that are designed to help those with hand tremors or limited mobility eat more easily. The Liftware Steady features an electronic stabilizing handle and utensil attachment (soup spoon, regular spoon, fork, and spork). The advanced sensor and motor-based cancellation technology adapts to your hand tremor and decreases utensil shakes by 70%, so you can stop worrying about spilling and enjoy your meal. The Liftware Level is designed for those with limited hand and arm mobility that can be associated with cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease, post-stroke deficits, or spinal cord injury. This assistive device adapts to your range of motion using advanced sensor and motor-based self-leveling technology to keep your attached utensil level, no matter how your hand twists, bends, and moves.
Honor is a website that connects older adults with caregivers, “creating a better, more reliable care experience for families, caregivers, and local agency owners.”