With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, aging is Big Business. And it should not come as a surprise that the generation that revolutionized everything from music to new definitions of family would see aging differently and want to modernize it. Today, dozens of entrepreneurs are using the technology that has become second nature to their generation to develop new products to help seniors and the family members who worry about them.
Let’s be clear about this–the technology is really for the younger generations, not the elderly. After all, the middle aged and youngsters among us grew up with the changing world of technology, not their parents. Of course, many people we now consider ‘seniors” have joined the revolution and welcome the myriad ways technology has changed and hopefully enriched their lives. But some older folks still resist this ‘new-fangled’ stuff and may resist the new devices being created just for them. So be patient if you get some push back. Most of the new devices are easy to use and the quality of life issues they address can be life changing.
One organization working to improve the lives of older people is Aging 2.0, a “global innovation platform” looking at technology and innovation for older adults around the world. They meet with inventors, designers, long term care providers and investors as well as with seniors themselves who talk about their needs and how chronological age is not always an indicator of behavior. These new enterprises aim to keep older people safe, independent and happy.
Recently, Aging 2.0 held an Agetech Expo in San Francisco where more than 80 exhibitors and speakers from around the world presented innovations in aging. Not surprising is the fact that almost every innovator and inventor created his or her product because of a need they saw in their own family, whether it was a wandering grandparent, trying to manage home health help from thousands of miles away, the needs of someone who lives alone or the creation of an emergency response system in countries without a 911 service.
One such company is HomeHero, a senior homecare marketplace which matches home care providers with seniors who need them, either while recuperating after a hospital stay or for long term care. Kyle Hill, the founder and CEO of HomeHero said, “Think of us as similar to a dating website. Using algorithms for the patient and the care giver, we use technology to provide the person who needs help with people who meet their requirements. And just like the dating sites, we usually find more than one match for our clients.” The online and mobile technology saves time, cost and risk through video profiles, references, insurance and schedule and payment tools.
HomeHero works with over 1500 caregivers who they call ‘heroes. Ideally, Hill tries to use career caregivers and said he wants to be the must trusted agency in the field. He understands the need for people who worry about seniors living far away as his grandmother lives alone. His father found it nearly impossible to manage her care long distance and when a hired caregiver showed up at his grandmother’s house, checked in, took the money and left, Hill realized that there was no way to verify that caregivers did what they were hired to do. Hill saw the need for a system that uses the latest technology, allows others to see what is actually going on in the house, reduce readmission to hospitals and respect the patient.
Others must have agreed as HomeHero has raised $23million to run the company located in southern California and expand to 10 more cities. Hill added that outsiders can’t really know what is best for your loved ones and that often the senior needs to be convinced that he needs help at all. His advice is to start with less care and see how it works out.
Innovation designed specifically for the aging generation is great news for both the user and the family members who cannot be with the senior all the time. Check out the many new products being developed today as they can give you peace of mind and your loved ones an extra tool and sense of control.