This week’s “Aging and Caregiving Digital Health Reverse Pitch” event in Boston confirms the demand—and thirst– for smarter caregiving technology. The HUBweek event is one of nearly 200 talks, demonstrations, exhibits and entertainment (a silent disco party??—please explain the connection!) over five days to address the intersection of art, science and technology.
It’s no surprise that HUBweek, a collaboration of the Boston Globe, Mass. General Hospital, Harvard and MIT, brought some big Boston brains and robust brainstorming to the event. Five company execs, including from Philips Home Monitoring, told a rapt 150-person crowd about the kind of technology that would make a significant difference in their organizations for family and professional caregivers.
In the audience: gerontechnology entrepreneurs listening to these CEOS tech “wish list” needs. Also venture capitalists (ideas need $$), geriatricians and senior living providers.The event was put together by Aging2.0Boston and MeHI (short for Massachusetts eHealth Institute) in Boston’s Seaport area at the ultra cool Innovation and Design Building.
After opening comments from Alice Bonner, Massachusetts Elder Affairs secretary, I moderated the panel. It was an engaging and substantive conversation (if I may say so myself).
Here are a couple of ingenious ideas that came from the presenters:
- Veronica Barber, Senior VP of Human Capital (what a title!) at Benchmark Senior Living wants yet-to-be invented tech that could alert family and professional caregivers to the physical and psychological needs (be changed, have to go to the bathroom. . .) of a resident who may have dementia and can’t communicate.
It would anticipate their needs before there’s a problem, leading to better care and less frustration about getting their needs met. It would also head off unpleasant experiences (toileting accident) or even a crisis.
- Kate Granigan, CEO of LifeCare Advocates, a geriatric care manager practice, explained that the profile of her clients is changing. It’s not just adult children seeking advice for their aging parents when there’s a crisis. Rather, some clients, in their early 70s, want to know options and resources needs so they can thoughtfully plan for their own old age.
Granigan proposed an interactive dashboard that would look at the whole person’s needs (financial, legal, housing, health), not just cover eldercare. The digital tool could be tweaked and updated by either her office or the client as circumstances change.
The audience brought up tech to mitigate loneliness and social isolation—this is a HUGE issue—but alas, we had only an hour to hear the panelists’ ideas. Fortunately, networking entrepreneurs/engineers and panelists had time to connect. Here’s hoping some solid solutions come out of the event.
Next year, let’s talk about loneliness and technology.