I recently attended an invitation-only think tank meeting that focused on new technology to improve the aging experience for older adults. The meeting was held in the perfect location: Silicon Valley.
Part of the program was devoted to a mini (and mild) “Shark Tank” TV-like experience. Entrepreneurs pitched a product or service for feedback to improve their innovation and to identify leads for partnerships, marketing and funding opportunities. All were in the implementation phase of their work.
Here are four start-ups that made their pitch:
A roommate-matching service for baby boomers and empty nesters is designed for homeowners who would like to stay in their own home as they age, but may not be able to afford the cost. Silvernest provides a way for such homeowners to find roommates who can rent rooms in their homes; it is not open to landlords’ listing of rental property. Their one-time fee ranges from $99 to $349, depending on the level of service. Once a group of compatible roommates has been identified, the homeowner can choose which ones to interview and which to rent a room. Silvernest currently has 11,000 users in Colorado, Los Angeles and Florida with plans for expansion.
This California nonprofit organization connects older adults to each other through their participation in interactive group activities from their home. Using a digital platform specially designed frame, customers can join the group, participate in a variety of live programs designed to entertain, engage, inspire and educate. The site provides short exercise videos twice a day and games, classes and additional ways to interact with friends at different locations for up to 40 hours of activities. The monthly cost is $15. Their goal is to address social isolation by establishing a community. No technical skill is necessary to access programs. Currently TeleVisit is San Francisco-based.
This company creates home robots that connect people remotely to their loved ones, enabling family members to visit them. Its website asks, “Not visiting as often as you like?” It notes that the instant connection through the robot avoids costs of travel and the stress of not being there. A family member can check in and see whether the older person is healthy and keeping up with nutrition and medications. OhmniLabs has 30 robots in the field as part of a pilot test of the project.
The mission of SilverRide is to enable older adults to have a more connected, fulfilling, dignified and independent lifestyle after their “driving retirement.” Door-to-door transportation is provided by trained driver escorts for older adults who no longer can drive. The service includes transportation to and from a destination such as a doctor’s office or theater as well as private excursions to local sights around the greater San Francisco area. SilverRide also has a courier service for pick up and drop off of prescriptions and other errands. Its Signature Events Series is a monthly social event of excursions for members and non-members to get to know each other and engage in interesting activities in the Bay Area. See www.silverride.com.
A company not part of the pitch event was Tech-enhanced Life, a virtual collaborative of older adults and their friends of all ages who identify, trial, review and evaluate solutions to overcoming challenges of growing older. Participants are called Longevity Explorers and meet face-to-face to explore new products and services. Examples that have been reviewed and recommended by the Explorers are a cane with a built-in blinking flashlight, the best jar opener for older adults and the best pill-reminder app. Their recommendations appear on www.techenhancedlife.com.
Technology is a tool to enhance the aging experience; a period of time to embrace independence, social connections, security and fun. That’s good news.
Send emails to Helen Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.facebook.com/SuccessfulAgingCommunity.