When young people (or the youngest) think about the technology of the age, they can mainly imagine clinical solutions, telemedicine platforms, for example. However, getting older doesn’t just have a physical component. Isolation, for example, is a serious problem for the elderly, especially during the pandemic. And seniors still need to manage their daily routines and finances, not just planning their estates and wills.
AARP Innovation Labs, the incubation program, sheds light on the many facets of aging in his virtual CES presentation with a list of startups divided into five groups: community, clinic, wellness, financial services, and housing.
The program included fintech startups due to the economic impact of the pandemic, focusing on three companies that “help aging populations better manage their finances and budgets, and effectively plan for the future.” Originally created to teach financial literacy to children and teens, Goalie extends its reach to more people with savings and investment management tools. Genie creates personalized financial projections based on users’ health and lifestyle, medical conditions and retirement goals, telling them how many years they might need to work before they retire and when they might be need long-term care. Confidence & Will, meanwhile, allows families to easily create guardianship plans, wills and trusts.
Isolation was a serious problem for older people even before COVID-19, and the pandemic has made the loneliness worse. AARP Innovation responds to this problem with its selection of “community” startups. While many people already rely on other video chat apps, Kinoo wants to tailor the experience for families with elderly relatives living away from them. These are IoT toys for kids that allow them to play games and do projects with their grandparents and other family members through the Kinoo app.
A tabletop console game system, Board Game, also allows family members to have fun, instead of just chatting, with each other. It hosts hundreds of games, including role-playing games. Beeyonder is a marketplace for live virtual tours led by experts around the world, and can help ease the boredom of staying home as the pandemic continues.
Many of the startups in the AARP incubator are focused on aging in place or helping older people stay in their homes instead of moving to a care facility. Its “Housing” component included three businesses focused on personal mobility. Camino Robotics creates “e-rollators” or smart walkers with features that help people walk on inclines and uneven surfaces, automatically brake when descending and fold into “compact mode” to navigate tight spaces . Braze Mobility says it can turn any wheelchair into a smart wheelchair with patent-pending blind spot sensors that warn of obstacles with lights, sounds and vibrations. Meanwhile, De Oro Devices NexStride, created for people with Parkinson’s disease, is a small device that can be attached to canes and walkers and that uses audio and visual cues to help users overcome freezing episodes and do more long walks.
During this time, Tell us is a startup that helps people live on their own with small wall sensors that can track biometric data, including heart rate, breathing, sleep, and falls, up to five meters away, and sends alerts to caregivers and family members through an app.
In its wellness category, AARP Innovation presented three startups focused on health and wellness in general. These included Zibrio, which was also part of AARP’s CES lineup last year. Zibrio is a scale that measures not only a person’s weight, but also the balance and risk of falling of a person. The company claims that Zibrio’s Balance Scale can predict whether you’re at risk of falling over the next 12 months, and its app then gives personalized care recommendations. While many people track their diet and exercise with apps like MyFitnessPal or Noom, Powerful health was developed specifically for people over 50. It connects users with a health coach and offers nutrition and workout plans created for seniors.
Mental well-being is also extremely important. Practical was launched to help people who ‘face geographic, economic and inclusionary barriers’ to access health, wellness and mindfulness features by partnering with fitness studios and working with large organizations, including health systems, to make their services accessible to users.
Of course, improving health care and health service delivery for the elderly is extremely important, especially in the United States with its fragmented healthcare system. Included in the “clinical” section of AARP Innovation, Folia Health is a healthcare “individual operating system” that allows patients to answer multiple-choice questions every day, which are then reviewed by their providers to help them with their diagnostic and care plans. It can be used to manage multiple conditions and communicate with multiple care providers. Start of telemedicine Tembo, on the other hand, partners with senior care communities, enabling them to provide remote medical services to their residents or clients. Emblem was created to facilitate pharmaceutical studies by accelerating the processes of evidence generation and regulatory review.
For individuals, the clinical component included two startups. MindMics are smart headphones that analyze biometrics, including heart rate, and send them to an app. JoyLux deals specifically with menopause with a list of products including pelvic floor exercise devices, lubricants, supplements, and cooling pads.