When young people (or young adults) think of old technology, they may often imagine clinical solutions – telemedicine platforms, for example. However, aging does not only have a physical component. Isolation, for example, is a serious problem for older adults, especially during an epidemic. Older people still have to manage their daily routine and finances, not just estate planning and wills.
AARP Innovation Labs, the incubator programme, is highlighting the many aspects of aging in its 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, with a focus on three companies that “help the elderly better manage finances and budgets, and effectively plan for the future.” Originally created to teach children and teens financial literacy, Gaultier is expanding its reach to more people with savings and investment management tools. Genivity creates customized financial projections based on users’ health and lifestyle habits, medical conditions and retirement goals, showing them how many years they may need to work before retirement and what point they may need in extended care. Meanwhile, Trust & Will makes it easy for families to create trust plans, wills, and trusts.
Isolation was a serious problem for seniors even before COVID-19 and the pandemic has exacerbated loneliness. AARP Innovation addresses this issue by selecting ‘community’ startups. While many people already rely on other video chat apps, Kinoo wants to customize the experience for families who have elderly relatives who live far away. IoT games for kids allow them to play games and do projects with their grandparents and other family members through the Kinoo app.
A tabletop console gaming system, Gameboard, allows family members to have fun, rather than just chatting time, with each other. It hosts hundreds of games, including RPGs. Beeyonder is a marketplace for virtual live tours led by experts around the world, and it can help alleviate the boredom of staying at home while the pandemic continues.
Many AARP incubator startups focus on aging in place, or helping seniors stay home rather than move to a care facility. The “Housing” division includes three companies that focus on personal mobility. Camino Robotics creates “electronic spinning machines,” or smart walkers, with features that help people walk over slopes and uneven surfaces, brake automatically when coming off slopes and fold into “compact mode” to navigate tight spaces. Braze Mobility says it can turn any wheelchair into a smart wheelchair with patented 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 uses audio and visual cues to help users beat bouts of freezing and walk longer distances.
Meanwhile, Tellus is a startup that helps people live on their own with tiny wall-mounted sensors that can track vital data, including heart rate, breathing, sleep and falls, from up to five meters away, and send alerts to caregivers and family members from during the application.
In the Wellness category, AARP Innovation presented three startups focused on public health and wellbeing. This included Zibrio, who was also part of the AARP lineup at CES last year. Zibrio is a scale that measures not only weight, but also a person’s balance and risk of falling. The company says the Zibrio balance scale can predict whether you’re at risk of falling within the next 12 months, and then the app makes personalized care recommendations. While many people track their diet and exercise using apps like MyFitnessPal or Noom, Mighty Health was developed specifically for people over 50. It connects users with a health coach and features nutrition and exercise plans created for seniors.
Mental well-being is also incredibly important. Ompractice was started to help people who “face geographic, economic, and holistic barriers” access health, wellness and mindfulness benefits by partnering with fitness studios and working with large organizations, including health systems, to make their services more accessible to users.
Of course, improving health care and delivery of health services for older adults is extremely important, especially in the United States with a fragmented health care system. Folia Health is included under the “Clinic” section of AARP Innovation, a health “single operating system” that allows patients to answer multiple-choice questions each day, which are then reviewed by providers to assist with diagnosis and care plans. It can be used to manage many conditions and communicate with multiple caregivers. On the other hand, telemedicine startup Tembo is partnering with elderly care communities, enabling them to provide telemedicine services to residents or clients. Embleema was created to facilitate pharmaceutical studies by making evidence generation and regulatory review processes faster.
For individuals, the clinic division included two startups. MindMics are smart earbuds that analyze biometrics, including heart rate, and send them to an app. JoyLux specifically addresses menopause with a list of products, including pelvic floor exercise devices, lubricants, supplements, and cooling pads.