Aging and Caregiving Digital Health Opportunities, Problems, and Pitches
The problems facing the aging population are getting bigger and bigger – and so is the opportunity to innovate. On Thursday, October 11, the Blank Center, Aging2.0 Boston, and Massachusetts eHealth Institute are collaborating to present Aging & Caregiving Digital Health Reverse Pitches. Key players in the aging services sector will pitch what they see as pressing problems in senior care and the opportunities for entrepreneurs.
This event is sold out – but we have a few reserved spots for students to attend and participate in this special event. If you are interested in this event, please sign up here by Thursday, October 11 at 12pm.
With a keynote speech from Secretary Alice Bonner of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and panelists from AARP, Procter and Gamble, Benchmark Senior Living, and Senior Helpers, the evening will be a unique discussion and exploration of how technology can provide impactful solutions to challenges in caregiving.
Below is a guest post from Cynthia Stephens, a member of the Aging2.0 Boston steering team, to help us understand some of the problems and the potential for innovation.
EXPERT PANEL FOR ENTREPRENEURS ON AGING AND CAREGIVING
Aging2.0’s Boston Chapter, in collaboration with the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech and Babson College, brings digital health technology startups together with aging and caregiving experts to partner on the challenge of caregiving. The event will be hosted at Babson Boston on October 11, 2018.
Boston start-ups are designing, funding and testing elder technology to solve some of the aging services sector’s most pressing challenges. To say that Peter Ross knows a thing or two about these challenges would be a gross understatement.
Peter co-founded Senior Helpers nearly 15 years ago after his firsthand experience as a family caregiver. Today, Senior Helpers has 300+ locations and 25,000 caregivers nationwide. Peter is also a member of the Healthcare Leadership Council and President of the Home Care Association of America.
I asked Peter what he believes are the most pressing problems in aging and caregiving.
Enable better in-home caregiving
“How do we provide better in-home care?” Peter asked. “A caregiver may be at a home for 4 to 8 hours each day, what happens when they are not there?” In-home caregiving can supplement family caregivers. It isn’t always a complete solution to caring for a loved one’s daily needs though. Peter urges entrepreneurs to address senior needs when a caregiver is not at the home.
Re-connect elder orphans to a community
A recent Forbes article, Millions of Baby Boomers will Retire and Age Solo, cited that almost 20% of boomers do not have children. This aging solo trend isn’t limited to the United States. In Japan, Peter says, there are no children to care for aging parents. “You can provide home care for private pay situations but many folks can’t afford that home care.” Affordable in-home care for seniors aging alone is a big problem. So is re-connecting seniors aging solo to a community, said Peter. “It’s about socialization.”
Empower seniors to live at home, in any “home”, with dignity
“The vision of the Home Care Association is to empower people to live at home with dignity, wherever you call home,” said Peter. “Typically care to patient staffing ratios are 14:1 in a residence. When you think of care, homecare is 1:1.” Senior Helpers works at single family homes and facilities to provide one to one care. Caregivers work with the family, the individual, and the facility.
Provide continuity of care from caregiver to the healthcare system
“The challenge with healthcare and aging is how to tell a bad day from a really bad day and understand what you need to know before there is an issue such as with a drug interaction.” Connectivity, Peter believes, is the underlying challenge in the aging services sector – the need to seamlessly share critical information between caregivers, doctors, and other healthcare providers. Even the simple act of sharing information about future doctor appointments between multiple family caregivers can be burdensome.