Earlier this week I published an article titled Perpetually Behind the Times where I addressed the dearth of innovation in senior housing and particularly the lack of disruptive innovative technology.
I ended the article noting that Lincoln Healthcare a sponsor of C level industry seminars is aggressively engaged in the process of solving this problem and that as a senior housing professional can contribute to that effort. One of the events that Lincoln produces is called LTC & Senior Living LINK. What happens at this event is that over the course of three days, high level long term care and senior living executives gather to network with their peers and an exclusive pool of vendors, with the goal of developing new and unique solutions that benefit the senior companies, their residents and staff. Last year the highlight of this three day event was the LTC LINK Tank Innovation Completion. This year, they are opening the Innovation Competition portion of the event, to anyone who would like to come.
2013 LTC LINK Tank Innovation Competition
The competition (the part that is open to everyone) will take place Monday July 22 12:30 – 1:45 pm at the Sheraton Chicago. It’s a joint effort between InnovateLTC and Lincoln HealthCare. InnovateLTC is a business accelerator that assists with developing innovative solutions for the global aging population. They are located in Louisville, Kentucky and founded by Signature HealthCARE. Last year’s winner of the competition was CareMerge. The competition will place the top five hottest up and coming entrepreneurs in front of an audience of potential customers in a ‘Shark Tank’ TV show style competition. There will be a panel of judges, plus the audience, including you, will be able to ask questions and offer comments. You will also be able to vote for your favorite.
If you think this is cool and want to attend, you will need to register (did I mention it is free?). You can do that by going to the LTC & Senior Living LINK registration website. Under registration type select LINKTANK attendee.
If you are an Innovator
If you have a great idea, a great invention or a great new technology idea that will improve the lives of seniors and/or senior living operators and would like to participate in the completion, you can check out the details at the LINKtank website. It is a unique opportunity to present your idea to your potential purchasers and users then get instant frank feedback. There are prizes including a check for $10,000 to the winner. As important, it provides instant and better access to venture investors that came make all the difference between your venture’s success or failure. Steve Moran
My 60 plus years of living leads me to believe that technology always promises more than it delivers as sales promises have proven to have high BS content. So I’m cynical, or shall I say, skeptical and suspicious of what comes at me – generally the technology people get my money and some become incredibly wealthy while I’m left with yesterday’s technology that proves disappointing, thus the need to buy something new, etc. I think you know the cycle of obsolesence this has perpetuated.
Now, the question should be, what do seniors need from technology to improve or enhance their quality of life, health, and meaning. Once those questions have answers, and what is needed and desired are clarified, then the application of appropriate technologies or the invention of technologies designed for actual needs can be applied.
Right now I live with my wife in our own townhome, 960 square feet. Double garage, single level, somebody else does the lawn and we have a livable, mostly afordable place. We improved our bathrooms for safety and handicap challenges. We hope to continue to live in this setting as long as possible using technolgies when needed. For a short time when my wife recovered from shoulder surgery and was home alone for periods of time, we had an emergency technology connected to a cell phone signal for her security in case of a fall. We used it for about 6 weeks and returned it.
Quite honest, the risk I feel going forward relates to dependency on the electric grid that crashes during major storms in both summer and winter. Being at risk without electricity is unacceptable as a senior. So we need local energy strategies like solar or wind that won’t beinterrupted when an F4 tornado comes by 3 miles away and takes out the electric transformer station. With more frequent violent weather, these issues of dependable power supply needs higher priority for seniors, esp. when on cpap or Oxygen or other power supplied therapy and medical support. No senior housing should be built without solar and wind as part of the power supply, in my opinion.
I also want smart technology that will help me manage my physical activity, reminding me to get up and take a walk, take drinks of water, stop obsessively focusing on a TV, computer screen or Ipad. These things destroy our health by sitting too much.
we are talking about making the lower doors of our kitchen cabinets into “bins” that we can pull out and actually find things. It’s too dangerous getting on hour hands and knees digging out kettles from a lower kitchen cupboard. That’s something that prevents falls.
A GPS chip in my shoes or on my body might be helpful when I become forgetful and wander away in the middle of the night when I’m suffering memory loss. Motion sensors, wrist watch like communication devices that are asthetically attractive and socially “hip” should become our life lines as seniors.
I want all of these assets available to me before I need communal senior housing. In fact, I think a majority of boomers will be financially strapped and not able to afford living in the hotel style housing being built today for seniors. Last I heard, a majority of boomers don’t have much money available for retirement, say nothing of money available for high tech, swank, senior housing. I think many want to stay in their own homes and the question is, can they? Can technology assist them to do so? I’m betting on this for myself. But when disability becomes burdensome and options diminish, then senior housing, assisted living, 24 hour care suits, or whatever other fancy names we can think of calling it, then I’ll be hoping something is available and afordable. If not, I may be hoping for help from one of my 19 grandchildren, if they still want to have anything to do with me when chronic illness is rampent and life is difficult.
Best to you and all who are imagining what needs will emerge among boomers, who are coming into retirement with significant obesity as is all of our society. Make sure senior housing has wide doors, ceiling tracks from bed to bathroom for transfer, bath, and wheel chair.
Then work like hell with the political system to fund these “contraptions” through medicaid and medicare so unpaid care givers like spouses can manage care for a loved one and not ruin their backs. If someone out there is able to create a robot computer system that can handle this while the care giver watches, that would be even better.
Thanks for listening. Best wishes….and see if you can talk the technology geniuses into transferring some of the wealth that has been absorbed by the bill gates types of this world back to the people who paid too much money over the years for the obsolete technology that was so worthless it no longer exists.
Good on you Don.Kudos to Steve for launching the topicand what you have done Don is to inject a huge and useful dose of relevant practicality. I too am a 60-something and privileged to be able to be on hand to watch my 80plus and 90yo parents age and use the things around the house differently. We don’t need rocket science but thoughful innovations – my dad likes still to cook but can’t stand for long so a safe kitchen stool counter height that moves; lowered stove tops, vegie boxes etc. Having independent, partial assist and full assist in one residential project helps.