While startups at last month’s Aging2.0 Global Innovation Summit might be used to delivering their elevator pitches to rooms full of investors and industry executives, this time, they also faced a new panel of judges--who might be the most important group to listen to.
Fifteen tech-savvy and adventurous older adults attended this Summit, taking rigorous notes during the presentations and barring no questions at the startups’ booths.
As many of these startups’ founders are millennials, having the opportunity to interact with seniors and get direct feedback from potential users of their startups’ goods and services is invaluable.
The tech savvy seniors were diligent in their research, and overall, gave positive reviews.
After reviewing ~50 startups, the following got the highest ratings regarding if a senior was likely to use that product and likely to recommend that product to a peer:
“Singing is a great past time that has a strong emotional component for fun and therapy.”
“This is really cool, mainly for autism, you have to remember how to use it.”
“Innovative concept. Falling is a fear of aging seniors. This product will help eliminate / diminish the fear of falling.”
- Life Assist Technologies
“Simple, inexpensive, almost sure to succeed.”
Interestingly, these startups cover a range of categories--some more software and communication focused, others more hardware and rehabilitation focused. Moreover, some of these solutions are not only fan favorites, but could also have meaningful ramifications for reducing our nation’s overall significant healthcare costs.
For instance, a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study examining patients with dementia calculated that the annual costs associated with a patient with dementia were between $41,689 and $56,290. Cumulatively, that equates to $159 billion - $215 billion in American health care dollars, $11 billion of which is paid for by Medicare. Moreover, the researchers “suggest that the aging of the U.S. population will result in an increase of nearly 80 percent in total societal costs per adult by 2040.” (Source: CBS News)
In light of such expensive treatments for dementia patients, a potential solution such as SingFit, which treats music as medicine, through music-therapist-designed cognitive and physical stimulation programs, could potentially keep these patients outside of the hospital, thereby reducing healthcare costs, while also helping these patients be positive and joyful.
Contributed by: Jane Herzeca