Rendever had the pleasure of joining the launch party for the new Aging 2.0 chapter in New Haven, where we entered the pitch competition among other companies innovating in the aging space. It was a fun night, and to cap it all off – we won the competition! Learn more below, and read the original article here.
New network in New Haven focuses on products and services to aid aging
One thing is certain: We are all aging.
Aging gracefully and with dignity is not so certain, but Aging2.0, a network of entrepreneurs, agencies and individuals, has a mission to improve out odds of enjoying the latter part of our lives.
The 5-year-old group recently added New Haven to its network of more than 50 chapters worldwide, bringing together adults, young and old, to talk about and demonstrate ways to make growing older easier and more enjoyable.
“Globally speaking, the main mission of the organization is to bring together innovators in aging, senior care and the longevity space to create a better world for older adults through innovation and technology,” said Brian Geyser, the New Haven chapter’s ambassador. Geyser is vice president of clinical innovation and population health for Maplewood Senior Living, based in Westport, which has seven locations in Connecticut, as well as facilities in Massachusetts, Ohio and New York City.
As baby boomers grow older — Geyser called it “the silver tsunami” —the market for innovative products and services is growing ever larger and Aging2.0 is helping to lift up the best ideas and products. Geyser said the network’s aim is to “create an aging innovation hub in the state … with the goal of identifying new and emerging technologies that are designed specifically for older adults and also accelerating innovation in those startup companies and also to share best practices in aging senior care.”
At its New Haven launch party on Nov. 8 at Kitchen Zinc, the group held a “Shark Tank”-style event, in which three companies pitched their senior-focused products:
Valisure, based at 5 Science Park and founded by Yale University alumni, which analyzes the quality of the ingredients in prescription medications.
Jamber, founded by Allen and Diana Arseneau — she grew up in Milford — which makes mugs, plates and bowls that are designed for comfort and reduced strain on joints, ligament and tendons.
Rendever — the night’s winner — which enables seniors, through virtual reality, to visit places in their past or have new experiences. Geyser said Maplewood is working with Rendever.
“The residents who live in assisted living are kind of confined to the assisted-living community. They can’t travel anymore,” Geyser said. “We can take them on tours and trips anywhere in the world with their friends … and it’s so realistic that you really feel that you’re there.”
The VR goggles also can help people who suffer from anxiety or depression, often brought on by dementia, he said.
Geyser said the New Haven kickoff attracted more than 60 members.
“It can take a year or so to get to the level we’re at now in one month,” he said.
In addition to individual members, more than 150 organizations are part of the Aging2.0 Alliance, including Maplewood and AARP.
Tia Murphy, the volunteer state president for AARP‘s Connecticut chapter, said, “One of the things that Aging2.0 brings to the table that we really like is it brings entrepreneurs and people in the technical (field) together,” she said. “And it’s also people who might be interested in investing in people doing that, so you might have some angels” who will support the innovators.
“Aging in place is obviously a big focus for AARP, as is livability,” Murphy said. “We’re really offering a population that can really test these things out.” She said the multigenerational aspect of Aging2.0 is also attractive.
“How do we break apart the stereotype of aging as a time of decline?” Murphy said. “What we’re saying is it’s really a growing opportunity … a time for people to give back to their community.”
Geyser said the group has identified eight topics “that need energy and focus”: engagement and purpose, financial wellness, mobility and movement, daily living and lifestyle, caregiving, care coordination, brain health and end-of-life concerns.
He said Aging2.0 plans to focus on brain health and caregiving in 2018.
“Brain health is basically maximizing cognitive ability. … As we get older, we’re all going to face brain health issues, there’s no question,” he said.
As for caregiving, “the issue there is it’s simply supply and demand. We have more demand for caregivers than we have supply … and that will explode over the next 20 years. In Maplewood, one of my biggest challenges is recruiting caregiving staff.”
Geyser said in 2018 “we will be searching the globe for companies that are addressing one of those eight challenges,” and the best will be brought together at Aging2.0’s annual conference in San Francisco.
Crispin Baynes, leader of the New York City chapter and an investor, said, “A group of young co-founders (who) visited about 60 nursing homes and came back and said, ‘There’s a problem we would like to tackle — adult incontinence.’”
The result was Sensassure, which creates undergarments with a moisture-activated sensor that notifies the caregivers. “They managed to reduce the times people were woken up by 50 percent,” Baynes said.
“Following a successful trial that was hosted by an Aging2.0 Alliance partner, the company was acquired by a large Swedish health care conglomerate,” he said. That company, SCA, is a global leader in incontinence products.
Another startup, which addresses social isolation, is the Freebird Club, “an Airbnb-type hosting platform for the 55-plus community,” Baynes said. “If you’re a host you agree to meet your guests who are coming to stay … to provide social contact for guests who are traveling. The win-win there is the person who is traveling gets to make a new friend in a new city and the host gets to make friends with like-minded (people) who are traveling in their city.
“The main message for Aging2.0 is that all of the events and design work that we do, we do it with older people,” Baynes said.
“What we realized early in the journey is you have to spend time with the customer … and only when you do that can you really design for them.”
Contact Ed Stannard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-680-9382.