Exploring the intersection of innovation and aging at the Aging 2.0 OPTIMIZE conference

Members of CC-ABHI’s management team recently attended the Aging 2.0 OPTIMIZE conference in San Francisco. The event brought together startups, investors, senior care executives and seniors from about 14 countries to explore the technology-enhanced future of aging. Founded in 2012, Aging 2.0 focuses on driving collaboration amongst multiple parties to bring the unique worlds of both seniors care and innovation closer together, so as to accelerate improvements that will positively impact the lives of older adults around the world.

It was a fascinating three days of panel discussions, presentations, and showcases of great new technology concepts by tech companies from across North America and abroad. Within the span of the last five years or so, many people have come to recognize that the process of aging doesn’t have to be one whereby illnesses and mobility issues limit the abilities of older adults to lead full and productive lives. Through a focus on developing technologies that address care delivery, care monitoring, mobility, and a multitude of other issues, innovative thinkers are giving older adults an opportunity to reclaim their independence, while still being able to manage their healthcare conditions. For many, this means that they can live longer in their homes, knowing that their families and caregivers are just a click away on a monitor or iPad. For the caregivers, these technologies remove some of the stress of wondering what may be happening to their loved ones when they are not around.

The Aging 2.0 speakers challenged the audience to think beyond the obvious, and to embrace innovations already being seen in other areas, be they healthcare or beyond. It was amazing to see the various start-up companies in attendance show off how their technology and/or product had risen to that challenge!! Everything from robotic monitoring devices to custom-designed senior’s oriented furniture to app-based services were on display. Ten were selected by attendees to then pitch from the main stage to potential investors and partners. Talk about incredible passion for their concepts…the audience was psyched to see who would win!! In the end, it was a company from the US who reconceived the idea of a walker so that it could allow older adults to adjust its base into a locked tripod when they were standing up, reducing the risk of falls from overreaching as is often the case with traditional walkers. And it came in five different colours too!

Aging 2.0 has chapters all over the world. For more information on the organization, and how to get involved, please visit www.aging2.com.

For more information on the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, please visit www.cabhi.com.