Nashville Tech is Helping Seniors Live Better Lives
By Laura Pochodylo
While coding, startups and establishing tech incubators are often terms and activities we hear associated with younger Nashvillians, much of Nashville’s digitally fluent generation is focused on aging. There’s a whole community of startups in Nashville solving many of the challenges faced by seniors, and they are creating leading innovative technology solutions that make life for the elderly easier and safer.
Here are five local ventures that prove tech is not limited to digital natives.
HoneyCo Homes focuses on smart house technology packages that help seniors stay in their homes longer, while giving their loved ones peace of mind. The company uses groupings of Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart lights, door sensors and location beacons to send information to a monitoring app. This shares the resident’s location, what appliances are on, what doors are open, and more to provide a passive and non-invasive monitoring system.
The ability to know this information at the touch of a button and be alerted of any unusual activity by push notifications allows family members to react as soon as something could be wrong. The holistic smart house approach takes care of the worrying, allowing seniors to enjoy independent living without concerning family.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 40 million drivers aged 65 and older in the United States in 2015. Driving while older presents a myriad of potential issues: typical diseases associated with aging can make handling the steering wheel harder, memory problems can cause older drivers to get lost and many older drivers don’t carry a cell phone to aid in case of an emergency.
Splitsecnd has created a device that transforms a car into a connected, smart vehicle when inserted into any vehicle’s 12 volt socket. The device, about the size of a pack of cards, features location tracking, boundary alerts (should an elderly driver wander too far from home), trip history and a one-touch connection to a 24/7 emergency call center that is automatically triggered by crash impacts. Splitsecnd’s technology fills a need for older adults who often don’t have modern cars or smart phones and instead are searching for a simple solution to stay safe and connected with their loved ones.
— OpenIDEO (@OpenIDEO) June 27, 2017
Falls account for 2.2 million emergency room visits each year, and Luna Lights aims to provide the tools to both seniors and their caregivers to prevent nighttime falls. Luna Lights, part of Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry, created technology that senses when a person leaves their bed and illuminates lights along their path to their bathroom, kitchen or elsewhere around their house.
Also utilizing the power of IoT devices, Luna Lights can be installed in both private homes and assisted living facilities. The technology records data about when and how often the lights are triggered and can send a push notification if they have been on too long, potentially indicating a problem when the user has not yet returned to their bed. Allowing for better care by identifying a common issue and solving it with an innovative solution creates a possibility for proactive care and a plan for ensuring safety, instead of treating statistics as an inevitable outcome.
— Bluetooth (@BluetoothSIG) June 13, 2017
Another Jumpstart Foundry company called Pillsy is changing the aging game for seniors, but in the medical sector. Pillsy has created a bluetooth-enabled smart pill bottle that tracks pill doses, timing and scheduling, while also warning users if they are about to take a double dose via a smartphone app. The solution, while certainly not just limited to the elderly, can help a senior caregivers keep tabs on medication updates with their sharing notifications feature.
For forgetful users, the cap will even beep and blink if you have forgotten a dosage for too long. Pillsy is committed to making this technology accessible, too—it can be purchased with funds from a Health Savings Account (HSA), and users don’t even need a smartphone to use the device.
Clearly, Nashville’s youthful entrepreneurs and technologists aren’t solely focused on their own generations: they have plenty of innovative solutions for aging and senior citizens, too. Let’s hope that we’re all older, the kids are just as smart and committed to our well-being as they are now.