A new innovation program from Maplewood Senior Living aims to put more cutting-edge technology in the hands of older adults.
The Westport, Connecticut-based provider on Sept. 5 announced the launch of the Center for Aging Innovation and Technology, an initiative designed to scout out new technologies and innovations that could help seniors become more independent, safer and better connected socially.
The “center” isn’t a physical place—at least not yet. Instead, it’s a conceptual effort to pilot new technology for residents who live at one of Maplewood’s 14 communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio.
“Unlike some of the other innovation centers that have popped up around the country… this is more of a virtual center,” Brian Geyser, vice president of clinical innovation and population health at Maplewood, tells Senior Housing News. “We want to create a culture of aging innovation.”
One tech innovation Maplewood recently piloted is Rendever, a virtual reality software meant to entertain seniors, rekindle their old memories and reduce anxiety or stress. Another such technology is Eversound, a brand of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones made specifically for seniors.
Maplewood’s communities also have “Skype lounges,” or rooms equipped with screens and sound capabilities made for older adults who might otherwise have trouble hearing or seeing their loved ones during a Skype call.
It’s technologies like these that are the focus of the Center for Aging Innovation and Technology.
“We’re constantly searching for new and emerging companies that are creating products in this space that we can partner with to get the products into our hands and see if it’s something we’re willing to take on and help pilot,” Geyser says.
Another part of the initiative involves going into communities to bring innovators and entrepreneurs into the fold. Maplewood is currently working with Aging2.0, an organization that helps startups focused on aging and long-term care.
Geyser was recently named ambassador of a new Aging2.0 chapter in New Haven, Connecticut, which Maplewood sponsors. The idea is that by supporting Aging2.0 events and activities in Connecticut, Maplewood will be able to connect with local and global innovators to share knowledge, gain insight and forge new partnerships.
“The bottom line is that we have to, as an industry, innovate to survive and also to set ourselves apart,” Geyser says. “We have to do it in every aspect of our core business.”
Written by Tim Regan