With more and more older adults wanting to age-in-place, a new consumer class is emerging. And age tech products and services that support independent living and increased quality of life, are just some of the sectors projected to benefit.
Here are 5 innovative start ups worth keeping an eye on as they prepare to scale throughout 2021.
TOMBOT – Robotic emotional support animals
With around one in five people worldwide suffering from depression, anxiety and loneliness, it’s more important than ever to find solutions to improve their quality of life. And while pets can play a role in keeping people socially engaged and emotionally attached, they aren’t a practical choice for everyone.
Enter Jennie: – A lifelike robotic companion animal designed to delight and improve the quality of life for anyone who is unable to take care of a pet.
A charming companion: “Jennie’s” adorable and realistic golden retriever puppy design provides a sense of value and companionship. Just some of this cute pup’s many benefits include:
- Relieves loneliness: Interacting with a Tombot puppy will put a smile on your face.
- Creates heartwarming attachment: The realistic looking design of the Tombot retriever makes it easier to bond with emotionally, as you would a real dog.
- Reduces anxiety: Designed to accurately mimic the behaviour and appearance of a real animal, Jennie provides older adults and people with dementia with engagement and fun.
When Tombot’s CEO Tom Steven’s mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he was forced to take away her beloved dog, who she could no longer care for. This devastating experience was the beginning of years of research into the science of emotional attachment, especially as it relates to relationships formed with pets.
Find TomBot here
Introducing CaT – The world’s first wearable to detect loneliness
Designed in collaboration with Bolton Clarke and RMIT, the CaT pin aims to measure social isolation and loneliness in older adults.
Research shows, experiencing extreme loneliness can have dramatic health consequences. Feeling isolated can lead to increased depression, elevated blood pressure, disrupted sleep, a weakened immune system, increased inflammation and elevated cortisol levels, just to name a few.
The CaT (conversation as therapy) pin records the number of spoken words (not the actual conversation) by the wearer and sends an alert when this drops below a certain baseline. Family, friends, home visiting and community care services will then receive a text message alerting them to call or visit. Definitely a product to watch as they head into mass production.
Follow CaT’s development here
SEE ALSO: Technology for keeping older adults safe
Muru Music – Tailor made music playlists for people living with dementia
Muru Music’s mission is to give people access to the therapeutic benefits of music, anywhere, anytime in 3 easy steps.
With over 90% of people living with dementia experiencing agitation, depression or loneliness, these symptoms can greatly impact the person’s quality of life.
By using artificial intelligence to create personalised playlists, family and carers can easily program and play the right music at the right time. Their advanced technology allows you to select optimised playlists to reduce agitation, stimulate memories, or simply bring more joy by listening to songs that make the person happy.
Check out Muru Music
Sana Health – redefining the way chronic pain is treated
With around 1.5 billion people world wide living with chronic pain, these numbers are projected to increase as the population ages. And although opioids are an effective treatment for chronic pain, prolonged use can lead to the body building up a resistance; resulting in the pain becoming worse. Not to mention the overuse of these drugs has led to an opioid crisis that’s killing more than 70,000 people a year in the US alone.
That’s where Sana Health comes in…
Their proprietary algorithm and wearable technology reduces pain, increases relaxation and promotes healthy sleep in as little as 16 minutes.
Check out the video below to hear how founder Richard Hanbury’s diagnosis inspired him to begin the journey of saving his own life.
Having tested their technology with the British Special Air Service, U.S. Air Force, Richard Branson’s Virgin Challenger flights, and the first Solar Impulse flight around the world, this company is serious about research and development.
Not only does Sana claim to be an effective solution to chronic pain and fibromyalgia, their data is also showing promising results in treating depression and anxiety. With a 30 billion dollar market in the US alone, this is definitely a start up to keep your eye on.
Check out Sana Health
Lumin – A personalised digital assistant designed to increase safety and reduce loneliness
With the majority of adults preferring to age-in-place as they become older, diminishing social support presents a whole new set of challenges.
Isolation and loneliness are proven triggers for the early onset of chronic diseases like dementia and alzheimers’s, yet many families struggle to maintain close contact with loved ones as they are often caring from a distance.
That’s where Lumin comes in…
Their simplified smart home touch screen + app provides peace of mind for carers and makes living independently easier and safer for their loved ones.
For older adults struggling with cognitive or dexterity issues, connection to family, friends and carers is a simple as one touch of a button on their large 17” screen. The app also allows family to receive emergency notifications if the alert button is pushed, as well as being able to send medication reminders.
Check out founder Paul Wilson’s video demo of Lumin in action below:
With Lumin’s upcoming 2.0 smart home technology integration set to launch in Q4 2020, this is definitely a company to keep your eye on.
Check out Lumin
Well that’s a wrap for our coverage of innovations for 2021. We’ll be updating here as more age-tech companies catch our attention. Oh, and remember to share this post on your social networks to let everyone know about which age-tech startups to follow this year 🙂