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Older adults go high tech

Innovations to improve the aging experience
By Trish Barbato
Increasingly, the senior living sector is realizing that it needs to embrace innovation to meet the expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s older adults. Revera understands the need to listen to seniors and design a better aging experience. Trish Barbato, Senior VP of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, is driving Revera’s focus on innovation.

We live in a time of great opportunity for society and innovators alike. As more and more people enter their older years, there is incredible potential to rethink the way we age and design new technologies that will make getting older some of the best years of our lives.

You may not think this is true, however, if you listen to how many people describe our growing population of older adults. I hate the term “grey tsunami” that’s often used to describe our changing demographic. A tsunami is a destructive force, an unstoppable wave that wreaks havoc wherever it crashes. This perspective is apparent in the marketing behind many products meant for older people where aging is treated like a disease instead of another phase of life, something that needs to be cured instead of experienced.
“The promise, and I think the hope, of technology isn’t to make us younger, but rather to help us age better and adapt to the changes our bodies are undergoing.”
In fact, our aging population is the opposite of destructive. The next few decades represent an unprecedented period where our elders will take centre stage and we have the potential to change the way we think about aging for the better– what an opportunity.

I am excited to see the influx over the last few years of inspiring entrepreneurs that are finding solutions for the seniors market. These innovators are creating tools so that people can continue to live full and meaningful lives well into their 80s and 90s.

Of course, our bodies change as we age and that means that we will experience some natural wear and tear. The promise, and I think the hope, of technology isn’t to make us younger, but rather to help us age better and adapt to the changes our bodies are undergoing.

There are many inspiring examples already. Steadiwear is a glove that reduces tremors allowing people to be able to do things like pick up a glass of water, feed themselves or take their medications. The company eSight has designed headgear that allows the visually impaired to see their loved ones’ faces, cook, watch TV and read, restoring their independence. In robotics, Robear is being tested to help support older people with transfers and mobility. And, great advancements are being made with exoskeletons that can help people who thought they’d never be able to stand again to run.

I’m so excited for what the future holds and can’t wait for promising innovations, like those above, to come of age.
Trish Barbato
By Trish Barbato
Trish Barbato is Senior VP, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships for Revera Inc. Ms. Barbato is responsible for driving a culture of innovation across Revera and for establishing Revera’s global presence as a preeminent, industry-leading senior’s innovation partner and investor.