Tech for the Elderly
I'm trying Tackk out for the first time. I'm going to focus this writing on the Elderly Care space in tech. No one doubts that this is a big market. There are 20 million senior citizens over the age of 75 in the US. 50% of them fall every year. Those numbers are staggering. As you may know, and I don't have the stats to back it up, but when elderly people fall, the injuries can be devastating and sometimes life-ending. There are a few companies doing interesting things. The first is Lively! These guys are a well funded start-up in SF that built a home monitoring system. Its a rather passive set of sensors that connect to the web via a cellular base station. You place these sensors around the house (pill box, refrigerator door, front door, toilet seat if you want to be particularly invasive, etc...) and set certain parameters which if violated would trigger notification to the family. For instance, I installed Lively! at my grandmother's apartment (she's in her late 80s and lives alone) on the front door. I then set the parameter on the Lively! mobile app that if she doesn't open the front door at least once per day, then it should notify me. So the idea is that with this network of sensors, the service should be able to identify when abnormal behavior is occurring. The other advantage is that sometimes I call my grandmother to see how she's doing and don't get an answer which is alarming. She might have gone out, be in the bathroom, be playing the TV too loud, etc... but since I have no visibility, I get nervous something is wrong. With Lively! I can check the mobile app and then simply see if she left the house (keychain fob that notes she has left) or see whether there has been recent activity on one of the other sensors. This gives me some peace of mind though limited. The cost is $149 for the device and $20/month for the service.
Amulyte is the other solution that I really like. It take the "help I've fallen and I can't get up" device that hasn't been improved in 20 years and makes it a GPS enabled, GSM data connected wearable device with an accelerometer that detects falls and can call emergency numbers when certain behavior is in evidence. I think this is brilliant. Its a YC company that is chockfull of brilliant engineering. I hope these guys get to market soon because I will be their first customer and I think my grandmother Ethel and our entire family will feel much better.