What’s driving change in the multi-faceted world of aging? Prizes are an important catalyst to stimulate creativity and promote promising ideas. We’re highlighting two programs with different goals and participants; they’ve brought to life a fascinating variety of services and products. Enjoy learning about these innovative ideas.

UK Innovation for Ageing – The International Longevity Center UK (ILC-UK) and specialist financial services firm Just Group announced winners of its Innovation for Ageing Awards in January. The competition focused on products and services that address “challenges faced by ageing consumers at risk of vulnerability due to physical disability, illness, dementia or financial exclusion.”

Winner “The Chatty Café Scheme” addresses loneliness and social isolation by supporting cafés to designate a ‘Chatter & Natter’ table where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers. Since its 2017 launch by Alex Hoskyn, more than 1,000 cafés have signed up across the UK, including multinational chain Costa Coffee and supermarket giant Sainsburys. A further 25 cafes participate in Gibraltar, two in Australia and one in Florida.

The organization received £7,500 prize money and business support from Just Group. Hoskyn noted, “Many older adults are vulnerable because they are lonely but in actual fact there so are many other age groups and we can all help each other. I want our Chatter and Natter tables to be the norm in cafe culture across the world, providing opportunities for people to get together.” Other finalists:

  • Mycarematters – A social enterprise established to create an online tool that collects and shares a person’s non-medical needs and preferences so they can receive dignified and tailored care when they are no longer able to engage in these conversations.
  • MySense – A digital health monitoring and alerting analytics platform that ingests data from a number of fixed and wearable smart devices to understand when there is a decline in an individual’s wellbeing.
  • Toucan – An app that lets its users share their bank balance status with a trusted friend or care-giver using a simple traffic light system that protects against financial abuse.
  • Walk With Path – Fighting against diminishing mobility and falls, Walk With Path makes mobility aids for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s. The solutions are user-centered, hands free and intuitive to use.

Learn more here.

Stanford Longevity Design Challenge Finalists Now in its sixth year, the Challenge encourages a new generation of student designers to find creative solutions that support well-being across the life span. The 2019 competition attracted 97 submissions from teams representing 24 countries. This year’s competition included a new rule: students were required to include members from multiple generations, making the challenge itself an intergenerational activity.

Finalists are awarded $1,000 to develop their designs further and present their designs at an April 16 event.  They will compete for a $10,000 first prize and present their designs to companies and investors.

This year’s finalists:

  • Enrich (Virginia Tech)– An intergenerational service helping tackle social isolation and promoting healthy habits through community engagement and gardening.
  • Family Room (Stanford University)– A low barrier-to-use app helping families capture and share the histories of their older loved ones through high quality audio stories.
  • I2 Housing (New York University)– A program and related app targeting the issues of student debt and isolation in the older population with a single solution built around shared intergenerational housing.
  • Invite (San Francisco State)– A platform connecting residents of all ages in mobile home parks around activities they would typically do alone.
  • Pillow Fight (YuanZe University, Taipei)– A video game designed to allow people of all ages to play together by embedding the game controls in throw pillows.
  • Tough (Shih Chien University, Taipei)– A video game using simplified instruments and familiar songs to teach players to play music together.
  • Smart Volunteer System (Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, St. Petersburgh)– A system connecting seniors with a network of volunteers through an electronic bracelet, while providing security for the senior.
  • So you think you know your Grandma? (University of California, Berkeley) – A storytelling-based card game specifically targeted at breaking barriers between members of different generations due to differences in mindsets, views, and perceived stereotypes.

Read more about the competition and finalists here.

Published February 7, 2019