The global coronavirus pandemic has significantly disrupted the lives, the livelihoods, and the wellbeing of billions of people worldwide – but no group is more vulnerable to COVID-19 itself, or to the loneliness and sense of isolation associated with social distancing measures than the elderly population.
As countries worldwide are in the midst of lockdowns or other forms of enforced social distancing, finding ways to keep senior citizens safe, healthy and connected to their friends and family members is paramount. Numerous Israeli startups have developed solutions to make that possible.
With its robust digital health and assistive technologies ecosystems, Israeli high-tech is uniquely positioned to meet this critical need – and with institutions like the Center for Digital Innovation’s Healthy Aging Innovation Lab committed to supporting promising new solutions, the Startup Nation will continue harnessing the power of innovation to enable seniors to maintain their independence, age in place, and during times like these, maintain connections with their loved ones.
Here’s a look at some of the Israeli companies making life better for seniors – and giving their families peace of mind – across the globe:
- For many families and friends, staying connected in the age of corona means relying heavily on video conferencing – and Uniper makes it user-friendly for senior citizens with a set-top box connected to their television sets, where users can make video calls and use instant messaging services and social networks. The company, founded in 2015, also offers a wide range of enriching content, including fitness classes, music and cultural programs, mindfulness programs, creative stimulation, and more.
- Hospitals and post-acute care providers worldwide rely on EarlySense to provide ongoing monitoring of their patients with a platform that gives care providers insights into patient vital signs and can detect falls or signs of deterioration, enabling early intervention. According to the company’s figures, the use of the platform leads to a 19 per cent reduction in hospital readmissions and a nine per cent reduction in overall length of stay in the hospital. In 2018, the company says, it generated more than $100 million in savings for providers, helping prevent 3,000 deaths, 5,000 falls, and 4,000 cardiac arrests.
- Founded in 2011, Vayyar develops low-cost 4-D imaging sensors for an array of use cases – cancer detection, connected car technology, security, and more. The company’s Vayyar Home solution uses in-home sensors – to detect falls, monitor breathing and other vitals, and call for help if needed, even if the patient is unconscious. The solution requires no wearables, buttons, pendants, or cameras.
From strained healthcare systems to battered economies to disrupted family routines, the coronavirus crisis has delivered no shortage of hardships – and while it’s undoubtedly difficult for family members not to see their elderly parents and grandparents, technology can help ease worries about seniors’ wellbeing and ensure that they stay engaged with their families and communities.