Written by Lidia Vijga
Technology holds the power to profoundly shape nearly every aspect of aging. Yet a critical question remains: How can we ensure these emerging AgeTech Innovations actually meet the real-world needs of aging population?
That question will take center stage at the upcoming AgeTech Innovation Week event in Toronto, hosted by AGE-WELL. Attendees will discover new technologies poised to change the future of aging, from AI-powered tools to robotics and beyond. Just as importantly, they will delve into ideas for creating accessible, ethical products while engaging older adults and caregivers in the design process.
How close are we to building an AgeTech future that benefits users of all abilities and backgrounds? What are the risks and rewards of embedding these technologies into elder care? AgeTech Innovation Week will provide a human-centered lens on innovation, featuring opportunities to interact with thought leaders and collaborators who are shaping the future of AgeTech.
To showcase the diverse range of technological solutions, I would like to spotlight some of the most innovative AgeTech startups presenting at this event.
Founded in 2018, Able Innovations has developed an impressive robotic device called the ALTA Platform™ to help automate the labor-intensive work of patient transfers. Having seen firsthand the strains that patient handling puts on healthcare staff, I’m excited by the potential for Able’s technology to prevent caregiver injuries while maintaining patient dignity.
Able Innovations founding team brings together seasoned expertise in robotics, AI, engineering, and product development to tackle this overlooked need in elder care settings. The ALTA platform uses an array of sensors, intuitive controls, and cloud-based analytics to enable safe one-person transfers and real-time workflow insights.
ALTA has already been pilot-tested at several leading Canadian hospitals to rave reviews from staff. The platform’s ability to boost productivity and staff satisfaction while reducing transfer-related costs has attracted $6 million in recent funding, enabling expanded deployments.
As the world’s population continues to age rapidly, the significance of technologies like Able Innovations, that enable seniors to be moved and cared for comfortably and securely, will only increase. This Toronto based tech company is growing and is making a significant impact in the emerging world of AgeTech. I will be following Able Innovations closely to see how their innovative assistive devices might set new standards for patient handling across healthcare.
Root & Seed
Root & Seed has developed an intergenerational platform that helps users of all ages discover, document, and celebrate their family histories and cultural traditions. As someone who deeply values family traditions and multiculturalism, I’m in love with the idea of leveraging tech to preserve family stories and diverse perspectives.
The company’s main offering is an easy-to-use conversation tool accessible via any mobile browser. With the help of the conversational card deck, users can record interviews with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and other family members to capture meaningful memories and life lessons.
One aspect that impresses me is Root & Seed’s commitment to storing these recordings indefinitely unless users request account deletion. This ensures treasured family narratives are preserved for future generations. As we’ve seen during the pandemic, losing elders before hearing their unique recollections can leave relatives with profound regrets.
Root & Seed also fosters community engagement through its blog and podcast content focused on diversity, inclusion, and workplace culture.
In our increasingly isolated, digital world, products that nurture real human bonds are especially valuable. I had the privilege of meeting one of the co-founders, Anika Chabra, at the Collision Conference a few years back, and I’m excited to witness the growth and impact of this startup within the blossoming field of AgeTech.
Tuktu is a Vancouver-based AgeTech startup connecting aging adults and their families with trusted community members for assistance with everyday tasks and companionship.
The app uses artificial intelligence and matchmaking algorithms to pair seniors with customized care providers. This level of personalization is unmatched in the market and allows Tuktu to facilitate meaningful connections that align with users’ unique needs and preferences.
Beyond its tech backbone, Tuktu also appeals through its community-based approach. The company vets all care providers, ensuring safety and reliability. Services are affordably priced, starting at just $15 per hour. The range of on-demand offerings – from grocery shopping to companionship – promotes healthy, engaged living.
With strong user adoption and growth in British Columbia (the company has served over 2,000 customers and facilitated over 15,000 hours of care connections), recent expansion into Alberta, and a $2 million pre-seed funding round, Tuktu is on track to scale its tech-enabled, community-powered model more widely. Currently, Tuktu is raising a seed round to expand to Ontario and other parts of Canada.
AzurDev is a Montreal-based startup offering two cloud-based solutions for the healthcare and senior living industries – Evan Hôpital and Evan Generation.
Evan Hôpital, the patient engagement platform for hospitals, seems particularly promising. With its interactive platform, family portal for connecting loved ones, and telemedicine capabilities, Evan Hôpital has the potential to greatly enhance patient comfort and well-being during hospital stays.
Meanwhile, Evan Generation offers an intuitive interactive experience specifically for retirement home residents, helping them stay close to their families through simplified video calls and media sharing. As someone with elderly relatives, I can see how a platform like this could be invaluable for their mental health and emotional bonds with loved ones.
While I haven’t had the chance to test AzurDev’s products firsthand, the concept certainly excites me. The healthcare and senior living industries are ripe for disruption through thoughtful tech innovation. AzurDev seems to recognize this opportunity and has built solutions that could make a real positive impact.
UVX is bringing far-UVC light technology to long-term care facilities to cut down on infections.
Based in Vancouver, UVX was spun out of research conducted at the University of British Columbia. The company has developed a ceiling fixture that bathes rooms in 222nm far-UVC light, which has been shown to inactivate viruses, bacteria, and fungi without harming exposed human tissues. This is because longer wavelength UV light cannot penetrate the superficial dead-cell layers of skin or the tear layer in the eye, but can still strike and damage DNA in pathogens.
Unlike traditional methods that can only disinfect the air or surfaces, UVX’s technology disinfects both. According to UVX, their technology is 6 times more effective at disinfection than chemicals and 10 times better than HEPA filters. The germicidal effects happen quickly, allowing for continuous disinfection even while residents and staff are present. This is a huge advantage over traditional cleaning methods, which require rooms to be vacant.
The potential benefits for seniors are exciting. Hospital-acquired infections and outbreaks in long-term care are still far too common, often with devastating consequences for vulnerable older adults. If UVX’s technology lives up to its promises, it could significantly reduce infection rates and improve health outcomes in residential facilities.
Of course, disinfection tech is not a magic bullet on its own. Proper infection control also requires attentive staff and good ventilation. But UVX’s far-UVC solution would be a powerful addition to prevention efforts, and may finally provide facilities with a 24/7 automated disinfection system that’s safe and effective.
UVX recently embarked on a $2.8M clinical trial with Nova Scotia Health Authority, the largest of its kind, which speaks to the promise of their technology for senior care and beyond.
Getting Ready for AgeTech Innovation Week
To make the most out of your visit to the AgeTech Innovation Week, it is highly recommended that you take some time to review the full list of speakers beforehand. By doing so, you can prepare yourself for the event and make sure that you don’t miss out on any key sessions. This is a great chance to meet with the leading companies and experts that are shaping the future of the AgeTech industry. You’ll have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations, learn about the latest trends and innovations, and network with like-minded individuals to explore exciting new possibilities in the world of AgeTech.