Senior tech in the Startup Nation

Thriving in the golden years

If there is one thing that has become prevalent during the pandemic, it has been the value of our health and general well-being. In particular, thrust into focus as a result of their high-risk factors have been the needs of the senior population. While many theories on how to best deal with the pandemic have been circulating, what has become important is shielding those who are most at risk.

The fact that today it’s a given that people in their golden years can live active and healthy lives in their 70’s and beyond is a testament to the advancement of technology. It was a blink in time, nearly a hundred years ago, that the average death rate was in the 50’s; now that is considered young. At this point we see centenarians (those who live over 100 years) have become one of the fastest growing demographics in which they live active and meaningful lives. It is worth exploring technological advancements which are improving the lives of seniors as Israel has become a hub for this vertical with over 100 startups looking to solve challenges in this space as covered in the map below.

Wellness startups in Israel

As the number of active seniors increases as does the market size to address their purchasing needs. As this VentureBeat article highlights “the American Association of Retired Persons said in “2019 Tech Trends and the 50+” that 115 million Americans over 50 represent an enormous market for technology and that by the end of the next decade this group is projected to spend $84 billion on tech products.”

Safety tech at home

Tech not only saves lives, but also offers people more freedom. One of the challenges in aging is not just the physical toll on the body, but the time and resources family members need to allocate to care for their aging parents. Emerging technology now allows seniors to live independently (today an old age home has become a high-risk environment during COVID) without fear there will be no one to call if a situation arises.

An example of a startup which has made a significant impact on the lives of seniors is the Israeli startup ECHO, which utilizes passive wearables that automatically detect falls, and a camera-based surveillance system which monitors elder safety. As people live longer, this is an area that will only grow. As this Crunchbase article covers startup fundraising in this area: “investments in the last-mile have been in startups providing telemedicine, such as K Health, which raised a $48 million Series C round in February, or at-home testing like Everlywell, which received FDA approval for its COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit in May.”

Rehabilitative tech

At a certain point genes and proactive preemptive behaviors such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle (exercise, diet, stress management) can only go so far. Even millennials and Gen Z eventually get ill or injured at some point. The cost of tech plummets and more people across the globe are able to access technology which would have been out of the range of their budgets, and that includes rehabilitative tech. Some notable examples include the XR Therapy System, a virtual reality therapy system for neurological rehabilitation and physical therapy treatment, and H-Man, a portable rehabilitation robot that helps patients conduct therapy at home. An example of an Israeli startup in the rehabilitative space is Steps&; a startup that has created a virtual smartphone assistant who guides physical therapy patients through exercises they can do at home.

A mention also goes out to the Israel founded Tikkun Olam Makers, who have been able to scale the use of accessible rehabilitative tech across the world through their makeathons. Preemption also plays a major part in this category; as an example, the physical therapy startup Seatback is able to help adjust one’s posture before long-term problems arise.

Human focused tech

As we age our personal preferences and bodies change, and over the last few years tech has moved from squeezing as much attention out of its users to empathizing with our needs. Things have changed towards human focused tech, and this is particularly important for seniors and those who are not digital natives. An example of an Israel based startup that is humanizing communication between seniors and their loved one is Zeppi; its self-positioning camera, life-size high-resolution screen and clear audio allow for natural video check-ins on seniors who live by themselves.

Tech plays an ever-increasing role in our lives, what we wear and surrounds us, and will eventually be implanted in our bodies. That is why the next generation of tech takes all of this into consideration and focuses on the user’s experience, as opposed to viewing the user’s preferences as a nuisance.

The loneliness pandemic and COVID

For some just the anxiety of getting COVID or being alone could be as bad as the virus itself. For many seniors being at home and isolated from their loved ones for what is now months on end has been a real challenge. The alternative of being in an old age home is not something that they would consider at this point given the high death rate. From the perspective of fighting COVID seniors are playing a role in contract tracing, but what they can also play a part in, is being first adopters for tech which looks to solve the loneliness pandemic sweeping the globe. Studies are now coming out that report that being in isolation during this period is having a significant negative impact on senior’s health.

Welltech1 invests in and accelerates wellness startups with the goal of increasing viability, seeking additional investment and connecting to global partners immersed in the wellness market. Welltech1 provides startups with the know-how to scale, a dedicated professional team of wellness experts, business advisors, and global partners a gateway to accessing the global $4.5 trillion wellness market. To learn more click here.

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Welltech1 invests in and accelerates Israeli wellness startups

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Welltech1

Welltech1

Welltech1 invests in and accelerates Israeli wellness startups

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