We live in an era of an ageing population and one of the greatest challenges we face is how we can extend periods of social engagement and productivity. We must act now to establish a physical and online social infrastructure to maintain health and wellbeing as people move towards the senior years of their lives – by mid-century the global population of people over the ages of 65 are expected to triple to 1.5 billion, according to a Pew Research Centre survey. This means that on a global level an ageing population will change the dynamics and cost of healthcare services and the working economy.
Seniors today who weren’t born into the digital revolution have a hard time catching up and staying connected, though there is a significant amount of technology in the market looking to help them: currently there are more than 800,000 apps available to help manage aged care and better connect seniors to their community.
Understandably, families don’t want their loved ones spending the last years of their lives excluded from the community and the online connected world. Seniors that are supported by their families and the community are happier, which improves their overall quality of life.
There is a direct link between psychological wellbeing and quality of life as seniors move from home to residential aged care facilities. If there are not adequate facilities that provide support and connections, health and wellbeing of seniors is likely to decline.
According to Alzheimer’s Australia, there are 1.2 million Australians caring for someone with dementia, for example, which contributes to the global cost of the economy. Currently the cost Alzheimer’s has on the global economy is in excess of $818 billion. Only 45 percent of people however comply with prescribed medication, and in a world driven by digital technology there needs to improve tech-based solution to aged care.
To improve the quality of life for seniors and their connections to family and friends is a new Melbourne healthtech startup Lumen. The startup is a communications system comprising of smart monitoring devices that provide a way for families to communicate, remotely monitor, and provide immediate help if needed.
Essentilaly, Lumen is focused on keeping seniors in their home longer by helping them to maintain independence, dignity and quality of life.
“We want to shake up the status quo, and reconsider the way we care for our seniors, not just as patients, but also as individuals who deserve our love, respect and assistance,” said cofounder of Lumen, Paul Wilson.
“Lumen offers a brighter, safer and more connected future for seniors who want to remain independent. At the same time Lumen gives peace of mind for the families who care for them.”
Lumen works through a touch screen and a Carer’s App, downloadable on any smartphone. The touch screen is placed in the home of the senior and is connected to both a smart monitoring device and the Carer’s App. The connectivity of all devices helps make communication between loved ones easier.
The Lumen Screen has been specifically designed for seniors who have little to no experience of computers or tablets. It provides simplified communications like one-touch phone calls, messages and shared calendars of ‘what’s on today.’ The screen also looks after the delivery of important reminders and prompts, for example an alert is sent to remind people to take their medication, attend family events or appointments.
All alerts and monitoring are managed by a carer group such as families or neighbours of the senior. The app can also work in conjunction with a wearable or other devices so carers can also manage things like room temperature, door sensors, and monitor any gas or smoke alerts.
Just like an emergency button would send an instant alert, Lumen can operate up to 200 meters from the Lumen Screen and will automatically trigger an alarm to a carer group smartphone for an immediate response.
“Lumen is the only system that fully integrates these ‘must have’ emergency and monitoring features with other great ways to stay connected and engaged, such as simple access to photos shared by family, weather updates and much more,” said Wilson.
Over the past 14 months Lumen has completed a beta trial and has worked towards a limited release with several customers in aged care including Mecwacare, Life Assist, Uniting AgeWell and Swinburne University.
Lumen has received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from range of investors and are now looking to open a Series A round to capitalise on its foundation.
Wilson said, “Our target is to focus on a limited number of partnerships and to learn and adapt quickly to then scale more broadly.”
Image: Nick Marfleet and Paul Wilson. Source: Supplied.