In this day and age of technology, it comes as no surprise that it can also be a tool to meet the diverse needs of seniors and their caregivers. In the social innovation initiative “LeapForGood” (LFG), finalists impressed judges with their technology-based solutions and at the final “Demo Day” on the 18th August, five teams walked away with grants of up to S$100,000 each to kick-start their social enterprises. This is in line with the aim of overcoming the challenges posed by Singapore’s aging population and growing healthcare needs, as highlighted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech.
With more than 1.4 million seniors aged 50 and above living in Singapore1, catering to the needs of this senior population has become a pressing concern. At the same time, Singapore has around 210,000 caregivers, and they fall between the ages of 18 and 692, which suggests a highly segmented demographic that requires more targeted and unique solutions. Of the 11 LFG finalists, six focus on meeting seniors’ needs, one specifically targets caregivers and four address needs of both seniors and caregivers.
The winning team of Wellderly
The winning teams and their innovative solutions are as follows:
|ARK||Customised training for caregivers to provide early intervention and teach skills to children with autism via telehealth delivery|
|Emo Health||An automated weight monitoring solution embedded into patients’ own beds and chairs, using IoT technology and analytics to deliver tailored insights for caregivers to do early diagnosis and treatment of underlying health conditions|
|Hydrolife||Provides a personalised hydrotherapy programme for seniors to improve mobility and reduce their risk of falling, through an innovative portable modular pool system|
|Wellderly||A healthcare concierge service that provides care coordinators and blockchain-based platform to manage administration and paperwork for caregivers|
|Xiohoo||A continuous learning programme to help seniors learn technology better and more easily, through workshops and an app platform that allows seniors to connect to community experts for help|
Teams were judged based on the social impact and relevance of their social enterprise idea, business feasibility, viability and scalability, as well as the commitment of the team with relevant capabilities to execute their idea.
“We are very encouraged by the diverse technology-based ideas that have evolved during this year’s LeapForGood programme, because it reflects the growing dedication the community has to solve emerging needs and the importance of deriving more targeted solutions,” said Alfie Othman, Chief Executive Officer, raiSE (Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise). “Going beyond cookie-cutter measures, the winners were able to home in on various aspects of physical, mental, and emotional needs of seniors and caregivers to develop innovative solutions.”
Technology meets empathy
The winning team of ARK
While technology proved to be the key enabler that many finalists leveraged to formulate their solutions, winners of LFG also recognise the need for empathy. Having been a professional behavioural therapist for 10 years, Cheo Min Yee of ARK recognises the gaps in existing support systems for caregivers and aims to address them through ARK. “Autism intervention is very resource-intensive and expensive, so we want to make effective intervention more accessible to the average Singaporean family,” Cheo said.
The winning team of Xiohoo
Likewise, the team behind Xiohoo discovered the struggles faced by seniors through their experience working with the elderly. Representing Xiohoo, Allan Tay said, “I’m an IT trainer for seniors, and I noticed that there are always students coming back to me for training, some returning after six years. It’s because they need more support to help them learn better.”
We wish all the winning teams the best in their social enterprises and hopefully, their initiatives will come to fruition and be viable solutions for the public!
To find out more about the LeapForGood programme and other initiatives by raiSE, visit http://www.raise.sg/.
Photo credits: LeapForGood