• HackerNest posted an article
    The answer to this question is technology. see more

    Our populations are aging. Our populations have always been aging, yes, but it’s no secret that as large numbers of people age – and, notably, live longer – our governments, communities, and healthcare providers need to evolve to suit these new realities.

    By and large, our hospitals and senior care facilities are not equipped to care for the amount of new patients who require services. Yes, there are care homes and facilities specifically for those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, however the cost of these options is sometimes, if not often, the barrier to receiving care. Additionally, rural and smaller communities often have incredibly well-trained staff, but dedicated care centres and facilities are often too far from family and community and are therefore not attractive options for those living with dementia.

    So, we face a dilemma – our healthcare infrastructure was not designed to manage this large a population (564,000 people in Canada are currently living with dementia) of people requiring such specific care. The focus, then, often becomes “How do we keep elderly people safe and comfortable in their homes for a longer period of time?” and “How do we provide an excellent standard of care to all those who need it, regardless of income/money or geography?”

    We think the answer to this question is technology.

    As we witness the rise of inclusive design, wearable technology, and healthtech, we see more and more practical, adoptable solutions to common problems. This showcases the impact of technology and applies new, outside-the-box thinking to ongoing challenges. While many in healthtech and tech spaces are working to address issues facing our seniors and aging populations, there’s a stigma surrounding elderly people and technology that can often deter technologists from focusing on the challenges they face.

    Many of us have an ‘I taught my parent/grandparent how to use a smartphone’ story; however, writing off seniors as tech-illiterate is a huge mistake with immeasurable consequences. If tech exists – or can be developed! – that makes senior care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care specifically, easier, safer, more efficient, then we should promote it!

    Instead of sticking with the attitude ‘elderly people won’t use this’, we should be thinking “How can I solve this problem with technology elderly people can use?” Not to mention, myriad caregivers including family members, personal support workers, nurses, doctors, specialists, and more who could be tremendously impacted by using new technologies.

    We often turn a blind eye to problems that aren’t directly our own; if you’ve never had a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or don’t work in healthcare, it’s easy to avoid thinking about solving problems they face. Most technology revolves around making life more convenient, and that conversation often puts younger people/families at the forefront. But we should know and do better, so let’s not allow technology to abandon our aging populations.

    DementiaHack, the world’s foremost dementia hackathon, returns to Toronto March 4-5, 2017. Register now to create impactful solutions that could – quite literally – change lives.

  • HackerNest posted an article
    Inspiring. Amazing. Brilliant. This is DementiaHack - the world's foremost dementia hackathon. see more

    Inspiring. Amazing. Brilliant. These are just a few of the words our attendees used to describe the third DementiaHack on March 4-5 in Toronto.

    At a completely sold out, standing room only event at MaRS Discovery District, over 300 participants forming more than 60 teams worked for two straight days to craft and create tech solutions to problems facing the dementia community. In attendance were co-chairs Jordan Banks of Facebook Canada, and Kevin McGurgan of the British Consulate, and Toronto Mayor John Tory to help kick off the event.

    Split into four challenge sets, DementiaHack was once again the place to be for anyone passionate, interested, and curious about how to improve the lives of people living with dementia, their caregivers, healthcare professionals, and researchers.

    Mayor John Tory delivered the opening remarks at MaRS! Then an esteemed roster of Mentor Judges adjudicated the Science Fair Demos to choose the best of the best from each challenge set.

    The challenge set winners then performed a live, on-stage demo to the entire crowd of their peers and VIPs including VCs, heads of industry, and subject matter experts. Each team was given 3 minutes to demo, and 2 minutes for questions from the judges. The Finals Judging panel consisted of leaders from the dementia and Alzheimer’s community and Toronto’s tech ecosystem.




    Finals Judges


    David Weigelt  |  Vice President, Innovation, Home Instead Senior Care

    Gerry Gallagher  |  Acting Director General, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada

    Dr. John Preece  |  Sector Development Officer, Life Sciences, City of Toronto

    Megh Gupta  |  Senior Associate, OMERS Ventures

    Phyllis Fehr  |  Board Member, Ontario Dementia Advisory Group

    Robin TooŃ€  |  Chief Technology Officer, HackerNest

    Ron Riesenbach  |  Managing Director, Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation

    Salim Teja  |  Executive Vice President, Ventures, MaRS Discovery District



    List of winners here:


    Grand Prize Winner


    Memo is a personal assistant that passively collects and analyzes patient data through natural voice. Memo also collects the frequency of patient’s repeated questions allowing researchers to measure the patient’s cognitive ability.


    Challenge Set 1 Winners

    Bright Guide is a cognitive assistance tool that helps families tend to persons living with Dementia. Bright Guide provides secure audio-video recording and playback to create instructions for activities of daily living. This reduces caregiver stress for having to repeatedly verbalize caregiving steps. In earlier years of Dementia the care recipient can use this system independently.


    Challenge Set 2 Winners

    Rescue is the dependable and ultra-responsive go-to platform providing the professional care giving service sought by primary and often sole caregivers for their loved ones struggling with mid to late stage dementia in a moment’s notice. The platform can also provide on-demand help for institutions who may need a skilled PSW to fill in at the last minute.


    Challenge Set 3 Winners

    Connect Dem is a platform that connects volunteers who are looking to give back to the community through services with long term care homes (caring for dementia patients). The volunteer would help out with caring for dementia patients while the care homes will be able to make an informed choice about which volunteers are good choices for which patients.


    On behalf of Facebook and The UK Government, HackerNest would like to thank each and every participant who joined us, shared their passion and tech experience, all our mentors and judges, all our sponsors and community partners, our amazing volunteers, and the staff of MaRS Discovery District for an incredible weekend.


    A special thank you is required for our presenting partners, Facebook and the UK Government for their enthusiasm, dedication, and amazing contributions to the DementiaHack cause. We couldn’t have done this without you.


    Props to DementiaHack 2017 Winners!