Thrive Innovation Center opens its doors to showcase aging in place tech

By Jonah Comstock
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The Thrive Innovation Center in Louisville, Kentucky opened today. The Center is a nonprofit dedicated to showcasing new aging in place technologies in partnership with tech companies like Samsung, CDW Healthcare, Lenovo, and Aruba, as well as a number of aging tech startups.

"We really wanted to create a center that was more of an experiential center, not a tradeshow floor," CEO and Executive Director Sheri Rose told MobiHealthNews. "...What we really created here is an experience, so when seniors, caregivers, and providers come here and see the center, we have a thematic program. Right now we’ve really focused on cognitive fitness and memory, Alzheimer’s. We reached out to technology companies and said, 'you tell us how your innovative solutions that you’ve come up with applies to this use case,' and then we developed programs based on that too."

Louisville is a hub for senior care and home care companies, including Humana, Kindred Healthcare, Signature Healthcare, and Atria Senior Living. The Thrive Center will serve as a sort of show room for new aging in place technologies for those caregivers.

"It’s an opportunity for people to see not only what’s available today, but what we intend to do is to continue to update this with the latest and most cutting edge things people will be able to use in the home to be able to better manage," Dr. David Rhew, chief medical officer at Samsung, told MobiHealthNews. "So our goal was to try to create something that showcases where we are and some aspects of ways we can impove the lives of individuals. And not be so visionary that it’s out of reach for most individuals, but really try to make sure that we continue to keep pace with the innovations that are out there."

Displays will include videos of real patients and caregivers, as well as exhibits that get as close as possible to showing what the technologies are like in real clinical use cases. Samsung's exhibits will revolve around the Samsung Smart Home and the Internet of Things. 

"We really wanted to think of opportunities within the living space, within the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. Each one of these has an opportunitiy to experience different types of technology," Rhew said.

The Smart Home includes technology tied to motion sensors that can monitor a senior's habits and movements through the house. A smart bathroom mirror might be used to remind patients to take medications, while the kitchen includes sensors to monitor water usage and prevent overflows.

The center will also include tablet apps for signing in and registering with a senior center, mobile cognitive assessment tools, and even virtual reality experiences around stress management and pain management for seniors. Rhew also described an augmented reality app designed to help seniors with glaucoma or cataracts compensate for loss of vision.

"We’ve been trying to identify the major challenges and issues," Rhew said. "Whether its loneliness and social isolation, medical conditions, visual disorrders, pain management, these are all things we’ve tried to showcase as part of the technology."