July 4, 2022

How Tech Will Transform Aging with Keren Etkin

How Tech Will Transform Aging with Keren Etkin

Our spotlighted guest for this episode is The Gerontechnologist, Keren Etkin! She is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and self-described age tech evangelist. Keren is the founder/director of AgeLabIL and she also runs the AgeTech Academy. She sat...

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Our spotlighted guest for this episode is The Gerontechnologist, Keren Etkin! She is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and self-described age tech evangelist. Keren is the founder/director of AgeLabIL and she also runs the AgeTech Academy. She sat down with James to discuss some of the technological advances in the very specialized arena of tech for the aging, how this tech fits into the user’s daily life, and where she’d like to see things go in the future. From robotics to voice assistants, they cover it all!

Contact Mai Ling: MLC at mailingchan.com

Contact James: James at slptransitions.com



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I don't think technology is supposed to replace human connection.

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I think technology can and should augment our human capabilities and fill in the gaps where humans just aren't present.

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You're listening to the exceptional leaders podcast each week we give you a front row seat to our conversations with new and successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders making an impact in the special education and disability communities.

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They share their intimate experiences so you can start grow and expand your impact.

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I'm James Berges of slp transitions dot com. And I'm Mai Ling Chan you can find me at mai ling chan dot com.

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Today's episode is actually really interesting to me as an individual.

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We are listening to James's interview with Keren Etkin in the area of gerontology and technology and it is so very interesting James, I don't know how you ended it.

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I'm sure you could have gone on and on.

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Yeah, this is truly something that will affect all of us.

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And you know when we talk about disabilities, I don't normally think about aging, obviously some of us make it to old age with you know, no memory loss or physical disability.

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But when you think of aging it's something that will affect us all, whether you're young or old or listening to this now.

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And that's what Karen does.

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She's at gerontechnologist.

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So she's the only person I know with that title where she thinks of how we can use technology to not end aging.

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We can't reverse aging as of now, but how can we make us age with more grace.

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How can we feel less lonely?

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How can we, you know, reduce the load and automate some of these menial tasks that caretakers, frankly we don't have enough caretakers and you know, there's so much aging happening that we're gonna have to figure out some solutions.

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So we go through a lot through that.

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I love it.

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Um when the iPad first came out 2010, I wasn't an early adopter, but I would say by 2012 I was all in and I was one of the first people to be taking the iPad into the medical services that I was providing.

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So I was working in acute care, I was also working in um the aging space with dementia support and it was really interesting James for me to sit down with someone who had never seen a touch screen before, you know, someone who was an elderly individual and have them just understand that cause effect of that.

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And then the short term memory would be for me to come back on a different day and see if they recalled how to do that, you know, how to drill down how to find the app.

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I had them playing actually the memory card game, which was fantastic.

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So we were at doing memory but also um using interactive technology and I would find that that short term memory learning loop was affected because they sometimes forgot, you know, how do I get that card to flip over and they might double tap it or try to swipe it, you know, so it was really, really amazing to me to see people learning technology for the first time and then retaining the learning.

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Isn't that amazing?

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Yeah, That is amazing.

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That's really cool to see how you can use technology in that way.

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And it makes me think, you know, there's sort of a bias against older elderly population and we also talk about aging in this interview, how it's not just this nebulous term, it's there's different types of aging and there's different cohorts of very elderly versus slightly older.

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I forget the exact technical term.

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I apologize, but you think of, oh my grandma's not gonna understand this new technology, How is technology going to make her life better?

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But the best technology is technology that goes into the background.

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It's seamless.

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It doesn't require that much cognitive effort from the person using it.

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Especially if we're talking about someone who's older and didn't grow up with tech in their hand might have memory loss and vision issues.

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So yeah, it's a big question.

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How can we use technology, not only in therapy, like you're talking about Mai Ling, which has enhanced my therapy, but how can we make it just so anyone can use it, including someone who's really foreign to technology.

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That's a challenge.

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And then I also participated in the recent rehab tech summit, which had a lot of companies that are in that space and then healthcare providers like ourselves and the people listening who are interested in being that bridge between services, therapy, you know, real life independent living and using technology and so that was a great summit, it does come out I believe twice a year, so please watch for that.

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And then we are going to be having one of the co founders Raheema Hemraj, who's going to be a guest in the next couple of weeks, so definitely stick you know to listening and catching up with us because we are really trying to be on the forefront of technology and aging and helping you um whether you're coming up with an idea or you know, you're in the midst of something helping you to stay as a leader in this area.

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Any interesting things that we should look out for in this specific interview James, I think there's a, there's a lot to dig into, I say the main things without giving it all away is that technology can enhance our life, but we also have to be aware of cultural considerations with aging.

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Obviously, you know, the way we treat aging in the United States is different than Japan is different than Latin American certain cultures.

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So when we're making technology we can't just have a one size fits all solution, we have to really think of the human at the center of all of this which includes their culture and includes their biology, includes, you know, their whole mental state and going from there, but right now is an amazing time if you are interested in this area to learn about age tech and rehab tech for the aging population because these are unprecedented times where people in the baby boom generation and beyond are gonna be aging faster than we can keep up with.

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So we need more people working on these issues.

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And Keren really highlights really thought provoking ways we can get into this.

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And and I like these solutions honestly better than some people in Silicon Valley are trying to end aging altogether, trying to make us live forever.

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And I'm not so sure I want to do that.

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It just seems like a long time forever.

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So right, so fountain of youth, not for you.

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Maybe if I can maintain a nice, you know, I'm 32 now, if I can remain this age maybe, you know, there's, I definitely would want to live longer than 100.

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If I can feel like I'm 30, that would be great.

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Or even 60, but I don't want to feel like I'm, you know, 100 for 200 years.

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Oh well that was, would you rather question, That was a good one.

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Um, so as everyone knows, I just had a milestone birthday and I am currently doing these medical tests and things that have to happen after you turn 50 and it's definitely in the gerontology space, you know, they're starting to say, you know your calcium and your bone and and all of these things that are so important.

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But I'm also going to be going for cognitive testing.

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I do want to have a baseline for dementia because it's in my family and I want to be able to enter this into, you know, as a graceful way James and I don't want to be afraid of it.

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Um I've also invited my mom to come with me because I want her to have testing and she's in her 60's.

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She was a young mom and she is also starting to see some, you know, short term memory loss and things like that.

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And I want her to like I said embrace it and move gracefully into this and also have resources and strategies that typically people don't have when they're starting to experience dementia.

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And so there's a lot of fear around it, you know, confusion, feeling ostracized or feeling isolated.

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So I'm really excited about that.

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I hope to share a little bit of my journey here on the podcast with everyone and I hope that it is something that everyone starts to include in their, you know, good health practices.

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Absolutely, yeah, I can relate to that to mailing, I have dementia runs on both sides of my family.

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So it's something I actively have to think about.

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Yeah, I mean we have a lot of cures for physical problems and our physical health has gotten better over time, as far as interventions medically.

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But the mental part is the black box mystery.

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It's like exploring space and the ocean.

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The third frontier is the mind.

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It's like how are we going to make people age with grace?

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Not just age longer but age with grace and with dignity and less lonely.

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So I want to follow along your journey well, we'll keep everyone updated on that.

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Thank you.

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So what are you doing these days this summer?

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Deep into summer of june yeah, it's getting hot.

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We actually had a thunderstorm last night as a side note, which was weird for LA.

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I was woke up to thunder and rain.

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But besides that it feels it does feel as long as it's not too loud.

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I can sleep, especially with the rain.

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It's nice.

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And as far as summer, I'm helping within, Well, it's an autistic summer program.

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It's a really fun program called Speak and Play or Play and Speak.

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But the whole idea is it's four weeks and different levels of people autistic students.

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So I'm working with high schoolers and we get to play some fun games.

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Were doing social bingo.

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We're doing arts and crafts, really with a focus on socializing, having fun, doing some receptive, expressive language.

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And then my personal favorite is I got to do some improv games with them.

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I don't know if you know this Mai Ling but I used to take a couple of improv classes in this place in Hollywood called iO West and I love it because it gets you out of your comfort zone, but you're all with people in a safe space where it's like, okay, we're all trying this weird, funny, awkward thing where were, you know, making animal noises or were saying yes and and then just creating a story on the spot, but there's no wrong answers.

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So it's great for for anyone, but especially maybe autistic students who aren't used to having that social freedom.

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You know, often we prescribe hopefully we're getting away from this, but prescribe certain ways they should be behaving, but improvs all about there's no wrong answer.

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Just have fun and say whatever you want to say.

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I love that.

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Life should be like that.

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I know, well, life is improv right?

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Like we're all improvising, that's excellent.

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Before we get into the show, I wanted to share that exceptional learning is going to be offering a free conference in July. It's July 11 to 15.

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It's called the Special Education Administrators Institute.

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It's the first one that we've had um with this focus James and it's to help special education administrators get those essential competencies that they need around providing disability support and being a disability support.

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Team Leader.

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So we're really, really excited about this.

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We have a law class um you know, we have things about ethics.

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Let me see, critical thinking.

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So just, you know, a great high level course for special admin so that they can not only get the credits that they would need for continuing education but also getting the education that they need to maybe feel some of the gaps.

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So for any of our listeners, please share if it's yourself or if you have other people on your team, this is a great free conference.

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That's exciting to learn soft skills like leadership and critical thinking.

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Those things that I came into my C.

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As a speech pathologist, like gotta learn this the hard way through IEPs but I wish I had a class on this.

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That's great.

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And without further ado I think yeah let's just get to the episode.

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But before we even listen, do us a favor, leave us a review on apple podcasts and Spotify and let us know what you think.

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We love to hear your feedback and it helps us reach more people and spread the word about disability and inclusion.

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So we appreciate you.

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Yes, thank you so much.

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Let's get to that episode.

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Alright, I am so excited to be joined by a very special guest, Keren Etkin.

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She is the age tech evangelist.

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She's a gerontologist and the founder of the gerontechnologist dot com.

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She works at a fascinating intersection of aging and technology to help us live happier and healthier lives as we get older.

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She's an aging influencer and she's the author of the Age Tech Revolution, which I loved reading.

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Welcome KEren, thank you James, thank you for having me.

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I am so excited to have you because pardon the pun, but aging is a topic that never gets old for me.

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And while this podcast, we usually talk about disability, right?

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And entrepreneurs in the disability space, I don't really think about aging as a disability itself, but it's something we're all going to have to deal with one time or another and it is the leading cause of disability.

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If you define disability as affecting you mentally, physically, financially, emotionally, it touches every area of our life.

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I want to ask you I have a million questions, but let's start broad with why is this a unique time in history for the aging population.

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So we're at a unique point in history because we are going through an unprecedented demographic shift.

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We've never had so many people reach old age on the face of the earth and we've also had never had such a huge percentage of the population be over the age of 65 and this creates social changes.

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This creates economic changes and of course it impacts the lives of the people who reach old age, right?

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Especially if they didn't have role models on how to be 80 or 90 or 100 years old because their parents and grandparents didn't necessarily live that long.

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So it's a it's an exciting time.

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But it's also challenging time.

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Yes, and there's a million challenges we could get into first.

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Are we prepared to?

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I feel like there's this huge wave coming and personally, I don't feel prepared but you have this unique vantage point working in gerontology and tech.

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Are we prepared or not really?

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So this is an interesting question.

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To some extent, we've sort of, because this is a gradual change and life expectancy has been gradually increasing over the past few decades.

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So to some extent we are prepared.

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However, if you look at it from the macro level, so governments for example, have known for years that we are going to experience a very rapid aging of the population.

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Have they prepared?

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Have they, have they made sure that everyone could experience successful aging and aging place if they want to.

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Our families prepared families aren't, I'm not convinced families are prepared and individuals, some of them it's a very individual thing.

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Some people are very good at preparing for their own old age at downsizing their home for example, or saving up for retirement.

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Not everyone can afford to, but those who can some of them are better at saving for retirement than others.

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So it's an interesting question and I don't think there's, I don't think there's a yes or no answer for that, right.

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And it's a very broad question of different levels of preparedness from society to individual.

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Like how can you prepare yourself can we talk about?

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What are some of the challenges you kind of mentioned it like financial, emotional and physical?

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What are the biggest areas you see or a couple of the big areas that we need to address.

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One of the biggest areas obviously is is health, right?

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People's health becomes a concern the older people get right.

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So on one hand, we have a huge population of young older adults right, in their 60s and 70s who are healthy and active and they don't necessarily feel the effects of physical or cognitive old age yet?

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And on the other hand, we have a large and growing population of people in their late 80s 90s in people who live to be 100 years old who are very much feeling the physical and cognitive challenges of of living in an aging body.

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And there is a gap between life expectancy and health expectancy.

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So how do we make sure that people who live until a very long age and not necessarily have the best health that they've had in their twenties thirties or forties?

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How do we make sure that they still have quality of life?

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How do we enable aging in place for those who are wanting to age in place?

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And even for the younger older adults?

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Right, those who are healthy and active, they have challenges too.

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If they are facing 20 or 30 years of retirement, are they going to have enough retirement savings to support them for 20 or 30 years?

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Right, so you have to think of the gap between life expectancy and wealth expectancy?

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How are you going to spend those years that you have those active and healthy years?

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You could be retired?

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What are you gonna do?

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Maybe you wanna unretire, maybe you want to start a business, There are really so many challenges.

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But I think it's a it's an exciting time, right?

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I don't necessarily view it as a bad thing.

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I think it's a it's an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves, an opportunity to reinvent the way society is structured.

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So a lot of very, very exciting opportunities ahead.

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Big problems or big issues called for big innovation and it's just kind of like we're gonna have to rise to the occasion, whether we're prepared or not, it seems like, but there's people stepping in to do it and I like that you delineate between different types of older adult, right?

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Like 60 to 65.

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My parents who are now reaching in their seventies, late sixties, seventies they're like 65 is young.

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That's, you know, so to think of as old people as this or older adults as this monolithic entity is sort of short sighted.

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It seems like I know you have a background in life sciences, correct.

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Okay, why did you focus on tech versus trying to make us immortal or helping people live as long as possible?

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Because I know there's people in Silicon Valley who are hell bent on making us reverse biology basically and live as long as possible.

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Why are you focused on aging in place and quality of life versus longevity and for the sole sake of longevity?

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So this is an interesting question actually, when I, when I went and got my degree in the life sciences, I wasn't thinking about going into longevity science.

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What I actually wanted was to do research either cancer research or HIV research, which I got to do for very briefly until I realized that I didn't really enjoy spending all my time in the lab with petri dishes.

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So I was very fortunate to get involved with the student organization that was working with holocaust survivors at university.

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And then I realized that working with all the adults was fascinating and that it was an opportunity for me to make a real impact on real people.

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So I went and got a gerontology degree and I went to work in the nonprofit sector in community services for older adults.

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So while I was doing that, yes, what we were doing was impactful and it was really amazing to see just how much of an impact one person could do if they were at the right place at the right time.

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However, what we were doing wasn't scaling right?

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Because that's the nature of any line of work really that relies on humans, right?

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And we were at the time in the nonprofit sector, you rely on volunteers.

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So I always knew that technology could potentially have a lot to offer all the adults to tackle some of the challenges of aging.

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So when I got the offer to join intuition, robotics to work on a social robot, I was like, okay, let's do this.

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This, this could scale right.

00:21:02.130 --> 00:21:07.530
If we get this one right, we could make a positive impact on the lives of millions of people.

00:21:08.120 --> 00:21:11.830
Um, so that was how I got into tech.

00:21:11.830 --> 00:21:15.720
But I still believe longevity science is fascinating.

00:21:15.730 --> 00:21:16.780

00:21:16.780 --> 00:21:27.100
I don't really have the time to keep up with all the recent developments, but we'll see whether these scientists are actually able to reverse biological aging.

00:21:27.620 --> 00:21:28.350

00:21:28.360 --> 00:21:39.340
And I don't know if I would even want that to happen to be honest, it kind of scares me because like you said, there's the gap between our, our health, our wealth and our physical health and our mental health.

00:21:39.350 --> 00:21:42.990
Obviously Alzheimer's and dementia is a huge thing.

00:21:43.000 --> 00:21:46.760
So I don't know if we're gonna be able to solve that with tech either.

00:21:46.770 --> 00:21:52.470
But can you talk about what are some of the things tech can solve and what can't they solve?

00:21:52.480 --> 00:22:01.380
Because I, you know, playing devil's advocate here, I can see some people saying, well, we shouldn't scale human connection, We shouldn't replace humans.

00:22:01.390 --> 00:22:03.910
So what are your thoughts on people saying that?

00:22:03.920 --> 00:22:06.430
So this is a great point.

00:22:06.430 --> 00:22:10.480
And I don't think technology is supposed to replace human connection.

00:22:10.490 --> 00:22:21.340
I think technology can and should augment our human capabilities and fill in the gaps where humans just aren't present.

00:22:21.350 --> 00:22:21.960

00:22:21.970 --> 00:22:34.450
Because at the end of the day, the way that the demographics trends is currently going is that we have fewer and fewer people being born and more and more people reaching old age.

00:22:34.460 --> 00:22:38.150
So even within our families, right?

00:22:38.160 --> 00:22:43.100
We have fewer Children to care for our aging parents.

00:22:43.650 --> 00:22:48.050
And the way that our society is built is very much age segregated.

00:22:48.050 --> 00:22:49.390
People work long hours.

00:22:49.390 --> 00:22:52.330
People live hundreds of miles away from their parents.

00:22:52.340 --> 00:22:59.200
So what ends up happening in many cases is that older adults live alone, right.

00:22:59.200 --> 00:23:04.580
We don't live in a tribal society where our parents live under the same roof with us anymore.

00:23:04.590 --> 00:23:10.830
So they live alone hundreds of miles away and they only meet their family once or twice a year.

00:23:11.630 --> 00:23:24.320
So some people can really have a lot of social connections and have lots of friends and lots of activities and never get lonely and for others for about 30% of older adults they do get lonely.

00:23:24.320 --> 00:23:26.240
They do report being lonely.

00:23:26.250 --> 00:23:33.330
So obviously the best solution is to have family nearby visit very often.

00:23:33.340 --> 00:23:37.520
But it's not, it's just not feasible for all families.

00:23:37.530 --> 00:24:07.950
So I think technology could definitely first of all facilitate more human connections and that was part of the thing that we built ElliQ to be able to do to just enable the family to be in closer communication with their older loved one via voice messages via video calls and and also to have a robotics presence in your home that's able to communicate with you and just acknowledge your existence and say good morning to you.

00:24:07.960 --> 00:24:13.030
I think that's that could make a difference for people who who live alone.

00:24:13.040 --> 00:24:15.130
And we've seen that during covid right?

00:24:15.140 --> 00:24:18.540
Because people had to shelter in place right?

00:24:18.550 --> 00:24:24.140
Even people who were able to leave the house physically pre covid during covid they had to shelter in place.

00:24:24.140 --> 00:24:33.820
They couldn't go out, they couldn't do any of their social activities and when you eat three meals every day by yourself.

00:24:33.830 --> 00:24:41.180
And the only human voice you hear in your home is if you turn on the tv or the radio it gets lonely.

00:24:41.190 --> 00:24:42.590

00:24:42.600 --> 00:24:55.880
So why not have a social robot present to ask you how your day is going, right and not your family to pick up the phone and call you if they haven't done so in a while.

00:24:55.890 --> 00:24:56.610

00:24:56.990 --> 00:24:59.110
So that's the social robotics aspect of it.

00:24:59.120 --> 00:25:10.620
And if you're looking at service robots, I firmly believe that we need to automate a lot if not all of the manual labor of caregiving right?

00:25:10.620 --> 00:25:23.210
Because the way that it works currently is that both paid caregivers and family caregivers do a lot of cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping.

00:25:23.220 --> 00:25:28.050
A lot of the stuff that you don't really need a human to do it.

00:25:28.050 --> 00:25:43.020
And it the the older adult probably couldn't care less whether it was a human vacuum in the floor or whether it's an iRobot vacuuming the floor, but it does when humans spend so many hours every week.

00:25:43.030 --> 00:25:47.110
Human caregivers spend so many hours every week doing manual labor.

00:25:47.120 --> 00:26:02.610
It takes away from the time that they have to provide companionship and emotional support to the older adult there caring for and if you're asking me, what do I want when I'm older, I want my children and grandchildren to come to my house and spend time with me and have a conversation.

00:26:02.620 --> 00:26:04.660
I don't want them doing the dishes.

00:26:04.660 --> 00:26:07.720
It's a waste of precious time really.

00:26:08.150 --> 00:26:09.870
So that's my take on it.

00:26:09.880 --> 00:26:18.080
Well, I would agree with you there that can automate all the manual tasks so we can focus on the things that do make us human.

00:26:19.750 --> 00:26:33.140
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00:26:47.270 --> 00:27:15.830
You'd be surprised how much your experience translates to other fields, find out how and join other movers and shakers at slp transitions dot com see you inside now, let's get back to our amazing interview, I could see some cultures that take pride in in having their loved ones in the house as long as possible and not outsourcing to caregivers, maybe they'd be more resistant to technology than others.

00:27:15.840 --> 00:27:31.730
And then I just think of like my grandma called facebook face space for a long time and bless her heart grandma Bev But you know, I can see these barriers to technology where maybe it's they're not digital natives, right?

00:27:31.740 --> 00:27:34.340
So they weren't born into it the same way you and I are.

00:27:34.570 --> 00:27:41.520
How can we make technology more enticing and usable for this older generation?

00:27:41.530 --> 00:27:47.900
So enticing is a word that we need to really hold onto, right?

00:27:47.910 --> 00:28:01.360
Because usability is one aspect of making technology accessible for older adults, but making it enticing and making people actually want to use it is so elusive, right?

00:28:01.360 --> 00:28:09.370
It's so it's so hard to get people anyone really to spend their money and time on your product.

00:28:09.380 --> 00:28:27.760
And if you're talking about older adults who as as you said, are are not digital natives, it's even more challenging because unfortunately because of the way that our world works, most of the consumer facing technology that we use was built by younger adults for younger adults.

00:28:27.770 --> 00:28:33.770
And this means that it's not necessarily usable for anyone who's not a digital native.

00:28:33.780 --> 00:28:40.010
And this means that many other adults have had in the past bad experiences when it comes to technology.

00:28:40.560 --> 00:28:48.070
So now it's up to us to convince them that whatever it is that we are building, it's not going to be frustrating.

00:28:48.080 --> 00:28:52.710
It's not gonna make them feel bad about themselves when they use it.

00:28:52.720 --> 00:28:54.920
And it's going to bring value to their lives.

00:28:54.920 --> 00:29:05.400
And it's worth not just the investing their money, it's also worth investing their time and learning how to use it because there is a learning curve to any product.

00:29:05.800 --> 00:29:08.600
Uh So it's it's a challenge.

00:29:08.610 --> 00:29:12.390
But I think I think our generation is up to the challenge for sure.

00:29:12.980 --> 00:29:18.910
Yeah I think we are if we have to bring our loved ones into the metaverse maybe we'll upload their consciousness.

00:29:18.910 --> 00:29:23.350
But you know it'll work out, we'll figure it out.

00:29:23.360 --> 00:29:27.390
But going back to I don't think we really talked about what ElliQ.

00:29:27.400 --> 00:29:27.830

00:29:27.830 --> 00:29:30.740
I know it's a voice enabled robot, right?

00:29:30.750 --> 00:29:35.530
And that's something you worked at on personally at a company called Intuition Robotics.

00:29:36.000 --> 00:29:37.900
What does ElliQ do?

00:29:37.900 --> 00:29:47.600
And can you talk about voice specifically and why that's such a great point of accessibility for older folks, older adults For sure.

00:29:47.610 --> 00:29:48.270
So Elli

00:29:48.270 --> 00:29:48.470

00:29:48.470 --> 00:30:01.580
is a social robot that was designed with and for older adults, I was recruited to this company as the first employee because I was a gerontologist because we wanted to make sure that we were including older adults in the process from day one.

00:30:02.040 --> 00:30:03.320
So ElliQ.

00:30:03.320 --> 00:30:09.770
Is uh it's not just voice activated, it's also she's able to express herself in multiple ways, right?

00:30:09.770 --> 00:30:13.100
So she's able to express herself with voice with movement.

00:30:13.100 --> 00:30:16.110
It's not a it's a tabletop robot so it doesn't move around the house.

00:30:16.120 --> 00:30:24.580
But she is able to express herself with movement with lights with sounds and with with content that is displayed on the screen.

00:30:24.590 --> 00:30:38.800
And in terms of capabilities, there are multiple types of capabilities she can do so she can obviously connect the user with their family via messages and video chat.

00:30:38.810 --> 00:30:49.830
She can play music and tell the weather like any voice assistant, but on top of that she can also be proactive, which I think is the really cool thing about ElliQ.

00:30:49.830 --> 00:30:49.880

00:30:49.880 --> 00:30:50.330

00:30:50.590 --> 00:31:02.610
Because unlike regular voice assistance in which you have to basically you the human you issue some voice command and it does what you tell it to do or not, sometimes it doesn't.

00:31:02.620 --> 00:31:07.520
So ElliQ is able to actually sense her surroundings.

00:31:07.530 --> 00:31:15.170
Like she's able to read the room basically and decide whether now is a good time to take action.

00:31:15.180 --> 00:31:23.440
And if it is a good time to take action then what type of action is suitable for this particular moment in the day for this particular user.

00:31:23.450 --> 00:31:34.920
Is it enough that I flicker the lights and acknowledge their presence or should I suggest that we play a trivia game or listen to some music.

00:31:34.930 --> 00:31:50.110
So that is I think the part of it that really makes ElliQ engaging and really has the potential to reduce feelings of loneliness because it just doesn't wait for the user to initiate interaction.

00:31:50.110 --> 00:31:54.530
So it initiates interaction all by itself sometimes and it can surprise the user.

00:31:54.540 --> 00:31:56.330
Yeah, hopefully.

00:31:56.340 --> 00:31:57.400
Pleasant surprise.

00:31:57.410 --> 00:31:57.930

00:31:57.940 --> 00:32:09.030
I think of this balance when you're designing technology, you have to make sure if you are making a proactive in that sense that it's not crossing a line into privacy or being annoying.

00:32:09.450 --> 00:32:11.730
But yeah, if you're lonely, I can see it.

00:32:11.740 --> 00:32:13.460
You want someone to check in on you?

00:32:13.470 --> 00:32:18.890
It's a nice device to come in and say, hey, how are you doing or have you taken your medications today?

00:32:18.900 --> 00:32:20.680
Do you want to listen to music?

00:32:20.690 --> 00:32:22.910
So I actually haven't seen that.

00:32:22.910 --> 00:32:33.330
I want to see a video of this to see sounds way more advanced than like, I think people think amazon Alexa when they think of voice device, but it seems like we've gone beyond that.

00:32:34.230 --> 00:32:40.100
Yeah, so there are, there are tons of videos of ElliQ on Youtube and I think, and they also do live demos now.

00:32:40.110 --> 00:32:45.670
So if you go to the company's website, I think you should be able to sign up for a demo.

00:32:45.680 --> 00:32:54.970
Okay, cool, well Keren, what are besides ElliQ and Voice, are there any other examples off the top of your head of startups?

00:32:54.980 --> 00:33:05.960
I know on your website, on the gerontechnologist dot com, you have this big, beautiful web of all these different startups in the age tech sector, are there any that stand out to you?

00:33:05.960 --> 00:33:13.960
They're like, oh that's gonna change everything or a couple or a couple categories if you don't want to name names?

00:33:13.970 --> 00:33:27.730
Yeah, I can't name names because I think everyone is not only working super hard at tackling critical issues, but I think everyone is doing it in their own unique way.

00:33:27.730 --> 00:33:37.220
And I think it's great that we are finally at a stage where there are multiple types of solutions and multiple types of technologies for each challenge.

00:33:37.230 --> 00:33:43.090
So I guess coming back to your question, what is going to be a game changer?

00:33:43.100 --> 00:33:48.090
First of all robotics and automation are definitely going to be game changers.

00:33:48.090 --> 00:33:58.900
I know that there are startups out there working on solutions that are aren't yet on the asian market map because they're not yet publicly available or even have stealth.

00:33:58.910 --> 00:34:07.680
But some of these companies definitely have the potential to revolutionize everything we know about aging in place for example.

00:34:08.190 --> 00:34:09.469
So that's one thing.

00:34:09.480 --> 00:34:13.710
And I also think the metaverse could be promising if we get it right.

00:34:14.440 --> 00:34:21.870
So if we get it wrong, we've all seen The Matrix hadn't have to describe you how that's gonna end.

00:34:21.880 --> 00:34:30.020
But if we if we get it right, I think we could potentially solve social isolation and loneliness, right?

00:34:30.030 --> 00:34:38.460
Because it could potentially eliminate the geographical barriers that currently exists between humans and within families, Right?

00:34:38.469 --> 00:34:46.199
Because if you can have dinner with your grandmother every evening even though you live hundreds of miles apart.

00:34:47.340 --> 00:34:48.210
That's amazing.

00:34:48.219 --> 00:34:49.989
That's a game changer and we can't do that.

00:34:49.989 --> 00:34:50.210

00:34:50.210 --> 00:34:51.250
Not in a good way.

00:34:51.260 --> 00:34:52.520
Zoom isn't great.

00:34:52.530 --> 00:35:09.290
I mean it's great for for recording podcasts and having business meetings, but when I zoom or facetime with my grandmother, it doesn't feel like we're in the same room and if we get the metaverse right, if we get at like Star Trek, Holodeck level, that would be amazing, right?

00:35:10.000 --> 00:35:10.780

00:35:10.790 --> 00:35:16.610
Well it's funny that you say Star Trek because I feel like star Trek has sparked the idea for a lot of things.

00:35:16.620 --> 00:35:19.870
Even automatic doors that came from Star Trek.

00:35:19.880 --> 00:35:22.700
So if anything can do it.

00:35:22.700 --> 00:35:28.690
Star Trek also you made me think of, I'm a speech pathologist by trade.

00:35:28.690 --> 00:35:38.790
So there's people who have had strokes and they can't leave their home and they've lost a lot of their spoken language abilities or they can't find the words they want to say.

00:35:39.390 --> 00:35:47.230
So there's virtual reality programs for them called, I think it's called Ava Park where they go and talk to other adults who have also had stroke.

00:35:47.230 --> 00:35:57.730
So it's a great way for people who otherwise would be completely alone in their house not talking and struggling to connect with each other and practice their vocabulary in a safe space.

00:35:57.740 --> 00:36:02.130
So I think we're both techno optimists.

00:36:02.130 --> 00:36:08.750
But definitely yeah, the media shows the terminator the Matrix, but I'm more optimistic than I am pessimistic.

00:36:08.750 --> 00:36:13.350
We'll see though we need ethicists and people who are empathetic on board, right?

00:36:13.360 --> 00:36:17.050
You can't just have pure technology for sure.

00:36:17.060 --> 00:36:28.120
We definitely need need empathy and we need ethics and all of that to make sure we we get it right and we improve the human experience rather than reduce it.

00:36:28.130 --> 00:36:29.410
Well, beautiful.

00:36:29.420 --> 00:36:31.180
I think that's a good place to leave it off.

00:36:31.480 --> 00:36:36.940
So um I encourage everyone to please pick up a copy of The Age Tech Tevolution.

00:36:36.950 --> 00:36:49.810
I'm reading through it now and I'm just fascinated by, you know, you think of this niche, it's like a niche or niche, how you want to say that, but it's not a niche, it's a huge population that's sort of being underserved.

00:36:49.900 --> 00:37:09.140
Oh, and as one bonus question, I wonder for you, Keren, some of the people listening might be interested in entrepreneurship and going into their coming from clinical work and going into more entrepreneurial endeavors or tech, do you have any advice or avenues that people should really focus on?

00:37:09.140 --> 00:37:12.180
Do you think in age tech if they want to get involved?

00:37:12.640 --> 00:37:25.760
So from my experience, people who come with a background of either they're clinicians are PTs, I think they already sort of know what the challenges are.

00:37:25.770 --> 00:37:53.430
They don't need me to tell them what the challenges are and I think one of the most exciting things about this day and age is that yes, there are so many challenges and yes, there are more solutions than ever, but also there's still tons of room to innovate and I think each and every person who works with all the adults today has identified multiple challenge that they wish they could solve.

00:37:53.440 --> 00:38:01.160
And very few of us are entrepreneurs and I definitely encourage everyone listening.

00:38:01.170 --> 00:38:05.540
Was considering to become an entrepreneur in this space.

00:38:05.550 --> 00:38:09.840
Now is the time not, not five years from today, not 10 years from today.

00:38:09.840 --> 00:38:12.160
Now is the time very nice.

00:38:12.170 --> 00:38:12.680

00:38:12.690 --> 00:38:24.100
Now just look for what problems you're seeing in your clinical work and things that frustrate you and frustrate your patients or your client's write them down and start making a list and technology gets better and better.

00:38:24.100 --> 00:38:31.730
So if you have the problem in mind you're already halfway there, it's just a matter of implementing it and getting a team of people potentially for sure.

00:38:31.740 --> 00:38:38.230
And even with with no code tools you don't even have to necessarily code so exactly exciting times.

00:38:38.240 --> 00:38:41.250
Well, thank you so much, Keren, I really appreciate your time.

00:38:41.260 --> 00:38:50.910
Where can people find you if they want to learn more about your work so people can find me on the gerontechnologist dot com and on linkedin of course my name is Keren.

00:38:51.300 --> 00:38:56.000
Karen with two e's and the tech revolution is also available on amazon.

00:38:56.010 --> 00:38:59.670
Thank you so much James for hosting me was an absolute pleasure.

00:38:59.680 --> 00:39:02.040
Likewise, thank you so much, Karen.

00:39:03.200 --> 00:39:11.770
We hope you enjoyed this episode and invite you to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and share the show with people you think will find value from it.

00:39:11.910 --> 00:39:27.900
This helps the show a lot or have a great guest referral reach out to us at X Leaders at gmail dot com and if you want exclusive tips on becoming an exceptional leader, deliver straight to your inbox, just go to Xceptional Leaders dot com and sign up for our mailing list.

00:39:27.910 --> 00:39:29.300
Thanks for listening.

Keren EtkinProfile Photo

Keren Etkin

Founder of TheGerontechnologist.com

Keren is the best-selling author of The AgeTech Revolution - a book about the intersection of technology and aging, founder of TheGerontechnologist.com, a media platform that covers the global agetech ecosystem and offers online courses through the AgeTech Academy, and the founder/director of AgeLabIL at Shenkar college in Israel, an interdisciplinary R&D center focusing on agetech. Named one of the most influential people in aging, Etkin is a sought-after public speaker and advisor for agetech startups, investors in the longevity economy, care providers and organizations who work on innovation in aging. Previously, Etkin was the first employee at Intuition Robotics, maker of ElliQ, a pioneering social robot designed with and for older adults, and co-founder & VP of Product at Sensi.ai, a startup that developed the first artificial intelligence solution for remote care monitoring. She holds an M.A. in Gerontology and a B.Sc. in Life Sciences from Ben-Gurion University.