Giving Compass' Take:

Debbie Galant reports that in 2017, at Blueridge Labs, tech and philanthropy experts were tasked with trying to create tools for older people to improve their quality of life. 

How are senior entrepreneurs needs' different from other social entrepreneurs? 

• Read about making transportation for older adults in rural areas. 

Above a CVS in downtown Brooklyn, NY, in a shared workspace that’s styled on Silicon Valley and names its conference rooms for the late rap star Notorious B.I.G., a group of 16 people are trying to invent new tools for older adults.

To me, going into Blue Ridge Labs was like going into a different culture. It’s an open lab tech space. I’m used to being an office. They expect you to use an app to open the door.

All of the ideas the teams are presenting today are devised to tackle issues faced by older adults. One team wants to help recently incarcerated seniors ease back into civilian life. Another wants to create an automated telephone hotline for people who fear they might have dementia. Still another wants to merge radio and social work in an as-yet-unspecified way.

At 71, the second-oldest fellow in this year’s program is Eileen McGinn—an “expert” because she is living older age. She’s more than an expert on elderhood. She brings to this project decades of experience as a problem-solver and leader.

Though McGinn’s team is not exactly sure what shape their project will ultimately take, she says that rather than just starting with solutions on a white board, they’ve decided to jump in and actually form Second Act, a NYC support group for women “seniorpreneurs.” She explains that other city programs that train entrepreneurs are geared toward younger people willing to work insane hours; unlike those programs, Second Act is for older women who want to use a skill to supplement their Social Security by $500 to $1,200 a month “so they can live like human beings.”

Read the full article about tools for older people by Debbie Galant at Senior Planet.