Sunny will enhance the lives of even tech-shy seniors by helping them keep in touch with family, friends, doctors and carers – through video, text, calling and seamless photo sharing. The normal aging process can hinder communication due to sensory loss, physical impairment, decline in memory, slower processing of information, and separation from family and friends. During this pandemic, seniors have been more isolated precisely when they have the greatest need to communicate with their families, friends and medical team. Loneliness has a major detrimental effect on mental and physical well being. Sunny addresses this issue by facilitating communication through an innovative tablet with a simple, clear user interface.
The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent. (Population Reference Bureau’s Population Bulletin, “Aging in the United States,”). Nearly one third live alone. By 2050, there will be more than 2 billion people over the age of 60 in the world – about 25% of the world’s population. These numbers, combined with an increase in tech adoption by older adults, and a growing number of elderly-care providers, all contribute to a massive demand for technology to serve the needs of older adults. However, many seniors struggle with their devices which leads to anger, frustration and a reluctance to use them.
Boomers started turning 65 in 2011, and they are the first generation of older adults that experienced the digital revolution firsthand. They can afford to spend money on technology, but they’re not going to spend it on products that don’t fit their lifestyle or needs. There is growing awareness of the sheer magnitude of the “gray dollar” and the fact that with today’s demographic trends, this spending will be growing faster than the overall economy.
According to the CDC, loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions. In addition, nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. This situation has been exacerbated during the pandemic; stay at home orders have had a significant negative impact on older adults’ mental health status, such as depression, social isolation and loneliness.
Sunny is a communication tool designed for and by seniors. Existing tablets for seniors are merely user interfaces built into off the shelf tablets. Sunny is completely different. More than a phone, simpler than a tablet, Sunny is a device with big understandable buttons for video and phone calls, instant messages, calendar, photos, videos, and music. Family, friends & carers can also use the Sunny app to add reminders, photos and events to the calendar. Sunny mounts for desk and floor make it much easier to use and ergonomically designed for those with impaired mobility. The Sunny tablet is lighter, the buttons are easier to use, and the screen is durable.
- Uncomplicated, light, large unbreakable screen with built in buttons
- Attachments/charging devices- desktop and floor stands- easy usage for people in wheelchairs, recliners, or in bed
- UI/UX designed by and for seniors
- Subscription model
- Integration with medical alert systems such as Phillips Lifeline
- One touch communication with virtual health care providers
- Each tablet gets a unique email address to facilitate communications
- Access granted for interfacing with caregivers or others to send photos, add/delete contacts, scheduling
- When the tablet is idle, a photo show plays, so the tablet functions as a ever changing photo frame
- Adaptive buttons for menu selection
- 911 button for emergencies
- Medical button provides medical information/virtual doctor
- Remote programming
- Photo show- pictures can be remotely sent to the tablet, this is the default setting for the tablet
- Weather/time/date is on the top of the screen
- Reminders and messages on the bottom of the screen (birthdays, appointments, medication schedule)
- Icon for weekly schedule
- Text messages- onscreen or bluetooth keyboard
- Phone- when pressed, the screen shows frequent contacts
- video chat- when pressed, the screen shows frequent contacts
- Bottom menu- news feed, videos, or photo show (default)
- Music button- streaming music via spotify or google with genre selection
- Easy home button
- Video button will show short videos, exercise videos, and brain games
As this project is in the ideation phase, team members currently include family:
- Judith Leibholz Colón, CEO Medical Ventures, CFO Rehabilitation Medicine Center of NY and Newark Rehabilitation Center
- Jose Colón MD, Medical Director Rehabilitation Medicine Center
- Dan, Chief Technology Officer, Analog Devices
- Miles, Software Engineer, ListenFirst Media
- Charles, Systems Engineer, General Dynamics
- Ann, Retired Psychologist