Well before the pandemic, isolation and loneliness among older adults was a large health concern. The pandemic and stay-at-home orders accelerated awareness, attention and innovative solutions to help older adults remain well connected to their loved ones, community and healthcare.
GrandPad is a tablet designed specifically for older adults to easily and intuitively use, purposefully built to connect with loved ones. To learn more about the company’s innovative solutions and perspectives on healthcare solutions for older adults, we invited Scott Lien, CEO and co-founder, for a conversation with Medical Alley’s vice president of intelligence, Frank Jaskulke.
GrandPad was launched eight years ago when Scott and his son saw that Scott’s mother found technology increasingly difficult to use.
“We saw that my 80-year-old mother, who was a brilliant lady, ran her own business, but was increasingly disconnected from the rest of the family because we were all using our smartphones,” explained Scott. “She found that technology was just really frustrating to her and she was a very busy lady. And I saw the negative impact it was having on her.”
He teamed up with his son and two other co-founders to design a device specifically for older adults, who they admiringly refer to as “super seniors.”
“We quickly realized there was an enormous market and need for this, both in the B2C direct-to-consumer world and the B2B enterprise healthcare world,” said Scott. “Off we went, and here we are today.”
It is estimated that “more of 40 percent of seniors were chronically lonely and isolated before COVID. Now … probably north of 60 percent are chronically lonely,” continued Scott. “It’s a serious issue, you know, a health issue. Validated research shows being chronically lonely for seniors is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
While there is no shortage of options when it comes to technology and devices, there are very few designed with older adults in mind — and even fewer designed to safely support their social, emotional and physical well-being.
“GrandPad is a hardware-based solution,” Scott explained. “I call this the trifecta: hardware, software and service. It looks like a standard tablet, but there’s lots of magical design features inside that make it work, especially for super seniors.”
GrandPad also provides support at every hour of every day for users, their families and caregivers, a competitive differentiator that Scott takes great pride in.
“I encourage you to call our 800 number,” he enthused. “Experience our customer care. It’s very different.”
Using GrandPad, “super seniors” can intuitively connect with loved ones with a simple video call. They can also receive photos from family and friends, access music to stream, play games by themselves or virtually with others. There is also a “mood app” with meditation videos and soothing sounds.
“What we’ve found,” asserted Scott, “by getting a GrandPad in the hands of the seniors and creating rich, engaging connections between their family, friends and caregivers, [is] a dramatic boost to help reduce that social isolation and loneliness.”
Understanding the power of their innovative device, GrandPad is innovating further to more effectively connect “super seniors” to the care they deserve. Currently, GrandPad is forging partnerships with many healthcare organizations to advance care.
“We’re excited to share that we’re doing some really breakthrough things,” said Scott. “One of them is something being beta tested right now and we’re seeking partnerships of people interested in this. It’s called video vital signs. It’s a way to get some key vital signs: heart rate, respiration and blood pressure through a video call.”
“The way we view the world is there’s more than 32 million super seniors. We all need to work together to help them; it’s the right thing to do. And by doing that in a tech-enabled, efficient way, we can dramatically take costs out and actually deliver better quality of care. So that’s really the focus,” affirmed Scott.
The Medical Alley Association’s member organizations and individuals, including GrandPad, are innovating technology to develop unique, effective solutions to improve social isolation, loneliness and interconnected health conditions. Medical Alley is honored to support their work, growth and success. Frank Jaskulke and the Medical Alley Association thank Scott Lien for sharing his story and insights with us, including his journey to develop technology to enhance the well-being of older adults.