Caregiving for Dementia Innovation Challenge Award Winners Announced

Monday, February 05, 2018

AARP Services Inc and United Healthcare announced 2 winners in their Caregiving for Dementia Innovation Challenge out of 254 entries from 34 countries. The goal of the challenge was to identify and create new solutions to support family caregivers for patients with early to midstage dementia. Globally there are more than 50 million patients with dementia, affecting approximately 25% of all family caregivers, with significant emotional and physical stressors.

Entries in the challenge shared research and development ideas with prototyping and refinements using OpenIDEO’s open-innovation platform and in 3 in-person events in North America.

Embodied Labs’ virtual reality simulation for caregivers to experience what it is like to live with Alzheimer’s disease took first prize in the most viable solution category. The aim of this tool is help caregivers understand how the disease affects their loved ones and build empathy for the many progressive losses their loved ones experience, which include not only memory, but also emotional connections, attention, communication skills, facial recognition, auditory processing, and spatial awareness.

A group of students from the University of California, Los Angelas (UCLA) received first prize in the most promising idea category for YouthCare. This program trains student volunteers and partners them with individuals with early-stage dementia, offering respite for family caregivers and the benefits of intergenerational interactions for both partners. 

The winners receive cash awards and in-kind support to help them advance their solutions. Winners were chosen based upon the ease of integration into caregiver’s lives, the impact on quality of care for people with dementia, affordability of the solution, and scaleability as judged by health-care professionals, physicians, researchers on aging, and innovation leaders.

"As family caregivers become a larger and more significant part of our culture, it's crucial that we work alongside them to create real solutions that will have lasting benefits on their day-to-day lives," said Sanjay Khurana, Vice President of Caregiving Products and Services at AARP Services Inc. "We continue to be blown away by the breadth of innovative ideas and collaborative support displayed by this engaged community."

"Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging and isolating, yet a completely rewarding experience," said Jim Murphy, Vice President of Innovation at UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. "This Challenge provided insights into caregivers' needs and inspired the participants to step into caregivers' shoes, resulting in many solutions that can deliver real value to caregivers."

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