It's Never 2 Late Empowering Lives Through Technology

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It's Never 2 Late Empowering Lives Through Technology

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

IN2L's adaptive computer systems have been designed to encourage seniors to interact with family, friends, the internet, and customized programs.

About You
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Your idea
Year work began:

1999

Focus of activity

Technology

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Insufficient Evidence that Games Improve Health

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Emotional Health

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

Another barrier we are trying to overcome is the belief that elder citizens, especially those suffering from dementia and other physical and cognitive limitations, are unable or unwilling to interact with new technology.
Not only does the It's Never 2 Late system address the issues of emotion health by offering an alternative to loneliness, helplessness and boredom for the elder population, we also address physical and cognitive health by offering more engaging physical and cognitive therapy options. Community health is also improved when an IN2L computer system is a part of an elder care facility. Family, friends, and community volunteers are more willing to interact with the elderly residents when a familiar game is involved.

Innovation
What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

IN2L's adaptive computer systems have been designed to encourage seniors to interact with family, friends, the internet, and customized programs.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

It's Never 2 Late has created customized, state of the art, adaptive computer systems for nursing homes, assited living, and independent living communities. The adaptive computer systems are portable and include flat panel touch screen monitors with extendable arms, wheel chair adjustable work stations, and peripherals for a variety of activities. Included with the software is a picture-based interface designed to launch from a touch screen. The software can be personalized for every user regardless of physical or cognitive limitations. Also included with the system are therapy tools, including a virtual bike, a flight and driving simulator, and touch screen puzzles.
Our idea is unique in that the systems are a complete package, addressing the physical, cognitive, and emotional health of the user. We also provide on-site staff training and support to ensure successful implementation. Content is continually updated to provide engagement experiences for residents and staff.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

Many elders are suffering from boredom, loneliness, and helplessness in an institutional setting. A majority of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are still organized as an institutional/hospital setting. Residents are often not treated as indiviuals, but simply as patients. It is often assumed that elderly citizens suffering from physical or cognitive limitations are unable or unwilling to learn or benefit from computer games and technology.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

IN2L computer systems are installed in senior living facilities and adult day care centers around the country. Ongoing training and support is provided to staff members. They learn different ways to use the computer system games as therapy tools, engagement activities, and educational experiences. The systems are designed to be used individually, in small groups, and, using a projector, in large group settings.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

IN2L began designing and installing computer systems in Colorado. Through exposure at national aging conferences and presentations we have been able to expand throughout the United States. We are continually updating and expanding our content offerings. We have partnered with many important organizations in the field of aging and have seen our business grow as a direct result.

Impact
Provide one sentence describing your impact.

IN2L systems have been designed to encourage elders to interact with others, helping to alleviate boredom, loneliness, and helplessness.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

The impact IN2L has had so far has been amazing. The beneficiaries of our systems are the elderly, thier caregivers, and family members. We have heard from people all over the country sharing stories about how the quality of life has improved for their family member or loved one. Using familiar games projected on a big screen, staff members have been able to get residents to leave their rooms and spend more time involved with group activites. Physical and occupational therapists have used the simple games and puzzles to engage residents for longer periods of time leading to recorded improvements in physical health. The flight and driving simulator has become a very important empowerment tool. Former pilots have taught others to "fly." People who have not had their driver's license for many years are able to get behind the wheel again. Younger family members have been more inclined to visit when a familiar computer game is used as a tool to encourage interaction and conversation.

How many people have you served directly?

IN2L has had a direct impact on the lives of over 6000 individuals who have used the IN2L computer hardware and software.

How many people have you served indirectly?

Over 6000 members of the elder population have used and benefited from the IN2L hardware and software. The numbers indirectly served is harder to estimate. Caregivers and family members in all capacities have benefitted from greater interaction with their loved ones. They also have additional peace of mind knowing that their elder family member is engaged in enjoyable, personalized activites on a daily basis. Enhanced communication and realtionships of individuals with their friends and family members impacts everyone involved in the care of the elderly. The use of IN2L systems has allowed professional caregivers to get to know and interact more personally with their patients leading to more person centered care.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

IN2L has successfully launched computer systems in elder living facilities in 26 states. We have partnered with many important and influencial organizations in the fields of aging including Covenant Health Network, Health Resources Alliance, Volunteers of America, Eden Alternative, Pioneer Network, The Institute for Caregiver Information and many others. As more staff and family members witness the improved health and well-being of their elders requests for our systems has increased greatly.

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

The main barriers to creating our impact is in educating senior residential communities to the benefits and variety of uses for the IN2l systems. Many people see the games only as engaging activities designed to kill time. The theraputic, physical, and emotional improvements seen in residents through use of IN2L computer systems has been well documented and continues to be researched.

Sustainability
How is your initiative financed?

It's Never 2 Late was originally financed by the founding partners. Continued financing has come from sales of systems and investment partners.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

In 2006 IN2L generated $800,000 in revenue and the budget was approximately the same. As of 2007, we have seven full time employees.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

As the U.S. population ages, many of us will become consumers of long term care. Whether it's for ourselves or for a family member, the demand for an alternative to the medical model increases. People are looking for more patient-centered care that takes into account the variety of needs and desires of the individual.
Futher, boomers that have grown used to life with computers will expect them to continue to be a part of their daily lives.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

In the past the main barrier we've had as a small business is to be able to keep up with the demand and deliver a quality product at a resonable price.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

It's Never 2 Late started in 1998 with a donated computer and volunteer time spent introducing residents of an assisted living facility to the use of computer games and the internet. The program was so well accepted, that after about a year, we began to see the potential for expansion. We have relied heavily on the experts in the fields of aging and rehabilitaion and on the people actually working one on one with elders to guide the direction of our company. We continue to keep lines of communication open with all involved. Our product, services, and business continues to grow and evolve with the changing culture.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Jack York is co-founder and president of It's Never 2 Late. After spending 16 years in the high tech industry, Jack became enamored with creative ways to link older adults with technology and founded the company in 1999. IN2L is a high-tech yet high-touch program for enhancing quality of life and quality of care for seniors, particularly seniors with physical or cognitive disabilities.
Leslie Sweeney is co-founder of It's Never 2 Late. She has spent over 20 years in the field of education.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

We were notified of this contest through the Foundation Center website. We have two main incentives for participating in this contest. The monetary prize from this contest would help expand the message of It's Never 2 Late. We would use the money to help fund a presence at an international aging conference. We feel this is the best way to get our message out to the people who are in a position to make decisions for the people that can benefit the most, elders and their caregivers. Another incentive for entering this contest is exposure. Once people experience first hand the amazing array of activities available and the benefits to all involved in elder care, they are more willing to invest in an adaptive computer system that will enhance the lives of the elderly.

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