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New Age Solutions: Crowdsourced Ideas Help Seniors Fight Loneliness and Isolation

The problem of social isolation among the elderly is increasingly catching the eye of policymakers, businesses and nonprofits: Older adults are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, many live on their own, and loneliness and isolation are linked to increased mortality among seniors. In the past couple of years, as a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Aging Council, GE Healthcare and its partners have sought innovative solutions to the problem. And they’ve gone about their search in an innovative way, too: the In Good Company Challenge, which crowdsourced ideas and offered grants and other support to the most promising ones.

Old friends: The challenge was recommended by GeniusLink, a GE operating unit that specializes in crowdsourcing expertise on a large scale. “This effort was about inspiring hearts, minds and actions,” says Dyan Finkhousen, managing director of GeniusLink. The four challenge winners each came up with their own creative approaches, including an artificial intelligence platform that provides always-available support and wellness coaching, a program to help older adults make their kitchens suitable for communal cooking, and a group that connects volunteers with senior citizens who’re seeking companionship.

Read more here about how the wisdom of the crowd can make aging easier.


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