The In Good Company Thought Leadership Breakfast at the MIT AgeLab brought together entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of aging for breakfast, networking, and an informatory session about the In Good Company Challenge. The Challenge tasks entrants with developing solutions to combat social isolation among older adults within four domains: caregiving, transportation, housing, and employment. Social isolation has been identified as a crucial social determinant of health, with its impact on mortality risk equivalent to that of smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin welcomed attendees and introduced the event as an opportunity to collaborate with others to decrease social isolation and loneliness. He highlighted the goal to “curate a community of thought leaders to accelerate progress to improve aging.”
Alice Bonner, Secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in Massachusetts, spoke about how the Challenge dovetails with the mission of the Governor's Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts as set out by Governor Charlie Baker. "Social isolation should never be accepted as an inevitable part of getting older," she said.
Tom Grape, CEO of Benchmark Senior Living, talked about the unique opportunity that the challenge presents for addressing social isolation, "the number-one issue facing our beloved elders who are living by themselves because they want to stay in their homes." He spoke about some of the social benefits that living in a senior living community provides to its residents.
Dyan Finkhousen of GE Healthcare provided more details about the Challenge, which is intended to provide solutions scalable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The In Good Company Challenge is sponsored by GE Healthcare, Benchmark Senior Living, and the MIT AgeLab. The Challenge will distribute a $20,000 cash pool to up to four winning entrants. The deadline for submissions is September 28, 2018. More information about the Challenge can be found here.