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Innovative Tech Modernizing Senior Care

Front Porch, a 2017 CTA Foundation grantee, is exploring the role that wearable hearing technology can play in helping seniors live more independently.

Front Porch, a 2017 CTA Foundation grantee, is exploring the role that wearable hearing technology can play in helping seniors live more independently. Kari Olson, chief innovationand technology officer of Front Porch and president of Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (FPCIW) and Davis Park, director of FPCIW, recently shared their insights with i3.

Kari Olson

Q: Tell us about Front Porch and how your organization serves seniors.

Kari: Front Porch serves individuals and families through full-service
retirement, active adult and a    ordable housing communities. Retirement communities offer options ranging from independent living to skilled care, including assisted living and memory care. Front Porch embraces a leading edge approach to enhance wellbeing with innovative communities and programs that meet the changing needs of people as they age.

Q: How is your organization using innovative technologies?

Davis: The FPCIW’s mission is to explore innovative uses of technology to empower individuals, especially as they age. These solutions include robotic caregiving tools, smart home technology, voice-activated devices, telemedicine, exergaming, social media and virtual reality. The use of technology doesn’t magically happen, one of the fundamental cornerstones of our work is to promote adoption and engagement of technologies. A critical component to this strategy is connecting meaning and purpose between the individual and the innovation.

David Park

Q: Tell us about the Hearables for All Project.

Davis: Hearables for All is a 12-month program launched by FPCIW to explore the next generation of wearable hearing devices for older adults. The project will explore a group listening system and test the effectiveness and viability of emerging smartphone-controlled Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). Hearables for All will assess the impact of these innovations on hearing loss, social engagement and isolation, and general wellbeing.

Q: What role can technology play in helping seniors with hearing loss? 

Kari: The health and wellness impact of hearing loss can’t be overstated.
As we age, the inability to hear conversations and participate in discussions progressively takes us down a path of self-isolation. The “Hearables for All” Project seeks to overcome these challenges by promoting social wellness and increasing engagement among older adults.

Davis: We’re in the midst of an exciting explosion of hearing solutions that is already disrupting the traditional hearing device market, and the impact potential of these new solutions will be enormous for wellbeing and independence of older adults. This generous grant from the CTA Foundation enables us to test these consumer solutions and accelerate their adoption.

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The CTA Foundation, a public, national foundation affiliated with CTA, was launched in 2012 with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives. The foundation strategically supports programs that affect these communities and facilitates dialog between industry, consumers, government, advocacy groups and other key stakeholders. For more information, visit

Consumer Technology Association