Some  of the most

Pedius is bridging the gap in communications for deaf people. This highly sophisticated app provides and supports the freedom and reliance that a mobile phone offers. It allows someone who is hard of hearing or deaf to make calls using text messages. To do so, they would simply type a message on the screen, which would then be translated into speech by the app, so the person on the other end of the line can hear.

Anything the recipient of the call says in response will be translated back into text for the caller to read. The simplicity of the Pedius helps deaf people speak to family, friends and in fact, anyone, without the use of expensive equipment or a mediator.

The application is available for both iPhone and Android users, on mobile and tablet. Only the person using the technology needs to download it.

Pedius assistive technology


The future of symbol and text communication with Smartbox

Smartbox Assistive Technology has one goal – create assistive technology solutions that help people with disabilities do things that everyone takes for granted. From communication aids to computer controls and interactive learning, Smartbox is finding ways to assist children and adults with disabilities using its brand new Grid Pad.

The Grid Pad’s range of communication aids are used all over the world and represent the next-generation of software for symbol and text communication. If you’ve not heard of symbol communication before, it essentially enables the user to get across what they want to say by using symbols that represent words and phrases.

With a huge array of pre-arranged sets of symbols that can be adapted to the user’s taste, the Grid Pad will help people communicate instantly. Grid Pad also helps people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to learn through fun and educational activities. There are a plethora of animated exercises to choose from, including playing an instrument, taking care of an on-screen dog and many more.

The Grid Pad also allows someone to control their home from the symbols on the Grid Pad, such as turning the lights on, switching channels on their TV and opening and closing the front door. They will also be able to integrate their social media platforms into the program and stay connected with the world through apps.

Grid Pad assistive technology

Passion, innovation and quality with Abilia

With more than 40 years’ experience, Abilia isn’t new to the world of assistive technology. Its products help people to structure their day, communicate, control appliances in their home and call for attention.

Whether someone has Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD/ADD, or autism spectrum disorder, Abilia is passionate about enabling people to live a more fulfilling life. It believes that everyone should have the same opportunities to participate in society on their terms.

Its aids are divided into four categories: communication, cognition, environmental control and alarms. Here are just a couple of examples of its products.

  • Control Omni – allows the user to control their home with just the click of a button, and communicate with the outside world thanks to a built-in mobile phone
  • Emfit Epilepsy Alarm – developed to register epileptic attacks and alert someone to help.

Abilia gives people with special needs the power to become independent and take control of their daily lives.

Control Omni assistive technology

Get back up with Ekso Bionics

Worldwide pioneers in the field of robotic exoskeletons, Ekso Bionics has been committed for more than 10 years to developing the latest technology and engineering, to help people rethink current physical limitations and achieve the remarkable.

The EksoGT is the first exoskeleton of its kind, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, to be used for stroke and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. It’s designed to help patients get back on their feet and, consequently, reduces the physical strain on therapists and the risk of injury during rehabilitation sessions.

This robotic exoskeleton allows people to stand up and walk within a clinical setting, with the skeleton bearing the full weight of their bodies. This exoskeleton enables people to get moving early on in the recovery, to help the recovery process move faster.

EksoGT assistive technology

Opening the German job market with Dräger & Lienert

Since 1989 this company has been developing equipment for blind and visually impaired people to help them stay in work. As the only company in Germany to sell standard equipment for blind people, such as Braille displays and screen readers, Dräger & Lienert has developed 15 solutions to help blind people work simply, intuitively and efficiently.

Its ALT software allows the user to navigate their computer rapidly and perform complex tasks quickly and easily – especially for repeatable and predictable tasks. ALT delivers great advantages for screen reader users, screen magnification users, as well as sighted people.

These solutions help a wide range of blind and visually impaired people in a variety of jobs – administrators, call center staff, PRs, ministry staff, judges, psychotherapists, industrial workers, teachers… the list is endless.




Active Aging & Independent Living Innovation

Insights from The Current Landscape for Independent Living Development

Occupancy to deteriorate slightly 

Though what exactly constitutes independent living isn’t always clear, NIC defines it as rental properties that have communal dining; resident services such as laundry or housekeeping; some degree of social programming or activities; and little to no help with activities of daily living (ADLs).

What is clear, though, is that the property type has gained momentum in recent years, even as assisted living occupancy has trended downward, reaching a new all-time low of 85.7% during the first quarter of 2018. Though independent living occupancy also slipped during that time, it averaged a far better 90.3%.

Market metrics like stronger occupancy make independent living a potentially attractive property type for senior living investors and developers, according to Lana Peck, a senior principal with NIC.

“More recently, in part due to concerns of supply and demand imbalances in assisted living among investors and developers, there’s been increasing inventory growth in independent living,” Peck said. “Sustained growth and mostly matching rates of absorption through 2017 really allowed for the occupancy rates to be sustained around 90% for the past few years.”

In the past year, roughly 11,000 independent living units have opened across the primary and secondary markets NIC tracks. About one-third of that growth occurred in just seven metro areas: Dallas; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Myers, Florida; Houston; Detroit; and Austin, Texas.

Occupancy for the property type is expected to remain stable in many major U.S. metropolitan areas in the quarters ahead, Peck addedbut insofar as there will be a change, it likely will be a decrease.

“Going forward, we expect the occupancy rate to remain reasonably strong in the 90% range, but still deteriorate slightly in the first quarter of 2019 because inventory growth is expected to exceed absorption growth in this period,” Peck said.

Active adult a ‘new frontier’

These days, the active adult segment is filling some of the roles that independent living communities played just a decade prior.

“Currently, the [independent living] consumer profile is almost the same as assisted living,” Peck said. “It’s different than 10 years ago, when it used to be much more like what we’re seeing coming out of the active adult category now.”

While Washington, D.C.-based senior living investment and development firm Capitol Seniors Housing (CSH) had traditionally invested in independent living communities in the past, it branched out into the active adult marketplace last year. Today, CSH invests primarily in the “bookends” of the senior care continuum: active living, memory care and assisted living, said Scott Stewart, managing partner at CSH.

“We experienced the difficulties of having independent living,” Stewart said. “While we still like the space in certain markets, we’ve gravitated more toward the active living side…we think it’s the new frontier for senior housing.”

Strategies for Mixed-Use Development in Senior Living

There have never been more ways for senior living providers to capitalize on the benefits of mixed-use development. They just have to think outside the box.



The New Active Adult Housing

There are many names for the space known as “active adult” or “55+.” Just don’t call it “senior.” Take a deep dive inside this ever-evolving, lucrative space.

 For Stewart, the decision to focus on that property type lies partly in a desire to attract a younger segment of the aging population.

“We found that, with our properties in independent living, we were dealing with folks that were in their 80s,” Stewart said. “With active living, they’re more 68 to 75.”

One of the primary reasons seniors are flocking to active adult communities is that they want to be around likeminded peers, he added. They also want an outlet for hobbies and activities they enjoy, and to live in a maintenance-free, stress-free environment. Other reasons include being closer to their children and grandchildren and wanting to cash in on their home equity, which likely has risen dramatically since they first purchased their homes.

But that doesn’t mean active adult communities can’t evolve sometime down the road. Stewart said some developments are building flexibly so that the social spaces of today could be converted later on into venues with commercial kitchens.

“If they have to change the use and convert it from active living down the road as the population ages in place, that’s an option,” he explained.

‘Adapt the Marriott Courtyard model’

The senior living industry has seen the rise of multipurpose common areas that can fill many roles. For example, a fitness center might become a yoga studio one day and a venue for dance lessons the next. These kind of flexible spaces are important in independent living communities preparing for the future, according to Martin Siefering, principal at architectural firm Perkins Eastman.

“I like to compare this to the way that Marriott Courtyard deals with this. In the morning, their common space is called the breakfast room. In the evening, it’s called the bar, and at night, it’s called the restaurant,” Siefering said. “That gives you, within one room, more choice and more flexibility.”

Another trend he identified was the need to design communities with homelike design features, such as full kitchens, walk-in closets and bath-and-a-half setups. The idea is that, in order to entice healthy seniors, providers need to offer them many of the things they currently have at home.

“We try to get the same kind of amenities you’d have in an apartment,” Siefering said. “They’re not really giving up anything when they move in.”

Residents crave experiences

One way to entice residents to move into senior living communities at a younger age is to offer them stellar experiences, according to Gerald Jackson, senior vice president of operations for Solstice Senior Living. Solstice is a 32-community operator formed by a partnership between management company Integral Senior Living and real estate investment trust (REIT) Colony Northstar in 2017.

The centerpiece of that is “Vibrant Life,” a series of activities programs developed by Integral to optimize the health and wellbeing of residents. One example of that is “Livin’ the Dream,” an initiative designed to help older adults live out their lifelong dream activities, such as flying a plane or riding on a zip line.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to help change that whole perception of aging,” Jackson said.

Other experiences Solstice offers includes volunteer opportunities and restaurant-style dining that independent living providers must employ in order to stay competitive, he added.