Podcast Name: Dementia Spring Dialogues
Episode: 1 – The Digital Divide
This inaugural episode of the Dementia Spring Dialogues podcast introduces listeners to the show, which features conversations with physicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders about innovations in aging, dementia, and caregiving. In this episode, host Dr. Marc is joined by guest Todd Smith to discuss the digital divide older adults often face, how to design technology with older adults in mind, and the ongoing challenges of isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 era. Todd is the founder and CEO of myFamilyChannel, and before becoming a tech entrepreneur, he was the Director of Communications for Signature Healthcare in Louisville, KY. He is a self-described artist-entrepreneur, and even ran his own record label, Label X, in the 2000s as an outworking of his passion for music and music production.
Dr. Marc first asks Todd about how he came into his current line of work trying to find solutions to the related challenges of the digital divide and the isolation faced by older adults living in care facilities. When he worked for Signature Healthcare, Todd visited care facilities and observed the gap in connectivity that amplified issues like loneliness and boredom, which can in turn be linked to poor health outcomes. He also observed the digital divide that impacted the residents, and thought that, as a tech and communications guy, he could surely do something about the whole situation. Todd recounts how he initially underestimated how wide the digital divide was, and how he made it his mission to break down the wall, so to speak, and allow enjoyment of technology among analog natives by designing a platform intuitive to them.
This intuitive system took form in myFamilyChannel, which allows older adults to do several things, most notably communicating with family members and even the staff of their residential facilities, using a television screen. Todd uses his technology to challenge the ageist beliefs many older adults have embraced that claim technology is not for them. He has seen many older adults connect with 3-4 family members, and some with many more than this. He has also seen facility staff use the technology in creative ways to combat isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving forward, Todd hopes to work more on the issue of technological accessibility for those older adults with cognitive impairment.
Learn more about Todd Smith.
Learn more about myFamilyChannel.
Learn more about Signature Healthcare.
Learn more about Todd’s old music label, Label X.
Learn more about Dementia Spring. You can find information about Dr. Marc and the Dementia Spring Dialogues podcast, and don’t forget to sign up for the Dementia Spring newsletter!
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