What do a virtual grocery store, an online interpretation service and an outdoor adventure program have in common?

According to UNCG students, all three business models are sustainable, high-impact solutions that can meet the needs of an aging population.

UNCG students recently shared these ideas and others at the first ever Aging Services Innovation Competition. The competition – a partnership between UNCG’s Gerontology Program, UNCG’s Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program (ECDP) and Well-Spring Retirement Community – encouraged students of all majors to consider the needs of individuals age 50 and over and develop business models for improving quality of life for older adults.

The following five entries were selected to be presented at Well-Spring in front of a panel of judges:

  • GeriNutriAnalysis, presented by master’s student Shea Chrismon
    • Designed specifically for long-term care facilities, GeriNutriAnalysis tracks residents’ dietary intake and conducts nutritional analysis for medical and dietary staff.
  • Language Access Services, presented by master’s student Ana Herrera
    • Language Access Services connects older immigrants with professionals who can provide interpretation via conference call. The online service can be accessed at home or in public using a computer, mobile device or tablet.
  • My Grocery Sidekick, presented by master’s student Melissa Leonard
    • My Grocery Sidekick is a virtual grocery shopping service with customizable dietary assistance that allows customers to shop from the comfort of their home.
  • Re-Play, presented by master’s student Missy Granish
    • Through facilitated adventure and play opportunities designed for older adults, Re-Play seeks to eliminate the age barrier to outdoor adventure.
  • Sonora, presented by junior Andrew Burchard
    • The Sonora stereo allows family members and caregivers to customize playlists that are wirelessly synced to a simplified stereo system designed for ease of use by older adults.

“I was very impressed with the creativity of the student presentations,” said Dr. Rebecca Adams, professor and director of the Gerontology Program. “Each presentation met a unique need of the growing population of older adults – a population that will double by 2030.”

Adams, along with Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr. Dianne Welsh and Associate Professor of Gerontology Dr. Jan Wassel, served as an advisor for participating students. Several courses in gerontology and entrepreneurship were designed specifically to support the competition.

Each of the five presentations received a monetary prize to incentivize the students to build upon their business models.

“It was a very successful event,” said Garrett Saake, director of programs and wellness at Well-Spring. “I think our residents offered some great perspective and expertise that will really help the UNCG students refine their ideas.”

For more information about UNCG’s Gerontology Program, visit gerontology.wp.uncg.edu. To learn more about the ECDP at UNCG, visit bae.uncg.edu/ecdp.


Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations