June 16, 2021
Meet the Catalyst 2021 Semifinalists: EmPowerYu
EmPowerYu CEO and Founder Laura McIntosh experienced the challenge of long-distance caregiving of her mother. She saw firsthand the obstacles to managing care for a loved one who wanted to live independently as they aged.
According to Population Reference Bureau, Baby Boomers potentially fuel a 75% increase in the number of Americans ages 65 and older requiring nursing home care. Laura McIntosh knew her experience wasn’t unique.
Others on the EmPowerYu team drew from their own struggles providing long-term or end of life care to loved ones, and together, the team saw the crucial niche that wireless technology could fill to provide real time data and analytics to empower families and caregivers and preserve the safety and dignity of the care recipient.
Software developer Richard Kimberley tested the product while he was taking care of his aunt with mid-stage dementia, to help track her activities that she could no longer reliably recount herself. Product Manager Sheila Cagney ran a home care agency for seven years, and saw the need to leverage technology to help make up for the decreasing number of staff available for in-home care.
From their experiences came EmPowerYu, a software platform that integrates IoT hardware to create a holistic view of daily life in the home of patients or family members who need extended care. The software uses data aggregation to let families and caregivers know about things that an aging grandparent or individual needing extra care might not remember to communicate—like when they forget to eat breakfast, or their heart is racing in the mornings. These things aren’t just important for their daily routines—they can also be the first warning signs of medical problems that might otherwise go undetected.
“I think anyone who has experienced providing extended care to a family member or patient knows how crucial tracking certain things, like their sleep or diet, can be, and how difficult that is to do around the clock” says CEO Laura McIntosh. “That’s why we harnessed the power of the IoT to develop this software—to help fill in the times when someone physically can’t be there to help.”
EmPowerYu works by utilizing a collection of wireless technologies including smart appliances, wearables, and smart home security to provide health reports that can help lower care costs, reduce healthcare needs, improve care decisions, and improve quality of life for both caregivers and care recipients. They use secure, HIPAA-compliant servers to encrypt their data, ensuring it reaches only those it’s intended for.
The software is currently being tested in hubs around the country, and EmPowerYu plans to continue its expansion this year through even more wireless technologies and platforms.
“Our software shows how different wireless applications can be combined to provide crucial and customized health datasets,” McIntosh says. “This couldn’t come at a better time, when more Boomer retirees are aging at home or entering long-term care than any other generation before them.”
We are proud to have EmPowerYu as a Catalyst 2021 Semifinalist and look forward to the impact these changemakers have on the growing issue of long-term care throughout the United States.
A grants program for social entrepreneurs accelerating wireless innovation for health and well-being.