‘Digital Therapeutics’: A New Way to Treat People with Dementia

November 15, 2021
Hosted by Ron Roel

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Guest Information

Episode Description

About a decade ago, Michael Potteiger and his sister, Nacole, decided to teach their 85-year-old grandmother how to use an iPad. Not only did their Gram learn how, but she is still an active iPad user and loves seeing her grand (and great) grandchildren on FaceTime. Inspired by “Gram the Great,” Michael and Nacole founded Generation Connect, a cutting-edge firm that integrates health care with technology to help people with dementia, their families and their caregiving team through “digital therapeutics”—the use of technology as a tool to implement effective non-drug therapy treatments. In today’s episode, as part of National Family Caregivers Month, we talk with Michael and Robin Lombardo, Generation Connect’s director of business development, about their commitment to senior care and to developing new tools for the caregiving community. Michael has spent his entire career working in technology consulting, and today he continues to work closely with seniors, their families, and care organizations to better understand how technology can help support care teams. Robin, a geriatric and dementia specialist, is a veteran of the senior care field, serving in leadership positions in various healthcare settings and at nationally recognized nonprofits for people with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias. Having exclusively worked with older adults, it is her passion to foster joy in their lives. Together, Michael and Robin will explain how Generation Connect provides a system of mobile apps, tablets, digital engagement and reporting features to help home care providers improve well-being and enhance caregiver relationships through personalized therapeutic routines and rituals. And while they believe that technology can greatly enhance the caregiving experience, technologists, too, have much to learn from the caregiving community. Thus, research remains a central component to Generation Connect’s mission, and Michael and Robin will describe their ongoing research and key findings from studies around the country—and their views on how technology will profoundly affect the future of health care.

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Ron Roel

Ron Roel

I’m a veteran journalist who spent a wide-ranging career covering business, politics and social issues, the last two decades focusing on the blend of diverse life skills I call successful aging.

I have written extensively on aging topics, spoken at conferences, radio and TV shows, and launched several entrepreneurial ventures, discovering along the way that the path to aging well also requires an unexpected entrepreneurial vision. I spent 20 years as a writer and editor at Long Island’s daily newspaper, Newsday, helping to found Act 2, a weekly section for 50-plus readers. I created Roelresources.com, a website offering practical advice and inspirational essays for people ages 40 and above. I have been a volunteer and consultant to AARP Long Island, writing articles, advocating for seniors, and developing action plans for the AARP Age-Friendly Communities initiative.

I am active in programs and organizations that support seniors, such as the National Aging In Place Council and the Senior Umbrella Network. I have developed a special expertise in family caregiving, as one of four brothers who took care of their mother for almost 25 years. I regularly collaborate with many professionals who provide services and support for older Americans, and I am completing a book for caregivers on Long Island, “The Caregiving Navigator/How to Plan, What to do, and Where to Turn When Caring for you Aging Loved Ones. And Yourself,” scheduled for publication in early 2021.

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