If you’re searching for a new way to collaborate and try problem-solving activities with your older adult, a new online community known as Leap offers a place where caregivers and their senior loved ones can connect with fellow innovators and create solutions dedicated to helping the elderly.
This virtual community was created by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, a Canadian-based nonprofit driven to develop and adopt new services that support brain health for the aging population.
The world’s older adult population continues to grow at an accelerated rate. According to the World Health Organization, one in six people globally will be 60 or older by 2030. This means a share of this population will increase from 1 billion to an estimated 1.4 billion in just a decade.
Leap hopes the online group will serve as an opportunity for older adults to represent this data by sharing their life stories and experiences. Not only does this help professionals gather research and implement solutions on brain health but it also promotes cognitive function and social engagement among older adults as well.
Data shows that cognitive stimulation is crucial for seniors to help reduce the risk of developing dementia or other age-related cognitive disorders. Older age also often comes with a higher risk of developing feelings of loneliness, resulting in isolation. Working alongside your older adult and participating in Leap’s activities can help combat these feelings and provide a sense of community for your loved one. It can also help your older adult gain independence as they collaborate with individuals their age and contribute to a greater cause.
To get started, caregivers and seniors can visit Leap’s homepage and fill out a quick form that asks for basic information, including short survey questions based on how familiar you are with technology and your interest in learning more about it. Once you’ve submitted your results, Leap will email you a link allowing you to register.
Membership is free for older adults 55+ and individuals who identify as caregivers. The Leap community has also expanded access, allowing members all across the globe to join.
Leap has partnered with several advocacy organizations and accelerators worldwide, and is working to be a trusted platform for caregivers, older adults and developers to come together.
“Leap puts older adults and caregivers at the center of innovation,” said Dr. Allison Sekuler, president and chief scientist at CABHI, in an article published on the organization’s website. “Anyone developing age-related products, services or programs will benefit from incorporating insights of the Leap community into their solution.”
According to the same article, more than 600 members across the United States, Canada and United Kingdom have accessed and participated in Leap’s events since the program’s launch in 2021.
Before you and your caregiver sign up for Leap, make sure you have a computer or tablet with internet access. If your senior’s device doesn’t have a camera, consider buying a webcam attachment, as Leap may require you to have camera access for certain activities and classes.
In addition to having up-to-date technology, consider sitting down with your older adult and brainstorm a list of topics important for them to talk about or any ideas they have given prior thought to. This can help both of you feel more present and prepared during your online session, giving your senior a good point of reference in case they want to mention anything important!
The fact of aging shouldn’t defer your senior loved one from wanting to do more philanthropy work and be more productive in their day-to-day life. Joining this virtual community may be just what they need to bring back that spark.