Thrive Innovation Center grand opening (left to right):Ty Mayberry, CDW; Bob Rossi, CDW; John Reinhart, Thrive Center; Ginna Baik, CDW; Sheri Rose, Thrive Center; Nancy Ragont, CDW; Jonathan Karl, CDW; Gus Vlahos, CDW


The Louisville, Ky.-based Thrive Innovation Center opened its doors in October 2017, showcasing visionary technologies designed to aid, transform, and improve the aging experience.

Louisville is home to a wide swath of national senior care firms such as Kindred Healthcare, Signature Healthcare, and PharMerica, as well as local firms such as Hosparus Health, all of which donated to the technology and educational center to help it become a reality. Partners in the new nonprofit include tech giants Samsung, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard’s Aruba, and key sponsor CDW, but at its launch event, the center highlighted tech entrepreneurs in the aging space such as auditory experts Eversound of Woburn, Mass.; Washington, D.C.-based LinkedSenior; and wearables entrepreneurs EVO of Atlanta, Ga. and Piper Systems of San Diego, Calif. The tech firms with a health focus demonstrated their products and services during the center’s opening event.

Dr. Christian Furman, medical director with the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville, said the launch of Thrive, which was seven years in the making, is just the first phase of opening a world- class center for excellence in aging. CDW vice president of healthcare and Thrive board member Bob Rossi agreed, telling Senior Living Executive that while the center is based in Louisville, it already has a large national footprint, offering CDW and other tech firms the ability to “broadcast what we’re doing here…and collaborate and leverage the relationships we all have.”

“A lot of the senior care providers can feel like they are off on an island sometimes when it comes to figuring out how to interact with technology when it comes to improving the resident and patient experience,” Rossi said. “We want to show there’s a ton of innovation out there with great new potential partners with great ideas.”

Thrive Board member Nancy LeaMond, who also serves as chief advocacy and engagement officer at AARP in Washington, D.C., said the center offers an opportunity to see technology designed to help older Americans in its early stages, which she views as a step in the right direction toward AARP’s goal of creating more age-friendly cities.

A big issue for her looking forward is to examine why the adoption of technologies by seniors isn’t higher. “I think that’s an issue worthy of our attention,” LeaMond said. “Is it too complicated, too expensive? What are the barriers?”

Those are questions that many of the center’s tech firms are hoping to answer, too. According to AARP, 106 million U.S. individuals age 50 and over account for $71 trillion in economic activity, $3.1 trillion in consumer spending, and $1.3 trillion in health care spending.

The center, which had a focus on memory care issues at its opening, expects to convene conversations and programs around senior care, where the entrepreneur can engage with the senior care industry, researchers, and consumers.


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