HHSC Recognizes Innovators in Aging

News Release
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Jennifer Ruffcorn, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is recognizing the recipients of the 2022 Innovators in Aging award. This award honors organizations and people who have made positive impacts on the lives of older adults in Texas.

According to census data projections, by 2030, more than 11 million people age 50 and older will live in Texas. As the older adult population grows, the need increases for new and innovative ways to help seniors age and live well.

“By presenting the Innovators in Aging award, we recognize people and organizations across Texas who work every day to improve the lives of older Texans,” said Holly Riley, coordination director for HHSC’s Aging Services. “We hope, by highlighting their contributions, others will be inspired to look for bold and creative ways to serve our older population.”

Awards are given in the following three categories: Be Healthy, Be Connected, and Be Informed.

The “Be Healthy” category recognizes innovations that promote wellness. The following organizations are receiving the Being Healthy Award:

  • Anavah Health developed The Knowable “smart brief” that detects the presence of wetness in real-time, enabling caregivers to change older adults’ undergarments more quickly. This new development will help prevent urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers and pain in older adults.
  • WayWiser created a private, secure, collaborative platform that connects an aging parent with family members, close friends, and key professionals to help manage their care and safety as a team. The platform offers a care coordination feature that allows users to post daily caregiving updates, calendar events or appointments and medication needs. Users can also coordinate other forms of care.

The “Be Connected” category recognizes innovations that promote social engagement to improve a person’s health and sense of well-being. The following organizations are receiving the Being Connected Award:

  • Artifcts, Inc. is a safe, secure space to capture, preserve and share personal and world history one artifact at a time. Artifcts, Inc. patent-pending website and mobile app helps save and share the histories, stories and memories behind treasured belongings. The organization is also partnering with veterans’ groups, memory care centers and nonprofits serving older adults to provide artifacts as an engagement activity within those communities.
  • Global Agetech Innovations Laboratory (GAIL) is a virtual collective laboratory that brings together the expertise of researchers, government agencies, educational institutions, businesses, older adults and caregivers, gerontologists, healthcare organizations, and financial institutions to improve the quality of products and services for older adults.

The “Be Informed” category recognizes innovations that help older adults and their families stay informed about available services, treatments, policies and programs. The following organizations and people are receiving the Being Informed Award:

  • Nancy Walker, volunteer executive director for the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Central Texas (FCACTX), has been a key figure in assisting thousands of people develop an end-of-life plan best suited for their needs. FCACTX is a nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers who help educate the public about end-of-life planning, decisionmaking, and related issues.
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities have partnered to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, caregivers, partners, and community providers throughout Texas. Their partnership established the Regional Coordinator Initiative to help people with disabilities and others around the state have access to region-specific information, resources, and events.

All recipients of the Innovators in Aging award were nominated by people in their communities. More information about the award is available on the Innovators in Aging webpage. To learn about programs and services for older adults, Texas residents can call 2-1-1.