Ottawa startup Welbi wants people to keep a smart-watch on aging loved ones

Helicopter parenting isn’t just for children anymore – it’s time we keep an eye on the elderly.

That’s the idea that one Ottawa software startup is running with, but it’s not about following about your kids (or grandparents) as they play in the park. Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau, 23-year-old co-founder of Welbi, is working to save lives.

The idea is for families taking care of elderly loved ones to kit them out with an activity-monitoring smartwatch, like a Fitbit or a Garmin. Then, using Welbi, the app that Audette-Bourdeau’s team is building, information gathered from the smartwatch’s sensors is run through algorithms, giving you a baseline of your grandma or grandpa’s health.

Then the app can notify you when things change, indicating when your loved one’s health might be making a turn for the worse.

It’s an innovation that might have saved one of Audette-Bourdeau’s family members two years ago.

“My grandpa was starting to get sick and he needed a nurse to come visit him pretty often,” she said. However, a nurse was only available one day a week.

“So on a Monday she came, checked on him, everything looked fine, and then on the Friday he got a stroke and he passed away,” said Audette-Bourdeau.

“There has to be a way that a family could see this coming and actually take actions in the time before that happened,” she remembers thinking, forming the idea behind Welbi.

The more research she and the Welbi team do, the more Audette-Bourdeau is convinced her grandpa’s stroke could have been predicted and something done to help him if he had been more closely monitored.

With various stakeholders “extremely interested” in the idea, Audette-Bourdeau says they are planning to release their product in April of next year.

This article originally appeared in Metro News.