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What is the AGE-WELL-VHA AgeTech Hackathon?

The 2021 AGE-WELL-VHA Hackathon is a month-long opportunity for collaboration to address real-world healthy aging and home care challenges. The process will help AGE-WELL network trainees and VHA staff hone their problem-solving and design skills. More importantly it will allow older adults and caregivers the chance to use their lived experience and insights to co-design meaningful solutions.

Our hackathon will ask teams to harness their individual strengths in health, business, design, and/or tech while tackling important health and home healthcare challenges.

During this month you will learn new skills and showcase your technology and/or tech-based service solutions to older adults, caregiver stakeholders, and top researchers and industry members in the Canadian AgeTech sector.

The hackathon will culminate in a pitch competition with cash prizes awarded to the team with the most promising solution. Additional opportunities to win prizes will be available throughout the month as well!

Unlike a traditional hackathon, the teams with the most promising solutions and technologies will be eligible to receive additional cash and in-kind supports to turn their hackathon idea into reality.

Bring your knowledge and skills and challenge your creative thinking, problem-solving, teamwork skills to reimagine possibilities and make a real-world impact on the lives of older adults and caregivers.

AgeTech@Home Hackathon Terms and Conditions

Are you ready to take the challenge?

Challenge 1: Hack Health Equity in Home Care Challenge 2: Hack Caregiver Care Challenge 3: Hack Healthy Aging at Home
How might we use technology at home to close the health equity gap on a complex chronic disease for a population(s) at risk?

Health equity is the notion that everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential. Health inequities exist in Canada resulting in:

  • Lower life expectancy
  • Increased mental health challenges
  • Mistrust of the health system/staff
  • Significantly poorer health that can lead to chronic disease
  • Patients being less likely to follow prescribed medication instructions that contribute to poorer chronic disease management outcomes

Canada Public Health, Chronic Diseases

How might we help caregivers increase their resilience and improve their overall wellbeing?

As the trend toward community-based care continues, there is an increase in people with complex healthcare needs being cared for at home by unpaid caregivers (family and friends). While caregiving can be fulfilling it can also be stressful, isolating, and can create financial hardship. The pandemic has made the caregiving experience even more challenging.

Ontario Caregivers

Who is Caring for Caregivers?




How might we use technology at home to support older adults maintain their independence and age in place?

A 2021 March of Dimes poll revealed that almost 80% of Canadians wish to age in place, but only 26% believe they would be able to do so. Research indicates that home can integrate both technologies and technology-related services to better support older adults remain at home longer.

News Wire, National Survey Shows Canadians Overwhelmingly Want to Age at Home

AGE-WELL White Paper, Technology and Aging at Home





Using your registration information, hackathon organizers will create teams of 4-6 individuals that includes representation from VHA and AGE-WELL. Teams will cross geographic and disciplinary boundaries and include a mix of researchers, trainees, health care providers, and older adult and/or caregiver stakeholders. The diversity of your knowledge and skills is your strength.

Throughout the month we will host a series of guided workshops to help your team work through the design thinking process, to hone in on problem and need statements and ideate potential tech and/or tech-based service solutions your selected challenge. In addition, we will host short talks from experts in business and entrepreneurship to support your team’s progress.

Teams are expected to participate in as many live workshops and talks as is feasible. We hope everyone will be a great team member. This means showing up to meetings when required, participating actively and catching up on presentations when you can’t attend in real time.

Teams will be asked to submit a video presentation on November 22, 2021 and the top 5 will be selected to participate in the final pitch competition on November 30, 2021.

Expected Outcomes and Assessment

By the end of the hackathon, teams will, ideally, have a developed idea of a technology and/or tech-based service solution that addresses one of the three challenges. Solutions must be novel, technologically feasible (based on existing technology), and make use of your team’s unique strengths.

Given the virtual setting, prototypes are encouraged, but certainly not required.


Session Title and Description Date, Time & Location Resources

  • Kick-off session to introduce the challenges and the format of the hackathon
  • Quick introduction to design thinking
  • Meet and get to your know teammates with a fun, interactive exercise
Monday, November 1

2:00-2:45pm ET (45 mins)

Recording: Design Thinking and Hackathon Overview


Identifying Needs and Problem Statements

  • Work with your team to identify the needs related to your selected challenge and the problem you would like to solve
  • Meet with a mentor to get feedback and validate your problem statement
Thursday, November 4

2:00-3:30 pm ET (1.5 hours)


Recording: N/A

MURAL: Rapid Decision-making – Facilitator Guide 

Ideating Solutions

  • Work with your team to ideate potential solutions to your selected problem
  • Select the best potential solutions
  • Meet with your mentor to get feedback to validate your solution selection
  • This is the solution you will be working on for the rest of the month
Monday, November 8

2:00-3:30 pm ET (1.5 hours)


Recording: N/A

MURAL: Rapid Decision-making – Facilitator Guide 

How to Develop a Business Model Canvas (optional) Thursday, November 11

2:00-2:45 pm ET (45 mins)


Recording: How to Develop a Business Model Canvas

Josephine McMurray – Presentation slides

Please download: Editable business model canvas

Strategyzer Business Model Canvas (2 min video)

Strategyzer Business Model Toolkit (webpage)

Drop-in Office Hours/Social Time (optional)

  • Come hang out in Zoom and get to know other participants
  • Mentors will meet with teams in breakout rooms to answer any questions
Friday, November 12

11:00-12:00pm ET (1 hour)

Recording: N/A
Wireframing Apps/Programs (optional) Tuesday, November 16

2:00-2:45 pm ET (45 mins)


Recording: Wireframing Apps/Programs
The Art of the Pitch (optional) Thursday, November 18

2:00-2:45 pm ET (45 mins)

Recording: The Art of the Pitch

Pitch examples from the AGE-WELL & Impact Centre Family:


5-minute presentation to organizers outlining challenge selected, problem and need statements, existing solutions, the solution they are developing etc.

Wednesday, November 24 @ 9:00 am ET Video submission guidelines and adjudication criteria

How to upload a video to YouTube

Finalist Notifications

Organizers will inform the top 5 teams that they are invited to pitch in the live pitch competition.

Friday, November 26
Pitch Competition and Awards

The top 5 teams will pitch live to a panel of expert judges.

Tuesday, November 30

2-3 pm ET (1 hour)

AgeTech@Home Hackathon – Final Pitch Scorecard

Recording: Pitch Competition and Awards

Questions: You can reach the organizing team at 


AGE-WELL NCE Inc. is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. AGE-WELL researchers are producing technologies, services, policies and practices that improve quality of life for older adults and caregivers, and generate social and economic benefits for Canada. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program.

About VHA Home HealthCare:

VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that offers 24/7 health care and support services to people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Founded in 1925 as the Visiting Homemakers Association, VHA’s goal is to provide clients with spectacular service when, where and how they want it to support their independence.

VHA is dedicated to partnering with clients and their families to deliver care and support to make life easier and health challenges more manageable. From pre-birth to end of life and every stage in between, together we will create a customized plan to achieve your care goals.

Our caring team of professionals includes nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, personal support workers, home support workers, cleaners, social workers, dieticians and speech language pathologists. We deliver the highest quality client support at home, in the community and in long-term care facilities.

VHA is an active member in fourteen Ontario Health Teams in the regions where we provide service and also actively participates in other integrated care initiatives with partner organizations.