Saturday, November 30, 2019

GeroHacks is bringing together the SFU Department of Gerontology, and community partners, to bring into focus current issues for the older adult population of Vancouver. 



About GeroHacks

GeroHacks is a Social Hackathon event created to address selected current issues relevant for older adults. SFU Department of Gerontology is partnering with the West End Seniors’ Network, Alzheimer Society of B.C. and the United Way of the Lower Mainland to organize a day-long hackathon which provides an opportunity for local students to develop creative and usable program and service solutions in areas such as transportation, physical activity and dementia awareness. Each community partner will select one team of winners to be presented with a $1000 to continue their projects with the partners. Please note this is not a technical hackathon! Please note this is not a technical hackathon!


The hackathon will be held in Segal Centre on the SFU Vancouver Campus within Harbour Centre and is organized by the Department of Gerontology.

This event is part of SFU Vancouver's 30th Anniversary!


West End Seniors’ Network

A Vancouver community that supports and empowers older adults to live involved, healthy and fulfilling lives.


The challenge that we are presenting to participants in the Gerohacks Hackathon is to envision innovative ways to address the issues of social isolation and loneliness among older adults in the West End of Vancouver.

About Us

Our Vision

A Vancouver community that supports and empowers older adults to live involved, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our Mission
  • To enhance the quality of life of older adults by providing social, recreational, educational and supportive programs and services that foster connection and inclusion in the broader community.
Event Representative

Anthony Kupferschmidt


The Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Challenging stigma and working towards a more dementia-friendly British Columbia.


A key strategy for reducing stigma and prioritizing social inclusion is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative which supports municipalities, the professional sector, community groups and the general public to become “dementia friendly”. The challenge that we are presenting to participants in the GeroHacks Hackathon is to imagine new approaches – including tools, educational strategies and other innovations – to help realize this vision of a dementia-friendly B.C.

About Dementia

Dementia is a general term that refers to a variety of brain disorders. Physical changes in the brain cause dementia. Learn more in this section about dementia, its impact on the brain, and how to keep your brain healthy.

Our Mission
  • Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and that world begins with a more dementia-friendly society, where people affected by dementia are acknowledged, supported and included.
  • We ensure people affected by dementia are not alone, by educating and mobilizing a broader community of care around them, and supporting valuable research into the disease and people living with it.


Event Representative

Heather Cowie 


United Way

Working with local agencies, governments and donors to build a vision of a healthy, caring, inclusive community.


The challenge that we present to Gerohacks participants are twofold:
1) Those who attend Community Based Organizations have a level of mobility / ability to attend. How do we achieve the same outcomes of Older British Columbians being Active, Connected and Engaged for those who do not have the means to attend programming/services at these centers (ie. Mobility challenged for transportation, live in very rural communities etc)?
2) How do we raise the profile and demonstrate the impact these services are having on lives of Older British Columbians, their families and caregivers?

We help change lives locally.

We work with local agencies, governments and donors like you to build our vision of a healthy, caring, inclusive community.

Our Mission

United Way of the Lower Mainland serves the needs of our local community to help support kids, families and seniors.

Event Representative

Angela Brooks

SFU Department of Gerontology


About SFU Gerontology

We are a community of faculty, researchers, and students looking at aging from an interdisciplinary perspective. Issues covered in courses and research include health & aging, aging & the built environment, technology & aging, and sociology.

Our Mission

Population aging is one of the most significant demographic phenomena of the 21st century that will shape healthcare, finance, social services, housing, transportation, as well as experiences of aging at the individual, family and community level. In the coming years, as the number of boomers increases exponentially, issues related to quality of life, formal and informal care and societal adaptations to an aging population will become even more important. As this demographic trend poses certain challenges, it also presents many opportunities for social, technological, health and environmental innovations that can improve and maximize the lives and potential of people as the move along their life course.

Our faculty members are internationally known researchers in the areas of population aging, health care and health promotion, built environment, dementia care, families and community, technology, and the study of ethno-cultural and vulnerable group topics. The department is supported by the Gerontology Research Centre. Departmental faculty and Gerontology Research Centre’s staff are highly successful in securing substantial external research funding and they regularly publish in top-tier academic journals in gerontology and social sciences. Faculty members are also active in knowledge translation activities and other engagements with various entities in the broader community, such as seniors’ care and service providers, non-profit organizations, regional health authorities, local and federal governments.

Event Representative

Habib Chaudhury

Anthony Kupferschmidt

Anthony Kupferschmidt


Anthony is the Executive Director at West End Seniors’ Network

Heather Cowie

Heather Cowie

The Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Heather Cowie is the Provincial Coordinator for Dementia-Friendly Communities at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Habib Chaudhury

Habib Chaudhury

SFU Department of Gerontology - Professor

Expertise: Aging and the built environment;  neighbourhoods for active aging; age-friendly communities; dementia-friendly communities

Angela Brooks

Angela Brooks

United Way of the Lower Mainland

Angela is the Program and Operations Coordinator for Population Health at United Way of the Lower Mainland,

Kahir Lalji

Kahir Lalji

United Way of the Lower Mainland

Kahir is the Provincial Director for Population Health at United Way of the Lower Mainland.


8:45 am


Registration and check-in. A light breakfast of coffee, tea and pastries will be provided.

9:15 am

Community partners will present the 3 topics and problems. A brief workshop at the end will go over what is expected at the end of the day.

9:45 am
Hacking Begins!


All groups may begin brainstorming and idea-building! Mentors will be available to provide assistance. 

12:00 Pm
Lunch Break

Lunch will be provided! Sandwiches, wraps and more! If you have a food allergy or restriction please make this known in your GeroHacks application. 

1:00 pm
Continue Hacking


Finalize ideas and prepare 2-5 minute presentation. 

2:30 PM
Judging Begins


Judges will pick 3 teams as winners of $1000 prizes each.










Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre Campus Vancouver

Joseph & Rosalie Segal Centre

Room# 1400-1430

515 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3



Frequently Asked Questions

🐢 General

What is a social hackathon?

A social hackathon is an event where teams collaborate to develop solutions— technical or otherwise, provide a positive social impact to the community. At GeroHacks, teams of 3-5 collaborate over 7 hours to challenge the status quo, and create meaningful impact that participants will have the opportunity to direct with our partners. Representatives from local organizations and mentors from the local community mentor at hackathons to share their experiences, support projects from their unique perspectives, and meet the younger generation of hackers. The winners will be chosen by a panel of judges comprised of mentors and representatives from our partners.

Is this a technical hackathon?

No. While we will not discourage any participants from creating a technical solution to the provided issues, the hackathon is a half-day event and it is not the recommended approach. The concern around technical solution’s is that they can be difficult to maintain and update. 

Do we need any experience in gerontology or health sciences?

No. Students of all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to participate. 

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is set to be November 18th at midnight.

How much does it cost?

The hackathon is 100% free. Please note we do not reimburse any travel fees.

Is there a theme for GeroHacks?

Yes, we have three different topics from each partner that comprise the theme of our event.

Do you have a Facebook page?

Yes! Check us out at facebook.com/gerohacks. 

Can any recent university graduates or high school students attend as well?

All university students and recent graduates are welcome. High school students are welcome as well but must get consent from their parents if under 18, through our waiver.

👀 Teams & projects

How big can my team be?

Teams may have between 3 – 5 members. If you don’t have a team before the event, we will be creating teams during the hackathon, seperating people by the the topics they have chosen. 

What happens if I don't have a team?

You will be put into a team!

The registration deadline has passed! Can I still volunteer?

Yes! You can email us at [email protected] or reach us via our Facebook page, facebook.com/gerohacks.

Can we start working on our project before the hackathon?

Yes! If you have selected a topic and have a great idea already, you can build it up before the hackathon. 

What should the solution look like?

The solution will be an innovative service, social program or technology accepted by the Community Partner. 

How do we sign up as a team?

Please state your preference to be with certain other applicants in the registration form at the top of the page. Also, everyone on the same team must select the same problem/partner that they are interested in working with. 

🛸 Logistics

What do I need to bring?

We recommend bringing your laptops and water bottles.

How do I get there?

If coming by Skytrain, get off at Waterfront Station. The SFU Vancouver campus is only a minute away. If coming by car, please use this address 515 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3. Please note that parking is limited downtown and we are not liable for any tickets. 

When is the registration deadline?

Registration starts September 10, 2019 and ends November 24, 2019 at 11:59pm PST. Applications will be considered on a first come first serve basis.