Caregiving and Technology


For caregivers, technology offers powerful solutions to even the most challenging obstacles for people who both give and receive care.

In this episode, we learn about how technology allowed Harry Wittenberg to maintain his autonomy and independence even while fighting ALS, and how it affected his wife and primary caregiver, Mary Ann Wittenberg.

Later, we are joined by Ken Smith of the Stanford Center on Longevity and Kari Olson of Front Porch, who discuss how technology can revolutionize caregiving.



KEN SMITH – Ken Smith joined SCL in July of 2009 as a Senior Research Scholar and Director of Academic and Research Support. He currently is Director of the Center’s Mobility Division. He works closely with SCL’s faculty colleagues to determine where Stanford expertise can best be used to drive change. He brings a broad background of over 20 years of management and engineering experience to his role, including positions in the computing, aerospace, and solar energy industries. He developed a special expertise in working closely with university faculty to develop projects while at Intel, where he was deeply involved in the creation and management of their network of university research labs.  He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois with an M.S. from the University of Washington.

KARI OLSON – In addition to serving as president of the Front Porch Center for Innovation & Wellbeing, Kari Olson is the chief innovation and technology officer for Front Porch®. As president of the award winning Front Porch Center, she explores innovative uses of technology to empower individuals to live well, especially in their later years.

Olson is actively involved in the Aging 2.0 Alliance and Leading Age Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) where she is currently serving as a commissioner and steering committee member. She has also served as a CAST Boomer Technology Needs Research chair, co-chair of the Provider Workgroup and Leading Age Innovation Cabinet member. She speaks nationally about Front Porch’s work in innovation and technology.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from UCLA.