People on the Move – Dementia Experts Win the Community Business Partnership’s Business Plan Competition
FIT Interactive, a start-up company from Falls Church, VA, has won the Community Business Partnership’s 12th annual Business Plan Competition for its FIT Kits™, dementia care engagement products that help improve the quality of life for people living with dementia and those who care about them. FIT Kits™ are the creation of two Northern Virginia gerontologists and dementia care experts, Karen Love and Elia Femia, PhD. Matt Whitaker, one of the competition judges, noted that the FIT Kits™ business plan was the best he has reviewed in his four years of judging the contest.
“One of the biggest challenges in dementia is helping individuals and those who care about them stay connected,” said Dr. Femia. “Having ways to stay connected and be meaningfully engaged to experience fun and joy are important for their well-being and quality of life.”
The FIT Kits™, which cost $39.95 and can be purchased online at www.fitkits.org, contain a variety of engagement materials such as puzzles, picture books, and other interactive items that serve as tools to spark interest, engagement, and fun. “Besides supporting well-being for individuals who have dementia, there are benefits for caregivers too. It is very rewarding to be the person helping to spark the smiles, laughter and fun,” said Ms. Love.
Dementia care creates enormous financial burdens not just for individual families, but for the U.S. economy as a whole. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that dementia costs the U.S. over $160 billion a year making it a greater financial cost than cancer or heart disease. Figuring out how to maximize quality of life for people with dementia is the most important policy issue in dementia care worldwide according to a report from the National Academy on an Aging Society. “As a non-pharmacological treatment, FIT Kits™ can play an important part in improving quality of life for people living with dementia,” Dr. Femia said.
The Community Business Partnership (CBP) is a non-profit organization and a sponsored program of the Mason Enterprise Center at George Mason University that includes the Business Incubation Center, the Business Finance Center, the Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia, and the South Fairfax Small Business Development Center. The 12th Annual Business Plan Competition is sponsored by Capital One Bank, BAE Systems, Harris IT, and United Bank.