Considering technology to help older seniors be involved and connected.
The Internet is crawling with tech training programs. But as the latest Pew study spells out, fewer than half of those aged 75+ are online. Ironically for the half that are not online, bank branches are closing – with the biggest decline in Florida. The explanation? So say the banks: "mobile and online banking has eliminated the need for branches." The Bank of America example: 9% of all check deposits in the fourth quarter came from mobile devices. And I wonder what percentage of those check deposits were made by people aged 75+? Oh, I wonder if they know that only 18% of that age group owns a smart phone or tablet? But forward motion is inexorable – we know how badly Social Security wanted out of the paper-check business. We also know how worrisome it can be to manage privacy and security on tablets and smart phones. Which brings us to the topic of training older adults about smart use of technology – where is the training and what does it cover? >>> Read more . . .
Sensor-based home monitoring is a maturing market. A long time ago (2008) when this website was first launched, the benefits and difficulties of getting home-monitoring technology deployed were discussed. Perhaps families were ignorant about the technology, didn’t want to interfere or could not tell their aging parents what to do. Many observed that lack of knowledge about home monitoring solutions was the number one problem. Or maybe the senior's privacy concern was the problem. Or maybe complexity of installation and the need for an installer was the problem? Searching the topic of 'home monitoring' on this site reveals a long list of companies launching, announcing, updating, partnering with providers, dealers, insurers -- as well as comments about barriers to adoption. >>> Read more . . .
Checking out startups offerings that can benefit adults -- including older adults. StartUp Health is a New York-based accelerator fostering 'health and wellness innovation.' Its purpose is to help entrepreneurs accepted into its Academy gain "access to customers, capital, resources, and a peer group support network." As many are observing today, if it's useful and technology-based, a startup seems likely to categorize themselves as 'health and wellness'. And some of these health and wellness innovators are specifically targeting aspects of care that can be very helpful to all, but could be particularly useful for older adults. All information comes from the websites of the companies themselves: >>> Read more . . .
The majority of real seniors are not online. The Pew technology survey is up to date – and it is a reflection that tech, training, and perception of benefit have a ways to go with real seniors – aged 75+. Fewer than half (47%) of the 75-79 age group and 37% of the 80+ are online. And if they were, most do not have broadband access at home. And among the 65+, the song and dance about ease of use of smart phones and tablets is not resonating – 40% of seniors say that physical challenges make some activities difficult – and for those, even fewer go online. And for all the social pressure and media assumptions about online use, non-users do not believe they are at a real disadvantage. >>> Read more . . .
Not made in the USA. Over the years, Google alerts have both helped find technologies that would be useful to older adults -- and because this site has focused largely on US companies and initiatives, those same alerts sometimes seem to be all about happenings in upstate New York or new initiatives in New Jersey. So here is an attempt to start a conversation about great ideas for technology innovations from outside the US that can be helpful to seniors. Emphasis is 'start' -- and additions are welcome. >>> Read more . . .
Watching PERS and consumer health tech industries is like watching parallel worlds. You have to notice. Although offerings are now mobile, they are not moving closer to consumer health tech. Wander from website to website of the leading players – Philips, Tunstall, ADT, Lifestation, LifeAlert, and so on, in the self-described Medical Alarm industry, regardless of who the company is, services are described and compared in this chart by VRI in the context of the 'emergency' dimension of Personal Emergency Response System/Service. Okay, you’ve looked over the laundry list of companies in the VRI-crafted chart. Now add a few more mobile PERS offerings that aren’t on the chart – like Verizon Sure Response, Tunstall, GreatCall’s Five Star, MobileHelp, AT&T and Numera. Verizon’s site offers 'convenience calling' (that is, minutes that can be used for non-emergencies); Numera’s site mentions a future health aspect of its Libris offering; and AT&T’s site talks about Health. Otherwise, the emphasis is about averting or responding to an emergency. >>> Read more . . .
Digital health tech is the answer – but what are the questions? What new gadgets and apps can make consumers take better care of their own health? What are the gadgets and apps that help doctors take care of consumers? Let’s assume that the combination of tech that helps consumers and doctors equals Digital Health. In this emerging world, do doctors encourage consumers to give these new apps and gadgets a try? What is the digital technology uptake among the worried well and the not-so-well boomer population – a giant and amorphous demographic blob that some marketers want to cultivate. Even if we added those modifiers that help divide boomers into cohorts – words like caregiving, wealthy, unmarried, educated, grandparents, rural -- it is a challenge for innovators to peer through the just right Digital Health lens and see clearly who is targeted, what they need, and who will pay for the next new thing. >>> Read more . . .
The start of a new year -- it extends past CES! Let's remind ourselves -- press releases matter. As you know by now, becoming quiet about a firm's products and offerings is bad business practice – silence is assumed to be a bad sign – and the aging dates of content on websites is even worse. That’s because the technology market waits for no man – or woman. And to their PR credit, tech companies get that. So in the past few months new versions and offerings of technology solutions have been swept up in press releases on this site – perhaps missed by readers, so here they are, extracted into a single blog post. As has been the case previously, all of the text is extracted from the announcements by the technology firms themselves. >>> Read more . . .
Press releases propagate predictive thought. Most wearables and health-related predictions reflect the universe of themselves, that is, gadget press releases and press hype about the rise in wearables, for example, among consumers. Per IDC, in 2014 "wearables and embedded sensors will become mainstream." What is mainstream, considering that only 32% of consumers are even aware of fitness trackers? Or consider that low-risk prediction: "Certain health care organizations will experiment with Google Glass." Well, maybe not so much this year -- two months before, a Fast Company article interviewed a surgeon who was experimenting, concluding that the device has a 'long way to go.' >>> Read more . . .
Facebook spends on WhatsApp -- Brookdale buys Emeritus. It’s been an interesting week. Most people do not see a parallel in these two acquisitions, I’m quite sure, since the target user of each is separated by, oh, say 50 years. So what does it mean to consumers that Brookdale, in a 2.8 billion stock deal, will now be the first national and largest owner-operator senior living company in the United States -- with more than 1100 locations in 46 states? What does it mean that Facebook, that completely-closed purveyor of ads, pictures and Likes, spent $16-19 billion, just about the largest tech acquisition price EVER, on a messaging tool with no ads, no games, and no gimmicks that costs virtually nothing to use – other than a smart phone’s data plan? But it’s big overseas in places where Facebook isn't – and best of all, it requires your phone number to use -- which Facebook will now have if it didn't already. >>> Read more . . .