Work and jobs -- where is the Studs Terkel of today?

Will the next mid-life crisis be at 75?  Sixty is the new sixty, says Marc Freedman. Attending a recent event, I was an audience member exhorted to consider the ever-greater expansion of time available to make sure that it is time well-lived. What does that mean in the context of life’s purpose, whether we are prepared to competently approach our very long retirement years with not-enough-saved or will we have an encore career or two? He quoted the comment of an older adult about their potentially very long future: "I’m on my next-to-last dog." Working part time – is that a next-to-last career? Volunteering – is that a career?  In one session I heard the word 'work' used for effort that is "paid or unpaid."  How mangled is our language that volunteering without pay is now called working? >>> Read more . . .

Positive Aging Conference highlights Sarasota area technology innovation

The 2014 Positive Aging Conference shines a light on innovation.  At the just-held Conference on Positive Aging in Sarasota, FL, the seventh in its history, to the four themes Wellness, Creativity, Transitions and Community, the conference added  a new theme, Technology.  The conference’s offerings are designed primarily for the Sarasota County attendees, a population of older adults in the region who are the focus of the work of the Institute of the Ages. This year, the Institute of the Ages, led by CEO Tom Esselman, has partnered with InnovateLTC, CEO John Reinhart, an accelerator for new businesses serving the age-related market segments.  That partnership enables a willing and able test audience from Sarasota to find willing and eager businesses looking for pilots of their products and services. >>> Read more . . .

The 59-second Digital Health pitch is too short for words

The Digital Health investment frenzy is running out of superlatives. Words are crowd-funding out the clichés – are we nearing a tipping point, re-imagining, having a frictionless health experience, or becoming consumer cultural force? Watch this overview of the 59-second pitch – and wonder, have we ever seen such breathless entrepreneur energy and excitement since the days of the dot-com boom and browser wars?  Executives of these companies are practiced and smooth – eliminating needless words and clearing of throats, they cram confident assertions about money raised, consumers helped, design implications, and future strategy -- into 59 seconds.  Speed dating investment meets deal-making -- and optimists claim that the pace of deals will apparently be solid in 2014.   >>> Read more . . .

The real seniors will be responsible for themselves

What do we mean by senior? Well, it depends on where you stand and what you are reading. Seen through the Google Glassy lens of young adults, it’s everyone aged 50+, that is, the AARP market demographic, who might be considered a senior. Or perhaps it is age 65, when Medicare eligibility and public transit discounts appear. Age 65 is also the statistical baseline for longevity projections – 20 more years of life expectancy, with one in four projected to live past 90. Now mull over a new Pew global survey about attitudes on aging -- the US stood out as "one of very few countries where a large plurality of the public believes individuals are primarily responsible for their own well-being in old age." Consider that point and read on. >>> Read more . . .

Hospital discharge – why isn’t a picture worth 1000 words?

How do elderly patients and their caregivers leave the hospital?  Apparently with reams of paper that include post-hospital care instructions and medication lists.  In addition, a patient receives detailed verbal instructions from a nurse, perhaps for wound care, plus reminders to follow up with the doctor.  Note the 'best practice' outlined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- more paper. Yet in the age of smartphone adoption by boomers – more than half of Pew responders were in the 35-44 age range, 39% were 55-64 – something seems odd about this document-intensive process. Consider a scenario in which an elderly person is going home, driven by a family member, or perhaps they are going to a rehab facility/nursing home.   >>> Read more . . .

Device upgrades -- the invasion of the body snatchers

Unable to leave well enough alone – it’s UPGRADE time! Rant on. Perhaps you were one of those who just encountered Samsung/Verizon's pushed Android 4.3 – charmingly tagged 'Jelly Bean' --last week? You stared at the message 'Accept Upgrade Now' and murmured to yourself, how bad can it be? Ah, stupid. Multiple problems. Should have read the forums – something your average consumer does not do. If you did, it would not be reassuring, believe me. Verizon – the only direct and very well-paid participant in this fiasco -- reacted with their usual aplomb: Maybe the customer will shut up if we just send them another phone.  >>> Read more . . .

In 2014, will technology for seniors be absorbed into digital health?

A long holiday stretch ends.  No, I’m not talking about Christmas decorations in shopping malls. The media frenzy that was CES 2014 may soon wane away, although post mortems and predictions persist. So let’s review: there were Silvers Summit exhibitors (6) and then there was Digital Health (77). For CES health-related overall, count 170 per Mobile Health News – and that includes "e-Cigarette makers that categorized themselves as Digital Health."  See one of a few cynical posts – where we can find a new word -- track-a-holism -- and a new slogan -- "sitting is the new smoking." But in the Digital Health exhibit list, note the presence of GrandCare and Independa – two long-standing players in what could have been categorized at a different event as senior technology.  >>> Read more . . .

Ten CES technologies that could be useful to older adults

Last year, CES in Pajamas, this year CES from the kitchen.  Everyone who is anyone in the tech world wants to be at CES…well, almost everyone. Remember a 2012 health tech article called CES in Pajamas? Check out TelecareAware's analysis of write-ups in The CES of Health or MDDI's note about Aging in Place. And this year, the Forbes article, I, Robot Journalist: Beaming into CES 2014 was a great use of the Beam (from Suitable Technologies) telepresence device, "a motorized stand that looks like an iPad glued to a Segway." The Forbes writer 'wanders' around the International CES show and sort-of elbows her robotic way around to view various booths. The CEO of Suitable Technologies wants to see 10,000 Beams at CES 2015.  Let’s try to imagine that scene -- I bet CES introduces a Beam registration limit to minimize violence on the show floor. (Seriously, Yyou read it here first.) >>> Read more . . .

Making ease of use the default for new product design

Do designers of new products seriously consider ease of use?  As the December buying frenzy fizzles, we are often reminded that 70% of the US economy is driven by consumer spending. We are not reminded too often about the Longevity Economy -- that 90+ million people are 50+, have most of the money, own most of the homes and cars, and thus buy the most of everything, including technology. And even the growth of social media shifts older - the fastest growing segment of Facebook users are aged 65+, Facebook has apparently saturated and/or bored teenager segments who have moved on, at least for now, to other stuff. So as some of you head off to CES exhibit halls this coming week, please consider the product user interface of what you see. Look at the TV, 'white hot' wearables, fitness devices, car tech, the ironically-titled not-so-smart phones, tablets, the health apps that apparently will eclipse the TVs.  Count the demos you see of products you could characterize as simple, elegant, easy-to-use designs for all ages, including those who need to put on their reading glasses to read the manual or the 70% of adults who suffer eye strain peering at their devices.   >>> Read more . . .

December 2013 Year-end Wrap and 2014 Trends to Watch

2013 was a year in which issues percolated all around the world of older adults – health insurance and Medicare media interest dominated, but senior housing also made the news, caregiving received some exposure, and new tech to mitigate hearing and vision loss emerged. In terms of trends that could, would, and should impact the technology worlds of older adults, much has happened and more is ahead. From specific initiatives to government policy implications, the markets (money, innovation, and consumer interest) show signs of aligning in ways that can only benefit boomers and seniors. Here are trends that signal change: >>> Read more . . .

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