Snapshot of Leading Age -- brick and mortar, limited tech

AAHSA/Leading Age -- change is incremental.  As it turns out, not a big deal, skipping a year of conferences in my quest to find innovation in the use of technology for the benefit of residents among the senior housing sector. I didn’t see too much new (exceptions below). The former American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA, now optimistically renamed Leading Age), is a 5400-member organization of senior executives from the faith-based and non-profit senior housing sector, spanning most of the nursing home/rehabilitation facilities in the US – typically campus-based CCRCs. This year is the 50th anniversary of AAHSA/Leading Age, and they celebrated by including international organizations from as far away as Australia. >>> Read more . . .

Long-awaited GPS footware will enter a different world

For wanderers and caregivers – another long-awaited device. Beware of pre-announcements. So GTX has announced that the long-awaited GPS shoe (let's call that 'footware') will be available in October (that’s now!) for $299, enabling a geo-fence to be set for the wearer, alerting when the shoe travels outside of the specified area. From the NY Times article, the argument for the GPS shoe came from Andrew Carle, the coiner of ‘Nana technology’ and a professor at George Mason University. He suggested the idea to Aetrex, the shoe manufacturer, which first announced that it was going to begin product testing in 2009.   I got pretty excited by that in 2009, but after placing a call every six months to learn that it was not available, I gave up. >>> Read more . . .

Memo to vendors: Stop helping, you're making us crazy

As I nearly cut myself this morning trying to pull/persuade/yank the tab from a new carton of half-and-half, I am reminded that we have entered a new era.  Product vendors read health, environmental, safety regulations and stats – and they try to ‘help’ us with packaging that protects product quality, makes the car safer, lowers the cost of production, or…is what they think we want, maybe because it is what the innovator wants. But trying to help us is hurting, frustrating, and scaring an older population. Please save us from some of this ‘helpful’ innovation that tells us we are not up to the device, the package or the car like: >>> Read more . . .

Care at home – the continuum of oversight needs a reality check

 Okay, okay, we get it – everyone wants to age at home.  How do we know?  AARP say so. Forget that AARP’s survey sample might be skewed towards the younger end of fifty- and sixty-somethings, not 80-90 year olds. Forget that life expectancy is lengthening -- the good life or the not-so-good – apparently indistinguishable among the life expectancy extender-types, aka the healthcare system.  Forget that this is a gloomy and isolating picture for those with limited transportation in their 80’s and 90’s, those living alone with mild to moderate dementia, and those for whom it is a great chore just to get up and about.  >>> Read more . . .

Aging in Place Technology Watch September 2011 Newsletter

The American home ownership dream fizzles -- is that bad?  On a recent business trip in Switzerland, I was told that home ownership there isn't the be-all, end-all that it is here, that people are comfortable with renting and putting their money to other uses. It looks like a small and similar trend is happening in the US -- apparently we have begun the simultaneous housing downsizing of boomers and the creation of a rental culture. You may have noticed a new report (no, not the one that said the telehealth market would hit $6.28 billion by 2020) about housing in the US -- this Harvard report noted that home ownership dipped below 67% in 2010. In addition to excess housing inventory from foreclosures, the echo boomers (born 1986 or later) apparently are entering their peak household formation years without forming traditional ownership households. And one-third of households aged 65-74 reported moving, many to smaller households. Of course, the other two-thirds are aging in place, a euphemism these days for not being able to sell the house, the furniture, and get out to a more reasonably-sized dwelling. The report also asserts that many existing homes are being converted to rentals. Imagine if those who want to downsize either rent out a portion of their home to a student or find a compatible older adult who can defray expenses.  Imagine if those lucky enough to sell their houses pocketed the cash, enabling flexibility in finding work where the work is, instead of where the house keeps a stranglehold.  And perhaps they took the money they didn't spend on housing -- and spent it elsewhere in the economy. >>> Read more . . .

Prognostications about Great Gadgets

Last Saturday, the AARP national convention featured a session called Great Gadgets.  Three speakers were on the panel representing AARP, the Consumer Electronics Association and Annenberg School at USC. Here is a summary of their prognostications and a few of my own: 1) content anywhere/everywhere; 2) few early adopters; 3) tablets are here to stay as the fourth screen; 4) the future is more tech, more places and 5) he who builds the product that needs the least support will win. Read on for the details. >>> Read more . . .

When markets don't intersect - xHealth and tech for aging

 The xHealths prefer to ignore the elephant in the room.  Every day I am treated to a plethora of updates (remember my 24 LinkedIn Groups) about this conference and that event for Health 451.0, Connected YouKnowWhat, Wireless WhatsUp, and Mobile Name-that-disease. The very word ‘health’ connotes opportunity (avoid 30-day hospital readmissions!), visions of reimbursement, and smiling clinicians on the far side of webcams.  After all, shouldn’t the xHealths target employer-funded health insurance programs, monitoring ailments among employees and their kids’ childhood diseases? And doesn’t the ‘m’ in mHealth mean mobile, mean smart phone, always-on, on-the-go and on-the-run?  Tweet your stats to your friends and get a friendly e-mail from your doctor’s iPad. >>> Read more . . .

Hats off to investors with X-ray vision

Some consultants and investors make me grumpy.  In my line of work I speak with junior members of giant consulting firms and newly minted researchers within the back offices of VCs. When I talk to these young folk, I cringe in the face of ignorance about aging, never mind about the markets they are studying. Recently one of these investors opined this gem: "I like to invest in areas where there is demonstrated demand." Let’s mull that over, I thought. But don’t you own a number of technologies that a few years ago had zero customer demand?” Well, yes, that’s true, he admitted and we silently contemplated tablets and smart phones, portable GPS devices, and iPods, where consumers gravitated toward an invention they never knew they needed. Did anyone actually demand telepresence, location-based restaurant meet-ups, Skype video conferences, smart bandages or interactive TV?  For that matter, in the 1980’s did anyone conceive of an assisted living industry, telehealth nurses, or self-checkout in a store? >>> Read more . . .

Is telehealth a market or a feature?

Analyst firms have re-discovered telehealth – and it’s big, big, big.  So trumpets Information Week’s coverage of a new study from market researcher InMedica. They size the global market at $6.28 billion by 2020, up from its current cited size of shipments at $163 million in 2010.  This must mean that we have a tipping point of uptake within vendor marketer lines of sight. And no wonder, so many other markets driven by seized-up consumer spending are tepid or shrinking. If you believe this forecast, certainly it’s about time for a market that has languished for years, not to say decades, despite the Veteran Administration validation and rollout, and numerous reports that verified effectiveness at keeping patients out of the hospital. Hmm, though, maybe the tipping point is sooner.  BCC Research, another analyst group already valued the ‘telehome’ subset of telemedicine at $2.9 billion in 2010, rising to $7.9 billion by 2015. >>> Read more . . .

While communities attempt age friendliness, US telehealth fiddles on

Who’s WHO and age-friendly communities.  A few years ago, the World Health Organization announced that it was forming a global network of age-friendly cities (see linked checklist of criteria). In the US, those include Portland, Oregon  and New York City and worldwide they include Brussels, Canberra, Geneva, Nice and many others. The list also includes Louth County in Ireland – where I spoke this past week at an event sponsored by CASALA – a partnership that includes the Dundalk Institute of Technology. CASALA, along with the Institute's Netwell Centre and government and health service providers, research and actively promote the use of technologies that can improve the quality of life of older adults in the region. >>> Read more . . .

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