Tablets and smartphones, too hard to learn, too hard to use, not just for seniors

An inquiry about an iPad opens the door – to a maze of twisty passages, all alike.  We like to bring our iPad when we visit my 90-year-old mother-in-law. We walk her out of her memory care unit to a quiet living room and my husband shows his mother beautiful images of kittens and cats. As we passed the 40-something concierge at the front desk, she asked us about whether she should get an iPad.  This woman does not own a smart phone and has no Internet service in her house -- and apparently no friends to guide her in this process. If you were asked this question and had just a bit more information about her situation, what would you say? >>> Read more . . .

Using Tech to create Smart Walls and Tables for Dementia Care

Dementia care – it’s 4:00 and what’s happening?  In a nearby memory care unit in an Assisted Living community, the movie has ended, the credits rolled. Next up – visitors hear loud yelling and observe a staff member separating and redirecting an able-bodied resident. Count the number of residents in wheelchairs -- nearly half of the unit -- awaiting some physical care before dinner. These residents seem ever-more frail -- likely because they are delaying move-in until the need is urgent. Often it appears that staff is supplemented with home health or companion services -- note that these providers are assigned to individual residents, not the group -- just like the resident-specific role played by visiting hospice workers. It may appear that there are many staffers around, but minus the one-on-one folks, there aren't enough staffers to keep everyone else occupied. Now consider the dependency on staff to engage these otherwise-bored and idle residents. Soon it will be dinner time and the activities person will have left for the day. Staff members (who earn a national average of $11.10/hour) get busy with ADL-related chores before/after meals and before bed. >>> Read more . . .

Six New Technologies for Aging in Place

The fall is an event extravaganza – and oh, tech products to consider. Taking a look at AgeTech West in November, the mHealth Summit upcoming in December and the recent Health 2.0 and Connected Health Symposium events – and coming in 2014, there will be both Digital Health and Silvers Summit at CES. So as not to miss too many, here are a few selected from the near-term events, as always, hoping to avoid the not-yet-launched as well as including those for caregivers as well as care recipients. And please note – the descriptions of these come from the websites of the companies. Hint to founders – a website that starts with video is a bit lean. Paragraphs of text would help viewers better understand the value proposition – and be searchable! >>> Read more . . .

Our connected health selves are not quite there

Enthusiasm is plentiful -- broad deployment is harder to find. For some topics, it may not be that important what year this is or what health-related event we attend – the lamentations are the same. I have been lurking around the Connected Health Symposium for a number of years – and when it is all said (and said and said again), investment in consumer health tech is at crazed levels, but actual healthcare system utilization is still hard to find. Prowling the sparsely-planted exhibit hall and the speaker agenda, it seems pretty much where we left it last year – what matters most to a hospital system conference like this? Is the future of healthcare actually healthcare at home? Given the vast brick-and-mortar Partners Healthcare establishment, not soon. Expect to hear that topic again. >>> Read more . . .

Trade shows and the search for market disruption

Task-specific devices must add functions over time.  The cliché in the tech industry is truer now than ever – because an innovation is possible – not always helpful, but possible -- it will be done. And adding functions to products is as inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise. As we look around the home technology market, we can already see dedicated devices beginning to share activities: a TV can now be interactive, PCs and tablets now functional for viewing movies, radios that become speakers for Internet streaming, ever-more multi-function kitchen devices and so on. As devices become multi-purpose, they can also add new channels of distribution – opening up new retailers, catalogues, websites, and show venues. >>> Read more . . .

Announcing New Services from Aging in Place Technology Watch

Helping organizations grow businesses in more ways.  When Aging in Place Technology Watch first launched in March, 2009, the intent was to mirror the services of a traditional Industry Analyst firm – client annual fixed price/time retainers, research reports, marketing white papers, and speaking engagements – offerings that are still very much in place and in use. But a few who read this blog know that over the past few years, the services have expanded – and could be of benefit to some blog readers. Contact laurie@ageinplacetech.com for client references, pricing, and to learn more about: >>> Read more . . .

Memo to marketers -- after the hype, press releases endure

An upcoming and splashy event looms – time to market.  We are in the fall show season and it shows. So the new product isn’t really tested past a slick prototype, but the brochures must get to the printers NOW. Why?  CES (or Connected Health, ATA, or the mHealth Summit) is on the calendar and innovation is expected, no actually, innovation is mandated.  For the price of a booth, press release, brochures, a demo device and all travel costs, marketers must market. Whether the product works? Not important for demo purposes.  Does anyone need the offering? See the hype for 2010 launch of Healthrageous and now see the 2013 shutdown. >>> Read more . . .

Senior products and services -- how about delighting the customer?

Reinventing the aging experience – who will transform this market? Over the weekend I saw a Woody Allen movie (he is now 77 and in trouble in Mumbai), read an article about Robert Redford (he is also 77), noted that Bill Cunningham -- the NY Times bicyclist-about-town -- is now 85, Betty White (accused of ageism this week) is now 91.  These are well-to-do and well-noticed folk – likely they feel secure in their limos, the NY streets or wherever. You wanna bet that none is considering or would ever consider moving into a CCRC or an Assisted Living, or wearing a PERS device around their neck, mobile or otherwise?   >>> Read more . . .

Tablets are cool for seniors -- but carriers are the real winners

Tablets are hot, hot, hot – but are the usage plans affordable? So 34 percent of Americans own tablets – of these, "ownership skews toward adults ages 35-44 (49%), compared with younger and older adults. Tablet owners have incomes > $75K per year and are typically people who have a college education."  Let’s hope these folks share their tablets with parents and/or grandparents; that the high-energy and youthful AARP training was and will continue to be a worthwhile and available program to help those parents and grandparents. Lots of good can come from tablets – not the least of which is ease of ongoing maintenance compared to PCs, etc. And apps are plentiful and mostly free. This charming Art in the Moment iPad app for seniors with dementia recently caught my eye. Or check out Breezie, seen at AARP’s Life@50, soon to be available in the US. GenConnect has launched with free iPad training video tutorials. But with all of this effort, charm, and enthusiasm, let’s dwell on the elephant in the room – monthly carrier costs. >>> Read more . . .

AARP tackles tablet training for older adults

AARP TEK – fabulous training for older adults.  When an organization becomes as large and influential as AARP,  what a party they can throw and how attendees enjoy being brought together at its large events. Life@50+ in Atlanta was clearly fun for the attendees -- but what made it special in the context of technology utilization were several days of continuous training classes (see below) on using tablets.  Led by Philip Jordan, of SeniorTechRally who did many of the training sessions himself, 4-H Club participants, dubbed "Tech wizards" sat at each of the training tables to answer questions and demonstrate use of the device.  Part of a program called Mentor Up, these young adults were charming – they didn’t patronize trainees, answered questions energetically and ran around the tables showing and telling. >>> Read more . . .

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