Towards an Aging in Place 2.0 vision

Nice goal, but how to age in place?  In the pendulum swing of all 'aging in place' all the time, a murky target has been set, but the tactics are more like a meandering and treacherous hiking trail than a well-marked pathway. Some of us will pick up and leave for a more service-rich environment in advance of need, usually at an age or level of actual or anticipated limitations. But these service-rich environments, typically Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), represent a relatively small proportion of older age range of the 65+ population. And CCRC moves require sale of a house, downsizing of possessions, and a move that can be a traumatic change. In addition, these 'enclaves' (as described in a recent NY Times article) are not without financial issues. Certainly the word 'continuing' is a misnomer unless one counts a campus change to a smaller space for both person and possessions as not really moving. >>> Read more . . .

Falling among seniors: studied but not solved

Falling among older adults -- it's a problem. You would think that with all of the available information and technology, that there would simply be fewer falls among older adults each year. But you would be an optimist. According to the CDC, each year 40% of seniors fall (up from 30% ten years ago). I was thinking about this during a few visits to assisted living communities this past week, when the tour guide mentioned the personal, carefully designed 'chair exercise' program. Okay. >>> Read more . . .

Direct-to-consumer -- a viable strategy or a distraction?

Whoopee -- consumers might buy some products... With the announcement that Best Buy may have 'mHealth' devices ready for shopping in up to 500 stores, one might become just a bit excited that a tipping point has been reached -- and that it might encompass the full range of technology for aging in place. Well, it all depends on what you mean by tipping point. The Best Buy list of devices may include blood-pressure monitors, pedometers, and fitness watches -- devices, ideally, that will transmit information to a local or Internet-accessible network. Nice, but frankly, Best Buy has been experimenting for years -- 'up to 500' sounds good, doesn't it? >>> Read more . . .

Aging in Place Technology Watch August Newsletter

August was a bonanza of buzz, buzz, buzz.  Usually August is a snoozer (and a slow news month) in the business world, what with vacations and organizational regrouping. But beginning with the August 3 Intel-GE Joint Venture announcement that fueled hope and speculation about accelerating intentions, more activity and media tracked right behind. During August, Great Call announced a new Jitterbug medication reminder service, Healthsense received a round of investment led by Radius Ventures, a $1.3 billion M-Health market sizing got Qualcomm and AT&T excited. Or maybe that that was 'mHealth' -- Best Buy (re)surfaced with health-related stuff in stores. Within the general what's-it-all-mean confusion, more press followed last month's NY Times series -- this time NPR offered up a series on aging and technology as well. Never one to shut up, I offered my own 'bah humbug' assessment of the assessment.

>>> Read more . . .

Enough already: NPR series adds remote monitoring sound but no light

Remote monitoring, a household product category?  Vendors in the remote monitoring world were no doubt thrilled when a few weeks ago we were treated to a wave of news stories -- the New York Times, CBS News, the Wall Street Journal and probably a number of other outlets that syndicated these. Clearly, free buzz is the best marketing any tech vendor can get -- and it is good to raise consumer awareness about a market category with fewer than 10,000 deployed units (a sum of the installed base as described to me by vendors). Generally these stories have been superficial -- hey, these are news stories, after all.  They briefly mentioned a randomly selected set of tech vendors, and perhaps whetted the appetite of consumers to consider their use. Never mind that there are numerous barriers and constraints that have, to date, limited adoption of remote home activity monitoring due to issues of pricing, reimbursement expectations, a well-established set of product capability and features, and a well-developed distribution model.  >>> Read more . . .

It's disappointing: tech to prevent wandering in independent or assisted living

Tracking people when they're gone - or noticing before they've left?  I spent the weekend researching various technology offerings that might prevent an 87-year-old able-bodied person with dementia from wandering beyond a specified area in independent or assisted living campuses. I've looked into it -- and I have to say, I am disappointed -- the hype exceeds at least my research reality.That GPS shoe hyped in the press? I just called Foot.com -- it will be out now in the Spring, 2011. Geo-fencing devices like SentryGPS, Alzguard -- require placing a device in the pocket that is easily discarded into the trash by a wandering senior. LoJack, EmFinders, The Alzheimer's ComfortZone, etc. all help find a person who is already lost -- and require involvement of local police departments.  And based on Internet searching of the 'geo-fencing' ideas, the websites and references indicate to me that they aren't that widely deployed. >>> Read more . . .

CCRCs and technology centers -- an idea whose time has come

Silver Smart Technology Center -- a storefront in a CCRC.  Recently I had a chance to chat about with Sharon Whalen who works in the Passavant Retirement Community within Lutheran SeniorLife -- a 700-person CCRC in Zelienople, PA. Lutheran SeniorLife's CCRC is comprised of skilled nursing, memory care, personal care (their term for assisted living) and residential living villas and cottages (their term for independent living.) Sharon has just set up the Technology Center there to demonstrate those "assistive devices that residents, staff, family, and other members of the community can touch and get a feel if this is something they want" -- then they can decide whether to purchase on their own. >>> Read more . . .

Counting centenarians -- and other conundrums

So baby boomers and seniors AREN'T buying the iPad right now.   You probably thought this post was about centenarians. which it is, but first, to clear up a bit of confusion, even though the iPad might be a zero-learning-curve tool for seniors, even though the iPad is winning over an unspecified number of elderly in Japan, let's be clear on the iPad buyer in the US. According to Nielsen Wire, only 15% of the iPad buyers are over the age of 56. So let's not get too excited about it right now as an aging-in-THIS place technology. I plan to stop writing about it for at least a few weeks. >>> Read more . . .

Aging in place will create a crisis of opportunity for CCRCs

CCRCs as destiny? Unlikely. Over the past few weeks, various statistics have caused me to roll my eyes (40% of doctors now consulting online -- huh?). But this one got my attention: the Wall Street Journal article about Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). The article, which was about financial risk, cited an AAHSA estimate that "at least 745,000 older adults live in [1900 of] these communities", comprised of independent, assisted living, and nursing homes. Given the 39 million people over the age of 65, even if CCRCs double in capacity before 2020, they will reach a small percentage of that year's 55 million seniors. >>> Read more . . .

Catching up – more new and notable tech offerings

It’s time for a quick August update of more new and notable tech offerings, from emerging vendors and new offerings from existing vendors – including beta testing.  Please let me know about others you know about and are not spotted via the Product Snapshots term on this site: >>> Read more . . .

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