Considering technology to help older seniors be involved and connected.
Older Americans -- so lucky to have their own month. And the merry month of May has been as hyped up as any: judging by the 4.6 million items that popped up with a Google Search ("Older Americans Month May 2010"). From a Presidential proclamation to an AoA standardized template for creating your own community version, we can rejoice that so much attention has been paid to encouraging us to honor those 60 and older to "Age Strong! Live Long!" But you heard me, 60 and older! On the one hand, it is a good thing every day to find a way to honor the frailest and most isolated -- not just for a month. But beginning at age 60?
At my request, one of the attendees at ATA, Mark VanderWerf, founder of AMD Telemedicine and a prior board member of ATA, sent me this commentary on the recent San Antonio event. Further attendee comments are invited.
Looking back to January -- the spectacular iPad success confounds skeptics. It is always entertaining to look back at product reviewers and skeptic comments from way back, that is, end of January 2010, when the iPad launched and howls of pundit dismay -- even the WSJ's resident Apple swooner Walter Mossberg had reservations!!! -- were heard across the land. I particularly enjoy a re-read of this nasty CNET review that declared it to be a big disappointment. However, he and others at the time thought it might appeal to baby boomers. Of course, Apple will not tell anyone the age mix of buyers. But since baby boomers generally aren't divided into sub-segments, and the overall segment spends more money than various other generations, that wasn't tough. >>> Read more . . .
Socially and personally, information access empowers. BCS (once known as the British Computer Society) published an interesting report this month called "The Information Dividend: Can IT Make You Happier?" This study of 35,000 examines the relationship between access to information and the means of getting it with responders' life satisfaction. It concludes that IT has a positive impact on life satisfaction for all levels of income and other factors that are typically used to determine well-being. And the study, according to the authors, demonstrates that access to information and technology "extends the sense of freedom/control which improves well-being." Most intriguing, it found that correlation with life-satisfaction as it relates to information technology was greatest among the most disadvantaged -- that is, those with lower incomes and the least amount of education. >>> Read more . . .
Product potential and interest is there. Within the past few weeks I have been briefed by no fewer than 10 firms about products/solutions being developed to serve the 'aging in place' consumer -- a few are launched: they represent some combination of offerings for senior, caregiver, provider -- with and without devices directly in the home. Some of these startups are steadfastly convinced that offerings can be sold directly through consumer channels, while those with more configurable products may see the need to recruit channel partners to get into the market. Meanwhile, in the past year or so, I have heard from various local service providers (some have registered in this Forum entry) about delivering solutions, even testing them in labs, to help seniors. This is good. >>> Read more . . .
May is Older Americans (not Senior Citizens) Month. The Administration on Aging notes that this 'acknowledgement of the contribution of older Americans' was launched in 1963. Prior to 1980, it was known as Senior Citizen Month, but was renamed and became a 'tradition' during the Carter Administration. Looking through the list of themes, some seem to be efforts to acknowledge the forgotten: "America, a Community for All Ages" and "Honor the Past, Imagine the Future: Towards a Society for All Ages". But today the term "senior citizen" has been erased by the AoA and the theme "Age Strong, Live Long," reflecte lengthening life span and unprecedented multiple generations of 'older Americans'. Assuming that 'senior' is 65+, there will be 71.5 million by 2030 -- life span and baby boomer encroachment are driving other changes as well... >>> Read more . . .
'The Checklist Manifesto' has applicability to buying tech for aging. I just finished reading "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right" by Atul Gawande, a surgeon who developed a checklist to improve surgery safety for WHO and his own operating room. Which brings me to the question of whether caregivers and organizations with caregiving responsibility -- like families, home care organizations, senior housing, GCMs, doctors, non-profits, etc. -- have a checklist they follow when purchasing a product or service? So here's a proposed checklist which needs revision, I'm sure. Input is most welcome! >>> Read more . . .
After reading this week about the Senate Aging in Place testimony and recommendations (see in-depth description from Intel's Eric Dishman), it is discouraging to read about the major barriers to adoption of 'e-Care'. So it's a pleasure to talk about a few cheap, low-tech, big benefit ways to improve quality of life of seniors -- as we come into those two Hallmark seasonal events -- Mother's and Father's Day. The seniors you help, of course, don't have to be relatives -- they could be neighbors, they could be members of a community, or visitors to a local senior center. >>> Read more . . .
Many products and services want to help mitigate aging issues. The great news is that I meet and hear new vendors tackling one or more opportunities emerging from our 'longevity revolution'. As I just heard AgeWave's Ken Dychtwald describe yesterday, we are in the midst of the first global societal experience in history of what it means when people live as long as they do today. And so it is a great experiment -- what is needed, what helps seniors and caregivers, what works and what doesn't, and as such, more firms, both large and small, will launch products and services. >>> Read more . . .
Excuses everywhere as to why not this and can't do that. If you're trying to make sense out of lack of progress in terms of Internet adoption and seniors, look no further than Friday's Senate hearing, with its overreaching title: "Aging in Place: The National Broadband Plan and Bringing Health Care Technology Home." Read and absorb a veritable laundry list of reasons why we need to buckle down and get a plan in place to get health technologies into the home -- maybe by 2020. >>> Read more . . .