What one new technology product do you think would be the biggest help to older people?
Groups, groups, and more groups. Within the past month, two new initiatives formed that added to the list of aging-related tech consortia and industry trade groups. GOAL (Get Older Americans OnLine) launched in early April and the Aging Technology Alliance (AgeTek.org) in March, adding to the existing CAST (Center for Aging Services Technology) consortium. These groups all share an overlapping objective: propel, expand, improve access to technology for older people. Let's take them one at a time: >>> Read more . . .
Newspaper writers are bored but assigned to the age beat. How lucky. We have yet another entry in the annals of 'why seniors hate computers news' library. This one from the Boston Globe searches for a way to write condescendingly about seniors and their fear and loathing when it comes to using a computer. We're so lucky -- a Harvard professor has offered their 'insight' about the acceleration of the 'pace of change' and the Cambridge Health Alliance, offering insight on how it takes longer to learn new things. Gee, was this a study? Oops, no, just a few anecdotes, vastly enhanced by the entertaining comments from seniors who have been using computers for years. Maybe that's how they read the Globe -- which would be a revenue-free access method. >>> Read more . . .
MetLife study of working caregivers -- they're not well. A 2010 study sponsored by MetLife examined the effect on healthcare costs associated with working caregivers who had elder care responsibilities, comparing their responses to non-caregiver employees. The study was performed by University of Pittsburgh researchers who reviewed the health questionnaire responses of 17,097 employees in a single large firm, finding 12% with eldercare responsibilities. The summary: they derived from this analysis that US employers spend an extra $13.4 billion per year in health-related expense -- including missed work, leaving early, and health costs from chronic diseases like depression, diabetes, and hypertension. And interestingly, those caregiving employees who spent 14 hours or less per week on care identified little impact on their work or health, whereas 20 or more hours of caregiving resulted in "major work adjustments." >>> Read more . . .
What begins with C? Caregiver, chronic disease, channel, consumer. Traveling in March around the conference circuit of the HR-oriented Care Summit, the age-related specialists at the ASA Aging in America conference, walking among entrepreneurs at What's Next, and the electronics dealers at the Electronic House Expo -- it an interesting sequence. It pushed me to wonder: when does the market interest of a boomer overlap with that of a senior? When does an electronic house become a health-monitoring zone? When do health-related issues fully synch up with issues of aging? Is the caregiving task list different for someone with chronic disease, for an ill child, or for an elderly parent? And overall, who is the consumer/buyer? Together, we can all help answer these questions. >>> Read more . . .
Thinking about 'recareering?' You and many others. In April 2009, AARP published a report called 'Older Workers on the Move: Recareering in Later Life', a term the study equates with 'occupational change' and 'career change.' This Urban Institute research noted that 43 percent of Americans working full time at ages 51 to 55 subsequently change employers, and 63% of those job changers move into new occupations, including less demanding, lower paying, and self-employment, and also as part of a gradual transition into retirement, 'placing a high premium on escaping from the 9-to-5 grind'. Okay, hold that thought. >>> Read more . . .
Event blur -- but non-tech pattern is evident. I spent last week trying to keep up with myself at the ASA/NCOA Aging in America Conference in Chicago and the post-event Boomer What's Next summit. Those who saw me dashing around the exhibit hall and conference locations know that I was well-managed by my trusty BlackBerry, and managed to fully circle the exhibit floor twice. >>> Read more . . .
Spring has sprung for new and improved tech. Companies in the tech arena of supporting seniors and their caregivers are sporting fresh features and new companies have decided to shake off winter and launch at the Chicago ASA Conference. Each of these announcements is a significant one -- viewed collectively, 2010, as predicted, is already an interesting year -- and it's only March! >>> Read more . . .
Predicting the senior housing future -- it makes you think. A blog post originally written by Eric Schubert (of Twin Cities senior housing provider Ecumen) caught my eye today -- talking about the 10 senior housing development trends for the next 10 years. The trend list included: sustainable design, universal design, technology, age of amenities, at-home services, NORCs and virtual villages, empowerment, memory care, and new ways of financing. Can't argue with any of that, especially since aging in place has become a buzzword that underpins many of the above markets. >>> Read more . . .
A trip down advocacy lane. Whew. I just came back from downtown Washington DC, where I was within a short walk of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the organization that sponsors the certification for aging in place -- CAPS. But of course, if I turned in any direction, my head was spinning -- there was the Association of This and the Society of That, the Center for Shared Prioritization of An Agenda For Now, and the Advocates for Advocacy of Something Else. >>> Read more . . .
Some seniors are left out of the technology tsunami. According to the Pew Research latest numbers, 38% of those 65+ are using the Internet at home. Although it wasn't provided, let's assume that this percentage shrinks by age decade -- until you get down to the optimistic Evercare 100 at 100, with 21% of healthy centenarians admitting that they go online. But of course, this means that the vast majority are not using the Internet at home, or on their cell phones or at all. My take -- the older and frailer they are, the more they are missing out. >>> Read more . . .