GreatCall applauds Senate Hearing on Technology for Aging in Place.
So if you think about an aging 'tsunami' -- doesn't it just make you think of mHealth and iPhones? Rant on. I was on a call yesterday about an upcoming 'caregiving' and technology event -- as the call proceeded, the topic turned toward low-cost mHealth applications, ubiquitious at a Price Waterhouse tolerance level of $5 per month. [Side note -- PWC doesn't like 'mHealth', so they have renamed it 'Healthcare Unwired']. This week's Health 2.0, next month's Connected Health, not to mention eHealth, telehealth, wireless health, healthcare unbound or unwired -- now that's a tsunami. Note the $2.2 billion of new investment into biotech, medical devices and health IT -- just in the 2nd quarter of this year. >>> Read more . . .
On the road again -- manage my expectations, please. Flying is a chore -- and like most passengers, I am amazed that airlines don't do a better job of managing our expectations, whether it is about level of service, delays, additional charges for exit row seats, or credit-card only on the plane. Of course, my expectations are less important than the fiercely competitive and simultaneously predatory airline landscape -- they can do what they like because they own the gates and schedule for many destinations. And of course, in situations where there is competition, the airlines play hopscotch, adding a new charge, waiting to see if the others add it as well -- a new surprise for the unsuspecting consumer.
In my travels, I continue to hear about new vendors, new product and service ideas, some just an entrepreneurial gleam in the eye, some pre-launch, some on the market. Hopefully those who haven't launched yet read and heed this previously-published advice -- now updated. And those already in the market, if your entrant doesn't reflect these updated suggestions, maybe it should: >>> Read more . . .
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 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 . . .
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 . . .
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.
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .