Nicely edited interview I did with All Things Considered about the market potential for technology for seniors.
New mobile wireless access survey by Pew -- overall usage is up. Get ready for some numbers -- but first, a definition. This new Mobile Access 2010 report from Pew defines mobile wireless access as a) Going online with a laptop using a wi-fi connection or mobile broadband card or b) Using the Internet, email or instant messaging on a cell phone. Given that definition, "59% of American adults now go online 'wirelessly' using a laptop or a cell phone, an increase over the 51% who did so at a similar point in 2009." And today, compared to a year ago, more cell phone users are taking pictures (76% versus 66%), sending text messages (72% versus 65%), and even accessing the Internet (38% versus 25%) from the 2009 survey. >>> Read more . . .
Line up to learn your longevity likelihood. Aren't you just loving the opportunity we will soon have to download that free genetic marker test kit, the one that with 77% accuracy will tell whether we will live past 100?* Boston University scientists have 'no plans to profit' from the results, but they could make the kit available later this summer. (Warning: analysis of the results will be costly.) I am so struck by how the law of unintended consequences could play out, especially in areas of insurance -- as with a home test kit for Alzheimer's, people might be more likely to purchase long-term care insurance. With a longevity test on the market, how long will the term need to be in term insurance? Taking it a step further, should insurance companies offer free kits as a marketing device? Should your doctor know that you've taken such a test? Should a health insurer know? What happens to rates, deductibles and lifetime caps? What kind of housing and support systems would we want if we knew we could live to 100 or more (or if we knew we would suffer from Alzheimer's)? What would our families do with that information? >>> Read more . . .
No new technology -- huh? Sometimes ya gotta wonder. Listening on a call to a group of senior housing executives recently, I was intrigued by the comment of one of them: "There isn't any new technology." The context was a rationalization of the technology areas they are currently engaged in (home monitoring, senior communication). I was reminded of that old cliche: "You snooze, you lose." In this as in all technology categories, every day an entrepreneur wakes up and says to themselves, 'I can do that.' I know -- I hear from them. They are reminded somehow of population demographics or they are engaged in the care of their grandparents, or they just walked out of a senior housing community and could not believe how out of touch the management was -- and therefore they would become -- if their parent moved in. Company of the month that I bet the speaker hasn't heard of -- InTouchLink -- software for seniors -- yeah, appropriate for senior housing organizations.
Tech is useful, but deployment approach needs some work. So here's an article about Senior Lifestyles Corporation and their deployment of QuietCare in a Florida (Fort Pierce) Assisted Living community. Was this a happy experience, like the NY Times article last year about keeping frail individuals longer in their homes through effective remote monitoring? Sadly, no. This one cites a family member describing the additional $200/month charge for QuietCare as 'elder abuse' while contemplating legal action. Another resident circulated a petition protesting the installation, and the local ombudsman has now weighed in and discussed the situation with the press. Hmm. That didn't go well. >>> Read more . . .
Senior computers -- not so many winners. Over the past few years, several attempts at creating a 'Senior' computer have been tried, including as noted a pricey Senior PC partnership between HP and Microsoft, the thin-client GO Computer from MyGait, sold through FirstSTREET, which is not extensible -- what you get is what you get, and as a few frustrated comments on the blog post indicate, it's not to everyone's liking when it is time to add devices or additional software. >>> Read more . . .
This rant is not about technology - it's about communicating. In one short week, we have read about a doctor who refused to turn off a pacemaker in a frail and demented man ('it would be like putting a pillow over his head') -- at the request of his wife who was falling apart caring for him. We have learned that doctors now recognize hospital-stay induced delirium among the elderly -- and (wow!) even see that it can lead to dementia or death. And we read an AARP Bulletin 'human interest' story about a woman who escaped from a nursing home, where she had been placed after discharge from a hospital. >>> Read more . . .
When boomers age, tech talks, but VCs are elsewhere. At the SCU Boomer Business Summit, Intel Capital finalist judge, Nancy Kamei, tossed the bucket of cold water onto an audience of entrepreneurs dreaming of VC investors -- she said she and her peers agree that this is the worst of times, the worst investing climate in 22 years. And maybe that is true for those who would seek venture capital to fund their startup. But as the first of the baby boomers turns 65 next year, it hasn't escaped the largest organizations that it is time to think about the intersection of technology, baby boomer aging, and caregiving. Or maybe the iPad has awakened new hope for computer vendors and Internet users. >>> Read more . . .
Pricing matters -- and for senior-housing sales, it's unrealistic. Looking forward today to the Boomer Venture Summit event here in California, where the sun is shining and the San Jose airport is filled with signs of tech this, enterprise that. But I have also heard this week about stalled deployments of tech projects in the non-profit senior housing sector due to low occupancy, confirmed in this May 28 investor report. >>> Read more . . .
Glass half full -- or half empty? Surprise! This new AARP study about Social Media and the Internet overrides previous assumptions about the 50-64 age range and comfort level with the Internet. Let's count just 40% of boomers as a fit with that description:17% indicate they are extremely comfortable and 23% are very comfortable. Only 26% access the Internet via a laptop and only 4% through smart phones or cell phones -- 57% use a desktop computer. Only 27% are using social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter -- dominated by Facebook. >>> Read more . . .
Last month I mentioned three new caregiving applications that entered the market recently -- this month, a summary list of other interesting products that have entered the market in recent (roughly the past 6) months, presented in alphabetical order. A number of products are expected to announce in the next few months -- expect another post when there's at least six more. >>> Read more . . .