Nicely edited interview I did with All Things Considered about the market potential for technology for seniors.
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 . . .
In a non-travel week, I have more time to speak to vendors, both pre-launch and launched. Here are three launched to add to the list of tech vendors to support caregiving (or 'circle of care' as it is sometimes described). None require any specialized equipment or device in the home. And no doubt each would welcome your contacting them to learn more about their offerings: >>> Read more . . .
There's no such thing as bad publicity. This study is being reprinted on every website that has even a remote connection to boomers, seniors, or game-playing or is suffering from a slow news day. (Although you have to wonder how senior housing executives will react to seeing it published in McKnight's). So I am not going to set foot into the quagmire about whether this is a good study or a bad study -- as observed by Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains and Steven Aldrich of Posit Science. I will also bet that this study will not slow the cognitive fitness market down, which SharpBrains sizes as $1 billion within 5 years -- you have to work hard to slow a market that fits so well with the fear, uncertainty, and doubt of baby boomers about aging and brain-related impacts. And like all studies (wine is good for you, wine is bad for you, more exercise, but not too much), no doubt there will be another study contradicting it soon enough. Instead, let's turn it around. >>> Read more . . .
You've got products to improve the lives of AARP members. This week I had a chance to chat with Jackie Berdy, who is 'Exhibition Space and Sponsorship Programs Consultant' for the AARP Orlando@50+ event September 30-October 2. Although it is not yet posted on the AARP website for event sponsors and exhibitors, Jackie tells me that the event planning prioritization process has placed technology top of mind for this business-to-consumer event that attracted 24,000 last year. >>> Read more . . .
Assumptions, aspirations, and realism. In recent here-there-everywhere travels, I was often intrigued by assumptions that were cited as fact. I heard about barriers to adoption, narrow-cast definitions of broader opportunities, and sweeping generalizations about markets too broad to characterize. That last, of course, is the so-called baby boomer market -- discussed all day at a well-run event in Tampa -- the Florida Boomer Lifestyle Conference. Talks were packed with baby boomer market possibility. But boomers are no more a market with meaningful shared characteristics than adults, women, or workers. You know this when you hear a discussion of an age segment in which the target market year begins with 40 or the upper end extends beyond 64. Or when the speaker apologizes and says "I'm not a baby boomer, but..." >>> Read more . . .
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 . . .