Social Security and the calculators of our lives

Every day, in every way, see advice about Social Security.  It must be the most frequently asked question of all time. The NY Times ran a Money column this past weekend – probably the thousandth time they’ve run the exact same piece of advice. Wait to take Social Security until you’re 70.  Pay a bit of attention to the nearly 400 comments that wrestle the writer down – pretty much saying to take it when you’re eligible. And that’s so interesting when you look at the data the writer included -- with a deep sigh -- at the end: "Of the 1.4 million men and nearly 1.3 million women who began collecting benefits in 2012, about 1 percent of the men and nearly 2 percent of women were at least 70." Considering that virtually no one heeds it, no wonder the advice must be repeated, ad nauseum. In fact, five days earlier, the Wall Street Journal ran an article with the exact same advice! And AARP ran the same advice on October 24.  Ditto for USA Today on October 13.    >>> Read more . . .

Four Hearing Technology Products Announced During 2013

For those with hearing loss – there’s some new technology in 2013.  Older adults, especially among the older age ranges (47% of those aged 75+), have a greater likelihood of hearing loss. On the positive side, they also have more choices today in terms of technologies (at multiple price points) to cope with various degrees and types of hearing loss. Confronting hearing loss is generally deemed essential to combat the social isolation -- and possible decline in cognitive skills -- that may occur as hearing loss worsens. It seems that only 15% of those with hearing loss mitigate it with some sort of technology assist such as an implant, hearing aids, personal sound amplification device (see FDA thoughts on this), or hearing loop technology in a concert or lecture hall (or senior housing dining hall). Here is a sample of the technologies that have been announced this past year: >>> Read more . . .

Infographics are everywhere -- is that a good thing?

Organizations love to create infographics – but why? In one click-and-slow-scan, an infographic (information graphic) can tell a story that typically takes 20 slides or a lengthy narrative. Within the past few years they have become so trendy and pervasive, along with the free and/or inexpensive tools to create them, that people are now giving advice about how to create cleaner infographics – a good idea – some are pretty awful.  In 2012, it seemed essential (although not clearly related to any objective, actually) to start collecting those that relate to aging, health,  business and technology.  Now there are quite a few, so let’s look at those from this past year – and perhaps some are useful in age-related businesses -- remember to scroll down past text in a few cases: >>> Read more . . .

Tablets and smartphones, too hard to learn, too hard to use, not just for seniors

An inquiry about an iPad opens the door – to a maze of twisty passages, all alike.  We like to bring our iPad when we visit my 90-year-old mother-in-law. We walk her out of her memory care unit to a quiet living room and my husband shows his mother beautiful images of kittens and cats. As we passed the 40-something concierge at the front desk, she asked us about whether she should get an iPad.  This woman does not own a smart phone and has no Internet service in her house -- and apparently no friends to guide her in this process. If you were asked this question and had just a bit more information about her situation, what would you say? >>> Read more . . .

Using Tech to create Smart Walls and Tables for Dementia Care

Dementia care – it’s 4:00 and what’s happening?  In a nearby memory care unit in an Assisted Living community, the movie has ended, the credits rolled. Next up – visitors hear loud yelling and observe a staff member separating and redirecting an able-bodied resident. Count the number of residents in wheelchairs -- nearly half of the unit -- awaiting some physical care before dinner. These residents seem ever-more frail -- likely because they are delaying move-in until the need is urgent. Often it appears that staff is supplemented with home health or companion services -- note that these providers are assigned to individual residents, not the group -- just like the resident-specific role played by visiting hospice workers. It may appear that there are many staffers around, but minus the one-on-one folks, there aren't enough staffers to keep everyone else occupied. Now consider the dependency on staff to engage these otherwise-bored and idle residents. Soon it will be dinner time and the activities person will have left for the day. Staff members (who earn a national average of $11.10/hour) get busy with ADL-related chores before/after meals and before bed. >>> Read more . . .

Six New Technologies for Aging in Place

The fall is an event extravaganza – and oh, tech products to consider. Taking a look at AgeTech West in November, the mHealth Summit upcoming in December and the recent Health 2.0 and Connected Health Symposium events – and coming in 2014, there will be both Digital Health and Silvers Summit at CES. So as not to miss too many, here are a few selected from the near-term events, as always, hoping to avoid the not-yet-launched as well as including those for caregivers as well as care recipients. And please note – the descriptions of these come from the websites of the companies. Hint to founders – a website that starts with video is a bit lean. Paragraphs of text would help viewers better understand the value proposition – and be searchable! >>> Read more . . .

Our connected health selves are not quite there

Enthusiasm is plentiful -- broad deployment is harder to find. For some topics, it may not be that important what year this is or what health-related event we attend – the lamentations are the same. I have been lurking around the Connected Health Symposium for a number of years – and when it is all said (and said and said again), investment in consumer health tech is at crazed levels, but actual healthcare system utilization is still hard to find. Prowling the sparsely-planted exhibit hall and the speaker agenda, it seems pretty much where we left it last year – what matters most to a hospital system conference like this? Is the future of healthcare actually healthcare at home? Given the vast brick-and-mortar Partners Healthcare establishment, not soon. Expect to hear that topic again. >>> Read more . . .

Trade shows and the search for market disruption

Task-specific devices must add functions over time.  The cliché in the tech industry is truer now than ever – because an innovation is possible – not always helpful, but possible -- it will be done. And adding functions to products is as inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise. As we look around the home technology market, we can already see dedicated devices beginning to share activities: a TV can now be interactive, PCs and tablets now functional for viewing movies, radios that become speakers for Internet streaming, ever-more multi-function kitchen devices and so on. As devices become multi-purpose, they can also add new channels of distribution – opening up new retailers, catalogues, websites, and show venues. >>> Read more . . .

Announcing New Services from Aging in Place Technology Watch

Helping organizations grow businesses in more ways.  When Aging in Place Technology Watch first launched in March, 2009, the intent was to mirror the services of a traditional Industry Analyst firm – client annual fixed price/time retainers, research reports, marketing white papers, and speaking engagements – offerings that are still very much in place and in use. But a few who read this blog know that over the past few years, the services have expanded – and could be of benefit to some blog readers. Contact laurie@ageinplacetech.com for client references, pricing, and to learn more about: >>> Read more . . .

Memo to marketers -- after the hype, press releases endure

An upcoming and splashy event looms – time to market.  We are in the fall show season and it shows. So the new product isn’t really tested past a slick prototype, but the brochures must get to the printers NOW. Why?  CES (or Connected Health, ATA, or the mHealth Summit) is on the calendar and innovation is expected, no actually, innovation is mandated.  For the price of a booth, press release, brochures, a demo device and all travel costs, marketers must market. Whether the product works? Not important for demo purposes.  Does anyone need the offering? See the hype for 2010 launch of Healthrageous and now see the 2013 shutdown. >>> Read more . . .

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