Nicely edited interview I did with All Things Considered about the market potential for technology for seniors.
Press releases propagate predictive thought. Most wearables and health-related predictions reflect the universe of themselves, that is, gadget press releases and press hype about the rise in wearables, for example, among consumers. Per IDC, in 2014 "wearables and embedded sensors will become mainstream." What is mainstream, considering that only 32% of consumers are even aware of fitness trackers? Or consider that low-risk prediction: "Certain health care organizations will experiment with Google Glass." Well, maybe not so much this year -- two months before, a Fast Company article interviewed a surgeon who was experimenting, concluding that the device has a 'long way to go.' >>> Read more . . .
Facebook spends on WhatsApp -- Brookdale buys Emeritus. It’s been an interesting week. Most people do not see a parallel in these two acquisitions, I’m quite sure, since the target user of each is separated by, oh, say 50 years. So what does it mean to consumers that Brookdale, in a 2.8 billion stock deal, will now be the first national and largest owner-operator senior living company in the United States -- with more than 1100 locations in 46 states? What does it mean that Facebook, that completely-closed purveyor of ads, pictures and Likes, spent $16-19 billion, just about the largest tech acquisition price EVER, on a messaging tool with no ads, no games, and no gimmicks that costs virtually nothing to use – other than a smart phone’s data plan? But it’s big overseas in places where Facebook isn't – and best of all, it requires your phone number to use -- which Facebook will now have if it didn't already. >>> Read more . . .
From that age-friendly government, so here to help. Rant on. I thought the last word had been said about the idiocy of cutting off paper documents before the rest of the older population was online. But no, yesterday's Washington Post ran an article describing the lobbying group, Paperoptions.org. Sneered the Post -- it is funded by envelope manufacturers! -- as being a thorn in the side of the administration’s move to push all remaining documents online, regardless of citizenry ability to access those documents. "The glitzy new thing is to be pro-technology," said John Runyan, Consumers for Paper Options’ executive director. "But a lot of government agencies are saying, 'We’re going electronic and the heck with it.'" >>> Read more . . .
Will the next mid-life crisis be at 75? Sixty is the new sixty, says Marc Freedman. Attending a recent event, I was an audience member exhorted to consider the ever-greater expansion of time available to make sure that it is time well-lived. What does that mean in the context of life’s purpose, whether we are prepared to competently approach our very long retirement years with not-enough-saved or will we have an encore career or two? He quoted the comment of an older adult about their potentially very long future: "I’m on my next-to-last dog." Working part time – is that a next-to-last career? Volunteering – is that a career? In one session I heard the word 'work' used for effort that is "paid or unpaid." How mangled is our language that volunteering without pay is now called working? >>> Read more . . .
The 2014 Positive Aging Conference shines a light on innovation. At the just-held Conference on Positive Aging in Sarasota, FL, the seventh in its history, to the four themes Wellness, Creativity, Transitions and Community, the conference added a new theme, Technology. The conference’s offerings are designed primarily for the Sarasota County attendees, a population of older adults in the region who are the focus of the work of the Institute of the Ages. This year, the Institute of the Ages, led by CEO Tom Esselman, has partnered with InnovateLTC, CEO John Reinhart, an accelerator for new businesses serving the age-related market segments. That partnership enables a willing and able test audience from Sarasota to find willing and eager businesses looking for pilots of their products and services. >>> Read more . . .
The Digital Health investment frenzy is running out of superlatives. Words are crowd-funding out the clichés – are we nearing a tipping point, re-imagining, having a frictionless health experience, or becoming consumer cultural force? Watch this overview of the 59-second pitch – and wonder, have we ever seen such breathless entrepreneur energy and excitement since the days of the dot-com boom and browser wars? Executives of these companies are practiced and smooth – eliminating needless words and clearing of throats, they cram confident assertions about money raised, consumers helped, design implications, and future strategy -- into 59 seconds. Speed dating investment meets deal-making -- and optimists claim that the pace of deals will apparently be solid in 2014. >>> Read more . . .
What do we mean by senior? Well, it depends on where you stand and what you are reading. Seen through the Google Glassy lens of young adults, it’s everyone aged 50+, that is, the AARP market demographic, who might be considered a senior. Or perhaps it is age 65, when Medicare eligibility and public transit discounts appear. Age 65 is also the statistical baseline for longevity projections – 20 more years of life expectancy, with one in four projected to live past 90. Now mull over a new Pew global survey about attitudes on aging -- the US stood out as "one of very few countries where a large plurality of the public believes individuals are primarily responsible for their own well-being in old age." Consider that point and read on. >>> Read more . . .
How do elderly patients and their caregivers leave the hospital? Apparently with reams of paper that include post-hospital care instructions and medication lists. In addition, a patient receives detailed verbal instructions from a nurse, perhaps for wound care, plus reminders to follow up with the doctor. Note the 'best practice' outlined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- more paper. Yet in the age of smartphone adoption by boomers – more than half of Pew responders were in the 35-44 age range, 39% were 55-64 – something seems odd about this document-intensive process. Consider a scenario in which an elderly person is going home, driven by a family member, or perhaps they are going to a rehab facility/nursing home. >>> Read more . . .
Unable to leave well enough alone – it’s UPGRADE time! Rant on. Perhaps you were one of those who just encountered Samsung/Verizon's pushed Android 4.3 – charmingly tagged 'Jelly Bean' --last week? You stared at the message 'Accept Upgrade Now' and murmured to yourself, how bad can it be? Ah, stupid. Multiple problems. Should have read the forums – something your average consumer does not do. If you did, it would not be reassuring, believe me. Verizon – the only direct and very well-paid participant in this fiasco -- reacted with their usual aplomb: Maybe the customer will shut up if we just send them another phone. >>> Read more . . .
A long holiday stretch ends. No, I’m not talking about Christmas decorations in shopping malls. The media frenzy that was CES 2014 may soon wane away, although post mortems and predictions persist. So let’s review: there were Silvers Summit exhibitors (6) and then there was Digital Health (77). For CES health-related overall, count 170 per Mobile Health News – and that includes "e-Cigarette makers that categorized themselves as Digital Health." See one of a few cynical posts – where we can find a new word -- track-a-holism -- and a new slogan -- "sitting is the new smoking." But in the Digital Health exhibit list, note the presence of GrandCare and Independa – two long-standing players in what could have been categorized at a different event as senior technology. >>> Read more . . .