Reader response to a Wall Street Journal question.
Every time a technology divide is crossed, a new one is created. For years, we have documented the incremental growth in Internet use among older adults. And now, 41 million (13.3%) of the 315 million US citizens are 65+. Finally Pew announces, for the first time, that 53% of that 65+ population is online. Using whatever -- it doesn't say. But hang on now, almost 70% of affluent adults own smart phones. Yippee! But when it comes to the 65+ and smart phone use, the sleeping market giant of older adults online still dozes -- only 11% of the 65+ have them. Although smart phones represent 56% of mobile phone use, senior smart phone users represent only 23% of all those mobile phone users -- and their mobile phone usage is the lowest percentage of any of their other online access methods. So why do you suppose that’s the case? It surely isn’t for lack of money – they have significantly more wealth than younger cohorts. >>> Read more . . .
Perhaps you’ve seen them, idle and bored 'memory' care residents. If you study the calendar at a typical dementia care setting (adult day, assisted living, or nursing home) – it is possible to find a time of day in when there are no facilitated activities underway. Before and after meals, perhaps – a time period stretching an hour or more. The TV is on or music is playing. The day or evening shift staff members are doing a variety of chores, nurses are dispensing and recording medication doses – and residents are wandering or seated, in wheel chairs perhaps, or perhaps they are repeatedly approaching and deflected from exits. >>> Read more . . .
MetLife study pegs older at 40. Down it goes. No, that’s not the value of the dollar. It’s the line at which 'mature' markets and older adults are segmented and studied in this doom-and-gloom study. The latest from MetLife -- On the Critical List – mulls the impact of obesity and the rise of chronic disease among the 40+ population, but on page 9, it’s coughing up a technology to promote independence – you guessed it, the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). Sure. Meanwhile, on the other end of the demographic dial, we find an impressive rise in a population living to 90 and beyond. Now the fastest growing group in the older population, some suggest that a change in the definition of the oldest be moved from 85 to 90. And life expectancy continues to rise among those who might have the money to buy goods and services, creating a viable target markets for sellers of goods and services. >>> Read more . . .
It’s a puzzlement – finding the organizations trying to get older adults online. Last June I wrote a post about getting older adults online – in particular, the age range from 75 and beyond – only 34% of those folks were online at that time. Yet so many organizations offer online assistance in coping with a variety of concerns of older adults, whether it is taxpayer assistance, help with online banking, obtaining coupons for grocery savings, even a Geek Squad coupon from AARP -- and it is, naturally, available online! -- to help with problems that older adults might have using computers. Duh. And a new campaign, Everyone On, has produced Connect2Compete, a public-private partnership that has been launched to help low-income individuals cross the digital divide – but only if they have a child on the ‘federal free and reduced-cost lunch programs.' >>> Read more . . .
Now we know. Although older adults track health indicators, they are not using any app or tech tool. Further, only 21% of all health trackers, mostly young folk, do so with an app -- but note app participation of only 3% of those aged 50-64 and 1% of those aged 65+. So sayeth Pew Research in their Tracking for Health survey that was published in January – and enough 'quantified self' hysteria followed that the detailed demographics were obligingly published by Pew last week. >>> Read more . . .
Aging in Chicago – a confluence of committed professionals. Another year older, and again, Aging in America is over. Large non-profits, social services staffs, senior center leaders, nurses, senior housing execs, health insurance companies, councils on aging -- not to mention a gaggle of consultants and experts -- were there. More than 700 sessions were listed, visions for a better aging life were communicated, networking was had, training was held and CEUs were obtained. All of these laudable folk are in professions that are committed to helping older adults – in fact, many of them were clearly older adults themselves – people who serve, but may also need services. We heard visions of retirement reinvented to last 30 more years and new research identifying criteria for evaluating a city’s livability for older adults. And much more, a lot of it CEU-eligible. But did attendees learn anything new? >>> Read more . . .
What's next in tech for older adults. At the Aging in America 2013 event in Chicago last week, attended by more than 2000 professionals who serve older adults, there were several tracks within the large event, including the Business Forum on Aging, National Alliance of Caregiving Coalitions and for new entrants targeting the boomer/senior market, there was a chance to hear speakers and meet other entrepreneurs at the 10th Annual What's Next Boomer Business Summit 2013. At the Summit, these startups were eager to meet with AARP executives, investors, and other players in the space (like GreatCall and Philips Home Healthcare). So here are five of the new products/services from those in attendance -- listed alphabetically; all of the material comes from their own websites: >>> Read more . . .
We don’t see ourselves as aging with dementia – and neither did senior housing providers. Chew on this thought from a senior housing strategist, who encourages providers to "look at entryways differently," Traci Bild says. "You often see a lot of furniture where people sleep in the lobby. Instead, make it a place where people can congregate to talk, rather than to sleep, by placing high top tables." Meanwhile, back at the reality ranch, where sitting at high-top tables, uh, may not work so well -- the average age of resident move-in to assisted living is now 87 -- says Allison Guthertz, Vice President, Quality Resident Services at Benchmark Senior Living: "These days when residents move in, they already need help with three to five activities of daily living (ADLs)." >>> Read more . . .
For engineers and visionaries – a grandmother inspires. I hear it so often – the entrepreneur’s grandmother, father, mother inspired the inventor to move forward with inventions – that includes long-time players like GrandCare Systems, It’s Never Too Late (IN2L) or Eric Dishman and Intel -- good examples – but it also includes brand new entrants like myLively and Serality. Or an inspired and wealthy founder with a long history of entrepreneurship and business tries something new – GreatCall (from the telecom industry) and now CareZone, founded by an ex-Sun executive. >>> Read more . . .
The Chinese military wants to get inside the Times and your devices. Never mind the NY Times – for your own good, don’t open that PDF. A wide variety of hackers want access to our individual computers, tablets, and phones – even Apple and Facebook are not immune. We walk into an office products or computer store and our enthusiasm for the latest gadget is limitless -- they must be fast enough to view video or to surf bloated websites. So we watch a demo and walk out of the store hundreds of dollars lighter. If the sales rep doesn’t tell us what to buy (extra set-up, patches and updates, virus protection software) and we don’t know any better, we arrive home with our virus-ready, hacker-friendly technology, all set to make us look like idiots to our contacts and colleagues as we send fake emails and phony porn links. >>> Read more . . .