It's big, it's really, really big.
The National Dinner -- heartrending and motivated. I was fortunate to attend an amazing dinner last night in Washington as a guest of Philips. This looked like, but was no ordinary awards banquet. The National Alzheimer's Dinner, the organization's largest (and most well-attended, ever) Alzheimer's Association annual fundraising event, hosted by Meredith Vieria and with a parade of famous folk. These included Jane Seymour who has made a documentary about Alzheimer's sufferer Glen Campbell, Maria Shriver who produced The Alzheimer's Project on HBO, and Pat Summitt, the famed Tennessee coach who has early onset (beginning at age 58) Alzheimer's Disease, who was there with her son. Beyond those folk (!), the evening's ceremony included heart-stopping comments from individuals who currently have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. But then the audience stood up in groups -- first to stand were individuals who have a current diagnosis, then those with a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer's, followed by those caregiving for someone with the disease, finally those with a family member who died as a result of Alzheimer's. Emotionally drained yet? >>> Read more . . .
It's another health tech day and Mayo Clinic concludes a study. So who knew? Telehealth monitoring is not effective at keeping patients out of the hospital! So reports a new study from those who (repeatedly) study these things. Does that bode ill for telehealth marketers, who fervently hope that pending re-hospitalization penalties would energize a long-lived but relatively small market. Use of telemonitoring equipment, the study concluded, should continue to be limited to studies. And oh, by the way, doctors need to 'learn how to do something with all of that data!' Yeah, no kidding. Apparently, knowing nothing about the patient's condition except for 'routine' primary care visits with doctors ($$) and specialists ($$$), we learn that with only 205 elderly patients from Minnesota, half (103? 102?) were chosen to be monitored by the now-defunct Intel Health Guide, reborn last year in a GE-Intel spinoff as the Care Innovations Guide. >>> Read more . . .
Home care technology use needs to be understood now. Today there are a plethora of surveys in health and aging services topics – ranging from consumer preferences about housing (MetLife), technology product use (Pew and Nielsen), and family caregiver concerns and health technology adoption (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP). But there are no recent surveys about the use of technology among skilled home health providers, geriatric care management and non-skilled/companion care. >>> Read more . . .
The more tech is commercialized, the more researchers ignore it. It’s so interesting and fun to read about research that is going to help seniors, don’t you think? Reporters love to write it, readers love to read it. Someday, they say and readers agree, there will be tech that will finally help us age in our own homes. A recent AARP Bulletin offered up an article about living laboratory research into ‘possibilities’ for improving our capabilities for independent living/aka aging in place. We can feel good that work goes on at Orcatech, at Mayo Clinic, and MIT's Age Lab. And many others have researched the same exact categories previously, as noted in 2008 in one of the very first blogs on this site. As always, the researchers interviewed offered no observations about whether there were commercial versions that were viable for consumers, and really, no acknowledgement of commercial vendors at all. Guess that’s not the point of research. >>> Read more . . .
Tech vendors and seniors – purposeful advocates? Maybe you saw this the other day – how Microsoft and several organizations along with the City of Los Angeles are partnering to launch "Exergamers Wellness Club, which combines technology with exercise, overall health monitoring and evidence-based health education from Partners in Care built around the Kinect and Xbox 360 technology – a program that involves dance, Tai Chi, and other fitness activities. Such a hit, it is being expanded to all senior centers in the city." Note that the announcement actually included Microsoft’s role – both with donation of Kinect and Xbox, but also the use of HealthVault and a personal health application for participating seniors. In fact, Microsoft has, one way or the other, been a named participant in activities for seniors for a number of years, back to the well-intentioned SeniorPC launched in 2007 – the offering was still updated on HP’s site as of last year. >>> Read more . . .
Sharp contrast separates business and service lenses of baby boomers. You might think you were in different planets – at last week’s Aging in America conference, on a Wednesday a discussion of "E-commerce, MobileVideo, Gaming and the Mobile Wallet" at the 2012 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit – a conference within a conference. The next day at ASA, you could consider "Successfully Integrating Boomers for a Sustainable Senior Center Model." When picturing the 50+ segment, is it the hop-skipping-and-jumping boomer, the entrepreneur boomer, the service-providing boomer, the shopper in the AARP lens of the Longevity Economy (What’s Next), or perhaps it’s the live-forever boomer, straining our budgets and reducing our expectations (ASA)? >>> Read more . . .
A plethora of sessions -- but where are the exhibitors? For the past few days at ASA’s Aging in America, I heard various speakers talk about the importance of technology for older adults -- I babbled on about it a bit myself. It will make this the ‘age to age’, learn to ‘love the device you’re with’, so that you can attend sessions about designing technology for older adults, learn about tech training for seniors, see what's coming and who is doing what. The many sessions that discussed technology were categorized in the program book as ‘Housing, accessibility and technology’ – so I wondered how many consumer-focused tech vendor exhibitors were in the exhibit hall. I reasoned that all of these aging services professionals would want to know about all of the useful software and devices that they could refer to clients to improve their quality of life. Not counting the back office systems (the ERPs of aging services), I looked through the book and show floor, searching for tech to connect older adults with professionals, families and caregivers. And there it wasn’t. >>> Read more . . .
Wikipedia tells it like it is, not like it was. For a brief period in the history of the definition of Aging in Place, the term was really a continuing care concept. CCRC messaging has tried to link the definition more closely with the ability to remain on a campus of independent, assisted living and skilled nursing – but I don’t think consumers view the CCRC portfolio as aging in place. In 2011, AARP issued its 2011 state-by-state report on age friendliness for remaining at home. The CDC too has been refining definitions to keep up with the times, acknowledging the National Aging in Place Council and universal design principles. Today, aging in place is almost completely disassociated from continuing care retirement communities and the senior housing industry. In fact, as a recent Senior Housing News article observed, it is a movement encompassing active aging, livable communities, universal design principles, villages, NORCs, etc. that threatens the very structure of the senior housing. >>> Read more . . .
Are Health and senior tech products used consistently and to purpose? When the ultimate user is not necessarily an enthusiastic participant in product use, forget it. Consider the factors noted in Donna Cusano’s recent Field of Dreams post on Telecare Aware, summarized by: “Know you need/want the product. Okay, then it must be Easy to use, providing positive reinforcement (with social and community support) – and I would add, affordable. 1) Ease of use (let’s also assume that the product works!), 2) reinforcement, 3) affordable. Pick two, you can’t have all three. (Note I didn’t say pet-rock trendy, much loved by Walt Mossberg and shown off in coffee shops.) >>> Read more . . .
The gifts of aging are bitter – now there’s a generalization. Rant on. The title and sub-heading in the Times caught my eye. Age and Its Awful Discontents and sub-heading "Is there anything good about getting old? No. Its gifts are bitter.” The article was Louis Begley’s gloomy reminiscence about his mother and his abhorrence of the 'ravages and suffering inflicted on the body by age and illness.' You wonder, why 'awful,' why 'discontent,' and 'bitter'? Well, it turns out that his mother was very lonely in her last decade (she died at age 94). "She couldn’t hear well, she had arthritis, too proud for a wheelchair, couldn’t get the hang of a walker, stopped even going to museums, concerts, or sitting on a park bench." Today the 78-year-old Begley feels the "full measure and anguish of his mother’s solitude and that of other old people who end their lives without a companion." It’s too bad Jane Gross and her New Old Age blog wasn’t around (that launched in 2008). Mr. Begley might have read about how other adult children coped (and helped) aging parents. Or he might have hired a geriatric care manager, around since the 1980's. It’s really too bad that despite plenty of money, neither he nor his mother had the inclination to look for ways to maintain the quality of her life. >>> Read more . . .