Maybe certain tech for the elderly doesn't make sense.
2013 was a year in which issues percolated all around the world of older adults – health insurance and Medicare media interest dominated, but senior housing also made the news, caregiving received some exposure, and new tech to mitigate hearing and vision loss emerged. In terms of trends that could, would, and should impact the technology worlds of older adults, much has happened and more is ahead. From specific initiatives to government policy implications, the markets (money, innovation, and consumer interest) show signs of aligning in ways that can only benefit boomers and seniors. Here are trends that signal change: >>> Read more . . .
One word to describe 2013 -- mobile. Like the word "plastics" in The Graduate, if you asked investors what made them empty their piggy banks in 2013, this was the year of the Mobile Self. If it is smartphone-like and/or moves with you on your body, to mangle Arnold Schwarzenegger, why not invest a billion or so. But a not-so-subtle change also marked the year -- what was once mHealth has migrated to become healthcare (maybe because those downloaded apps were a bust) and then Health IT by the end of the year. Health IT is where the real budget and money are. To date, no one has figured out how to make money off smart phone apps except smart phone new-every-two carriers. In that light, here are the most read blog posts from 2013: >>> Read more . . .
Senior housing organization set a survey baseline that worries leaders. At a 2011 presentation at LeadingAge’s conference in DC, not long after the organization dropped the AAHSA moniker, a technology adoption survey was presented and prefaced with an apology about the low (18%) participation rate in the survey. A month later, the organization published a series of case studies about early adopters ("Pioneers in the field") -- several of them presented at that LeadingAge conference. Okay – these were tech enthusiasts -- the Evangelical Homes of Michigan stood out then and does even now -- but overall, not too much was happening at the time. >>> Read more . . .
Ice, snow and healthcare at your fingertips. The mHealth Summit was acquired by HIMSS in February 2012. The summit was billed at that time as "the largest gathering focused solely on the intersection of health and mobile information technology." This year, the glossy for the mHealth Summit event was subtitled "Healthcare at your Fingertips" – a play on the mobile health device innovation and investment hype. During an icy and snowy few days, there was the usual gnashing of teeth about whether mobile healthcare delivery is a broadly adopted reality and will really be at your fingertips any time soon. The conference tackled some thorny global issues – obstetrics and women in developing countries, new ventures/investment and helping developers think about wireless innovation. Surprise -- the event had at least three scheduled sessions (Yayyy!!!) about older adults, aging in place, and the presence/absence of apps for seniors. >>> Read more . . .
It’s that time of year – everyone knows someone. Your grandmother, your mother, father, uncle – they are, for the most part, living in their own homes, where not-so-hidden dangers are all around. Perhaps in addition, they are lonely – as this very sad article describes. So you know someone who is older than you and, perhaps, lives alone – as 46% of the women aged 75+ do, according to the US Census. So what might be a list of gift ideas aimed at a few of the opportunities and concerns of the 75+ person in your circle of family or friends or individuals in your neighborhood senior center? If you have them, please add your own suggestions to this list. >>> Read more . . .
How did we get people to quit smoking? Do you remember the early days when 'Smoking is bad for your health' ads (based on published research) emerged? In the 1960s, 44% of adults smoked. I thought of the research-based ads this week when Pew Research released an enormous report (94 pages) called The Diagnosis Difference, funded by the California Healthcare Foundation. In its many pages, the report makes two key points: 1) People with chronic diseases are less likely to have Internet access than those without chronic diseases --72% versus 89%, thus described as the "17-point difference." 2) Those with chronic diseases who are online use the Internet to find information as well as other people who share their chronic disease(s). And – one more thing – 43% of the 65+ surveyed had two or more chronic conditions. Now you know, but what should you do? >>> Read more . . .
Accenture exaggerates wildly -- but what should we think? Rant on. Accenture, seeing a void of 'information' to use to gain new clients, put out an obfuscating headline in a press release last week that precipitates pause. More than pause -- the need for a willing suspension of disbelief: Tech-Savvy Seniors Seek Digital Tools to Manage their Health. To generate that headline, they surveyed 9015 adults internationally, including the US -- and, get this, of those, they included 200 aged 65+ Medicare recipients. Of course, 2 percent of the survey responders is what led some PR genius at Accenture to grab attention with that headline. So what's a senior, anyway? Accenture was pitching global consulting services, naturally, and promoting the report that sat behind the headline -- intended for companies filled with young marketers trying to penetrate the mystique of consumers. But when Accenture foists a fact-like assertion, doesn't this make you want to know -- so what IS the technology adoption rate of the real seniors in the US? In September, Pew's researchers sent this along about those aged 76-80: 8.3% have a smart phone, 60.8 have a regular feature phone and 30.9% have neither type. Odds are that the 30.9% population is not online and thus won't be seeking a digital tool to manage their health. >>> Read more . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .