December 2008

Philips: "An uptick in world aging will drive our business"

For anyone who is still wondering whether there is a business out there in aging-related products and services, forward this item from today's NY Times to them.  Royal Philips, the Dutch industrial giant (approximately $37.5 billion in revenue per year), is convinced that the 'world is getting older.' A company shrinking by shedding businesses and 30% revenue, Philips is instead buying and building up other growth business areas, including energy-saving lightbulbs, but also its Lifeline PERS business for home and healthcare monitoring. >>> Read more . . .

How is GoToMyPC a metaphor for Aging in Place Technology?

This is a quick thought and I know that it is obvious I've been hanging around IT too long. Even so, I'd love feedback on it -- please! It's about the parallel between a hassle-freeing Citrix technology called GoToMyPC and what seniors  in the future will need in their homes. >>> Read more . . .

Can baby boomers afford to pay for parents' aging in place technology?

It's both a given and a strong conviction: Caregivers worry about the cost of technology to help seniors age in their own homes.  And in fact, so does everyone else.  Vendors and experts think or talk about the potential for all technology (or a vendor-specific technology) to be more affordable if it is to be adopted. Again and again, I hear the issue of 'who will pay' for technology to help seniors remain in their own home. And I detect a hope (and a bias) towards insurance reimbursment that will be government-directed and will lower the cost of care. I don't believe it -- and even more emphatically, I know that caregivers (aka the baby boomer children of those who are aging) can afford to pay. >>> Read more . . .

Can Silver Nation Verify Backgrounds of Business That Target Seniors?

I want to believe. It's a great idea to prevent businesses with sketchy or even criminal backgrounds from defrauding or harming seniors. Silver Nation, a Bethesda-based startup, is going to offer a patented software-based background check service, paid for by individual participating businesses.It will be packaged in different names by sponsoring state organizations -- for example, in South Carolina as Senior Shield and Washington, DC as SeniorChecked. Broader marketing of the online service begins next month, according to Beth Dresing, VP of Marketing and Mark Hansan, President -- and the founder pedigrees are certainly impressive. >>> Read more . . .

For baby boomers - a Communication Suite for PC-phobic family?

This is a crazy idea for the gift-giving season, I know. But I just got off the phone with Landel -- the maker of Mailbug, a single-purpose e-mail appliance for the PC-less (or PC-useless) home.  Wouldn't it just be a crazy idea this holiday season if baby boomers who can afford to do it gave a suite of communication products to their PC-less parents and in-laws? >>> Read more . . .

If we wait for the healthcare industry to monitor our health, we'll just get older

With my ombudsman hat on yesterday, I spent a morning doing an assessment of an Assisted Living Facility. As is usually the case, the nurses showed us a thick patient chart book with its hand-written status observations, penciled medication tracking dosage X's and yellowed-out discontinued drugs. We saw the 24-hour log used by the aides, in which they noted observations in long-hand -- resident is complaining of pain, resident is combative today, resident ate 50% of lunch.  The nurse in charge expressed extreme distaste for the few computer records they must enter -- when a resident falls, for example, policy requires that it be reported up to the parent company. >>> Read more . . .

Surveillance and Companion Robots -- Maybe not a Christmas present just yet

I have been searching the web for robots that could be useful to seniors -- today. Yeah, I know that's a tall order. So much research, so few commercial products, and I really don't want to count the companion toy dogs. And while vacuum cleaners and floor washers are interesting and available through Target, they're not quite what I had in mind for helping seniors stay safely in their homes. And the research programs, funded by every company (including Toyota, Sony, etc., etc. and its mother, don't seem to have commercial product near ready.  >>> Read more . . .

Visonic's AmberX -- adds voice (and more) to PERS

Is the PERS device -- press a button around your neck and a service is dialed -- eventually headed for obsolescence? Parks Associates has predicted a basically flat growth path for PERS devices through 2013. Maybe that's so if security companies -- not healthcare companies -- set the replacement and extensible path. Here's another established and financially healthy security company, Visonic, that's been around for a long time -- now in the "PERS-and-beyond" market, aka the home monitoring market, with its Amber line. >>> Read more . . .

Coral Gables@Home: first of its kind in FL, but is this the right model?

The aging in place wave has hit the upscale community of Coral Gables in Miami. It's a well intentioned but inadequate concept despite its promise.  Coral Gables@Home is being launched as a non-profit which will cost members an introductory $500 annual fee for the first 100 enrolled. Beginning in February, it aims to provide a range of 'concierge' services to help seniors by providing them with one number to call for a range of services. These categories include 'wellness', transportation, meals and groceries, and member rates for social and cultural events. In fact, much of the service offered falls into the category of member discounts -- which is a good thing -- not unlike Welcome Wagon, actually. >>> Read more . . .

Home monitoring studies analysis -- boomers need to try harder to learn about what exists

I admit that I am a bit of a nerd; I find survey data very interesting. It’s especially intriguing when it exposes trends that are both counterintuitive and actionable. So it is with two studies that I tackle the questions of senior and caregiver readiness to use home monitoring technology that can help seniors age in place and stay in their homes longer. >>> Read more . . .

Ready or not, builders, here comes aging tech in the home

Builders have little interest in changing their home-design practices to accomodate seniors -- unless pressured by consumers who want their homes designed that way, of course.  In fact, in Florida, universal design standards are not part of the building code for new buildings, although contractors can be certified in it as well as becoming >>> Read more . . .

Nintendo -- seniors enjoy, so what are they doing right?

I am trying to understand whether Nintendo intends to expand its cognitive fitness and exercise offerings into the senior market or whether its success is accidental.  Here is a response I received when querying Nintendo about their plans for targeting seniors: "Nintendo’s goal is to expand the world of video games to new audiences, so while we were not focusing on seniors exclusively, we wanted to make a system that could be played by everyone in the family, from 5 to 95.  It is exciting to see that it's been such a big hit in senior centers and think it's resonated with them for a number of reasons.  First, Wii features intuitive motion controls. Anyone can pick it up and start playing instantly, regardless of their age or prior experience with gaming. Second, games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit are more active and get people up off the couch and moving. That’s important for seniors." >>> Read more . . .