July 2009

Google Voice -- Compelling phone service trumps Skype for Boomers and Seniors

Yeah, yeah, Skype is cool for boomers and seniors -- especially grandparents. Free video conferencing with the grandkids and free long-distance calls -- even if some of them are a bit flaky in quality, probably due to a poor Internet connection. And the teaser (of course) is to upgrade you to their low, low international long distance phone plans. Okay, sounds good -- and I know folks love it -- "Do you Skype?" is a frequent starter for planning a meeting. But let's just forget Skype for a minute -- a jaw-dropping service may be around the corner -- Google Voice.

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Amazon, Kindle, boomers and seniors -- they get it

So it's not the first time I have had the Kindle presented as a technology for seniors -- in a recent overview I did for a senior center, one of the attendees observed that I had left the product out. Two days ago as I walked past two elderly individuals seated on motorized scooters in the back of an ampitheater in Chautauqua NY, a family member poked me as we walked by -- they were listening to music side-by-side AND reading books on their Kindles -- which they might have learned about at the Amazon product forum for seniors. I think they were friends.

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Web cameras and the elderly -- whose right is it to decide?

I want to pose the question -- again. Just because we can set up all kinds of security in our elderly parent's home, is it right to put it there? Saw this from SmartHome's Web Camera section, a Web-Enabled Securelink Elderly Kit -- this turns out to be a PERS pendant -- the camera is extra. And security vendors Alarm.com and ADT both offer video monitoring, not yet specifically targeting seniors, but for worried adult children, a camera may seems like a good idea. Maybe. >>> Read more . . .

Cisco and telepresence: If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail

Okay, you know that you can count on tech vendors to put 2 + 2 together and get 5, especially where their own product is involved. Let's start with today's CNET quote from Cisco: "What is different right now is that the health care system in this country is being asked to deliver service more effectively and efficiently without increasing the available resources," said Nick Augustinos, senior director with Cisco's Internet Business Solutions group for global health. "So what's needed now is a health care system that can scale. And that is what telepresence and other remote monitoring technologies can do by extending the natural reach of doctors and clinicians in a nontraditional way."  Hold on, Nick.

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Showcasing mobile telehealth technology on Capitol Hill

Simulating in-person doctor's visits, sometimes called 'virtual visits', has become fairly trendy says the Wall Street Journal. Isn't it great that United Health Group and Cisco are 'unveiling' a new telehealth network and parking the demo on Capital Hill. And United Health Group is committing tens of millions of dollars to the effort. Mobile Connected Care, no doubt something that could employ Cisco's costly telepresence equipment (averaging $300,000 per Forrester report in 2007), launched last year, and benefiting from a very applied use as enterprise IT budgets have flattened and shrunk. >>> Read more . . .

Smart clothing -- coming soon to a store near you?

Not long ago I gave a presentation to a group of seniors about technology for aging in place. One question made me pause: "Why can't clothing help seniors be safer and more independent?"  Good question. And asked by many in university and corporate research programs. Let's pick a few -- and I am inviting comment posts with additional examples: >>> Read more . . .

Vendors should seek geriatric care managers (GCMs) as a marketing channel

I am fortunate to have a paper copy of 'Inside GCM' in front of me (related website is caremanager.org) -- the publication of the "National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers" (NAPGCM). Geriatric care managers are typically trained and certified in coordinating care needs of seniors, referred by MDs or engaged by family members, particularly in long-distance care situations. They can be drawn from fields like social work, nursing, occupational therapy or other specialties. Practices can employ multiple GCMs and can be quite lucrative businesses. So why does this matter to vendors? >>> Read more . . .

Connect for Healthcare: helping care providers communicate with families

I can hear objections already -- yet another tool for adult children to avoid talking with or visiting aging Mom or Dad. But founder Neil Moore (many years in Health IT) may be onto something with Connect for Healthcare. This is a new subscription-based service that enables care providers to use a structured and secure way to communicate status to family members about their loved ones who are receiving some sort of long-term care. >>> Read more . . .

Virtual dementia tour -- add another media-friendly age simulator to the Age Suit

My Google blogger alerts have been blinking and beeping about the Virtual Dementia Tour, an offering from a non-profit called Second Wind Dreams. Profit from the sale of the kit (for professionals or individual caregivers) goes to programs that Second Wind Dreams sponsors -- a charity to boost focus and perception about residents in long-term care facilities. Sounds good. Nothing negative about the mission of Second Wind Dreams. >>> Read more . . .