June 2010

Aging in Place Technology Watch June 2010 Newsletter

 No new technology -- huh? Sometimes ya gotta wonder. Listening on a call to a group of senior housing executives recently, I was intrigued by the comment of one of them: "There isn't any new technology."  The context was a rationalization of the technology areas they are currently engaged in (home monitoring, senior communication). I was reminded of that old cliche: "You snooze, you lose." In this as in all technology categories, every day an entrepreneur wakes up and says to themselves, 'I can do that.' I know -- I hear from them. They are reminded somehow of population demographics or they are engaged in the care of their grandparents, or they just walked out of a senior housing community and could not believe how out of touch the management was -- and therefore they would become -- if their parent moved in. Company of the month that I bet the speaker hasn't heard of -- InTouchLink -- software for seniors -- yeah, appropriate for senior housing organizations.

>>> Read more . . .

How not to deploy remote monitoring technology

Tech is useful, but deployment approach needs some work.  So here's an article about Senior Lifestyles Corporation and their deployment of QuietCare in a Florida (Fort Pierce) Assisted Living community. Was this a happy experience, like the NY Times article last year about keeping frail individuals longer in their homes through effective remote monitoring? Sadly, no. This one cites a family member describing the additional $200/month charge for QuietCare as 'elder abuse' while contemplating legal action. Another resident circulated a petition protesting the installation, and the local ombudsman has now weighed in and discussed the situation with the press. Hmm. That didn't go well. >>> Read more . . .

Under the radar -- A Plus Senior Computer

Senior computers -- not so many winners.  Over the past few years, several attempts at creating a 'Senior' computer have been tried, including as noted a pricey Senior PC partnership between HP and Microsoft, the thin-client GO Computer from MyGait, sold through FirstSTREET, which is not extensible -- what you get is what you get, and as a few frustrated comments on the blog post indicate, it's not to everyone's liking when it is time to add devices or additional software. >>> Read more . . .

Communicating with the doctor and hospital -- we can do better

This rant is not about technology - it's about communicating. In one short week, we have read about a doctor who refused to turn off a pacemaker in a frail and demented man ('it would be like putting a pillow over his head') -- at the request of his wife who was falling apart caring for him. We have learned that doctors now recognize hospital-stay induced delirium among the elderly -- and (wow!) even see that it can lead to dementia or death.  And we read an AARP Bulletin 'human interest' story about a woman who escaped from a nursing home, where she had been placed after discharge from a hospital. >>> Read more . . .

Tech tides turning for boomers and beyond?

When boomers age, tech talks, but VCs are elsewhere.  At the SCU Boomer Business Summit, Intel Capital finalist judge, Nancy Kamei, tossed the bucket of cold water onto an audience of entrepreneurs dreaming of VC investors -- she said she and her peers agree that this is the worst of times, the worst investing climate in 22 years. And maybe that is true for those who would seek venture capital to fund their startup. But as the first of the baby boomers turns 65 next year, it hasn't escaped the largest organizations that it is time to think about the intersection of technology, baby boomer aging, and caregiving. Or maybe the iPad has awakened new hope for computer vendors and Internet users. >>> Read more . . .

Tech for boomers and seniors -- price right, partner often

Pricing matters -- and for senior-housing sales, it's unrealistic.  Looking forward today to the Boomer Venture Summit event here in California, where the sun is shining and the San Jose airport is filled with signs of tech this, enterprise that. But I have also heard this week about stalled deployments of tech projects in the non-profit senior housing sector due to low occupancy, confirmed in this May 28 investor report. >>> Read more . . .

AARP: baby boomers are not comfortable with the Internet -- really?

Glass half full -- or half empty? Surprise! This new AARP study about Social Media and the Internet overrides previous assumptions about the 50-64 age range and comfort level with the Internet. Let's count just 40% of boomers as a fit with that description:17% indicate they are extremely comfortable and 23% are very comfortable.  Only 26% access the Internet via a laptop and only 4% through smart phones or cell phones -- 57% use a desktop computer. Only 27% are using social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter -- dominated by Facebook. >>> Read more . . .

New and notable tech offerings, GCMs and Skype

Last month I mentioned three new caregiving applications that entered the market recently -- this month, a summary list of other interesting products that have entered the market in recent (roughly the past 6) months, presented in alphabetical order. A number of products are expected to announce in the next few months -- expect another post when there's at least six more. >>> Read more . . .

Alzheimer's and caregivers educational event -- no tech, low tech

Big conference, lots of empathy and caring.  It's been a while since I attended an event exclusively focused on Alzheimer's -- I wondered if the curiosity about technology potential I encounter at so many other events would be duplicated. The 2010 Alzheimer's Educational Conference in West Palm Beach kicked off yesterday -- attended by professionals and caregivers, exhibit hall filled with senior housing offers (dementia units, respite), hospice and home care agencies, educational programs, local resellers, elder law services, and research programs. The two morning keynotes typified the tone and the theme: Dr. Thomas Kodadek of the Scripps Research Institute talked in great molecular detail about a 'promising' new test for Alzheimer's, and Dr. Louis Benson gave an exhausting and lengthy speech about how to sustain your positive energy in the face of caregiving stress. >>> Read more . . .

The '65+' survey conundrum

Lots of detail about the under-65 crowd.  We are a society so consumed by age bracketing and labels, you'd think there was enough data to meet all the needs of marketers. We have Generation X and Y/Millennials ("What, me worry?"), or Young, Middle, and Older Boomers.  We know whether they love their iPhone or their BlackBerry, and whether they signal the end of voice calling capability because texting is the beginning, the middle, and the end of their cell phone use. And today's WSJ helped us understand that a 35-year-old could have the arteries of an 80-year-old. >>> Read more . . .