December 2011

12 most popular posts from 2011

So many posts, 2011 was such a short year. For those of you news junkies or folks with too many Google alerts, like me you must be drowning in recaps of the 2011 best movies, worst mistakes, top tech this, worst tech that. So as the year rapidly slips to a close, I thought I'd recap the most read posts from Aging in Place Technology Watch written during 2011, beginning, not so cleverly, from the beginning of the year: >>> Read more . . .

December 2011 Newsletter -- 2011 wrap and 2012 trends to watch

The basic technologies that have changed the user experience for everyone are well-known in the consumer electronics world. They are GPS/cellular tracking, touch screens, voice activation, battery technology, cameras, accelerometers, and sensors. But these are migrating slowly if at all into the market of offerings to enable older adults to live well for longer, aging at home if they wish. This could be because of a soft economy, a risk-averse senior housing community, a tech-averse home care industry, or other factors. But it is a truism of vendor-hood that switching to new technologies involves a cannibalization of existing markets – one must pick the right time. Looking through the aging-in-place technology lens into 2012, there many points of light that will shape the year: >>> Read more . . .

Making aging and caregiving kitchen-table issues

Sharpening the end of life discussion. Jane Gross published a New Old Age blog this week in the NY Times called Mad as Hell. The gist of it was about how retired Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman is starting up the "Conversation Project, one of many nascent efforts to make the rigors of caregiving and advanced old age into a kitchen-table issue — not just a topic for policy wonks and health care professionals." Ellen and Jane are talking about 'family caregiving'. Something is not quite right, though, about this article and other 'conversations' that depend on first stating the facts about seniors and where they live, what they live on, and who takes care of them. >>> Read more . . .

Going online for fun and diversion – what’s that mean, anyway?

Pew Research asks about the Internet and ‘fun’.   New this month: The Internet as Diversion and Destination, offering the results of a survey about the use of the Internet, with answers by age to a question: "Did you go ever go online for no particular reason, just for fun, or to pass the time?" They also asked about whether they did so "yesterday," the day before they were surveyed – which is cute, but "yesterday" as a source of meaningful information is, well, so yesterday. The headliner was about the 53% percent of young adults (18-29) who admitted that yesterday they did, while only 27% of boomers and 12% of seniors allocated a piece of their yesterday for this, uh, purpose. This is a frustrating question that Pew does not analyze, nor does it probe further, so speculation clearly is expected. >>> Read more . . .

Tech solutions that overwhelm the problem

When you read about tech and older adults, ask if it is appropriate to the task. Does it fit the problem being addressed? Do caregiving robots make sense? Is the cost such that everyone except the buyers would raise their eyebrows? Everyone admires a pioneer, the organization that will respond to the idea and the sales pitch for putting a few $6000 robots into the homes of children recovering from surgery, for example, so that the children won’t have to come to the hospital for the doctor to see how their recovery is progressing. Apparently no one thought to give the family a Netbook with camera, which would accomplish the same video viewing purpose – for $250. >>> Read more . . .

Mobile musings after the mHealth Summit

If you have a tablet, everything looks like an mHealth app. It was an mHealthiness week at the Gaylord as the NIH-sponsored mHealth Summit was convened for its third year, with 3600 enthusiasts and 300 exhibits. Walking around the non-Qualcomm and non-Verizon booths, it was one of those ‘Who ARE those guys?’ moments from Butch Cassidy. And I mean guys. Walking onto the Exhibit floor late Tuesday afternoon, there were guys everywhere and a bit of the American Telemedicine Association persona, with many devices and apps oriented toward tablet- and smart phone- intrigued doctors. And some were even for patients!  Read a great write-up by Lisa Suennen on Venture Valkyrie or check out just-the-facts iHealthBeat. The bottom line for me after a walk around and around – virtually nothing at this event (or at the ATA for that matter) demonstrates vendor interest in ‘seniors’ and chronic disease -- except these cool slippers in the Verizon booth that were developed by 24eight. That must make sense in only one sense – as of 2011, according to Pew Research, fewer than 11% of the 65+ population have a smart phone and 2% own a tablet. But oh well, no problem, notes the CDC, 80% of older adults have one chronic disease and 50% have at least two.  >>> Read more . . .

Retro is a word that needs a tech future

Make the new look like the old - please.   Retro is used as a style term, but it really is a desire, (no matter what age we’re at) to return to some prior period when life was simpler. And frankly, tech was easier to use.  We have radios with dials, remote controls with bigger (still inadequate) buttons. Why not a smart phone with a traditional hold-in-the-hand receiver?   Hey, no kidding, someone invented it! Native Union’s Pop Phone Handset – plugs into any smart phone or tablet.   And eliminates the requirement to put a hockey puck sized device next to your ear. >>> Read more . . .