April 2012

The long view of Pew -- most older adults are still not online

The Internet haves and have-nots. Pew Research produced an intriguing summary in April, Digital Differences, a long-term comparison report of changes in Internet use between the years 2000 and 2011.  In June 2000, only 12 percent of the 65+ population (aka seniors) were online – and today, 41% are. And just in time for US government agencies switchover to online requirements: the other 59% will need a backup plan. According to a new Washington lobbying group, paper versions of tax forms, savings bonds, annual social security statements and social security checks (switching to direct deposit) will soon be just a memory. So it is important to have accurate data about who has online access and who doesn't -- particularly within a vulnerable population of older adults. >>> Read more . . .

Geriatric care managers need your love and support

Geriatric care managers need your support. I was lunching recently with a friend who is a geriatric care manager (GCM) and I decided to ask her a few questions about why we don’t see more technology interest from GCMs. For those of you who haven’t heard of GCMs, here is the definition from their National Association (NAPGCM): "A professional Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives. The GCM is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, including nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology." In essence, GCMs are the go-to professionals for families dealing with the frail elderly. >>> Read more . . .

Alzheimer's Association -- it's about the cure, but why?

The National Dinner -- heartrending and motivated.  I was fortunate to attend an amazing dinner last night in Washington as a guest of Philips. This looked like, but was no ordinary awards banquet. The National Alzheimer's Dinner, the organization's largest (and most well-attended, ever) Alzheimer's Association annual fundraising event, hosted by Meredith Vieria and with a parade of famous folk. These included Jane Seymour who has made a documentary about Alzheimer's sufferer Glen Campbell, Maria Shriver who produced The Alzheimer's Project on HBO, and Pat Summitt, the famed Tennessee coach who has early onset (beginning at age 58) Alzheimer's Disease, who was there with her son. Beyond those folk (!), the evening's ceremony included heart-stopping comments from individuals who currently have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. But then the audience stood up in groups -- first to stand were individuals who have a current diagnosis, then those with a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer's, followed by those caregiving for someone with the disease, finally those with a family member who died as a result of Alzheimer's. Emotionally drained yet? >>> Read more . . .

There goes telehealth, taking it on the chin again

It's another health tech day and Mayo Clinic concludes a study. So who knew? Telehealth monitoring is not effective at keeping patients out of the hospital! So reports a new study from those who (repeatedly) study these things. Does that bode ill for telehealth marketers, who fervently hope that pending re-hospitalization penalties would energize a long-lived but relatively small market. Use of telemonitoring equipment, the study concluded, should continue to be limited to studies. And oh, by the way, doctors need to 'learn how to do something with all of that data!' Yeah, no kidding. Apparently, knowing nothing about the patient's condition except for 'routine' primary care visits with doctors ($$) and specialists ($$$), we learn that with only 205 elderly patients from Minnesota, half (103? 102?) were chosen to be monitored by the now-defunct Intel Health Guide, reborn last year in a GE-Intel spinoff as the Care Innovations Guide >>> Read more . . .

The Future of Home Care Technology Survey

Home care technology use needs to be understood now.  Today there are a plethora of surveys in health and aging services topics – ranging from consumer preferences about housing (MetLife), technology product use (Pew and Nielsen), and family caregiver concerns and health technology adoption (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP). But there are no recent surveys about the use of technology among skilled home health providers, geriatric care management and non-skilled/companion care >>> Read more . . .

Aging research projects focus on the same-old, same-old

The more tech is commercialized, the more researchers ignore it. It’s so interesting and fun to read about research that is going to help seniors, don’t you think? Reporters love to write it, readers love to read it.  Someday, they say and readers agree, there will be tech that will finally help us age in our own homes. A recent AARP Bulletin offered up an article about living laboratory research into ‘possibilities’ for improving our capabilities for independent living/aka aging in place. We can feel good that work goes on at Orcatech, at Mayo Clinic, and MIT's Age Lab.  And many others have researched the same exact categories previously, as noted in 2008 in one of the very first blogs on this site. As always, the researchers interviewed offered no observations about whether there were commercial versions that were viable for consumers, and really, no acknowledgement of commercial vendors at all. Guess that’s not the point of research. >>> Read more . . .

Tech that seniors use or senior tools from vendors

Tech vendors and seniors – purposeful advocates? Maybe you saw this the other day – how Microsoft and several organizations along with the City of Los Angeles are partnering to launch "Exergamers Wellness Club, which combines technology with exercise, overall health monitoring and evidence-based health education from Partners in Care built around the Kinect and Xbox 360 technology – a program that involves dance, Tai Chi, and other fitness activities. Such a hit, it is being expanded to all senior centers in the city." Note that the announcement actually included Microsoft’s role – both with donation of Kinect and Xbox, but also the use of HealthVault and a personal health application for participating seniors. In fact, Microsoft has, one way or the other, been a named participant in activities for seniors for a number of years, back to the well-intentioned SeniorPC launched in 2007 – the offering was still updated on HP’s site as of last year.  >>> Read more . . .

Boomer business opportunity knocks on aging’s door

Sharp contrast separates business and service lenses of baby boomers. You might think you were in different planets – at last week’s Aging in America conference, on a Wednesday a discussion of "E-commerce, MobileVideo, Gaming and the Mobile Wallet" at the 2012 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit – a conference within a conference. The next day at ASA, you could consider "Successfully Integrating Boomers for a Sustainable Senior Center Model."  When picturing the 50+ segment, is it the hop-skipping-and-jumping boomer, the entrepreneur boomer, the service-providing boomer, the shopper in the AARP lens of the  Longevity Economy (What’s Next), or perhaps it’s the live-forever boomer, straining our budgets and reducing our expectations (ASA)? >>> Read more . . .