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Five new technologies from the 2015 Boomer Business Summit and ASA

Last week in Chicago it was all about boomers and seniors. Last week Aging in America framed several days in Chicago of multiple other related events about and for professionals in caregiving, boomers, and seniors. The market-facing event that always attracts multiple executives from organizations like AARP, United Healthcare, Ziegler, Linkage, and  many startups was the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit (led by Mary Furlong and now in its 12th year).  Here are five technologies new and/or not previously noted from ASA and What's Next: >>> Read more . . .

The Aging-Disability Information Disconnect

Aging in New York.  You may know about the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Cities initiative, announced in 2007.  And perhaps you know all about Age-Friendly New York, launched in 2009 as a result of the WHO. Lots of folks like to say how age-friendly NYC is – which I have always thought was odd, if not downright laughable – having battled across streets in NYC with a wide range of pedestrian walk times, deep puddles masking ramp cut-outs, and a subway system map that favors insider knowledge. Senior Planet in NYC has some more info on what makes a city age-friendly:  “New York has an amazing public transportation system going for it. Even though it’s not perfect and could be improved upon, we know that aging people use subways and buses regularly.” >>> Read more . . .

Five (pretty smart) watches – acknowledging that seniors exist

Should smart watches target and serve seniors? Erik Wicklund observed in mHealth News that the smartwatch hype about Apple’s rock-the-world has mesmerized the media. He mentions Microsoft Band and Pebble. Really from a hype-opmeter perspective, that was gracious, but those products already shipping are not generally thought of as ‘MAGICAL.’  Do seniors need a Smartwatch? Does anyone need all the smarts being invented?  Let’s just call that a rhetorical question for now. Note these five smart watches for seniors, in alphabetical order, information from websites or reviews. These are available now or planned to be released soon: >>> Read more . . .

Services for aging in place – not provided, not coordinated, not enough

What you can’t see is what you get.  Rant on. You would think by now that there would be a traveling provider of just about everything anyone might need. You can order much of your supplies in your home from the Amazon of all stuff, uh, actually, that IS Amazon.com. These days – you probably know that doctors are making housecalls. Even podiatrists and dentists (did you know this?) will travel to assisted living facilities. Should people with dementia have annual eye exams? (Yes.) What about eye exams inside memory care units for non-verbal 90-year-olds? And what about the boxes of unclaimed eyeglasses by the nurses’ station? Who do they belong to? How can you tell? And how does a person with dementia verify that the current pair of glasses is inadequate? By rubbing their eyes and taking them off? >>> Read more . . .

The doctor and staff are remotely controlled – literally

Crises drive health innovation. The presumed potential and much-publicized looming shortage of doctors is worrisome – or at least their lopsided geographic distribution is a concern. Or there are not enough medical schools to train new doctors. Or doctors are tired of being doctors.  Or is it the problem of keeping down the cost of actually seeing a doctor or a nurse practitioner? Is it that population health risks drive the need for improved chronic disease management?  Is it that there are or may soon be so many new patients? Or is the problem one of wasting the time of so many human staff in a hospital doing back-breaking and/or mundane tasks? >>> Read more . . .

Aging in What Place – Oversold concept or the refuge of denial?

The Washington Post article about aging in place was, uh, provocative.  It provoked me, anyway. The concept of aging in place has been oversold, says Professor Stephen Golant, author of a new book called less provocatively Aging in the Right Place. The Post encapsulation included a few gems from his book, noting that seniors who prefer to age in place have 'residential inertia' --  and paraphrasing their thinking as 'I’d rather rot in my own home.'  The premise that the concept was oversold to the public, however, makes a nice headline, almost sounding like a marketing campaign -- but that simply is not what has happened in the recent past. What else was going on? >>> Read more . . .

Technology and older adults, new studies, but no news

The more studies emerge, the less news there is.  Rant on. You probably have read it in university study after university study. You probably read those milestone surveys from AARP, Healthy@Home in 2008 and Healthy@Home 2.0 in 2011.  Maybe you read the Linkage Study from 2012. All of those studies report the same thing in one way or the other: Seniors would like to benefit from technology to help them manage their health and stay longer in their own homes.  They listen to news and echo the buzzwords, they worry about costs. But do interest and willingness make a thriving market?  However, you will be reassured that large consulting firms and banker studies agree: >>> Read more . . .

For seniors stranded by geography, improve service and technology

The census highlights difficulty for family caregivers and the 80+.  Last week we posted an analysis of US Census data revealing those locations in the US with low Caregiver Support Ratios (CSR) – in other words, seniors aged 80+ stranded with limited care availability. CSR (discussed in this landmark AARP report) represents the population aged 45-64 who could (though they may not be) able to help seniors aged 80+ and includes both family and professional caregivers.  The AARP report indicated a current nationwide average of 7 people available to help care for 1 person aged 80+.  The report warned about those future years when baby boomers turn 80 and the ratio drops to 4:1 and lower. However, further analysis reveals a current potential problem in locations such as: >>> Read more . . .

Stranded by geography: today’s caregiver support ratios and the 80+ population

Now is the winter of discontent. Neighborhoods disappear under the weight of snow piling up and billions of dollars are adding up in lost business (think car dealers and restaurants). But what of mitigating the isolation and providing care for the elderly, especially for those seniors aged 80+, living in communities overwhelmed by bad weather? Is the likelihood of having family to help related to geography? That topic was addressed by state in the August, 2013, AARP INSIGHT report, The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap, introducing the term and an infographic for the caregiver support ratio (CSR) – "the number of potential family caregivers aged 45-64 for each person aged 80+." The report prediction: given future population changes, CSR would decline from its 2010 level of 7 potential caregivers for each person aged 80+ (7:1) down to a ratio of 4:1 in 2030 and 3:1 in 2050. Today, those low ratios have been reached around the US – in both locations that are warm…and snow-covered. >>> Read more . . .

Caregiving technology needs a version 2.0 upgrade

The dilemma of distance -- boomers have parents who live in, for example, Florida. The oldest boomer is 69. They’re not all that healthy. The still-living parent(s) may be even less healthy. In this age of medical specialization and long distance families, many aging women living alone: they need to see doctors, perhaps multiple doctors. Even if the children of aging parents live nearby, experiencing enhanced intergenerational proximity (!), the aging parent may ultimately live alone. With life expectancy for woman now averaging 88+, it is safe to say that older boomers are still involved in coordinating the care of their aging parent/mother. And they’re doing it from a distance – since the boomer woman with a career may not reside in Florida. Consider that Florida is now on track to become the 3rd largest state – with population growth primarily from migration. The state now has a median age of 74 for its 65+ population, one-quarter of that population widowed. But the dilemma of distance criss-crosses the country from California to Maine, from upstate New York to New Mexico. >>> Read more . . .

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