Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
Consider 2012 -- a year of product launches across platforms. Looking at the most popular (most read) posts of 2012, the main conclusion is that blog titles with numbers rule on this site as in all others. So here are the most popular posts from 2012:
Why aren't seniors wowed by tablets? Are seniors missing the tablet and e-Reader boomlet? Las Vegas can rest now. It has been left to its own devices, so to speak, now that CES has left town for another year. Exhibitors, never original, seized on swipe and touch trends started by Apple -- reports from the show noted that 'Android tablets have sprung up around CES like worms after a rainstorm' and how many types will be sitting in stores in 2012. So why don't seniors want to buy them? Pew Research published a glowingly titled doc recently titled Tablets and e-Reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period and headlined that 'overall at least 29% of Americans own at least one of them.' And the 50-64 year-olds did show a significant increase in tablet ownership from December 2011-2012 -- from 8-15%. But as the Pew data shows, the 65+ are not flocking to the store to pick up a tablet-- a mere increase from 5 to 7%. Maritz did some profiling the younger folk: the average tablet buyer is aged 38-41, with an income of approximately $70K, tablet buyers are likely to be male. Older women seem to like the e-Reader more, with ownership jumping from 8-12% year over year, average e-book buying woman is aged 44. So what's the, er, story here?
Ten new technologies for aging in place. Rounding up from a series of press releases, encounters and other notifications accumulated over the past few months, from the very small firm to the very large, from the very new to the very new release, here are some new technologies and/or services that may be new to you, for use by or in support of older adults. All material is from the vendor published information.
Five new technologies for aging in place. Let’s catch up with the press releases from the past six weeks. October is typically one of the busiest times of the year for technology announcements. And it has been especially difficult lately to track them amid the sturm und drang of these past weeks. And that's just the storm and stress of reading -- never mind attending trade shows! Anyway, from the recent incoming missives, these five bring this site up to date. All information, as indicated by the quotation marks, is, minus a drop or two of hyperbole, from the vendor websites and releases.
Six trends that signal change in all things aging and health. Stick versus carrot: re-admission penalties emerge October 1st. This may be much ado about nothing – but October is the month that hospitals begin being 'penalized' for readmitting the same patients within 30 days of discharge. What’s that mean in dollars and cents? Well, by forcing hospitals to focus on what are euphemistically called 'transitions' -- cuts of anywhere from 0.42 percent to 1 percent in revenue loom. Or look at the flip side: CMS gets back $280 million from 2200 hospitals immediately. And who are those pesky people who have been re-admitted? Surprise, they are disproportionately comprised of seniors, initially with diseases like pneumonia, heart attack and heart failure, with more diagnoses added each year.
Six steps before launching a tech product for boomers or seniors. Don’t quit your day job just yet – do the homework first. Starting a new company? I hear fairly regularly from those who have this intent. Maybe they have a prototype they have created. When I don’t hear first, sometimes I catch who they are through the modern-day miracle of Google Alerts. So maybe we chat, maybe I take a look at a website, learn how they are going about getting their funding, and I ask if they know about products that may be similar to what they are doing. Or have they browsed online catalogs, or spoken to non-profits (if that is one of the target audiences). Have they studied market sizings and surveys from Nielsen to Pew to MetLife? And so on. So here’s a recap of advice for the pre-early stage – more another day.
Five smartphone apps for caregivers. Smartphone apps are cheap. You really have to marvel at what has happened to the software world in the past decade. In the bad old days, giant enterprise software vendors roamed the earth, and multi-day training sessions could (and did) make a grown person cry. Expensive licensed software, baffling user interfaces with obscurely named data elements that only the engineers could understand. Although the consolidated 'horsemen of the software apocalypse' still run large enterprises, today, end user expectations have, uh, diminished in scale. Smart phones may cost a few thousand per year in data plans, plus the phone, but software has miniaturized into inexpensive, colorful and graphic versions that by definition, must be intuitive to use, personal and functional – at less than $10/month for a service and only a few dollars for the apps. Why no 'free' apps that are everywhere -- they're not really free. The premium version will have a price: we’re part of a hospital system that wants to help you, we’re funded by advertising. And as with phone pricing, if you're paying for insurance or other care, 'free' is a charming euphemism. Descriptions are from the vendor sites.
When will families demand technology in senior care? Wireless networks – they matter in home care and assisted living. Adult children are letting home care and assisted living organizations off the technology hook, whether it is support for high speed Internet access, wireless networks, training staff on how to support social networking with long-distance family, or whatever. How do I know this? Let me count the ways. My own surveys – Future of Home Care Technology 2012, publicly available material surveying CFOs about tech investments (by Leading Age), conversations at MassALFA and finally with tech companies trying to sell technology to the senior housing industry.
2012 Tech Gifts for Seniors. The more things change, the more they are the same, only cheaper. The 2011 list of tech gifts for seniors is still pretty accurate in terms of categories – tablets, eReaders and eBooks, game-related and music-related. But be thankful at this time of year, the world of tech keeps on keeping on. There are more variants of each, plus some new items to consider. (Prices are all over the place, so they're not included here.) If you're in aging services or senior housing, pass some ideas along to residents or clients, check out the revised catalog at ElderLuxe or consider other consumer-oriented examples.