Blogs

Aging services needs vendors -- commercialism is just fine

Wow – twice in a week, accusations of ‘commercialism’.  An epiphany – occasionally I have them. The backdrop: In Incident A, a future topic I am discussing at an aging services event was (at least temporarily) classified as ‘commercial’ versus ‘educational’ because vendor executives were to be on the panel, jeopardizing the continuing education credit that attendees might get. Then, the very next day, Incident B: a proposed slide deck was critiqued by (different) organizers with the recommendation to remove slides that had many vendor logos. Why? Because it might be perceived by sponsors as commercials for those vendors – again jeopardizing continuing education credits. >>> Read more . . .

Five New Technologies for Aging in Place

Rounding up from a series of press releases over the past two months, here are some new (and very new!) technologies and/or services that may be new to you for use by or in support of older adults.  All material is from vendor published information:

Care Technology Systems and Qualcomm Life Join Forces.  "A cloud-based system, Qualcomm Life's 2net Platform enables companies, providers and users to capture data from any wireless medical device and deliver it to integrated portals or databases, storing it in a secure and reliable system.  Information can be easily retrieved by physicians, caregivers or other critical audiences, such as designated healthcare service companies, providers, payors, pharmaceutical companies and application/device collaborators, for use in healthcare decisions. CTS utilizes the 2net Platform to provide PERS, ADL monitoring and biometrics." Learn more at Care Technology Systems. >>> Read more . . .

Let's push back on tech’s ‘new wave’ driven by data

About those ad words – can we outsmart them?  Just read an approving and syndicated Times article about the latest data-driven tech that uses what we access online to present us with more of the same. Given my predilection to write e-mails about the age-related technology space, the all-knowing Google regularly presents me with ads for products based on the messages I send and receive. Some ads are for vendors who are my clients, none of them are my suppliers.  As is typical, I don’t notice for a while and then – in a flash, out of the corner of my eye, I see – duh, there’s a pattern here.  So I do what you all should do regularly – tell Google these not only aren’t relevant, YOU are not who they think you are, you are someone else.  You can opt out – but, sigh, "Google may still show relevant ads based on the content of a web page" that you are viewing. But it will not ‘collect’ your interest-based information to show you more relevant content. Whew. By looking at your ads preference manager page, you can, however, change your demographic profile – making yourself older/younger than you actually are (or what Google thinks you are). This may be a wise move. >>> Read more . . .

Smart phone apps can make the user feel dumb

Is usability testing prior to release a lost art for smart phone software?  This is a big month for new phone launches -- first Nokia and Microsoft, then iPhone, then Android. Wonder how well they'll all work? Here’s an arcane little item from a now-dated phone: If you accidentally or on purpose double tap the Home symbol on a Droid 2, the device thinks you want to speak and so a female voice barks at you "PLEASE say a command." (This is with the phone set on silent.)  Arrgghh. The fix, after slogging around the Droid forums, is of course obvious, if you know where to look: remap the double tap on home to do something else, like launch a browser. Of course, why didn't I think of that? Thanks to the Internet, a stupid and obscure flaw that baffles the user (see those Internet posts dating back a few years) has a stupid fix. Meantime, until you find that fix, your device starts talking cheerfully and insistently from a purse or at a hushed banquet table – “PLEASE SAY A COMMAND!” while you look around embarrassed and a bit terrified, trying to turn the phone off, pull the battery, anything but the phone speaking when you called for silence. PLEASE, you just want it to shut up. This irritation has even spawned an app called HomeSmack to overcome this flaw.  Perfect. And how charmingly-named. >>> Read more . . .

Tech design -- we're getting older, but is it getting better?

The best consumer tech is barely out-of-the-box usable – for anyone.  iPad, Schmipad. Although there is always a story here or there about one who loves the device and wants to teach others (60 days of classes!!!), apps like Family Ribbon to make it easier to use continue to pop up along with training both in store and beyond. So in the face of so much enthusiasm, it is hard for me to say this, but guess what? If you aren’t born imagining that 4 fingers would reveal the already created task row of previously used apps, that menus disappear, that the style of user interface for various apps is inconsistent, that screen-to-screen navigation varies from touching a tiny dot at the screen base to swiping a swoop to the next page, 60 days of training sounds like a pretty good idea. And as far as user interface design, this is the best of the best and it is not acceptable! >>> Read more . . .

Memory care and child day care -- two sides of the same coin

Are we at the crossroads of care? We are at an interesting and somewhat ominous crossroads in the care of those with dementia.  AARP (and the media that quote them endlessly) repeat that adults want to remain in their own home as they age.  Nice goal, but, not such a good fit for everybody. So combine the growing longevity of middle class adults with the beginnings of a multi-year revival in home sales and perhaps home prices, seniors may have an easier time selling and moving that will shift the average age of residents below today's age 89. To families searching for options, expensive assisted living memory units may look like good care options for those with serious functional memory loss.  But are they really good care? >>> Read more . . .

Four elements of tech reimagined

My brain hurts.  AARP is hosting an upcoming innovation competition for their Life@50+ event in New Orleans – and they are soliciting entrepreneurs: 'LivePitch pitch event participants will be focused on consumer-oriented health technologies for the "50 and over" market.'  So what IS a consumer-oriented health technology for the 50+ that is not also a consumer-oriented health technology for the under-50?   In fact, 50 is an arbitrary dividing line for AARP based on its stated mission – someday that may be re-stated as the 40+, or more sensibly, with our lengthening life expectancies and lengthening work lives (see new LinkedIn partnership called 'Work Reimagined'), maybe it will be the 60+ or the 70+.  Or multiple AARPs – as there are today that are based on language and geography.  There’s a reason AARP is not spelled out to include ‘retired persons.’ >>> Read more . . .

Home care organizations should prepare for a tech-enabled future

This advice is for non-medical home care, home health care, and geriatric care management organizations and is drawn from the July 31, 2012 report, Future of Home Care Technology Report. The report surveyed 315 organizations spanning 34,509 workers. Based on the limited use of technology today, but the growing wave about the inevitability of data sharing about care recipients across the significant boundaries of home care, home health care, hospitals, rehabilitation/nursing homes and assisted living. Organizations of each type of care delivered into the home will need to prepare now for the inevitability of a Home Care Information Network that must be sponsored, delivered and adopted over the next five years. To maximize its benefit, organizations that deliver care must: >>> Read more . . .

Self-delusional or optimistic – marketing to mindset

If asked, older adults are content with their lives. Is life good? So concludes a new poll: "USA TODAY partnered with United Healthcare and the National Council on Aging to gauge the attitudes of Americans age 60 and above. And, surprisingly, most are content with their finances, their health and where they live, and most are optimistic about the years to come: "75% of seniors in their 60s expect their quality of life to get better or stay the same over the next five to 10 years." But do those surveyed really have reason to be optimistic, or with a stated median net worth of $212,000, which includes the value of their house, is this self-delusion?   >>> Read more . . .

Best cities for successful aging -- can you believe it?

We are a society that loves rankings. But sometimes they just seem plain silly. Not long ago, the World Health Organization published a guide to Age-Friendly Cities – and surprise, there was New York City! Services, public transportation, technology galore – despite the crushing crowds on the street, eye-popping apartment rents and tough-as-nails subway riders – if you live there and you're growing old, you can do fine, says the WHO. Okay. So now we have the Milken Institute (a West Coast think tank) study about the 10 best cities where we can age successfully, and it’s much-publicized and picked up in the media, for its, uh, surprising, result. Factoring in affordability (!), weather, convenient transportation systems, aging-centered technology, there it was again – New York City, and now -- Boston is # 4!  For cities that are named on these lists, of course that means positive PR for city managers. Hear applause all around among the town marketers (see, there’s our town, Provo, Utah!!!). In the meantime, Louisville, KY, staking its future as a hub of age-related businesses and opportunity, ranked only 69 on the Milken scale. >>> Read more . . .

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