Blogs

Pew Research underscores the tech isolation of real seniors

The majority of real seniors are not online.   The Pew technology survey is up to date – and it is a reflection that tech, training, and perception of benefit have a ways to go with real seniors – aged 75+. Fewer than half (47%) of the 75-79 age group and 37% of the 80+ are online.  And if they were, most do not have broadband access at home. And among the 65+, the song and dance about ease of use of smart phones and tablets is not resonating – 40% of seniors say that physical challenges make some activities difficult – and for those, even fewer go online. And for all the social pressure and media assumptions about online use, non-users do not believe they are at a real disadvantage. >>> Read more . . .

Four recent technology innovations from outside the US

Not made in the USA. Over the years, Google alerts have both helped find technologies that would be useful to older adults -- and because this site has focused largely on US companies and initiatives, those same alerts sometimes seem to be all about happenings in upstate New York or new initiatives in New Jersey. So here is an attempt to start a conversation about great ideas for technology innovations from outside the US that can be helpful to seniors.  Emphasis is 'start' -- and additions are welcome. >>> Read more . . .

Personal Emergency Response Systems aren’t personal about health

Watching PERS and consumer health tech industries is like watching parallel worlds.  You have to notice. Although offerings are now mobile, they are not moving closer to consumer health tech.  Wander from website to website of the leading players – Philips, Tunstall, ADT, Lifestation, LifeAlert, and so on, in the self-described Medical Alarm industry, regardless of who the company is, services are described and compared in this chart by VRI in the context of the 'emergency' dimension of Personal Emergency Response System/Service.  Okay, you’ve looked over the laundry list of companies in the VRI-crafted chart. Now add a few more mobile PERS offerings that aren’t on the chart – like Verizon Sure Response, Tunstall, GreatCall’s Five Star, MobileHelp, AT&T and Numera.  Verizon’s site offers 'convenience calling' (that is, minutes that can be used for non-emergencies); Numera’s site mentions a future health aspect of its Libris offering; and AT&T’s site talks about Health.  Otherwise, the emphasis is about averting or responding to an emergency. >>> Read more . . .

Tracking the trackers -- the need for Boomer Health Tech Watch

Digital health tech is the answer – but what are the questions? What new gadgets and apps can make consumers take better care of their own health?  What are the gadgets and apps that help doctors take care of consumers?  Let’s assume that the combination of tech that helps consumers and doctors equals Digital Health.  In this emerging world, do doctors encourage consumers to give these new apps and gadgets a try? What is the digital technology uptake among the worried well and the not-so-well boomer population – a giant and amorphous demographic blob that some marketers want to cultivate.  Even if we added those modifiers that help divide boomers into cohorts – words like caregiving, wealthy, unmarried, educated, grandparents, rural -- it is a challenge for innovators to peer through the just right Digital Health lens and see clearly who is targeted, what they need, and who will pay for the next new thing. >>> Read more . . .

Five New Technologies for Aging in Place – Jan-Feb 2014

The start of a new year -- it extends past CES!  Let's remind ourselves -- press releases matter. As you know by now, becoming quiet about a firm's products and offerings is bad business practice – silence is assumed to be a bad sign – and the aging dates of content on websites is even worse. That’s because the technology market waits for no man – or woman. And to their PR credit, tech companies get that. So in the past few months new versions and offerings of technology solutions have been swept up in press releases on this site – perhaps missed by readers, so here they are, extracted into a single blog post. As has been the case previously, all of the text is extracted from the announcements by the technology firms themselves. >>> Read more . . .

Hype cycles: IDC can predict last week, the world ignores the present

Press releases propagate predictive thought. Most wearables and health-related predictions reflect the universe of themselves, that is, gadget press releases and press hype about the rise in wearables, for example, among consumers. Per IDC, in 2014 "wearables and embedded sensors will become mainstream." What is mainstream, considering that only 32% of consumers are even aware of fitness trackers? Or consider that low-risk prediction: "Certain health care organizations will experiment with Google Glass."  Well, maybe not so much this year -- two months before, a Fast Company article interviewed a surgeon who was experimenting, concluding that the device has a 'long way to go.' >>> Read more . . .

Buying the customer base – Facebook seizes WhatsApp, Brookdale acquires Emeritus

Facebook spends on WhatsApp -- Brookdale buys Emeritus.  It’s been an interesting week. Most people do not see a parallel in these two acquisitions, I’m quite sure, since the target user of each is separated by, oh, say 50 years. So what does it mean to consumers that Brookdale, in a 2.8 billion stock deal, will now be the first national and largest owner-operator senior living company in the United States -- with more than 1100 locations in 46 states? What does it mean that Facebook, that completely-closed purveyor of ads, pictures and Likes, spent $16-19 billion, just about the largest tech acquisition price EVER, on a messaging tool with no ads, no games, and no gimmicks that costs virtually nothing to use – other than a smart phone’s data plan? But it’s big overseas in places where Facebook isn't – and best of all, it requires your phone number to use -- which Facebook will now have if it didn't already. >>> Read more . . .

Can lobbying preserve paper documents for the oldest seniors?

From that age-friendly government, so here to help.  Rant on. I thought the last word had been said about the idiocy of cutting off paper documents before the rest of the older population was online. But no, yesterday's Washington Post ran an article describing the lobbying group, Paperoptions.org.  Sneered the Post -- it is funded by envelope manufacturers! -- as being a thorn in the side of the administration’s move to push all remaining documents online, regardless of citizenry ability to access those documents. "The glitzy new thing is to be pro-technology," said John Runyan, Consumers for Paper Options’ executive director. "But a lot of government agencies are saying, 'We’re going electronic and the heck with it.'" >>> Read more . . .

Work and jobs -- where is the Studs Terkel of today?

Will the next mid-life crisis be at 75?  Sixty is the new sixty, says Marc Freedman. Attending a recent event, I was an audience member exhorted to consider the ever-greater expansion of time available to make sure that it is time well-lived. What does that mean in the context of life’s purpose, whether we are prepared to competently approach our very long retirement years with not-enough-saved or will we have an encore career or two? He quoted the comment of an older adult about their potentially very long future: "I’m on my next-to-last dog." Working part time – is that a next-to-last career? Volunteering – is that a career?  In one session I heard the word 'work' used for effort that is "paid or unpaid."  How mangled is our language that volunteering without pay is now called working? >>> Read more . . .

Positive Aging Conference highlights Sarasota area technology innovation

The 2014 Positive Aging Conference shines a light on innovation.  At the just-held Conference on Positive Aging in Sarasota, FL, the seventh in its history, to the four themes Wellness, Creativity, Transitions and Community, the conference added  a new theme, Technology.  The conference’s offerings are designed primarily for the Sarasota County attendees, a population of older adults in the region who are the focus of the work of the Institute of the Ages. This year, the Institute of the Ages, led by CEO Tom Esselman, has partnered with InnovateLTC, CEO John Reinhart, an accelerator for new businesses serving the age-related market segments.  That partnership enables a willing and able test audience from Sarasota to find willing and eager businesses looking for pilots of their products and services. >>> Read more . . .

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