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In 2014, will technology for seniors be absorbed into digital health?

A long holiday stretch ends.  No, I’m not talking about Christmas decorations in shopping malls. The media frenzy that was CES 2014 may soon wane away, although post mortems and predictions persist. So let’s review: there were Silvers Summit exhibitors (6) and then there was Digital Health (77). For CES health-related overall, count 170 per Mobile Health News – and that includes "e-Cigarette makers that categorized themselves as Digital Health."  See one of a few cynical posts – where we can find a new word -- track-a-holism -- and a new slogan -- "sitting is the new smoking." But in the Digital Health exhibit list, note the presence of GrandCare and Independa – two long-standing players in what could have been categorized at a different event as senior technology.  >>> Read more . . .

Ten CES technologies that could be useful to older adults

Last year, CES in Pajamas, this year CES from the kitchen.  Everyone who is anyone in the tech world wants to be at CES…well, almost everyone. Remember a 2012 health tech article called CES in Pajamas? Check out TelecareAware's analysis of write-ups in The CES of Health or MDDI's note about Aging in Place. And this year, the Forbes article, I, Robot Journalist: Beaming into CES 2014 was a great use of the Beam (from Suitable Technologies) telepresence device, "a motorized stand that looks like an iPad glued to a Segway." The Forbes writer 'wanders' around the International CES show and sort-of elbows her robotic way around to view various booths. The CEO of Suitable Technologies wants to see 10,000 Beams at CES 2015.  Let’s try to imagine that scene -- I bet CES introduces a Beam registration limit to minimize violence on the show floor. (Seriously, Yyou read it here first.) >>> Read more . . .

Making ease of use the default for new product design

Do designers of new products seriously consider ease of use?  As the December buying frenzy fizzles, we are often reminded that 70% of the US economy is driven by consumer spending. We are not reminded too often about the Longevity Economy -- that 90+ million people are 50+, have most of the money, own most of the homes and cars, and thus buy the most of everything, including technology. And even the growth of social media shifts older - the fastest growing segment of Facebook users are aged 65+, Facebook has apparently saturated and/or bored teenager segments who have moved on, at least for now, to other stuff. So as some of you head off to CES exhibit halls this coming week, please consider the product user interface of what you see. Look at the TV, 'white hot' wearables, fitness devices, car tech, the ironically-titled not-so-smart phones, tablets, the health apps that apparently will eclipse the TVs.  Count the demos you see of products you could characterize as simple, elegant, easy-to-use designs for all ages, including those who need to put on their reading glasses to read the manual or the 70% of adults who suffer eye strain peering at their devices.   >>> Read more . . .

December 2013 Year-end Wrap and 2014 Trends to Watch

2013 was a year in which issues percolated all around the world of older adults – health insurance and Medicare media interest dominated, but senior housing also made the news, caregiving received some exposure, and new tech to mitigate hearing and vision loss emerged. In terms of trends that could, would, and should impact the technology worlds of older adults, much has happened and more is ahead. From specific initiatives to government policy implications, the markets (money, innovation, and consumer interest) show signs of aligning in ways that can only benefit boomers and seniors. Here are trends that signal change: >>> Read more . . .

A look back at 2013's most read blog posts

One word to describe 2013 -- mobile. Like the word "plastics" in The Graduate, if you asked investors what made them empty their piggy banks in 2013, this was the year of the Mobile Self. If it is smartphone-like and/or moves with you on your body, to mangle Arnold Schwarzenegger, why not invest a billion or so.  But a not-so-subtle change also marked the year -- what was once mHealth has migrated to become healthcare (maybe because those downloaded apps were a bust) and then Health IT by the end of the year. Health IT is where the real budget and money are. To date, no one has figured out how to make money off smart phone apps except smart phone new-every-two carriers. In that light, here are the most read blog posts from 2013: >>> Read more . . .

CASTing a bit of light on technology adoption in senior housing

Senior housing organization set a survey baseline that worries leaders.   At a 2011 presentation at LeadingAge’s conference in DC, not long after the organization dropped the AAHSA moniker, a technology adoption survey was presented and prefaced with an apology about the low (18%) participation rate in the survey. A month later, the organization published a series of case studies about early adopters ("Pioneers in the field") -- several of them presented at that LeadingAge conference.  Okay – these were tech enthusiasts -- the Evangelical Homes of Michigan stood out then and does even now -- but overall, not too much was happening at the time. >>> Read more . . .

Ten Technologies from the 2013 mHealth Summit

Ice, snow and healthcare at your fingertips. The mHealth Summit was acquired by HIMSS in February 2012. The summit was billed at that time as "the largest gathering focused solely on the intersection of health and mobile information technology." This year, the glossy for the mHealth Summit event was subtitled "Healthcare at your Fingertips" – a play on the mobile health device innovation and investment hype.  During an icy and snowy few days, there was the usual gnashing of teeth about whether mobile healthcare delivery is a broadly adopted reality and will really be at your fingertips any time soon. The conference tackled some thorny global issues – obstetrics and women in developing countries, new ventures/investment and helping developers think about wireless innovation. Surprise -- the event had at least three scheduled sessions (Yayyy!!!) about older adults, aging in place, and the presence/absence of apps for seniors. >>> Read more . . .

Life Quality Tech Gifts for Older Adults – for under $100

It’s that time of year – everyone knows someone.  Your grandmother, your mother, father, uncle – they are, for the most part, living in their own homes, where not-so-hidden dangers are all around.  Perhaps in addition, they are lonely – as this very sad article describes.  So you know someone who is older than you and, perhaps, lives alone – as 46% of the women aged 75+ do, according to the US Census.  So what might be a list of gift ideas aimed at a few of the opportunities and concerns of the 75+ person in your circle of family or friends or individuals in your neighborhood senior center? If you have them, please add your own suggestions to this list. >>> Read more . . .

Online older adults do a better job of managing their health

How did we get people to quit smoking? Do you remember the early days when 'Smoking is bad for your health' ads (based on published research) emerged? In the 1960s, 44% of adults smoked. I thought of the research-based ads this week when Pew Research released an enormous report (94 pages) called The Diagnosis Difference, funded by the California Healthcare Foundation. In its many pages, the report makes two key points: 1) People with chronic diseases are less likely to have Internet access than those without chronic diseases --72% versus 89%, thus described as the "17-point difference." 2) Those with chronic diseases who are online use the Internet to find information as well as other people who share their chronic disease(s).  And – one more thing – 43% of the 65+ surveyed had two or more chronic conditions. Now you know, but what should you do? >>> Read more . . .

Who knows technology adoption of the real seniors -- aged 75+?

Accenture exaggerates wildly -- but what should we think?   Rant on. Accenture, seeing a void of 'information' to use to gain new clients, put out an obfuscating headline in a press release last week that precipitates pause. More than pause -- the need for a willing suspension of disbelief: Tech-Savvy Seniors Seek Digital Tools to Manage their Health.  To generate that headline, they surveyed 9015 adults internationally, including the US -- and, get this, of those, they included 200 aged 65+ Medicare recipients. Of course, 2 percent of the survey responders is what led some PR genius at Accenture to grab attention with that headline. So what's a senior, anyway?  Accenture was pitching global consulting services, naturally, and promoting the report that sat behind the headline -- intended for companies filled with young marketers trying to penetrate the mystique of consumers. But when Accenture foists a fact-like assertion, doesn't this make you want to know -- so what IS the technology adoption rate of the real seniors in the US? In September, Pew's researchers sent this along about those aged 76-80: 8.3% have a smart phone, 60.8 have a regular feature phone and 30.9% have neither type. Odds are that the 30.9% population is not online and thus won't be seeking a digital tool to manage their health. >>> Read more . . .

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