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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

Voice First: Speaking Up about Health and Wellness

Voice First is changing health and wellness offerings today. Already the predicted capability to speak a request or instruction without having to type or tap on a device – known as Voice First – has transformed how we interact with technology. If we can speak a command to play music, control the lights, or open the shades benefits accrue to the elderly who live alone. This technology can help those who are blind or have macular degeneration, and it can help those with disabilities. AARP and Optum have initiated pilots to determine if this technology can help mitigate social isolation and improve health outcomes for the elderly. And note experiments and pilots for applying Voice First technologies for health and wellness. So what’s intriguing?

Five Recent Caregiving Technology Offerings in 2018

What newcomers have entered the market?  Besides ‘longevity market new media’ like Stria (former Next Avenue) that provided a splash of cold water for startups and investors in the older adult space.  Although there is little evidence that any investors are bullish about the general older adult market – despite AARP documentation and various books to the contrary, innovators continue to create new offerings to help older adults live better lives.  Here are five recent and soon-launching offerings to help – content is from the websites of the firms or articles about them:

The ABCs of the Internet Today – Ads, Bots and Crushing Clutter

The business model of the Internet is crushing us.   Rant on. We could start with Twitter, which is deleting millions of bots, trolls, and other fake accounts (often with automated software generating hundreds of tweets per day).  This is raising concerns over the company's growth and true number of monthly users. But it's not raising concern about the business and social value of Twitter. Has anyone looked at the age distribution of Twitter users? Only 8% are 65+, and the biggest block is aged 18-29.  Consider that its share price and profit of $61 million in Q1 2018 are tied to growth in "legitimate human users -- the only ones capable of responding to the advertising that is the main source of revenue for the company." Translate: capable of responding because they are human 18-29 year-olds, not necessarily because they have money to spend. And then there are:

Four Blog Posts (and concerns) That You May have Missed

Considering the dog days of summer.  Dog days – these are the hottest days of summer, according to that Oracle of modern culture, Wikipedia.  As the glow and racket from fireworks fade, it's time to mull over the thoughts that zipped by in recent months, perhaps not noticed, but are worth another consideration.  All four of these posts are about our technology life, as shoppers in stores as recently as July 1, our experience with user interfaces that are designed for none, catching up on the hype/hope/fading hope about self-driving cars, and finally, the only thing that can terrorize a company the size of Walmart – Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Here are four blog posts to take a look at in this sleepy week:

Aging in Place Technology – Five Blog Posts from June 2018

n a short month, heard lots about caregiving and hearing.  You have 'conversed' with an older person who cannot hear well without hearing aids but owns an expensive pair which are highly adjustable. But they don't put them in, or lost one of them and not replaced it, even though the VA will pay for it. These individuals may ask you a question, but they don’t wait for an answer they can’t hear well. And so they go on – talking about themselves  and assuming that’s fine at your end of the 'dialogue'   They have families who become irritated with them; they spend a great deal of time alone.  Then one day, they become part of an equation – those with hearing loss are at greater risk of developing dementia.   Sigh.  Here are four blog posts from June:

Now Hear This: Hearing-related technology for older adults and caregivers

Uncorrected hearing loss isolates and harms older adults.   One in three between age 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of people aged 75+ have some significant level of hearing loss.  Note that hearing loss has been linked to dementia and to social isolation – and that in turn has been connected to poorer health outcomes.  Furthermore, wearing hearing aids has been linked to fewer hospital visits. According to studies, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in five (20 percent) has ever used them. Why such a small percentage? Experts believe that it is a combination of denial, belief that hearing loss is not severe enough, perceived stigma associated with wearing hearing aids, and a perception that they cost too much.

Ten technologies from the 2018 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit

Two sets of pitches, ten finalists across the competitions. The first five are finalists in the 2018 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit Business Plan competition. The Business Plan Competition features companies pitching their ideas to a diverse panel of judges for feedback, funding and a $10,000 prize.  The second five are finalists in the AARP Innovation Labs Pitch Competition for companies focused on providing peace of mind to family caregivers through the use of VR, AI and other disruptive technologies. The winning team will go on to the AARP Innovation Pitch Event in Washington, DC, in October of 2018.

The more technology changes, the more some categories will remain

The more things change… Life expectancy is long – tech attention span from investors and innovators can be short.  Reviewing the past 10 years of blog posts (from 2008 until 2018), in the beginning, consider the categories and innovations. To mitigate social isolation, for example, note the video phone and the printing mailbox. The objective was to communicate with grandma or grandpa, who might be bereft of email – or for that matter, WiFi, Skype, tablet, smartphone, PC or MAC. Imagine the blissful simplicity or those times -- for the grandparents.  Largely forgotten now --  Mailbug, BigKeys – and printing mailboxes Presto and fax-machine based MyCelery. But the PERS market, around since 1975 in the US, has repeatedly been predicted to be obsolete and about to be replaced with something else.

Narrowing the price gap between hearing aids and PSAPs

The hearing aid industry offers pricey hearing aids for people with ‘defined’ hearing loss.  The FDA wants you to understand that it regulates hearing aids – which it defines as helping the medical condition of hearing loss. The FDA then observes “sound amplifiers for consumers with no hearing loss who want to make environmental sounds louder for recreational use.“ Recreational ? Hearing aids that they do regulate are now made by a small number of companies and are sold with audiologist services for $1000 up to $4000 per device – most people need two – and have a lifespan of up to 7 years.   That price includes a hearing test, fitting, initial batteries and more.

Aging in Place Technology – Five Blog posts from May 2018

It’s Not About Your Grandmother – 10 Steps Before Launching! You want to launch a boomer/senior, home health tech, caregiving, product or service. Or other. Your new company gets ready to travel into battle for west coast networking, or you're back from San Francisco or Silicon Valley, consider this guidance, now that cards have been exchanged and follow-up emails sent. Soon your new or existing company will officially launch a new product or service, or a much-anticipated offering will finally ship. You read AARP and Pew survey research reports. Now look over this 6-month-old updated checklist.  And you look back on the 2009 advice – which is still valid, especially about creating community around the product – more important than ever. And as for item 6 in this post, THIS MEANS YOU!   Really now, are you ready?

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