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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Five FinTech Offerings for Older Adults

FinTech – are these tools for seniors?  Some trendy terminology transformations in recent years, for example Voice First and IoT, refer to tech that is relatively new or recently revived.  FinTech, a concatenation of Financial Technology, may be similar.  The category has been generally described as software "designed to be a threat to, challenge, and eventually usurp entrenched traditional financial services providers with the purpose of being more nimble and serving an underserved segment, or providing faster, better service." The next quote sounds a bit ageist, if likely true: "As for consumers, as with most technology, the younger you are the more likely it will be that you are aware of and can accurately describe what FinTech is." Looking at a list of ‘top’ FinTech companies, one might laugh at a company called Robinhood. Don't laugh, though. Charmingly named, Robinhood, which offers free stock trades, is worth $5.6 billion and has more accounts today than eTrade.    

Hearing aid pricing and weak insurance – older adults lose out

You may have seen that rechargeable hearing aid commercial.   What was most striking about the commercial to a hearing industry outsider is the upfront commentary on what sounded like the predatory price of hearing aids – providers “charge whatever they can get.”   Several interesting aspects to that commercial – but the most interesting was that comment.  Who is ‘they’, how much can they ‘get’, and is there insurance that pays for them?  This is in an era where hearing aids have evolved to incorporate embedded AI, fall detection, direct connections for phone calls, and numerous other features and functions.

Policy action on aging and technology – let's expect results

Should we expect change from aging-related tech policy initiatives? The answer is yes. Many are chosen, ideas are circulated from a long list of participants -- good ideas are collected and then the initiative is disbanded.  Maybe it is because the government changes a year later, but the net result is that recommendations appear, but measurements of status or success may not.  A good example from the past 3 years: the PCAST report, summarized in an ASA publication by David Lindeman: 'Independence, Technology, and Connection in Older Age."  A prior report recommending change in the hearing technology industry may have contributed to or encouraged the sale of PSAPs and the introduction in 2018 sale of over-the-counter hearing aids – and may have encouraged additional categories of hearing aids and the growth of interest in 'hearables.’  So to the degree that there is a connection, that’s a good outcome.

Highlighting Eight Technologies from the 2019 Market Overview

The new trend – tech/services for older adults, not just tech.  When the 2009 Market Overview was completed a decade ago, there were gadgets galore, most introduced with maximum enthusiasm and a shoestring of cash.  Today, perhaps due to pending boomer bulge, innovators and their funders may be having a somewhat easier time, at least in some market categories – health, home care, transportation come to mind.  The other apparent trend is the enthusiasm of partners (health care, senior living, home care) to try out new tech-enabled services that target a problem or opportunity that may have existed a decade ago, but is truly apparent today. Finally, the pace of tech improvement is notable – lower cost and improved utility of on body (or in-room) sensors, predictive analytics, and device integration – with smartphones, health systems, and broader solution sets.  Here are eight of the 33 new offerings from the 2019 Market Overview (material from the vendor/news sites) that deserve a closer look – future posts will highlight others:

It’s time for cameras – nursing homes, assisted living, and home care

Where the baby (or elderly family member) may be.  The WSJ investigation of Care.com has only added a level of urgency about the risky business of finding and placing caregivers in homes. Consider the Care.com CEO’s egregious assertion that "Care.com is a marketplace platform, like Indeed or LinkedIn."  Really, finding someone to watch your baby or your aging father is analogous to finding a worker to fill a job opening in your IT department or seeking a manager to fill out your org chart? And having nasty problems with convicted criminals taking on caregiving roles, with deaths occurring in multiple states, but never aggregated into a nationwide picture of a horror show, until research into incidents was done by a Stanford MBA student? Read that link, please.

Ideas from White House's Technology to Support Aging Adults

Technology and aging R&D – who knew about this task force?  Maybe you were also surprised to see this government report posted last week -- Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population.  Of course the aging of the baby boomers (oldest are age 73) is on the minds of lots of businesses and government groups, for various reasons.  Some see a market opportunity in services (home care, home health care, home remodeling).  Some see product sale growth of items (like DME equipment) for an aging population.  Some see housing opportunities or changes to make age-friendlier communities, and some see looming health costs associated with the 50 million individuals now aged 65+. It was a surprise, though, to see this White House report last week, and even more of a surprise to read what’s in it.

Focus on Technology for Older Adults Sharpens in 2019

2019 Technology Market Overview is online this week. When assembling the 2019 tenth anniversary version, it was apparent that this year reflects change -- in the supply-demand balance in the overbuilt senior housing market, in policy changes driving health care services into the home, in market forecasts, and in the mix of vendors who serve the market.   It's in many ways a good-news/bad-news story.  Awareness is growing about an aging demographic, working longer and with longer life expectancy than previous generations.  At the same time, the technology market continues to expand in complexity, privacy and interoperability issues, while not effectively lowering cost of access or prices of useful devices -- and not necessarily boosting the availability of training on their benefits or use.  Here are four updated premises from the 2019 Market Overview of Technology for Older Adults:

2009-19 Market of Technology for Older Adults -- All change, all the time

The more things change...This is the tenth anniversary of the launch of this Market Overview of technology for ‘Aging in Place’, to be re-published in March 2019 – the category of offerings that help enable older adults to remain longer in their home of choice. The launch of that first report was timed in conjunction with the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit of 2009 and offered a chance to speak publicly about a market category that had been largely ignored by tech industry analysts.  As a long-time Forrester analyst, this seemed odd, not unlike the ‘tree falling in the forest’ cliché – if there is no market overview of tech categories, how do vendors position themselves in the market? 

Whatever Happened to Tech-Enabled Home Care?

So much VC money, so little resulting change. Past venture capital investment in home care boggles the mind. It seems only yesterday that Tech-Enabled Home Care was published – including that wonderful Forbes graphic "Why VCs Care More About Home Care."  The Forbes article noted the $200 million invested just in 2016 -- with big money that year putting $60M into ClearCare, $46 million into Care.com and $42 million into Honor as next in line.  The VCs cared, all right – if that money was an indicator. But were they smart? Did they change the dynamics of the home care industry? With smaller investment that year, it's good to see that Envoy (concierge service for independent living), Kindly Care (home care agency), Caremerge (home care platform), and Seniorlink (care coordination) are in their same businesses from 2016 – and others from the period like Envoy and CareLinx received additional investment and moved forward. What happened to other Forbes rock stars?  

Five technology offerings from HIMSS 2019

HIMSS 2019 is where 43,000 health IT enthusiasts engage.    Per their own by-the-numbers charts, you see a picture of the scale of it -- more than 40,000 attendees wanted to be in Orlando, braving weather-related travel obstacles, obtain any required continuing education units – and ideally see as much as possible of the 1300 vendor exhibits. Remembering that adults 65+ are major consumers of healthcare. Here are five of these offerings from 2019 HIMSS, viewed with the lens of caregiving and older adults. 

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Latest Trends

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Market Overview, Technology for Aging in Place, 2019


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White House: Emerging Trends to Aging Population, March, 2019


Loneliness and Health, National Poll on Healthy Aging, March, 2019


Baby Boomers Will Drive Healthcare Spending to $6 trillion, Feb, 2019


The Gerontechnologist: 2019 Market Landscape, February, 2019


AARP Tech Trends and the 50+, January, 2019


Harvard, Senior housing: Older Americans face challenges, Nov, 2018


AARP: Job opportunities for older workers, October, 2018


AARP: 2018 Loneliness and Social Connections, September, 2018


2018 Home and Community Preferences of Adults, August, 2018


MedCity News: Voice Tech is Coming to Healthcare, October, 2018


Next Avenue: How Technology Can Help Us Age in Place If We Let it, Sept, 2018


Hartford Funds: How Talking to Devices Will Transform Life After 65, July, 2018


The Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults, 2018 


Voice, independence-focused technologies drive aging in place forward, June, 2018


The Thrive Center Unlocks an Innovation Hub for Senior Living, February, 2018


Net Neutrality Rollback Raises Concerns for Senior Living, December, 2017


US News & World Report: Tech to Help Americans Age Better, Oct, 2017


MoneyWatch: 10 smart home features to help you age in place, Oct, 2017


Best Buy Bets on Adults Remotely Monitoring Their Aging Parents, Oct, 2017


Next Avenue Names its Top 50 Influencers in Aging, September, 2017


Health Tech's 2017 Must-Read IT Blogger List, July, 2017


Pew: Older Generations Embrace Digital Life, May, 2018


Pew: Social Media Use in 2018


Pew: Who uses the Internet, Broadband, March 2018


View All Trend Studies/Reports


View Our Research Reports 


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IG Living: The Silver Tsunami and Aging in Place, February, 2018


AARP Explores Tech Platforms Designed for Family Caregivers, January, 2018


Front Porch: Amazon Alexa Pilot, December, 2017


Pew: Nearly half of Americans use digital voice assistants, December, 2017


Medicare Spends More on Socially Isolated Older Adults, November, 2017


 


 

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