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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Related News Articles

05/16/2019

 “Alexa is an absolute lifeline. I’d be bored stiff without her.”

05/10/2019

Bad design reflects poorly on company (see  article about Apple) and hurts elderly.

05/09/2019

FinTech firms start to cater to older people and their adult children.

05/09/2019

That mark — a new all-time high — is a 15% increase over the previous year.

05/05/2019

Spend a fraction of the $8 billion invested in digital health companies alone last year.

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Technology, Bad Design and the Kitchen Pliers

You have a pliers in your kitchen. Rant on. If you were lucky enough to read Don Norman’s rant in Fast Company, you must agree with his view of design and its mismatch with the needs of the elderly. You would agree with Don that today’s designs fail all people, not just the elderly.  Because you too have a pliers or wrench in your kitchen to twist tops off bottles and jars. You puzzle at how best to position a knife to release the suction on jars. You have a slippery front door handle that a person with hand arthritis could never open. You have a not-so-universal TV remote with 45 buttons on it, the smallest of which is ‘Mute’.  If you have another box, it has a remote, and perhaps another for stereo equipment and an stylishly confusing one for Apple TV. And that’s just one room. You frequently want to print from a device to a network printer, which requires a network, which requires a router, which needs an upgrade. Let’s not go there.

Five Virtual Reality technology offerings for older adults in 2019

In 2017, it was clear that virtual reality technology had evolved beyond the point of experiments and was having a number of limited introductions into the world of older adults, including senior living environments (Rendever) as well as pain mitigation (FirstHand). Virtual reality has made its way into the 'future of healthcare delivery' consulting, as firms like Care Innovations and Deloitte publish their how-to white papers.  For 2019, here are five VR offerings that specifically note benefits for older adults. The content is drawn from the firms’ websites and/or articles about them:

Older adult finances and future senior housing options are out of sync    

Rant on. A sad tale - reading the lament about the numbers of seniors who will not be able to afford assisted living in 10 years. The report is from NIC – the National Investment Center that provides research to the senior living industry. The upshot – 54% will be unable to pay the $60,000 average annual cost of assisted living (make that $93,000 in Washington DC), even if they sell their home. If one member of a couple is still living in the home, the number rises to 81%.  According to the study, 60% of the population aged 75+ will have mobility, cognitive impairment or chronic conditions that would characterize them as good candidates for assisted living services and settings – but will not have the savings to enable them to move in.

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Ten technologies that can help with fall detection in 2019

The more things change…Who would have thought that fall detection would be added to a hearing aid?  Or that Apple would produce a watch with built-in fall detection, automatically activated for the 65+? A decade ago, before our very first Market Overview, Halo Monitoring launched a wearable fall detection chest strap, realizing the press-the-button PERS devices might not be enough to keep older adults safe – what if they weren’t wearing it?  That dilemma, of course, has helped drive some innovation in the medical alert industry, estimated at $3 billion annual revenue. In fact, MobileHelp, one of the first mobile PERS devices, acquired Halo Monitoring in 2012 – a good move for both, especially since by 2012, it was clear that fall detection by itself was not yet a market category hit.

Five Offerings from the 2019 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit

Today’s What’s Next Boomer Business Summit is recognized as key for entrepreneurs.  For the past 16 years, Mary Furlong and Associates have presented the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit – reflecting ideas and trends about what really is next for the older adult market segments, encompassing, according to AARP, a mind-boggling $7.6 trillion economy. These five companies presented at What’s Next this week in New Orleans today -- Loro was one of  the audience choice winners, along with Intuition Robotics.  Both will head to AARP’s grand pitch finale in the fall.  Information is from the websites of the companies:

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.

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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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