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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Meet or hear Laurie in one of the following:

Washington, DC, June 25-28, 2019

CAP Conference, Asheville, NC, Aug 15-17.

Washington, DC, July 23.

National Church Residences, Columbus, OH, September, 2019

AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, Oct 23, 2019

2019 LTC InsurTech, Silicon Valley, DC, Nov 7, 2019

DC Longevity Summit, December, 2019

Monthly blog archive

Tech adoption grows for older adults -- why?

In 2019, Tech adoption changes -- some.  It’s known as the Amazon effect. As brick-and-mortar based businesses dwindle in favor of online, access to smartphone and broadband are becoming the enablers of information flow to older adults.  Pew Research helps us understand who, what, and possibly why people buy and own technology. Non-users, particularly broadband, are thus on one side of the so-called digital divide.  The latest Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019 report reveals a change in the role of smartphones, particularly as a sole device for connecting to the Internet – 37% of responders to this year’s survey go online primarily using a smartphone, with 58% of 18-29-year-olds saying they mostly go online that way, though that number dropped to 15% for the 65+.   

Ten Years – Technology for Older Adults – 2009-2019

Look back to remind us where we are.  Ten years ago, the tech product choices designed for older adults were few and rudimentary. The intent was simplification of the basics for the tech-reluctant – sending email, looking at information online.  As an analyst migrating from the IT industry, it was startling to see the limited capabilities of the offerings like Presto the Printing Mailbox (used, eBay), Celery (printing mailbox – gone), Mailbug (device to send-receive email – still on Amazon), and Big Screen Live (browser for seniors - gone).  According to an AARP Healthy@Home report from 2008, the only home tech device that had any level of awareness (91% of responders) was Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS).

Five Health and Aging Tech Posts from May 2019

What does it mean when offerings and consumers aren’t aligned?  For older consumers and their families, the technology market and senior housing industry are two cases in point.  Consider the slower-growing 8(8% occupied) senior housing industry – where in ten years, 81% of couples will not be able to afford the $60,000 average cost of assisted living (a number that does not reflect higher cost memory care). Or mull over the technology industry, which is releasing new versions of every category faster than you can Google them, filling voids like adding mouse for the iPad.  Why did it not have a mouse in the first place?  Oh, yes, and it is an accessibility feature.  Still no headphone jack on the phone.  Or creating a folding phone (without much testing) with a screen that breaks within days of announcement. Did anyone ask for a phone that folds?  So in that vein, here are five blog posts, mostly rants, from May, 2019:

Linkage – A rare survey of technology ownership among the oldest

When there’s nothing else to buy. Funny about technology ownership among the oldest – generally there is no way to know whether they own any or if would they buy it. Neither Pew (in 2018) nor AARP (2019 technology ownership) broke out upper age ranges. So Link·age Connect is an outlier that asks ownership questions and documents age breakdowns of responders, half of whom were age 75+. This 2019 Technology Survey of Older Adults Age 55-100, conducted online, notes that 80% of respondents (45% of whom live in senior-oriented communities/housing) have smartphones. At this point, if the mobile phone breaks, what’s the store rep going to promote, and it doesn’t matter which store? While they carry flip/feature phones, an iPhone or an Android phone can be used just like a flip phone. More than 50% of respondents have smart TVs (yes, that’s nearly all you can buy these days).

Technology non-adoption of the oldest – it’s a bug, not a feature

Not adopting tech -- it's not okay. Lacking access to smartphones, Internet, in-home broadband/WiFi cuts oldest out of access to modern telehealth, communication and engagement, in-home sensors, outside-home GPS, fall detection, and device integration with smartphones. The issue of non-adoption, particularly as more health services move online, will become increasingly vexing for service providers of all types. Surveying of the oldest has fallen out of favor, though Link-ageConnect persists, thankfully -- see their 2019 report. But over the years much has been opined about the reasons – so here is some more opining. Rant on.

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:

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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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