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12/08/2017

Smart-home tech could help seniors with health and safety concerns.

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Meet or hear Laurie in one of the following:

Washington, DC, December, 11-14, 2017

 

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

October 2017: Research and Initiatives for Aging in Place

October is a busy month of events, new research and announcements.  All are back from vacation, media announcements in the aging-related space and new businesses are launching, like Lowe's announcement that it is expanding "technology for senior care" (a balanced bookend to the Best Buy's Smart Home announcement from July.)  New research was announced, new research and business innovation centers were launched. And that doesn't count the new product announcements or tech exhibitors from this or that event.  More on that later this month.  So here are five initiatives that were announced in October:

For boomers, there is no such thing as keeping up with tech change

When boomers are 84 – there will be no keeping up. Just the same as when they are 64.  Many boomers disagree with that statement, finding it insulting or pessimistic or both. They will repeat plaintively that baby boomers are very different than their parents’ generation. They are comfortable with technology. See how many have smartphones! They text, use Facebook and YouTube.  Many book travel online, read TripAdvisor reviews, and even call for car pickups with an app!  So what’s the problem? Tech change is occurring faster than boomers at 64 or 84 will want to use. Groups of people who used to participate in one social network will leave in 11 million-at-a-time droves and without explanation.  And, as with Facebook, the departed will include your children and grandchildren who left to use Instagram and Snapchat. They will leave without notice – the social network equivalent of changing a phone number – with parent/grandparent only learning about it when they tried to place a (now-obsolete) phone call. Eventually they will also leave those tools behind, and so on and so forth.

To help seniors in 2017 and beyond, monitor person AND the place

An age-old and old-age question. When this blog was launched in 2009, one of the opening salvos raised the question of sensors in the home or a PERS device on the body? Looking at that post, the companies have mostly changed.  In the monitor-place corner, Healthsense’s eNeighbor is now Lively Home, part of GreatCall. QuietCare was eventually folded into Care Innovations. Monitoring the person, Halo Monitoring became an offering as part of one of the earliest mobile PERS companies, MobileHelp.  Monitor the place argument was based on the reality that seniors don’t always wear the pendant.  Monitor person acknowledged that seniors leave the place and are out and about. Both are crisp, make good presentations and set up message for selling. Both are inadequate arguments for what older adults need, and what providers of all types should provide.

Innovation today: Making tech you don’t want, can’t use or doesn’t work

Rant on.  Forcing tech onto the customer is standard operating procedure for companies. Because of advertiser pressure, for example, we have to make an effort to stop auto-playing videos in news feeds, news sites, ads, etc. – completely missing the possibility that the viewer might be staring at a smartphone in the train’s quiet car, or up early when a spouse is still asleep.  Or worse, the news feed shows a video that no one should ever see --but has yet to be taken down by one of the 3000 take-it-down new hires

Why don’t home care agencies offer tech support?

Maybe Best Buy has an idea worth copying from Amazon. In 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Home Services, which fairly recently added tech services, including sending a local tech professional to your home. The work might be setting up a router; connections for 4 devices; password protection; and use and troubleshooting instructions. Recently, Best Buy launched Assured Living, a service to help long-distance adult children monitor older family members’ well-being, including setting them up with smart home technologies (costing as much as $1000 for all of them), possibly some of the list is in the ‘official’ definition. Oh yeah, and there is a service charge of $1/day.

Six Tech and Aging Blog Posts -- September, 2017

It was the autumn of disaster.  As summer waned, a series of storms (and oddly-off forecasts about path) wreaked havoc across a vast area, with terrorized older adults left sitting in water or trapped on highways -- stuck in interminable traffic, sweltering heat or homes crushed and no place to go. Hurricane Harvey assaulted Houston, then Hurricane Irma pummeled multiple areas of Florida and Caribbean islands, there were earthquakes and aftershocks in Mexico, followed by a mind-boggling crisis from Maria in Puerto Rico. Throughout all of these, people were heroic. But technology failed or disappointed in almost every way -- from cell phone batteries to power companies, from internet availability to forecasting of storm paths. If one were to look back a year later, it will almost be too much to be believed. Here are six blog posts from the month of September, most prior to Hurricane Irma:

Five VR offerings for Older Adults and Patients in 2017

What is virtual reality and why should seniors care? Emerging from the gaming world, virtual reality technology and content is beginning to deliver in healthcare and senior settings.  The strict definition, "computer technology that delivers an experience through headsets" is terse. But multiple firms, from CDW Healthcare and Morning Pointe Memory Care to Cedars Sinai Hospital -- these organizations see an opportunity to use the technology in interesting and beneficial ways.

Irma: hurricanes, tech and older adults – what can be learned?

First there was too much information.  At the forecasters became more insistent that Irma would hit Florida – the state with the highest percentage of older adults -- as a Category 5 hurricane, many of the possibly 4 million older adult residents appeared to leave first – when the highways were still passable. Then more tried to leave and were stuck in monumental traffic jams.  Finally, there were the stalwarts determined to stay, in the Keys, in Miami, in Bonita Springs, in Jacksonville. And for senior living communities, evacuation seemed near-impossible. Ultimately for some with no place to go – and no help – they died due to neglect and lack of followup by a state agency.

What’s new in technology for individuals with impaired vision?

Lots of talk about technology talking to us.  We are in a 'voice-first-this' and voice-first-that moment in technology history.  So much buzz, that even Apple thinks Siri may need to wise up and consider the competition – which is speaking to us from everywhere, and has even (in research) reduced the error rate down to 5.1%.   Of course, when you imagine that voice tech is used for in-car navigation systems (Drive to Western Avenue – no not cistern, I said Western!) and may be driving home automation systems, alerting to falls, and assisting home health aides, it’s important to have very high expectations for very low error rates.

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Five technology innovations to help older adults – August 2017

As August winds down, startups wind up.   For some, maybe they still think that summer is winding down and all is quiet in business and beyond. But no -- back to school, back to work, and back to starting companies.  Aging 2.0 finalists have been announced, conference media organizations are ramping up, and a few leaves begin to turn – fall is in clearly the air and around the corner.  Before August disappears altogether and the media engines shift into gear, here are five announcements of new technologies designed to help older adults and/or their caregivers.  All material is derived from the websites of the firms:

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