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06/28/2017

Shortage of skilled workers to fill entry-level positions caring for older adults.

06/23/2017

The technology has been tested at Brookdale Senior Living.

06/22/2017

Internet of Things  changing elder care -- remote monitoring in particular.

06/15/2017

28 percent of patients offered home health care say “no” to those services.

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

Community well-being should factor in older adult population

Consider the Gallup-Healthways survey about community well-being.  Naples, Florida, is at the top. Really? Perhaps this caught your eye last week when you saw the Gallup survey about well-being.  For those who missed it, the survey ranked well-being of adults 18 and older in a community (town) by specific factors -- Purpose, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical.  At the highest level, Naples was followed by the town of Barnstable on Cape Cod. Consider that the attribute ‘Physical,’ for example, meant “Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.” So look past the survey. These towns are comparatively wealthy by national measures -- the median income for a household in Naples is $66K and for those over age 75, it is $71K.  For Barnstable, median income is $62.1K – and note that 20% of the Barnstable population is 65+, higher than the 135 national percentage. In Naples, the median age is 60 and an eye-popping 42% of the population is aged 65+.

Six new technology offerings for older adults – March, 2017

How tough is it to highlight tech innovation that could help older adults?  Pretty tough, judging by the accelerator pitch event winners at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference (etcetera) held this week in Austin. Even the hearing-loss tech winner, Sound Scouts, was pitched as a screening tool for children. And no joke, one of the winners, Laugh.ly, was a streaming app for stand-up comedy. Yay! So prior to next week's older-adult events in Chicago, here are new tech offerings drawn from those listed in the 2017 Technology Market Overview. Content is from their company websites:

Excerpts from the 2017 Update Technology Market Overview

As we approach the date for the upcoming week of March 20-24 in Chicago, it is worth noting a few trends. The marketplace of products and services today is still fragmented, with ever-shifting cottage industries comprised largely of startups, challenged by channel complexity and end user resistance.  But with fragments assembled into an overall puzzle, this business for boomers and beyond has been estimated by some to grow to $20 billion by 2020 or even $30 billion by 2017.  The larger market will be based on growing boomer awareness and aging. It will be strikingly different from today – fueled the growing availability of in-car technology, mobile PERS health integration, wearable fitness and health devices, in-home ‘Voice First’ IoT hubs and smart phone apps. In particular:

Predicting the future of health tech and baby boomers – are we there yet?

Baby Boomers, Wearable and Mobile Health Tech – A status report. During 2015, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) sponsored a research project to evaluate the future likelihood of wearable and mobile health tech. This Boomers and Wearable Health Tech 2015 report considered wearables and health apps -- and the likelihood of these technologies helping baby boomers (the oldest is now 71 and 6 years along with Medicare) manage their own care and avoid unnecessary services and costs.  After all, the mobile health app market alone was predicted in 2013 to reach $26 billion by 2017.  Consider the status of each of these predictions – which were based on 21 expert interviews held during 2015. Were the experts correct or overly optimistic?  Both. Here are the 2015 predictions and what has happened since:

Finding Paid Care -- Introducing the Paid Caregiver Support Ratio (pCSR)

Shortage of paid care workers – a growing problem, not well-quantified by region.  As AARP predicted in 2013, by the time the boomers arrive in their 80’s, just nine years from now, there would be a population deficit of prospective care providers aged 46-64 – the caregiver support ratio (CSR). But perhaps the more intriguing question – where are the workers who could, should, or would provide care? In a study released in December 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the compound annual growth rate for home care services, particularly personal care aides, between 2014 and 2024 would be nearly five percent, the highest among all industries. Compare the number of workers that provide direct care ( for example, personal care aides) to retail – these jobs are low-paying at approximately $11/hour and most would say the work is physically more difficult than other low-paying categories.  And tech-enabling the care, while streamlining sourcing and tracking, does not close the available labor gap.

Home Hero is sort of done (maybe, for now??) – What can others learn?

After the long, long, long HomeHero goodbye – was the analysis correct?  HomeHero, based in LA, was one of the three dubbed here as 'Home-egos' to launch within the past 2-3 years -- along with Honor and Hometeam -- and the first to shut its home care business down.  But, unlike most shutdowns, this was a moment for founder Kyle Hill to recap the 'tech-enabled' home care firm’s life and closing story in exhaustive and exhausting detail, complete with pictures. Considering its $23 million of investment, it should have landed on the same Forbes page as the other home care investments –overlooked perhaps because its investors were not typical VCs.  But HomeHero’s example illustrates the enthusiasm and limited business analysis of startups in the older adult space, Lively being one of the most recent, but there are many more which were publicized loudly and then disappeared quickly without even a puff of smoke – or a founder post-mortem. 

Seven intriguing health technology offerings from HiMSS 2017

HiMSS – a tech-enabled vision of health potentialAs health spending approaches 20% of the US GDP, health tech innovation has become a visible lever for its curtailment. At this annual HiMSS event those with comfortable shoes could see a plethora of ways to improve outcomes, lower costs, change behaviors, engage patients, streamline the back office processes, about telehealth, confronting the onslaught of security breaches, sessions on population health, healthcare transformation and improved care delivery workflow.  This was an opulent show, spanning a 1300-participant exhibit hall with major player (anchor) exhibitor booth investments writ large.  Here are seven interesting examples that could benefit the older adult market– listed in alphabetical order:

Seven Examples of 'Voice First' Approaches to Benefit Older Adults

Has the 'Voice First' interface trend gone mainstream -- and can it benefit seniors?  Some think so. What has initially been driven by Apple platform Siri and the Amazon Echo – and now with Google Home -- is about to become mainstream (or as it is described, 'Voice First’) as the primary way we interact with technology.  There is even a possibility soon that both the Echo and Google Home devices could be utilized for voice calling.  Here are seven examples of 'Voice First' approaches and experiments for seniors. Soon there will be more that reference Google Home – please comment with your own 'Voice First' example -- these are from the company websites or news stories:

Five Tech-Enabled Ride Service Options for Older Adults

Tech-enabled transportation options for older adults.  Who would have thought of such a specialization before Uber and Lyft, but today, even Uber and Lyft have introduced specialized offerings. All are interested in (or have been) expanding beyond their home base or current business. Some are scalable nationwide – or want to be. Is the service appropriate for the older adult population it is intended to serve?  Is there a growing opportunity for home care companies to add transportation to their services, especially those home care companies that already have consumer apps?  Does this signal a business opportunity for senior housing firms? Information below is from the websites of the firm or related media.

Pew Fact Sheets Shed Light on the Tech Adoption of Older Adults

The upshot: older adults are not buying into the trendiest tech.  Maybe it is because they can’t afford it, aren’t aware of it, or are unconvinced of its value.  Or maybe the unconvinced who could afford to spend the money fear privacy violations or identity theft. Or are burned out at staring at too much information on Facebook or Twitter.  Considering their twenty years of life expectancy at age 65, perhaps overcoming technology adoption resistance and gaps should be a greater priority for those who want to help those in the oldest decades live their best lives. Looking at the update from Pew, observe:

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