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Including use of technology.


'They don’t have time to try some new technology.'


Health IT is being embraced by providers, caregivers and elders themselves.


The foundry is cultivating innovations that help older adults age at home.


At the Louisville Innovation Summit, experts discussed role of tech in staying independent.

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

Squeezing out the doctor? Not by a long shot

Evidence undermines the Economist title. Just like the New York Times and New Yorker long articles, when the Economist speaks, it looks weighty and credible. But the Economist’s Squeezing out the Doctor article is mostly about what the writer has just discovered -- which has been the case for years, but without his knowledge. Take this example, which clearly impressed: “Patients are much happier to monitor themselves at home with gadgets bought online than they used to be [really!], and gadget-makers think there is a huge potential for growth in taking the trend further. Philips is trying to crack Japan with emergency-alert devices for the elderly.” Hmm. Philips has marketed this type of product ever since they bought Lifeline 7 years ago. The PERS industry is a 20-year-old market disconnected from MDs that needs a responder to opt for a next step. And it is reimbursement of doctors (or lack thereof) that hampers progress in the overhyped telehealth market, that everything-but-the-kitchen-sink world spanning ‘robotic surgery to patient-to-patient email.’ 

Internet and oldest adults -- closing the gap

So internet use is up -- for almost everyone.  The latest survey from Pew is out -- and Internet use among the 65+ age segment is up -- more than half of those surveyed say they are online. But that would be the age band from 65 to 75 -- sometimes referred to as the 'young old'.  After 75, only 34% are online, and only one in five have home broadband. (As you must know by now, even reading this blog would be an endurance test at dial-up speeds -- and it has no graphics!) For the two-thirds of those aged 76 and beyond that are not online yet -- it seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Non-users in previous surveys said that to use the Internet would require training and help to go online. Yet non-users also indicated lack of relevance as a reason not to bother. But if they don't have the training to make it happen, it seems tough to determine if the content found there is relevant or not. Could be anything ranging from a WebMD symptom checker to  discounts to health information from NCOA to free online courses offered by MIT. To me, that implies that action is required -- and it is more than the initiative by AARP and the Geek Squad. 

Enough boomer brilliance – let’s move on

Reaching the end of my boomer ‘ain’t we cool’ rope.  Rant on. Got one of those ’10 baby boomers inventions that rocked our world’ e-mails today from a party who will remain nameless, but wanted to be credited should I publish it.  It felt familiar. Why, it was remarkably similar to a 2010 Reuters reprint of an article: Baby boomer inventions that changed the world which itself was an excerpt from a book by Patrick Kiger. No clue how many articles pre-date that one that noted the Jarvik heart, WWW, the Apple II, DNA, blah, blah, blah.  The self-aggrandizement (and marketing promotional opportunity) of boomers and those who wish to make a buck off of them – it's enough to make one gag.  And, as they say, I ARE one, and yeah, my business supposedly targets that demographic.

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Ten new technologies for aging in place

Rounding up from a series of press releases, encounters and other notifications accumulated over the past few months, from the very small firm to the very large, from the very new to the very new release, here are some new technologies and/or services that may be new to you, for use by or in support of older adults.  All material is from the vendor published information:

Tech support comes of age

Facebook friends are fine, but devices rule. Yesterday’s Facebook hullabaloo should be placed in a larger context – not only do they not make a physical product, but your Friends beam at you through a gazillion different and ever-more-mobile devices.  Forget Facebook for a second, because it might be just today’s pet rock front end. Let’s mull over those gazillion different devices. Just who will support you, regardless of your age and how tech smart you think you are, as they multiply in your environment like weeds? Who helps you with making these devices work properly with other tablets, computers, and cloud and installed software? The Genius at the bar is a bit vendor-specific, don’t you think? And the IT folks that you know are busy battling enterprise-wide viruses, and there you are at home and on the phone, with your relatives of all ages as they peer helplessly at glowing screens, plaintively intoning that old refrain, “But it worked yesterday!”

The skills of life expectancy -- working past 65

Perhaps we need a new set of work and life expectations.  Doesn't it strike you as interesting that the so-called 'retirement' age (that is when you can receive full Social Security benefits) has been 65 for a long time? It has bumped up just recently -- but then so has average life expectancy. According to data compiled by the Social Security Administration:  "A man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 83. A woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 85. And those are just averages. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95." The oldest age that SSA considers for initial full eligibility is 67 -- for those born in 1960 or later. Meanwhile, the average anticipated retirement age in the US is, what a surprise, age 67.  

You can’t always get the email you want

Biting the hand that reads you.  Your inbox, I bet, is filled with stuff you don’t want, some of which gets trapped into your spam filters and can be made to disappear with a poof. But what if the sender’s software thinks it is smarter than you are at knowing what that is?  Lately this has happened more than once and I think it is a bit creepy. Today’s example is LinkedIn, which has monitoring tools to see if you’ve opened the e-mail it has sent you. If you don’t open the e-mail often enough, LinkedIn helpfully offers you the opportunity to reduce the frequency of those digests -- summary of posts from my membership in forty LinkedIn Groups.  “Would I like to switch from daily to weekly?” Ya know, if it was really that irritating, maybe I would have switched the settings myself. So I switched the setting back to daily – but LinkedIn will no doubt try to outsmart me.

Born this Way: The 50+ Folks are Digital Immigrants & Innocents

 Back in 2001, Marc Prensky coined the terms digital native and digital immigrants in this seminal paper. He said, "Today's average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV).  Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives." Today’s young adults are "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. Digital natives have always been around technology and devices. They are accustomed to trying new tech, having things not work right, and talking to their digital native friends to group troubleshoot and learn what works best. 

The long view of Pew -- most older adults are still not online

The Internet haves and have-nots. Pew Research produced an intriguing summary in April, Digital Differences, a long-term comparison report of changes in Internet use between the years 2000 and 2011.  In June 2000, only 12 percent of the 65+ population (aka seniors) were online – and today, 41% are. And just in time for US government agencies switchover to online requirements: the other 59% will need a backup plan. According to a new Washington lobbying group, paper versions of tax forms, savings bonds, annual social security statements and social security checks (switching to direct deposit) will soon be just a memory. So it is important to have accurate data about who has online access and who doesn't -- particularly within a vulnerable population of older adults.

Geriatric care managers need your love and support

Geriatric care managers need your support. I was lunching recently with a friend who is a geriatric care manager (GCM) and I decided to ask her a few questions about why we don’t see more technology interest from GCMs. For those of you who haven’t heard of GCMs, here is the definition from their National Association (NAPGCM): "A professional Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives. The GCM is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, including nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology." In essence, GCMs are the go-to professionals for families dealing with the frail elderly.

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