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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

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN before your senior-focused prototype drawing dries

Entering a tech market to help seniors.  You want to help seniors -- you have a personal story about your grandmother. You are trying to decide whether your product for older adults warrants your time and devotion. This is not an easy decision, as you watch every thingamabob, it seems, launch into the market of tech for young folks either in website (Pinterist?) or gadget form (LunaTik Nano Watchband?). You wonder what you’re doing in the senior space; you’re not sure, but this seems NOT to be a gadget market. If someone were to ask you why that is the case, can you answer?

Yo Robot! How about those senior housing applications?

Personal service robots are out and about. So we’ve been talking about personal care robots for a long time – including the social engagement use of Paro the robotic seal, studied and re-studied at MIT. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran an article about a rented robot ($3000) to liven up a party.  Looking like a vacuum cleaner extension with eyes, it roved around a wedding on Segway-like wheels, presenting a movable and real-time image of an the groom’s 82-year-old mother who was physically unable to attend. Finally, a viable example of a robot in the service of an older adult!

Protect seniors from anonymous companies, products and services

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.  Although the cartoonist did not intend it, that 1993 New Yorker cartoon predicted the future and so it came to pass – and then some. So much of what’s on the web masks an entirely different reality. And so little when you search online has anything to do with what you want to find. Most people do not scroll down to the second page of search results if irrelevance rules: the Internet is filled with an ocean of junk web pages and misleading ads, masquerading as legitimate commerce. Talk to our friendly representative (photo of woman wearing headset). Call NOW! As seen on TV! As mentioned in TIME Magazine! Misleading information or scare tactic pictures on websites targeting seniors -- to me, these rank with phony telephone credit card and financial services scams.

Five consumer technologies that should be in every senior housing unit

Overcoming tech inertia in senior housing.  Andrew Carle, founder of George Mason University’s senior housing administrator program, was interviewed by Senior Housing News on the labor-saving benefits of technology use. That he felt compelled to suggest that technology was both an opportunity and a threat was interesting. But is the low penetration of a variety of technologies more about inertia on the part of management and lack of insistence by families who are fearful of making waves? Residents and families would be able to participate in a richer living experience if senior housing organizations overcame their inertia and offered:

Mobile devices and data everywhere, not a drop of information to drink

The mobile device projections are in – and they’re big, REALLY big.  This may just be bigger than the recent and trendy thoughts on the Internet of Things (which was observed by Forrester 11 years ago), and reminds one that it is tough to keep a good phrase down.  So let’s look at three mobile device examples, in descending order of the date predictions they specify, and as described in news articles:

The future of aging and tech via the lens of today's seniors

Surveys drive assumptions, not always correct.  Let’s imagine a world in which a survey organization deliberately sampled technology use beginning with adults aged 65 and peaking at age 100. Yeah, right. The most frequent sampler, Nielsen Wire, begins at 18 and winds down at “65+.” And they are not alone. From these and other surveys, we are often led to believe that a thirty year range of seniors buy and behave exactly the same. Now consider how silly we’d find studies that lumped 20-year-olds and 50-year-olds into the same behavioral buying bucket.

Transcending tech’s targets to craft senior applications

Let’s push the limits of intended tech markets. Pondering the pundits on the latest iThis and the newest fitThat, let’s turn the viewing lens to how the cool and the new could be re-purposed or extended to help seniors. No change needs to be made to hardware, typically, just a tweak here to existing apps – or a new app, that would do the job – feel free to go forth and to market with:

Ah, Google: the software is free – you, not so much

We are so lucky in the ‘cloud’ – vendors upgrade, with or without us. It must have been a thorn in the side of Google engineering that they had separate privacy policies for each of their products. And they were probably plagued by inconsistent contact handling between Gmail, Gmail chat, Google+, and their boatload of acquired companies (like Youtube, DoubleClick, Feedburner, etc.) As they simplify their own maintenance workload beginning on March 1, this streamlining could be an interesting challenge for users.  Many ‘features’ and new defaults may startle -- and not in a positive way.

Creating the ‘Ah Ha!’ Moment

I was reading Joe Coughlin’s recent column It’s the Services Stupid! and realized that I sorta agree with him and sorta don’t. Putting AIP tech into retail settings doesn’t work yet. There are a number of vendors out there who have products in Best Buy and other major retail stores and have found it doesn’t add a lot to their sales bottom line. Instead:

Aging in Place Technology Watch January 2012 Newsletter

Tech for xHealth versus tech for seniors.  How odd, you say, why are these two categories in opposition to each other?  Of course everyone knows that the purpose of xHealth categories (mHealth and its various e-, Digital, Connected, 2.0, Unbound and other wireless variants) are to serve the older adults who have the chronic diseases that the new categories target, right? Ha. This is the ironic discontinuity of our technology times – at the moment that seniors adopt the Internet in notable numbers, the health innovators, nudged by their angel investors and VC backers will have moved to tablets and smart phones. The user they envision? He is a quantified and young self, busy and largely self-absorbed, except for bragging rights (my steps! my heart rate!) uploaded and online. By the time seniors (today’s boomers) get to swiping-and-touching tablets and smarter phones, wearables will make the Fitbit look like an IBM mainframe. For those of you who believe that the xHealths above think about seniors as they design and demo their apps, take a look at the linked exhibitors lists above. Then think about the rising costs of health care, incurred by the oldest in our society. How like the tech industry to offer technologies in search of a user standing just out of the developer’s visual field of view.


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