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11/20/2017

Trust, arguably more than ever, is Silicon Valley’s most coveted feature now.

11/20/2017

Few have a lot of confidence in information they get from news media, friends or family.

11/17/2017

Google is promoting a single result over all others; many are incorrect.

11/15/2017

What will active aging be like? 

11/12/2017

Home health aide at $22K per year.

Meet or hear Laurie in one of the following:

Reston, VA, November 21-24, 2017

Washington, DC, December, 11-14, 2017

 

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

Should tech support disconnect from retail?

Waiting for the Geek or someone like him.  So you probably noticed that Best Buy (in its never-ending cost-cutting downward slide) just laid off 1200 store employees and while they were at it, they also cut 600 Geek Squad employees.  Just when the AARP discount on in-home services was launched! But it is all part of moving the staff from “repair to relationship,” migrating to a smaller store format, away from so-called ‘big box’ and suffering from competition – from Wal-Mart, Costco, and Sears. Yeah, right. From Sears and Costco (only when in-home service is covered by manufacturer’s warranty and the product is not a Dell).  Let us remember that Best Buy’s Geek service charges $49.99 for in-home visits and that they include products you bought elsewhere -- I'm betting your plumber charges more than that.  The annual membership for this service is quite low -- $199.99 per year -- $17/month or $4.25 per week.

The death of landlines – woe to seniors who depend on them

Bad weather, no power, misery all around.  So by now you may know that there was a major storm that generated (besides rain and lightning) outages in the greater Washington, DC area that brought Amazon and Netflix down for a while, and knocked out Internet, TV, cellular and landline access (including E911) for several million people – and for several days.  For 1 in 4 people, it will be a few more days before the various utilities get everything running again. You also know that only 56% of those aged 76+ have a cell phone and that seniors have been the last to give up landlines.  

Who will buy all the useful technology for seniors -- and by what date?

Senior housing organizations want to accelerate development and adoption. Reading an interview with Majd Alwan, SVP and Executive Director of Leading Age’s CAST group, you would believe that we are on the cusp of widespread adoption of technology for older adults in the senior housing: Says Majd: "CAST brings developers—big ones like Phillips and Intel-GE Care Innovations, all the way to small start-ups—together with forward thinking and pioneering service providers who understand the value of technology and are exploring technology-enabled care models and implementing them in their communities, and researchers."

The more things remain the same, sometimes they change

Don’t see the products your constituents need? Launch a fund to get them created. Sometimes organizations become frustrated with the pace of change and decide to do something about it. One of those is Link-age in Mason, Ohio, a group purchasing organization that buys on behalf of 450 senior living communities in 39 states. The organization, led by CEO Scott Collins, is launching a $20 million ‘gray’ national fund to accelerate creation of products and services for seniors. Local investment banker, John Hopper, managing director of the new Link-age Ventures (partnered with CincyTech), rightly observes: "We haven’t bumped into anyone else in the industry doing anything similar." Says Collins: "Entrepreneurs are eager to address the market, but few understand the needs."  The investors will make money when the companies are sold – which they surely will be if they do find new and innovative ways to address, as Scott Collins indicates, the food, shelter, transportation and socialization needs of older adults -- well beyond the boomer age ranges of 48 to 66. 

Groundhog Day – health tech is destined for re-discovery

If institutional discovery equaled adoption, health technologies would be pervasive.  Can you believe it? The New England Health Institute researched chronic disease technologies to watch – and resolved to watch the technologies already under observation, if not broad deployment, for many years. One of the amazing aspects of following an industry over time is to watch the perpetual re-discovery of its newness. The report depicts an industry that is a never-ending sandbox of futures:  between research groups deciding to invent their own technologies rather than purchase commercial product and research institutes discovering tech categories like in-home telehealth that been around for years – now, according to NEHI, they may emerge (if policies are changed.) Yes, and if the constituents that might use them agree -- which makes a market.

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!”

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