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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

Five new technology offerings for Aging in Place - March 2016

Staying up-to-date by rounding up recent announcements.  As the recently published 2016 Technology Market Overview noted, most older adults will remain in their own homes, served by home/companion and home healthcare providers and assisted by a variety of tech-enabled products and services. Over the past month, new offering announcements have that can help seniors, care providers (family and professional) meet the objective of remaining at home. Here are five, noting as always, that all material is provided from the websites/announcements from the companies themselves.

MyFitnessDog -- the future of boomers, pets, and technology

New York State catches up to the dining habits of boomers and their pets.  In June this past year, the state legislature in New York passed a bill to will let diners bring their dogs into the restaurant, imitating practices in California, Europe and elsewhere and overturning prior rules, if not actual practice. Thirty-seven percent of baby boomers own a pet, dare we say that might be a dog? Or two to three dogs?  It seems pretty simple now to acquire an emotional support letter that bypasses the rules prohibiting pets on planes that are not trained service dogs. And a number of major retailers (store manager willing) now permit dogs inside the store.  Apartment buildings and hotels now have dog-friendly specials (the Westin Heavenly Dog Bed) and even dog-friendly cocktail hours.

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Time for a refresher: ten tips for startups entering the market

So you want to launch a boomer/senior, home health tech product or caregiving marketplace, or caregiver advisory service.  As your new company get ready to travel into battle later this spring to a plethora of lively pitches, it is time to for you to revisit this guidance. Perhaps some time soon, your new or existing company will officially launch a new product or service, or perhaps a long-awaited, over-described and much-anticipated offering will finally ship. First read the AARP-sponsored Challenging Innovators research report. Then look over this updated checklist that continues to hold true – with a few links that are merely examples:

Finding training for seniors with new smartphones, tablets and more

Technology changes faster than older people can keep up.  The latest Android or iPhone is entering the market shortly. Those who may have thought they just HAD the latest, are presented again with modest technological change and plenty of hype. Those that still hang on to much older cell phones will again consider a change -- and surely sales reps want to move the current models before the newest ones crowd the shelves.  But boomers, for example, don’t use their phones in the same way younger people do. And only 50% of seniors age 75+ even have Internet access. So first there is a technology ownership gap, then an access gap, then finally a training gap that must be closed. Here are 6 methods for gaining training in devices and software, with descriptive text drawn from their various websites.

In the time of HIMSS, how do real seniors benefit from Health IT?

Another convention, apparent consumer progress in using health data. HIMSS (the Las Vegas mega get-together about transforming health through IT) is wrapping up and with it are the press releases. Several surveys hit the streets this past week that could make health tech investment enthusiasts see progress if they forget that investment funds (and end user pilots) may be drying up. For example, the Accenture global survey noted that app and wearable use for managing their health doubled since 2014, from 16% to 33%.  And the 1-liner that Accenture wants you to know? "Research shows patients in the United States want a heavy dose of digital." Well, some of them, maybe.

Five takeaways: 2016 Market Overview Technology for Aging in Place

The romantic notion of aging in place is becoming a necessity, not a goal. The 2016 Technology Market Overview is completeMedian net worth of the 75+ age range is now $156,000, inclusive of home equity. This is deferring moves to assisted living – its move-in age now a mid-80’s and frailer demographic. But boomers are right behind them – and even less able to move in. They have simply not saved enough – holding an average retirement savings portfolio of only $136,000 – enough for just two years of a private assisted living community like Brookdale. And worse, the average 65-year-old enters retirement years with an unprecedented level of debt.

Moon-dust: Media Nonsense about Self-Driving Cars and Seniors

Like robots, self-driving cars and the elderly make good media.  [Rant on] It never ends – another admiring NPR story about Google’s self-driving car –which of course has no steering wheel or controls.  Go ahead do a quick search for "Self-driving cars seniors” and then scan down the headlines. No need to read these articles – just the headlines. "Perfect for Elderly!" says AARP, "Seniors will be the first to benefit from self-driving cars!" "Can self-driving cars redefine old age?" And "will self-driving cars undermine Senior Living?" Seriously? Can the self-driving car cook dinner, clean the apartment and provide compelling social interactions, too?

Five New Technology Offerings for Aging in Place - Feb 2016

Consider this a heads up about new technology-enabled options for older adults.  Sometimes it is helpful to know about offerings before or just as they are being released, if only to look for their availability in the future.  The five interesting offerings that are noted below are all going to be available within the next six months, possibly sooner.  Each in its own way strives to solve a problem experienced by older adults or those who serve them:

Technology for dementia care needs more innovation in 2016

 With so much digital health talent and money in Silicon Valley, little aims at dementia.  Is it because the consumer doesn’t complain enough in surveys? Let’s face it, most tech for dementia care is stunningly rudimentary, consisting of (at best) warn and lock doors, cameras to watch for wandering, and if the residents are lucky enough – engagement technologies (like SingFit or iNTL) may be deployed or are at least being considered. If there are 2.5 million people in the US living in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living, more than 50% of them have some dementia. (My opinion – it is much higher than that.)  The rest of the 5.3 million who have some sort of dementia are still living at home.

Boomers turn into seniors: So far, health and tech innovations disappoint

These are interesting and disturbing times for boomer-turning senior consumers of health care.  The oldest baby boomers have turned 70. Some might even call them seniors. They are more likely than their parents to have chronic diseases, and 39% of baby boomers are obese. They are presented with rising health care costs, although real wages are barely growing. So what is the health tech sector inventing to help boomers span this disconnect between health, healthcare costs, and incomes?  Investors are becoming disillusioned with the array of tools have emerged that have only a tangential effect, including health apps they won’t download – and if they did, wearables that are not necessarily accurate or may not be secure. And so far, workplace health incentives that are not yet necessarily effective.

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