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07/25/2016

UCSD students create tech designs by spending time with senior living residents.

07/24/2016

The growing role of Senior Move Managers.

07/22/2016

Demographics signal need in senior living for a middle-income price point.

07/19/2016

Sending cars to pick up patient volunteers.

07/19/2016

Home Alone Alliance -- free caregiver training materials

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Excess capacity in senior housing -- why won't consumers move in?

Builders like to build – and investors like it too.  Does it surprise anyone that there may turn out to be unoccupied senior housing units in the future? That the supply may have been overbuilt for the level of future baby boomer enthusiasm for this type of housing?  "The occupancy rate for all senior housing in 31 major markets fell this spring for the second consecutive quarter." And shares "have tumbled down" in the real estate companies that, interestingly, continue to build. So what’s going on? Certainly, the old refrain of '10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day' (beginning in 2011) has not proven to be a market strategy.

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Listen up – will new pricing of data plans further limit seniors?

If you don’t like the way carriers serve older adults, just wait, it could get worse.   A few months ago we learned that carriers are pushing tablets, ha! Just as tablet sales overall are slowing. Carriers obviously read that Gartner report about slowing tablet sales -- and then 'encouraged' us to add a tablet to a plan for $10/month for up to 5GB of data. How generous. That’s not a lot of movies, maybe 2.5 hours of streaming HD per month. But what plan? How to encourage data usage with wireless data plans? No problem, those have all changed, with AT&T following T-Mobile and Verizon aping AT&T. And all of this following the precedent long set in Europe – now the full price of the phone is disclosed ($650 for an iPhone!). You could buy the phone upfront, but not to worry – there’s a monthly installment plan for the list price phone.

Pew report reveals 17 million seniors disconnected from the utility of the Internet

First the numbers – good news, sort of. The latest in Pew posting headline in the news misleads. Period. Who’s Not Online -- about Internet adoption – reports the change in online use since the year 2000. The text works hard on enthusiasm and a bit of 'game over' in terms of saturation: 84% of adults are now online! Saturation for some groups! Considerably higher than in 2000!  Note the 'on the other hand' age-related caveat: "About four-in-ten adults ages 65 and older (39%) do not use the internet, compared with only 3% of 18- to 29-year-olds."  Education is a factor (more educated, more online, no kidding). Where you live (less rural, more online). But there’s the neon punch line: "Adults from households earning less than $30,000 a year are roughly eight times more likely than the most affluent adults to not use the internet."

Consumers lose: medical hacking, 911 failure, Google rules

Ho hum – another day, another few million records are hacked. Rant on. It’s a small hack really, only 4.5 million impacted by the UCLA Medical System cyber attack. But what a relief, the impacted individuals will receive identity theft recovery and restoration services and credit monitoring at no cost. That category of service firm is buying plenty of ads all around and may be one of the boom businesses of 2015.  Because of course the 4.5 million must be added to the 22 million Federal government individuals and the 80 million Anthem Blue Cross individuals -- for starters.  And the solution?  A new services industry emerges with vendors popping up in every flavor. As for fines for those that let the data get out of the bag? As for the notorious insurance industry leader, Anthem (first quarter net income $865.2 million) has received a fine of $1.7 million – but fines for data breaches remain rare.

Five technology announcements from the 2015 White House Conference on Aging

WHCoA attracted buzz, hopeful announcements and new offerings.  This event was a follow-on to the previous every-decade White House Conferences on Aging -- the most recent of which was the 3-day 2005 White House Conference on Aging. That conference was developed in a hopeful and financially booming time in the US -- its focus was on the pending retirement of the baby boom generation. Today, the economy is not sizzling and since 60 is now the new 50, many of those boomers have not yet retired. Or they've retired from -- or lost -- one job and are now starting a business. The 2005 conference was the first one that had an exhibit hall devoted to technology. This conference was less about a place and more about regional meetings viewings/discussions of the topics and this single day event.   However there were a number of tech-related announcements released in conjunction, including:

Six recent product announcements in the PERS market

What’s new with PERS?  For several years now pseudo-statistics have been floating about the long-standing PERS market – asking the same question over and over hasn’t changed the paraphrased answer: 'The market is approximately $1.5 billion in the US and changes very slowly. Is it true that only 10% of the purchased devices are mobile – that is usable away from the home? Insiders today say that 20% of the sales are for mobile devices. So what else is apparent and new with the PERS space in the past four months -- from the companies own material:

Google crushes content to boost mobile friendliness

Google forced the creation of so-called mobile sites?  Rant on.  Last week I published a list of Medication Management technologies that could be useful to baby boomers. Great. This week I looked at those websites a bit more closely, not squinting at my phone, but instead from my desktop PC. I selected a few of them – stared at the full motion video on the desktop sites, and ran their URLs through the Google Mobile Friendly-ness test. I also put in MobiHealthNews and Weather.gov (Google says not mobile friendly). The URL for Anthem.com  was deemed mobile friendly, but when searching via Google for Anthem.com, I was directed to an Overview page (not friendly). Then I look at the tortured feedback on Google’s own recommended forum about this topic: So many sites have been failing this test -- with their owners fixing and then pleading with Google to take another look.

Speak to us -- voice interfaces make the audible difference

Alexa made me write about voice.  We signed up early for this Amazon Echo home control/music library accessed through a Pringle can looking box.  True, it needs to be connected to broadband and yes, it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. But it has no keyboard, only voice input through a lighted-ring of seven microphones listening, continuously learning speech patterns. What to ask this smart-aleck Alexa?  Well, it turns out, it can play an amazing ‘shuffle’ of music you may have purchased through Amazon, but if you are an Amazon Prime member ($99/year), it can also play any of a million songs.  And it has the ability to set up logic scripts (If This, Then That) – links between wake-up alarms and turning on the lights. Oh, and did you know that to encourage voice-tech adoption, Amazon is also launching a $100 million Alexa Fund?

Technology change in 2015 – two steps forward, three back

Technology improvements do not always…improve.  Rant on. You remember that experience in your life of turning a key and a long-ago new car just started? We expect that with technology but we virtually never get it. And we don’t complain. Much. Wireless networks in the home need a geek-or-two to get running. Smart phones require training, app downloads take time. Then slog through customization of menus, opting out of stupid defaults, and quite frightening disclosures. “Anonymous location data will occasionally be sent to Google, even when no apps are running. Agree?”  Oh sure. Because it doesn’t matter whether I agree or not.

As boomers age, they should be considering diabetes health management tools

Digital tools for diabetes prevention and management.  Population health statistics about diabetes are alarming health professionals, particularly concerning today with 26% of older adults having diagnosed (16% of baby boomers and 27% of seniors) and even undiagnosed diabetes. So there's no surprise – innovation is wanted and much needed. New technology startups are popping up all around to help prospective patients prevent the onset of diabetes – and/or manage it more effectively. While some research casts doubt on the sustainability of these tech interventions, that doesn’t stop new entrants from jumping into the fray. Here are six of the tools available – with descriptions from news articles, smartphone-ish vendor sites or far more informative press reports. Would seniors use these?

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