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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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February 2016

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.

Health tech and the Aging-Related Technology Boomlet-to-be

Digital Health became Health IT when you weren’t looking.  Even as most caregivers become reliant on online information in 2016, the sources of that information are migrating their way to Health Tech, so says MobilHealth News. And just in time, as the funding bubbles appear to be bursting in later stages, reliability of some wearables has been questioned, and the information disclosed to third parties (like insurance or health-related companies) may not be well understood by the consumer.  

Taking Shape: The 2016 Market Overview of Technology for Aging in Place

Six years ago, you had to make the case for tech. Why was it useful to describe a market of technology that could help people live longer in their homes?  It was necessary to justify this lens with demographic projections, costs of aging somewhere else, how many wanted to stay in their homes – and then, only then – start describing enabling technologies that could help facilitate their own or family member’s successful aging at home.  The tech market was filled with passionate founders and niche, senior-focused products. That was then.

Technology for seniors – why have a separate category?

Everything and nothing is in the caregiving innovation frontier. Keep slogging through the enormous market scoped in the AARP Caregiving Innovations Frontiers report. Study the teeny-tiny vendor icons (the only reference to market entrants in the document). Icons can be included for offerings that are not yet in the US market, or were produced at a 3-day hackathon (like Witness) and abandoned, or they're yet not a fit in the 'caregiving' world (like Lyft or Uber), or they're no longer a standalone business, like BeClose, Lively, Isowalk, and DoctorAHA).

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