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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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March 2016

Add more technology breadth to Aging in America

You walked the Exhibit Hall at ASA. You've been there, done that -- the American Society on Aging conferences and always the Exhibit Hall – so that you could note what the organization prioritizes for its many social services attendees to hear about or visit. A few years ago, you were observing that there were many companies, so little tech. This time it seemed that the exhibit hall had even fewer tech offerings than previous, and very few brand-new companies. Big firm entrants were there -- like Tunstall (Exhibit Hall) and GreatCall (Sponsor), along with divisions of larger firms, like Plantronics/Clarity.  You might have thought it was surprising to see a new senior-focused business unit from Hasbro -- with a Companion Robotic Cat (Exhibit Hall). Maybe you noted that a few smaller firms were there – with tech like MyMar (medication reminders for assisted living staff), MyMemory Carebook (life legacy), SwiftAlarm (PERS) and SingFit (dementia care music technology).

Towards five characteristics of health tech market maturity

Five characteristics of health tech market maturity...for a mature market. What would boomers most want to have as key characteristics in the tech world of boomers/seniors? Here’s a starting list – comments welcome. 1) Their privacy is well protected by their insurers, doctors, software, social network and device makers; 2) Their health information is well-integrated into the multi-company health provider world – no need to carry around those CDs of EHRs); 3) Trends in their health patterns are noticed by care providers who use predictive analytics to note possible problems); 4) Boomers do less driving to specialists, more remote consultations, which are appropriately reimbursed through Medicare; 5) Fitness gadgets are replaced by well-being devices and systems.

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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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.