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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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June 2018

Now Hear This: Hearing-related technology for older adults and caregivers

Uncorrected hearing loss isolates and harms older adults.   One in three between age 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of people aged 75+ have some significant level of hearing loss.  Note that hearing loss has been linked to dementia and to social isolation – and that in turn has been connected to poorer health outcomes.  Furthermore, wearing hearing aids has been linked to fewer hospital visits. According to studies, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in five (20 percent) has ever used them. Why such a small percentage? Experts believe that it is a combination of denial, belief that hearing loss is not severe enough, perceived stigma associated with wearing hearing aids, and a perception that they cost too much.

Ten technologies from the 2018 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit

Two sets of pitches, ten finalists across the competitions. The first five are finalists in the 2018 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit Business Plan competition. The Business Plan Competition features companies pitching their ideas to a diverse panel of judges for feedback, funding and a $10,000 prize.  The second five are finalists in the AARP Innovation Labs Pitch Competition for companies focused on providing peace of mind to family caregivers through the use of VR, AI and other disruptive technologies. The winning team will go on to the AARP Innovation Pitch Event in Washington, DC, in October of 2018.

The more technology changes, the more some categories will remain

The more things change… Life expectancy is long – tech attention span from investors and innovators can be short.  Reviewing the past 10 years of blog posts (from 2008 until 2018), in the beginning, consider the categories and innovations. To mitigate social isolation, for example, note the video phone and the printing mailbox. The objective was to communicate with grandma or grandpa, who might be bereft of email – or for that matter, WiFi, Skype, tablet, smartphone, PC or MAC. Imagine the blissful simplicity or those times -- for the grandparents.  Largely forgotten now --  Mailbug, BigKeys – and printing mailboxes Presto and fax-machine based MyCelery. But the PERS market, around since 1975 in the US, has repeatedly been predicted to be obsolete and about to be replaced with something else.

Narrowing the price gap between hearing aids and PSAPs

The hearing aid industry offers pricey hearing aids for people with ‘defined’ hearing loss.  The FDA wants you to understand that it regulates hearing aids – which it defines as helping the medical condition of hearing loss. The FDA then observes “sound amplifiers for consumers with no hearing loss who want to make environmental sounds louder for recreational use.“ Recreational ? Hearing aids that they do regulate are now made by a small number of companies and are sold with audiologist services for $1000 up to $4000 per device – most people need two – and have a lifespan of up to 7 years.   That price includes a hearing test, fitting, initial batteries and more.

Aging in Place Technology – Five Blog posts from May 2018

It’s Not About Your Grandmother – 10 Steps Before Launching! You want to launch a boomer/senior, home health tech, caregiving, product or service. Or other. Your new company gets ready to travel into battle for west coast networking, or you're back from San Francisco or Silicon Valley, consider this guidance, now that cards have been exchanged and follow-up emails sent. Soon your new or existing company will officially launch a new product or service, or a much-anticipated offering will finally ship. You read AARP and Pew survey research reports. Now look over this 6-month-old updated checklist.  And you look back on the 2009 advice – which is still valid, especially about creating community around the product – more important than ever. And as for item 6 in this post, THIS MEANS YOU!   Really now, are you ready?

Voice First in Senior Living -- What's Happened and What's Next?

Senior Living organizations are eager to try new technology.  Over the years, consider the pilots of Rendever (virtual reality) at Brookdale, Benchmark’s pilot of Google Home and Samsung tablets, or  CarePredict in LifeWell facilities – just a few of the many. Some pilots are even documented in the form of case studies – about what worked – or what might not have worked.  Pilots are typically newsworthy at their start. And they may produce a list of lessons learned upon completion – or a set of considerations for future pilots. So where does Voice First technology fit into the senior living equation?

Four technology categories to remotely monitor a paid caregiver

The boom in home care has side effects -- turnover and risk. We want to trust home care workers with aging parents.  After all, most cannot afford private pay assisted living – which can exceed $3000/month in most locations – and assisted living occupancy is projected to be flat -- likely because people see the cost and defer move-in. Given expanding life expectancies at age 65 – an average of 20 more years for men and more for women, the possibility of ‘aging in place’ in a private home may be growing.  As a result, the demand for private home care will grow, but so will the costs – especially for finding workers willing to do this difficult work for low pay. As of 2017, median home care turnover was 66.7% (compared to 30% for CNAs in assisted living).  With so many workers coming and going, especially for care recipients with the most taxing care requirements, what technologies may assist families and agency management for monitoring care?

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