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March 2021

Five interesting and useful technologies for older adults

Events cropped up again in March that help accelerate interest in and ultimately benefit for older adults. One of these was the Longevity Health & Innovation Summit, which featured numerous longevity and technology experts as well as a pitch challenge. Today the CTA Foundation pitch competition is being held in partnership with AARP Innovation Labs. And last week, the CABHI Summit 2021, in which several of these offerings below were presented.  All these events provide a platform for innovation competitions, presentations, collaborations and networking among funders and innovators in the age-related technology market segments. Check above links to see full lists from all three.

Ten tips for launching a product or service in the older adult market

Today or soon you will launch a boomer/senior, home care offering, wearable product or a new service to help seniors or other new market entrants. As your company gets ready to travel into an online event battle with a plethora of pitches, it is time for a quick review of this guidance. Check the list out before your new offering launches First read existing content and research reports on your particular market segment. Then look over this updated checklist that was first published on this website in 2010 and revised each year since. The advice continues to hold true – with updated links and references. If necessary, refine tactics to match the most useful tools for your category:

Hearing aids, the elderly, and listening to music

Hearing aids and music -- why is this so difficult to solve for the elderly?  The pandemic isolated everyone, but it may have been even worse for the hearing-impaired. Consider the oldest -- they are aged 85 or 86, love music and enjoy getting together with others in restaurants. The man loses one of the uninsured hearing aids and has to switch to backups that emit whistles or screeches, and cannot hear accurate sounds from a grand piano. The replacement cost of the single hearing aid is $2195 bundled with audiologist assistance. That pair worked well with his TVlink unit – enabling him to hear the TV at the right volume, and his spouse to listen at the broadcast volume. The older woman is isolated during restaurant lunch time conversation because she can’t sort out who is speaking – she is described as ‘looking lost’.  She also has a piano she won’t play because of hearing aid sound distortion.  Both can easily afford the best hearing aids, service, and guidance available. Both are frustrated at their inability to fully mitigate these issues.

Voice First Technology and Older Adults – Three Years Later

The trumpets sounded loudly at the arrival of Voice First.  The Future of Voice First and Older Adults was published in February of 2018. A re-read shows how excited the 31 interviewees and participants were, offering their vision of the future of this technology and its potential use by older adults. Has the future arrived in the world of seniors, senior housing, home care? Has the future arrived for the technologists who invented Voice First and the broad market of consumers who bought and benefited, from the early days?  Is voice first indistinguishable from magic?  That’s the way it seemed in 2014 to those comments from Witlingo founder, Ahmed Bouzid as he was interviewing for a job at Amazon – after interacting with the newly invented Echo, he wanted to stand up and start applauding.

Four Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from February 2021

Looking out toward the future – what trends matter most?  The lack of broadband access among older adults is worrisome in these days of online-only vaccine registration.  In years past, getting older adults online was a lower priority for senior advocates, social service agencies or healthcare organizations. News organizations rarely discussed tech adoption among seniors.  And survey frequency about Internet access had dwindled over a decade. Now even the Wall Street Journal tech writer searches ways to get elusive vaccine appointments scheduled for older friends and relatives. The New York Times notes that some older adults don’t have computers.  When the 2022 surveys of broadband access for the 65+ are published, will the numbers be much higher?  New government efforts are underway to offer cheaper broadband -- will older adults participate?  Stay tuned. Here are four blog posts from February 2021:

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