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October 2021

Tech-enabling the future of Villages

Beacon Hill Village created a concept out of need... Long ago, the topic of aging in place was born within the pioneer community of the ‘Village’ movement -- Beacon Hill Village.  Judy Willett led the way 19 years ago in Boston to help neighborhood seniors stay in their homes longer. That’s not a small trick if you consider that Beacon Hill is a neighborhood of steep cobblestone streets, no easy-in subway stop, and --- argggh – every year, residents, most in their 70’s at that time -- must cope with winter! Today Beacon Hill Village has 400 members who benefit from aggregated services that include "social clubs, weekly exercise classes and lectures, transportation to doctors’ offices and grocery stores, and access to reduced-fee home medical care and home repair services."

Tech terminology gets new definitions, unfortunate outcomes

Our technology language and expectations change. One day a phenomenon that might once have seemed startling becomes so accepted that we scarcely notice what changed. Technology once perceived as innovative and useful, degenerates through actual usage into a worrisome trend that begs for individual and/or parental control – even inviting government interest and possible oversight as in Europe. Here are four technology trends with origins that might not have seemed alarming at the beginning:

The Future of Home Care Technology – the time is now

What could have happened in the home care industry didn’t.  In 2012, based on interviews with the best and the brightest in and around the home care industry, an idea was born and documented.  It was radical – the idea of a network for sharing relevant information across organizational boundaries about a home care recipient with stakeholders, family, health providers. In this vision, the care recipient was at the center of this information sharing across the stages and steps of living independently, senior housing, rehab, hospital, and home.  Instead of this vision outlined in The Future of Home Care Technology 2012, we have today’s franchised and fragmented home care industry – regionally focused, achieving the most minimal advances in technology deployment.

Four Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from September, 2021

September 2021 – it got away. But much happened during the month, including the release of the 2021 Linkage technology survey of older adults, rarely fielded and so their tech behavior is poorly understood. Meanwhile, September was a month to consider the business practices of social media monopolist, Facebook – in print (WSJ, Washington Post), on 60 minutes, and as some might say, blah, blah, blah. Will regulation happen? Will people seek a new platform, search for other online photo sites, find an offline hobby, go outside? At this moment, investors doubt anything will change, despite plenty of posturing. Here are the four posts:

Big tech wants to serve older adults -- initiatives are accumulating

Apple gets it that its customers are aging – and have their devices.  That was not always the case. Long ago, maybe as early as 2009, a query was placed to the analyst relations team at Apple to find folks to discuss Apple and technology adoption of older adults.  The answer was: "Apple does not do aging."  Then in 2010, on behalf of an AARP-sponsored research effort to contact a few of multiple Apple groups already involved one way or the other (Apple Health!), got no response to requests to interview execs that would have been interested based on their roles.  That was then. Fast forward to 2021 and the fact that baby boomers have all the money (and many health issues, too). Note Apple Health, Apple Accessibility, fall detection on the watch, detection of gait changes, changes in AirPods that clearly target conversational hearing issues. And that doesn’t count the health-specific features on the watch that will no doubt include blood pressure checks.  

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