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February 2022

Tech for quality of (an aging) life

The rise of AgeTech – it is a trend. It’s easy to say, and it resonates -- especially compared to other long-standing terms like assistive technology, gerontechnology and durable medical equipment (DME). Parks Associates published a useful chart this week about the Changing form factors of panic buttons – take a look. But that was not the real subject of the article (thankfully). Rather, it suggested that while form factors are changing (from pendant to smart watch to home sensor technology), the shortage of labor in the caregiving market means that tech to help 66 million caregivers matters more than ever. In fact, one in five ‘broadband’ households is currently or will soon care for a family member, likely remaining in their own or a relative’s home.

Voice-AI for Older Adults -- How has it helped and what's next?

Voice technology in 2022 – living up to hope and hype? By 2018, it seemed possible that Voice First technology (and its associated AI software) could transform the technology user experience for older adults (see report: The Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults 2018). Fairly new at the time, a few senior living organizations embraced it for its home automation potential, possibility of concierge services -- turn on the lights! Raise the blinds! Book me on the afternoon trip!. The generally accepted view was that this technology was going to be “Easy, Cheap, Useful, Smart, and Connected (home automation that just works).” Amazon’s Alexa service ran on multiple variants of cheap hardware. Like Apple’s Siri, the software’s understanding of requests was relatively weak (compared to Google Assistant, which emerged in 2018 on Android and iOS).

Something new -- Apple Watch ad sells fear to the young

Perhaps you have seen the scary Apple Watch ad about 911 calls. If not, here it is, short but it’s a doozy. Three examples of desperate 911 calls. Young woman trapped in car filling with water, young man paddle-boarding, wind pushing him out to sea, and a farmer who fell and can’t move (at the end, we calm down because all were rescued by emergency responders.) So this is the argument for the $749 or more for Series 7 Apple watch with Cellular access? Not an 82-year-old woman living alone, but instead, selling heart-racing fear to the young. Why it could open a whole new market of watch buyers and upgraders. So what could go wrong – and what about this IS wrong?

Did you miss one? Five Tech and Aging Blog Posts from January 2022

In the time of CES 2022 – advice to tech firms about older adults. Perhaps you aren't paying attention -- but once per year, innovations from around the world are presented at CES for comment, media attention, and most of all, seeking interest about what's new (or even just envisioned). This year it is a hybrid event -- with some folks in person, some watching online and others lurking among the press releases. Next week's blog post will detail 10 products/services from CES 2022 that will likely make a difference for older adults. But this week, here is advice for startups and new entrants when thinking about reaching an older adult audience. It is extracted from the Technology for Aging 2022 Market Overview, to be posted following CES, and including 30 offerings that were not in the 2021 version. Read more.

Interactive television offerings in 2022 for health and wellbeing

For older adults, television is a solid rock in an ever-shifting technology landscape. Approximately half of the older adult population has a smart TV – a common platforms used to stream Internet services without an associated specialty box like Apple TVRoku or Chromecast. And the rest may have standard TV with attached streaming devices. Smart TVs, a treasure trove of data, according to Elizabeth Parks, CEO of Parks Associates, can also deliver access to telehealth services, share family photos, and provide engagement for older adults who may be homebound. Alternatively, a device can be connected to a TV to enable an organization or family to connect directly with older adults who may not be comfortable with smartphones, tablets or smart speakers. Here are six TV-based offerings for older adults – in alphabetical order, all information is from the companies’ websites or press releases:

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