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July 2022

It’s 2022 – has technology use progressed in senior care?

There is a labor shortage everywhere -- ditto in senior care. We know that one of the biggest issues in senior living (and home care, nursing homes, home health care) today is a shortage of labor. This roll-up of statistics shows more than 400,000 employees lost between 2020 and 2022, with long-term care facilities (aka nursing homes) being the most impacted. There is quite a bit of chatter in long-term care publications about the need for more technology use, and providers are asked to offer best examples of tech use to win an award (separate categories for senior living, home care, and skilled nursing) at the upcoming Leading Age event in October. Remember that memory care is a sub-category within both senior living (aka assisted living) and skilled nursing facilities (aka SNFs).

Not there yet -- today's design processes and tech are not designed for all

Design still needs to include older adults. One might say that there’s nothing left to say about this topic – it’s been said in multiple and sometimes overlapping and confusing ways. You can read about inclusive design, sometimes called design-for-all, accessible design, and universal design.  None of these concepts are specific to designing for inclusion of aging adults. And we know that older adults, some not online, are an afterthought when new emergency processes are created.  At a recent event, recommendations from design experts were discussed and considered in the context of aging adults.  But is the distinction between approaches, in fact, based on history and legal compliance? What should (really, this time!) change?

Is the 3G Sunsetting the equivalent of Y2K for Older Adults?

The 3G sunset has had plenty of warning, but will that matter to older adults? Many people do not remember much about January 1, 2000, the day all systems that stored 2-digit years would become useless calculators. But there was much preparation and so life went on, mostly normal. Will that be the case with the 3G-to-5G network transition?  The big three carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) are motoring ahead with this switchover to enable them to free up, as they say, faster and more reliable bandwidth.  But there are worries that they may leave some users with a phone that is nothing more than a useless brick.  Experts in the industry (perhaps consultants to the carriers) say "that there will be a mere few hundred thousand customers impacted at each carrier, totaling fewer than 1 million people." Really? With 300 million cell phones in use in the US (there are only 332 million people!) and AT&T acknowledging that 196 million of them use its network!

Eight new technology offerings for older adults

Are you starting to notice a pattern, so to speak?  There seems to be a growing number of tech offerings that can see, sense, detect, and learn about behavioral patterns as part of new tools for older adults and their caregivers. Changes like these and others in this space will be addressed in a new report launching this month: "The Future of Sensors and Predictive Analytics for Older Adults."  In the meantime, here are eight new offerings in the market that are designed to improve wellbeing and care.  All text is drawn from the websites of the companies -- they are presented here in alphabetical order. 

Six Aging and Health Blog Posts from the Prolific Month of June 2022

The Meta Pixel problem – who would have thought? Never a dull moment in tech world. Meta (how tiresome, we know it is Facebook) has been sending patient data from hospital systems back to Facebook (appointments, doctor, and a host of other patient-specific data) through the use of a tracking pixel.   Results from a study identifying the problem are now published, and the first of possibly multiple lawsuits are being file for mishandling personal patient data. The point of the pixel was to help in tracking consumer responses to advertising. Like many privacy violations and data misuse on the Internet, consumers are usually powerless other than voting with our feet. With this lawsuit, coupled with government attempts to crack down on big tech, is the tide is turning? 

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