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November 2022

Who is offering AI in Technology for Older Adults?

AI matters for older adults. Over the last few years, a growing number of applications of AI and machine learning have entered the market of caregiving technology for older adults. Stanford Medicine offers a Partnership in AI-Assisted Care. Projects are underway at the University of Illinois, MIT AgeLab, Georgia Tech, Penn, and no doubt other university programs around the US. AI is a fundamental machine-learning element in voice technology, which is here to stay, despite the noisy racket about Amazon.  The AI role in deriving predictive analytics from accumulated data is just beginning to reveal its utility. 

Smart home devices are dumb about tech support

Smart home devices are not smart about tech support. The future of the smart home and older adult users has not quite arrived. It is just as well – younger device owners are struggling. According to Parks Associates,Households with heads of household ages 35-44 are the most likely to experience technical issues with their devices.” Not surprising, since that group owns the most devices These tech-proficient users try to troubleshoot the problem themselves. And they become frustrated. Consider this understatement from Jennifer Kent of Parks: "Consumers clearly desire a self-help approach first but need more effective tools to solve the problems on their own." Otherwise, according to the Parks document, they become frustrated, write negative reviews and return the products. And these folks are aged 35-44.

The cost of long-term care -- could technology help lower it?

What care delivery has seen an uptake in technology adoption? People imagined that post-Covid-19, technology would become much more compelling in all types of care delivery. And for sure, the pandemic institutionalized the role of in-home telehealth, with CMS reimbursement presumed to become permanent, or at least regularly renewed. In fact, 23% of respondents to a government survey had used telehealth during a 6-month period in 2021. Also for sure, the use of healthcare portals has seen increased penetration – in 2020, 60% of patients in the US were offered access to a portal, and 40% accessed their records through it.   

Five smart clothing technologies for older adults

The opportunity for embedded and AI-enabled sensors in smart clothing. The growth of the sensor market has created an opportunity for more focus on smart clothing, which has been around a long time, including for use in dementia care, but may have its greatest utility ahead. Researchers are beginning to notice the potential in the care of older adults, including the assertion that "Smart clothing is more natural to wear compared to the other wearables and covers a wider area for monitoring." Here are five examples of sensor-enabled smart clothing:

The Future of Sensors and Older Adults -- and other October blogs

So many really want to help older adults – yet so often ‘help’ can be elusive.   Look at the ludicrous amount of time it took to officially enable buying hearing aids over the counter. Look at the ten years or more between the first wave of useful sensor tech for seniors (2005 with GrandCare Systems) until the newer collection of offerings. And not least, look at the shortage of workers in the care industries and the obvious but elusive pay raise that would match the market of possible workers. Given the persistent (if perhaps wrong-headed) belief that 'aging in place' at home is the goal and that AgeTech is the solution, this should be the year in which pay is revisited and tech is deployed.  Or make that next year, since this year is winding down. Here are the blog posts:

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