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June 2024

End fragmentation in 2024 -- where are the AgeTech solution suites?

The 2024 media message touts aging in place. It’s what everyone wants to do, even those with homes that are difficult to navigate, long distances from family, and must have major modifications to enable remaining there. Yet you read this message nearly every week  -- Next Avenue lauds the benefits, sponsored by Lively from Best Buy Health.  Fortune tests home monitoring systems they say are critical to Aging in Place.  And USA Today publishes a survey that underscores the desire to age in place. So what is the market of tech that will support this goal?  AARP calls it AgeTech – and has a startup directory of new entrants, including categories of health, mobility, caregiving and more.  But that is a list, not a solution.

How about health tech use by older Americans?

Older adults today are beneficiaries of widespread tech access. And it really does fulfill the 2011 prediction in the AARP report, Connected Living for Social Aging.  Broad access to online capabilities was imagined by experts when that report was written.  They knew that someday high speed Internet access, widespread use of social networks, online access to food delivery, health appointments, shopping, holding video gatherings with families at holidays – all taken for granted now, but then it was just a dream. The good news is that most older adults take advantage of these and many capabilities today. Internet access today is being delivered out to remote rural areas – and most of the 65+ will soon be connected. Then what is the next quality of life frontier for older adults?  

2011's AARP prediction for older adults: technology to live your best life

An old report, the core concept of Connected Living was excellent and predictive.  Thirteen years ago, AARP sponsored research that posed questions about technology’s future role in connecting older adults with families, resources and each other. With input from 30 industry experts, the research attempted to determine how technology could better serve older adults moving forward. The result was a 2011 report called Connected Living for Social Aging: Designing Technology for All. You won’t find it on AARP’s website – it’s too old.  But it is very interesting, especially given that year's low technology adoption and extremely limited use among older adults compared to today. The report accurately predicted the major role technology would take in their lives as they aged, though experts were not exactly sure how.

Did you miss one? Four Aging and Health Tech Blog Posts from May 2024

The month of May -- and the hostility about AI overflowed.  Given the pace of change in AI technology – both the software and its rate of adoption – it’s curious that recently the Wall Street Journal published an aging survey about what customers don’t use and/or like about chatbots. These observations include the usual: ‘hallucinated’ answers; lack of customer awareness that they are talking to a chatbot (really???); the chatbot is too nosy. Or it asked too many questions; or couldn’t handle two questions. Which would make this article, like much of media coverage of AI, sound negative. Too late, adoption happened anyway. This is a commentary, perhaps, on the nature of news media in general, who either are mirroring the AI skepticism in the public, or more typically promoting it. But clearly with chatbot adoption, the public is paying new attention. Sigh.  Here are the four blog posts from May, 2024: