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Consider the potential for AI technology in Senior Living

You can read about AI -- it's discussed everywhere.  Searches reveal the many AI possibilities and current uses in healthcare. In fact, a Google search reveals multiple paid webinars you can attend today to learn more. Consultants are seizing the opportunity. You can read about AI’s trust issues in Harvard Business Review. (My favorite issue: ‘unknown unknowns.’) And check out healthcare investment in 2024. Follow the money – it might be in claims processing.  And as for care management, did we mention the opportunity for AI-powered digital experiences?  Some care will be delivered and supported with AI in the resident’s home, especially healthcare.

Five new technologies for older adults – May 2024

As the year progresses, the older adult population gets the innovators' attention. As it should be, given the swelling older adult market, growing visibility with investors, and increasing attention from the federal government. Rock Health break out the 65+ in its surveys of health tech ownership. Surveys show that Americans prefer to age in their own homes, also known as aging in place. Pew Research notes that the Centenarian population will triple in the next 30 years, baby boomers are hitting ‘peak 65’ this year, and in just six years, all 72 million baby boomers will be 65+. Within that context, it will continue to be important to note new innovations that could improve their quality of life, such as:

Predictions from report -- The Tech User Experience Needs an Upgrade

The decline of our tech experience was slow  it was barely noticeable for a while. Then device proliferation in homes – and the corresponding frustration became too obvious to miss. An AARP report notes, "No one prefers badly designed, over-complicated products." Yet that's what we get. Despite preferences, surveys show that today’s user experience for older adults is more problematic than ever. All are confronted with buggy software and frequent bug fix releases, such as a problem on iPhones that an embarrassed Apple redirected software work towards fixing. At the same time, innovation in new categories like Conversational and GenAI, machine learning and prediction have emerged and can help improve experiences if deployed properly. Over the next five years, it is highly likely that:

Did you miss one? Aging and Health Tech blog posts from April 2024

The tech user experience for all ages is mostly depressing.  A few delighters here and there break up a constant struggle to produce the right command, find the right part of the right website, and overcome the insanity of bug-fixing updates after updates.  And that is if you are well-trained and proficient.  Whether it is a phone, a tablet, or a much-needed website, we curse and complain – and then there’s another software update and a new set of complaints. We struggle with appliance and car interfaces, trying to understand the rationale for buttons and screens that are cluttered with too much information. Stay tuned for the May, 2024 report about these user experiences and what can be done to improve them.   The April blogs:

Aging in place -- moving costs money -- and so does staying home

Aging in place -- sounds good, but for many, it won't work.  The optimistic older adulta like their home -- and they tell survey firms that they're going to stay.  We've heard this before.  Ironically, in those days, it may have been a practical idea -- but as older adults age into the years in which they need care, the rising cost of the care they need may outpace their ability to pay, so what then? Family members help out if there are any, if they can, if they're nearby, and if they are willing.  A lot of ifs.  For the rest, we are entering a period in which more creative options will be needed and some old words, like 'roommates' and 'co-housing' will resurface.

Our future tech interactions mandate personalized user experiences

The mindset of ‘get the product out the door’ sets the stage for poor user experience. For market researchers, there are many data-driven ways to gauge consumer preferences today, and tech companies can chose among surveys, interviews, focus groups and customer observation. Product life cycles in newer tech categories are shrinking, with consumers willing to replace devices that still work with newer models, hence the apparent ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ tech cycle. In the future, we will need a new paradigm for tech user experience that can span our multiple interactions, driven by an opt-in profile about preferences and personal characteristics that can better shape interactions.  We will expect that our profile will drive technology access. Today’s fragmented tech experience offers behaviors based on a disconnected set of profiles – a Starbucks profile knows what coffee I like, a Gmail profile knows about my Inbox preferences, and Marriott knows what kind of room or bed is preferred. In the future and with the assistance of conversational AI, the user should be able to override those and specify a profile that spans all tech interactions, acting as a complexity-hiding agent on the user’s behalf.  

For big tech, "Ready, Fire, Aim" design approaches are user-hostile

What happens when engineers believe that no matter what, the customers will buy? Rant on. Look at the forum discussions of problems after Apple’s release in November, or consider Google’s Gemini self-humiliation.  Will users turn in their iPhones in disgust? Stop using Gmail in protest? What about the Tesla that is so cool it does not have to identify clearly how to open the door, or put the car into drive or reverse? Was the car returned? Will customers return a device they don’t understand? Consider Windows 11 updates are tormenting users, again per Microsoft’s own forum. Will people give up using the PC? Not likely. 

It's time for solutions -- not products -- for aging in place

You know homeowners plan to ‘age in place’ – repeated across all surveys.  It makes sense to them – they like their homes, locations, their familiar neighborhoods, shops, their friends, and neighbors. Statistics underpin the goal for 93% of adults 55+.  And they are willing to spend on services to enable them to remain there – home security, food and supplies delivery, and transportation services if they choose to or must go places without driving. They have fueled growth in the home remodeling businesses, spending on bathroom modifications and other aging-related enablers, especially home care – which may be an out-of-reach luxury for many.

Did you miss one? March blogs lament deteriorating user experience

The decline of design.  As interviews proceed for the upcoming report, The Future of the Tech User Experience, all agree.  The deteriorating user experience, aka UX, is the result of fragmentation across multiple devices, portals, and websites. Product development has superseded UX. The pre-development focus group has been largely abandoned in favor of a post release shock-and-awe experience both for developers (bad PR) and customers (just plain bad).  And it is not just tech – consider the impenetrable smart TV interface, the microwave button-display combination, the new car that lacks readable warning lights and other user interface issues.  Here are the blog posts from March:

The tech user experience today – the customer does not matter 

Has the  tech user experience substantially improved?  For years device and software tech ‘improved’ to a point of widespread optimism about our tech future. Certainly access has improved: Ninety-five percent of Americans use the Internet and more than 80% have broadband at home. Today there are numerous programs to subsidize access, and   smartphone penetration has exceeded 92%.  One would believe this ubiquity of access might make us hopeful that we are now in the era of tech helping consumers of all ages, no matter what task or level of knowledge.  

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