Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter

Medication non-adherence – it’s serious. This medication non-adherence (not filling prescriptions or missing dosages) is a major health issue – resulting in 10% of hospitalizations, 125,000 deaths, and costing the healthcare system up to $300 billion/year.  Consider that 1 in 5 Medicare patients are re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days after discharge – half of them because of medication non-adherence. In a study by Walgreens, researchers found that every 1% improvement in adherence saves about $50 in healthcare spending.

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Five tech and aging blog posts from October 2019

October was a long and extravagant month for the tech market.  Between trade events, including the Connected Health Conference in Boston, LeadingAge in San Diego, HLTH in Las Vegas, the Aging 2.0 Revolutionize Conference in Boston which was highlighted by the reveal of Venture Capital investor Dominic Endicott's $2 Trillion Age-Tech market size, making the Consumer Technology Association's $29 Billion look cautious. No doubt there were also many smaller events throughout the country. Here are the October blog posts:

A new smartphone – life is too short to keep up with such ‘innovation’

How much time do we spend setting up our ‘smart’ phones?  Every few years, I change phones. In the past, Android-to-Android, I wasted at least a full day customizing all the ‘improved’ features the way they were on the previous phone, setting up home screens, eliminating bloatware, and downloading apps that did not properly convert.  This time, it took me most of 2 weekend days to set up an iPhone to join family photo sharing. The access to photos – that was one of the good parts. Otherwise, it was maddening and sent me out to forums again and again.  I learned about the also-constant bug-fix upgrades, email addresses masquerading as Apple IDs (don’t get me started) and other apparently arbitrary design decisions whined about online. And then there was the stylistic non-charm of repositioning jiggling apps icons.  But yay, now I see shared photos and learned how to stop auto-play of videos in Safari.

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Can wearables help you be healthier and safer?

You are increasingly likely to have a wearable -- around your neck or on your wrist. You may collect your own data for your own tracking and use.  For those who see a wearable in a health context, they may be disappointed to know that their doctor doesn’t seem to care or know what to do with your heart rhythm data.  But you can gain great benefit from tracking your performance (exercise, heart rate) – competing with yourself, and feeling the satisfaction from any improvement over time.  What are the benefits of wearables today -- and in the future?

Five new technologies for older adults  October 2019

Announcements of new offerings are arriving – will they/can they be used?  Hopefully these 5 will offer benefit that can and will be realized by older adults. Writers of these 2019 articles about the topic are not so sure that new technologies for this population may not be reaching their intended audience. That can be due to a variety of barriers, including fear that they are not using them properly (UCSD study), lack of internet access (which would limit awareness), low technology literacy (TechCrunch), including lack of familiarity with terminology, and physical challenges (research from MPDI). Here are five new technologies that could provide benefit to older adults – content is from the companies:

New Technology and Services Disrupt Hearing Aid Ecosystem

Hearing aids should appeal to those with significant hearing loss.  It’s a given that hearing loss interferes with communication – which itself is a risk for social isolation – as well as fall risk and dementia.  Ironically, according to the recently published and comprehensive MarketTrak10 survey, the decision to wear them is so often delayed years – the delay resulting from excuses like “hear well enough; can’t afford; too expensive; no coverage.”  Given the associated risks and isolation from delay, it is surprising that until recently, the devices were well-matched with the excuses.  What’s changed to overcome all of these excuses?

Four tech and aging blog posts from September 2019

Fall and red leaves arrived as typical late in the month.  But as inevitable as those changes are, other notable events occurred during September – including AARP’s partnership with Getty Images to combat age bias in advertising. Also in September, Medicare changes were introduced encouraging technology use by health providers, particularly telehealth services. This may boost the use of telehealth technology (for example remote visitations) which has seen a rise of consumer interest in recent polling, though not a corresponding rise in adoption by the majority of physicians. The four blog posts from September:

Considering Technology Adoption -- AARP’s 2008 Healthy@Home

AARP research highlights changes in technology adoption.   What a difference more than a decade makes. Consider a long-ago AARP document that examined technology use of the 65+ population. Remember Healthy@Home in 2008? You probably don’t, but you should read it. Kudos to Linda Barrett who led the production of this milestone report.  The iPhone had just been released in June of 2007, so this survey did not ask about smartphone use – there was no Digital Health (a "check engine light for your body!"); the Longevity Economy hadn’t been invented; Fitbit was a 2007 new clip-on tracker, and Facebook was still a campus toy. The survey was fielded in December of 2007 with a population of 907 adults aged 65-98 (the mean age was 74). This population is rarely surveyed today, despite the growing lifespan of the 65+. Much was revealed, though it is another example (as if we needed one) that the more things change, the more they don’t.  

Age bias permeates ads -- and technology design

Getty images show advertising’s ageist stereotypes.  A new report from AARP this week zeros in on something we all knew: Advertisers focus on the young – not unlike the tech firms who make products being advertised.  Despite the 50+ population representing one third of the US population, they only show up in 13% of advertising imagery. The AARP report authors analyzed the Getty images – and observed that even though 69% of people aged 65-73 own a smartphone, less the 5% of the images of technology included any older adults. The same held true for images of workers. While one third (53 million) of the labor force is 50+, only 13% showed them working – otherwise they were shown at home, with a partner or in a medical setting. And the kicker: 81% of the employees of advertising agencies are younger than 55 -- their ageism is well-documented.

2019 Ten Tips for Your New Product or Service Business

It’s 2019 and in full sprint to the year-end finish. Soon you will launch a boomer/senior, home health tech product or service, or maybe a caregiver advisory service.  As your company gets ready to travel into battle or a booth this fall with the sound of lively pitches all around, it is time to for you to revisit this guidance. Perhaps sometime soon, your new or existing company will officially launch a new product or service, or perhaps a long-awaited, over-described and much-anticipated offering will finally ship. First read existing content and research reports on your particular market segment.  Look over this updated checklist that continues to hold true – with updated links and references. If necessary, refine tactics:

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