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2009 Spawned Ten Aging in Place Trends to Watch in 2010

It's the end of the year and time for that wrap-up of the indicators from 2009 that will drive trends for 2010 -- what it all means -- more analysis on another day.

1. Location-aware tech enables more info, greater safety.  GPS became even more useful in 2009. Verizon replaced its Chaperone service with Family Locator, The Alzheimer's Association introduced its ComfortZone (powered by OmniLink), several other tracking technology vendors launched, and location-based mapping and direction technologies, 2009 was a good GPS-enabled year.

2. Home automation technology vendors see possibilities.  Just as home remodelers see possibilities in aging-in-place retrofits (70% of NAHB builders in 2009), in a bad economy, home automation vendors also saw possibilities in the market.

3. Mobile health app possibilities grow. Mobile web usage during 2009 got a growth spurt from boomers and seniors -- and spawned new apps like LiveNurse from Jitterbug. According to Gartner, mobile health applications (along with location-based apps) are in the top 10 application growth areas for consumers.

4. Virtual doctors' visits and other health innovations. A quiet revolution is happening in health care delivery, from shared doctor visits, the video doctor 'virtual visit', and health care without the doctor -- tracking and transmission of self-test results -- like blood coagulation levels. And this is before passage of any health care bill! Memorable from the NY Times article: "The only constant is change and resistance to change."

5. Touch screens and eReaders. Touch screens became ubiquitous during 2009 for product demonstration computers used to demo software -- like the Asus EEE, for example. And eReaders -- particularly well-suited to the boomer/senior population saw the impressive Sony with touch screen as alternative to the Kindle.

6. Big companies invest in monitoring and telehealth technologies. Let's reflect on GE and its acquisition of QuietCare, Intel and its $250 million partnership with GE, and Bosch (VitelNet), all added to Philips (read this backgrounder) as big firms intent on roles in the aging/health monitoring arena -- limited impact in 2009, but validation of market importance in 2010.

7. Broadband access and Internet use among seniors grows.  According to Forrester's research, 63% of 64-73-year-olds are online at least monthly. And Nielsen noted that 6 million more seniors are online today than five years ago -- most likely because their broadband adoption has grown from 19% to 30% in the past year.

8. Caregiver portals and tools blossom. 2009 saw the merger of and Gilbert Guide, forging the market's first million-views-per-month usage profile. As I once heard Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO of, say: that's the minimum level of usage in which advertisers take notice. In addition, many have jumped into the Caregiving space and will launch in 2010 -- shared caregiver communication, health monitoring, and more.

9.  Personal emergency response systems get a makeover. In 2009, we saw the emergence of Halo Monitoring's fall detection chest strap and belt clip, mobile PERS entrant, Medical Mobile Monitoring, and then reflect on Jitterbug's acquisition in the Mobile PERS arena.

10. Last but not least, VCs show interest in aging in place technology. Finally, but not least, during 2009, we saw several VC investments in the aging in place tech arena, including a $7.5 million investment in WellAWARE Systems from Valhalla Partners and .406 Ventures; Menlo Ventures made an investment in Wellcore; Shasta Ventures invested $10 million in; Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins, and Physic Ventures are all examining the health, boomer markets.

Add your observations -- and we'll have a great 2009 roundup!

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I have been a marketer and brander to help companies reach the boomer and senior cohort for years, and only now is the matter clear to everyone that we are 78 million strong and of that 67.5 million are caregivers-half of all 60 year olds have living parents. So, we need the technology to age in place intergenerationally. Yes, we can pull from ideas for the smart house, the alert services and the virtual visits, but the problem is cost. That means that we need to act smarter not just be healthier to age in place with any real quality of life.
I applaud what is taking place. At 62, if we keep innovating I have a real shot at never being isolated, institutionalized, and never having the car keys taken away. Just like big screen tvs, once aging in place technology becomes main stream, it will get cheaper.

I am proud of my clients that have developed ways of:

eating nutritional foods, and heating food without danger of burning-Golden Cuisine

Toileting and showering with dignity-Toto and Mr. Steam

Thank you giving us age in place promoters a forum.
Adriane Berg, CEO Generation Bold-

automated medication management-Simply Home

life long brain fitness on line programs-CogniFit

It will be these nitty gritty life details that will make us free at any age.

For those who doubted that VCs are ready to spend money, see today's WSJ blog about VCs and 2010 funds -- how they're poised to invest -- and that health care has been #2 on the ranked list for investments in the recent past.

What's it mean for startups in the tech market for boomers and seniors? Hard to imagine a new company that can't place themselves in one of the following:

Caregiving in a health context, health in a senior communication and caregiving context, communication as a means to avoid health issues (depression and self-neglect), Internet access for improved self-sufficiency and health-related self-care; access to Internet appliances and broadband to bond long-distance families and monitor health and wellness; and using the Internet to provide access to doctors and care across geographic distances.

And finally, professional participation in any of the above (GCMs, senior housing, home care, health care providers).

And for 2009, let's recap the launches of WellAWARE, MedMinder, EmFinders, the Flipper TV Remote, the Jitterbug J, the Sony Reader Touch & Pocket eBook. For a down economy, not bad!