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Consider aging tech and service long-term successes

When firms collapse noisily, peers notice.  Last week several firms commented (anonymously and by name) on the failure of Lively, a sensor-based home monitoring hub that tried too late to pivot into the PERS industry. Why do startups fail, anyway?  In this industry, it appears more often than not that the founders believed they were different from the other players in the market (Lifecomm or AtGuardianAngel); that consumers would shop in BestBuy for an unfamiliar category (Wellcore); that a celebrity would make a big difference (Floh Club).

But some companies have staying power. They meet a need, craft a memorable brand, they figure out the best way to go to market through a catalog, they find a partner (Posit Science and AAA), they stick to the mission (AARP TEK). These are just examples – many more stay, with websites that feature older adults. Also staying: their boards of directors, external partners, and even their installed base. Text is from the companies’ websites – linked in the title of each paragraph. And of course, through comments, other suggestions of firms with multi-year staying power are welcome:

  • ClarityLife.  "ClarityLife is a suite of services to help seniors contend with these new challenges and maintain independence in their latter years. With ClarityLife, the phone becomes more than a communication device. It is an invaluable ally to seniors. It can remind seniors of important dates or when to take medications, and it enables the phone to be adjusted remotely by Clarity should the seniors have technical issues. Furthermore, ClarityLife provides relief to caregivers—keeping them connected to seniors throughout the day and offering reassurance to know that with a push of a button, their loved ones can receive help."
  • Dakim. "With exercises created to appeal to users over age 75, and many unique functions and features that make Dakim BrainFitness Silver easy, practical, and economical to use for senior living providers, Dakim BrainFitness Silver has become the #1 brand of brain fitness in senior living — in use in more than 500 communities across North America! See below for a map and a list of senior living communities and senior centers offering clinically proven Dakim BrainFitness."
  • GreatCall Jitterbug Phone. "At GreatCall, everything we do is based on our company philosophy of being easy to use. Our simple cell phones for seniors and urgent response device can enhance your well-being, let you maintain your independence, and help you feel more capable with our exclusive health apps and mobile safety solutions. GreatCall, Inc., the leader in enabling aging consumers and their family caregivers to stay connected, protected and in control of their lives, today introduced enhanced versions of two of its award-winning health & safety devices: the GreatCall Splash with 5Star service and the Jitterbug5. The new features augment the products’ unrivaled simplicity, proven  mobility and value to family caregivers."
  • It’s Never 2 Late. "It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L), founded in 1999, is dedicated to helping older adults realize the full benefits of adaptive technology. iN2L integrates the various hardware, software, media, ergonomic, and adaptive components necessary to allow virtually any person with any interest in using a computer—regardless of background, physical or intellectual abilities—to do so pleasurably, engagingly, and with minimal frustration. The system is built on a picture-based, touch-screen interface that allows users to simply “touch” their way to find engaging, educational, spiritual, and personalized content that is appropriate to their level of cognitive and physical ability. From using e-mail and web cams to connect with family and friends, to enjoying mind-stimulating activities, to improving hand-eye coordination as part of a rehabilitation program, elders with a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities, most of whom have never used a computer, are now enjoying technology using systems adapted especially for them."
  • MedMinder. Its pill dispensers remind the user to take their medications with a series of optional visual and/or auditory alerts. The reminders occur in 30-minute intervals. First the compartment will flash, then the pill dispenser will beep, then the user will receive a phone reminder. If the user still has not taken their medications, then all caregivers will be notified via phone, email and/or text message. Of course, if the medications are taken on time, there will be no reminders nor notifications."
  • MobileHelp. "MobileHelp is America's leading provider of M-PERS (Mobile-Personal Emergency Response System) technology. Based in Boca Raton, Florida, MobileHelp services clients in all 50 states. MobileHelp develops and distributes market leading products such as DUO, the first fully integrated medical alert system with GSM/GPS technology, SOLO, an innovative alert solution for people without home telephone lines and Classic Help, a traditional Medical Alert System. MobileHelp's M-PERS devices are integrated with nationwide wireless voice and data and GPS technology to provide real-time medical monitoring services and location tracking for expedited personal emergency assistance."
  • Philips Lifeline"In 1983, Lifeline went public, staying focused on evolving its technology and services. Advancements included waterproof call buttons that could be worn in the shower — one of the most likely places for a fall. They also centralized the call center to provide world-class services for everyone using Lifeline. Acquired by Philips in 2006, Lifeline call buttons have become lighter and more comfortable to wear, and the system’s performance and usefulness have rapidly progressed. By leveraging the latest wireless technology, HomeSafe and GoSafe systems allow seniors to call for help from any place in their homes or practically anywhere they travel. Lifeline’s AutoAlert, available with both our at-home and on-the-go services, features advanced automatic fall detection technology, adding another layer of protection."
  • Posit Science (DriveSharp).  "What matters most when an unexpected danger comes your way? Noticing it early and reacting to it instantly.That's why Posit Science built Drivesharp—an online brain training program that is clinically proven to help drivers see more, react faster, and cut crash risk by up to 50%. Drivesharp is available at a discount to most AAA club members, and is offered free as part of certain insurance policies. With Drivesharp, every driver can lower their crash risk—at any age."
  • TV Ears. "TV Ears first began in 1998 in Newport Beach, California as a small living room project by founder George Dennis. Since then, we have moved operations to other living rooms, a pool house, and small studio suites. Today, our company operates out of its headquarters in sunny San Diego, California where we have our North America distribution center and full tech support and sales teams. Recommended by doctors and audiologists nationwide, TV Ears has become the #1 selling brand for TV listening devices and we are only just getting started."


An interesting read, Laurie. According to a study that was mentioned on Senior Housing News -- it found that few seniors use age in place technology. The most used are PERS, which makes sense. The rest have low percentages of users. Do you know if that's true? If so, do you know of a survey (of users) illustrating the usage of different technologies? 

The study you mention came from Caring.com.


I don't have a profile handy of the Caring.com user, but I am willing to bet that the primary user is a caregiver, not a senior.

The last study on usage of aging in place technology was most likely the studies fielded by Linkage (2011 and 2012). Prior to that was the AARP Healthy@Home 2.0 from 2011

The penetration of PERS in at least one of those was around 15%.

Otherwise usage is likely lower that 15%, often explained by 'lack of awareness'.  I doubt that -- more likely seniors resist technologies that are primarily offered for the benefit of their adult children. See Lively








I'm an occupational therapist in Virginia looking for employment in the aging in place with technology field. Any suggestions on companies on the east coast looking to employ therapists who have worked with seniors in a variety of settings to help develop technology or train seniors?


Tammy, check out Vitality Fitness and Wellness Maryland (on FB). It is my friend, Peter Francis' company and they specialize in personal training for seniors. He may be able to point you in a good direction. Best regards, Chris