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Did you miss one? Four tech/aging blog posts from October 2021

It's 2021 -- are older adults well-served by technology? Some progress of sorts has been made -- Apple and Amazon seem interested in the older adult segment. smartphones are being adopted by the majority of older adults, including those aged 70+. That’s despite their touchy screens, inconsistent app designs, and now silly warnings about app tracking on Apple devices. Those self-righteous warning are especially amusing, given that Gmail is the most frequently used email client (with 53% of the US market), including on iPhones. And you know that for Gmail and other ‘free’ software (like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), you are the product for advertisers and more. But we digress. In home care, technology plays a tangential role at best, though tech exists, including AI and machine learning, that could improve care of older adults. And the potential for a smarter (and healthier) home is growing -- an upcoming research report will describe that potential in December. For now, here are four blog posts for October:

The Future of Home Care Technology – that time is now. What could have happened in the home care industry didn’t. In 2012, based on interviews with the best and the brightest in and around the home care industry, an idea was born and documented. It was radical – the idea of a network for sharing relevant information across organizational boundaries about a home care recipient with stakeholders, family, health providers. In this vision, the care recipient was at the center of this information sharing across the stages and steps of living independently, senior housing, rehab, hospital, and home. Instead of this vision outlined in The Future of Home Care Technology 2012, we have today’s franchised and fragmented home care industry – regionally focused, achieving the most minimal advances in technology deployment. Read more.

Ten Years of Surveying Oldest Adults – comments are an eye-opener. The more tech changes – A decade of older adult tech surveys, first posted in September, recapped in October 8 summary. Few of the oldest are ever surveyed about tech adoption – least of all using paper. Link-Age Connect has surveyed the oldest about tech use since 2011, with periodic surveys fielded to older adults via their member organizations. In 2011, that represented 122,000 residents drawn from its member communities across 22 states. The member communities in 2011 distributed 5000 paper surveys and got back 1789 completed, a 35% response rate. Many were completed with assistance for people with limited vision or mobility. All were transcribed for analysis and use in the published report, Technology Survey Age 65 to 100, Extending Technology Past the Boomers. In 2011, 71% of the responders were older than aged 75. Read more.

Big Tech wants to serve older adults – initiatives are accumulating. Apple and Amazon see an opportunity to capture the aging baby boomer, the oldest will be 76 in January 2022. Apple views it as centered on their personal devices – Amazon sees the opportunities in the room where older adults live. Even Google may do stealthily more expanding its Nest Hub Max use into senior living and beyond. Remote home monitoring, safety and fall detection, engagement, chronic disease management, all in the cards somewhere. What’s it mean? It spells opportunities for investors, startups, service providers to scope how to outdo the slow-moving big players. Read more.

Tech terminology – new definitions, bad outcomes. Consider our online privacy, or the lack thereof. PC Magazine just published a look at Big Tech privacy policies and the actual data collection reality (these firms know practically everything about us). The University of Michigan published a History of (Data) Pr ivacy Timeline. The irony is that as laws emerged, efforts to regulate ramped up, that our data privacy, especially for children, is far less than it was in 1998, when the Children’s Online Privacy Act was launched. Of course, Instagram hadn’t been invented yet; Facebook hadn’t acquired Instagram (a perceived threat), the Facebook whistleblower hadn’t revealed that inappropriate management of teen content in Instagram, and so on. With so much negative publicity about Facebook and its companies, of course, the time is right, says the boss, to create a parent company with a new name. Why not Metaverse -- a virtual reality grand plan (hiring 10,000 workers in Europe to build it!) should nicely obfuscate the mismanagement and lack of damage control of his current universe. Read more.


Well the offerings certainly aren’t perfect and as always, buyer beware. But frankly I’m glad big tech and small tech see opportunities in the agetech space. I’m hoping for lots of things my parents didn’t have: voice interactive companions, smart in-home wellness assistants, a training coach in the metaverse. I look forward to experiencing what bright minds come up with!!

Spend a few hours visiting assisted living residences and it will be clearer what sort of tech is most beneficial to both residents and staff. I have seen equipment sitting unused due to lack of interest in adoption, wasting valuable resources. I've also seen workshops that help residents learn how to use equipment for their entertainment and/or lifelong learning. Best practices will depend on many factors.