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Effort beyond task

The dog days of February -- effort beyond task.  I was in a assisted living/nursing home last week and saw the same golden retriever dog (whose master is the ever-cheerful maintenance guy) and down another hall, a snoozing cat. Here's something I've not seen surveyed -- what percentage of senior housing organizations permit and even encourage pets on the premises and in the presence of seniors?  If you know the answer to this question, please contact me! I view the presence of a house pet (and not just the caged birds) as an indicator of effort beyond task -- making me hope that's true of every aspect.

Puzzle pieces -- interlocking from necessity.  For those of you who have seen the market overview (downloadable free at Aging in Place Technology Watch) or heard me present, you know that I view the technology market categories as four interconnected domains: communication and engagement (PCs, e-mail, web, video, chat), home safety and security (PERS, home monitoring, fall detection), health and wellness (medication dispensing and reminder, disease management, fitness), and contribution and learning (legacy, lifelong learning, volunteering, working). The puzzle metaphor was carefully chosen because ignoring one is a recipe for decline -- risk, isolation, depression, non-compliance.

The puzzle paradigm also reflects the need for solutions beyond products. I am regularly contacted by vendors of products who may have developed one product or be reselling a list of products. My plea is for a vendor to know how their product fits into (or spans) this four-part puzzle for aging well. Even if products are only sold through referral channels or online, it's extremely important that new entrepreneurs and established vendors understand and position their product within in the overall context of an aging individual's life (the puzzle). Even (call me crazy) referring to other vendors who could provide the missing pieces should an individual's circumstances require it. Evidence that we've a long way to go is everywhere -- particularly in the patient or doctor-centricity of language of health-related technologies.

[Note: this was also sent as part of a newsletter on 2/26/2010.]