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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Five new technologies for older adults – May, 2017

In home and out and about – new and not quite here offerings.  The top of the list alphabetically is the not-yet-here and pricey Amazon Echo Show.  Is this a ground-breaking innovation? Or is it an always-watching irritant set to ‘drop-in mode’ which automatically will accept a video call after 10 seconds? On the positive side -- start chatting with an aging parent who lacks or hates PC/Macs, tablets, or smartphones.  Consider the potentially negative response: an intrusive person (your loving relative) sneaks up on your screen, ready to converse when you least expect it. How creepy-Skype-y is it?  Here are the five, material drawn from websites or public reviews:

  • Amazon Echo Show.  "Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask"... "Only people of your choosing can use the feature – close friends and family, for instance. Recipients also can decline a drop-in or make it audio-only, if they respond in that 10-second window." Available June 28.
  • BioSensics Frailty Meter.  "Frailty Meter is a portable system consisting of a wireless sensor that gets attached to the wrist during measurement, and a tablet computer to receive and analyze the data. Frailty Meter enables objective and rapid assessment of frailty based on a simple arm movement test. Frailty Meter works by measuring arm movement during a 20-second elbow flexion-extension test. Based on the patient’s performance, Frailty Meter provides an aggregate clinical frailty score, as well as independent measures of weakness, slowness, exhaustion, and range of motion."  Learn more at BioSensics.
  • Essence CareAtHome Active.  "Unlike traditional mPERS solutions, Care@Home Active enables seniors to move between their homes and outdoors while maintaining connectivity with their families and TeleCare Service Providers - all with just one device. Using EP Advanced, Essence’s emergency pendant and fall detector, a small, light wearable with a two-year battery life – leverages BLE (Bluetooth) connectivity to seamlessly switch from the PERS to the senior’s smartphone while away from home." Learn more at Essence.
  • FamilyConnect App. "This will enable a parent to communicate to their adult child critical, important health factors and conditions — are they eating, taking their meds, sleeping ok, how they are feeling, and a simple note feature to communicate any other concerns.  That information will enable families to respond quickly to problems as they arise, before they deteriorate and require greater levels of more urgent, expensive, uncomfortable institutional care." Learn more at Kickstarter campaign.
  • Optando. This "pioneer in communications has just released OptaCare™, the only Single Touch Video (STV) communications software in the marketplace today.  The Philadelphia-based company Optando focuses on making video chatting cost effective to the aging market while at the same time making it easy and fun to use.   Unlike Skype, Facetime or other video communications apps, OptaCare™ has been designed specifically for the expanding aging-in-place market." Learn more at Optando.