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Focus on Technology for Older Adults Sharpens in 2019

2019 Technology Market Overview is online this week. When assembling the 2019 tenth anniversary version, it was apparent that this year reflects change -- in the supply-demand balance in the overbuilt senior housing market, in policy changes driving health care services into the home, in market forecasts, and in the mix of vendors who serve the market.   It's in many ways a good-news/bad-news story.  Awareness is growing about an aging demographic, working longer and with longer life expectancy than previous generations.  At the same time, the technology market continues to expand in complexity, privacy and interoperability issues, while not effectively lowering cost of access or prices of useful devices -- and not necessarily boosting the availability of training on their benefits or use.  Here are four updated premises from the 2019 Market Overview of Technology for Older Adults:

1. Caregiving demands of an aging population drive policy change and government interest in 2019. In January, 2019, the coordinating body for Health IT (ONC) released interoperability advice, connecting people to their care, that requires representing the relationship between a patient and another person (provider, caregiver, or family member). And in February, ONC proposed a further rule change that would allow individuals to securely and easily access structured Electronic Health Information using applications for smartphones and other mobile devices. And in March, 2019, the White House released a report on Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population

2. Tech adoption among the oldest has not kept pace with technology improvements. The surveyed ubiquity of technology has led to a belief that it is everywhere it needs to be, with media assumptions about the benefit of smartphones and online tools, ownership of devices, or access to broadband speeds. But while government and insurers see benefits of using technology to help people remain at home, device complexity, price, poor usability, rapid obsolescence combined with lack of standard professional training have created big barriers to broadening usage of an aging population, particularly for individuals aged 75+.

3. Paid home care continues to pick up where families and senior housing leave off.  On average, home care fills a care gap of 20-27 hours per week at a presumed lower cost ($20.50/hour paid to agency) than a move to assisted living. Home care work (or personal care aide) has been one of the fastest growing job categories in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but pay to the worker averages around $11/hour for the worker. And for much of the industry, turnover of 45-66% is typical and the cost to replace is $2200. Further, wage increases are rare, but the shortage of home care workers worsens, especially in urban areas in which they cannot afford to live – and are predicted to amount to 7.8 million unfilled jobs by 2026.

4. Medicare Advantage changes may revive tech-enabled home care services. Besides further cementing consumer commitment to support aging at home, 2018 demonstrated that tech-enabled home care offerings may again prove useful despite over-heated investment that culminated in an unprecedented $200 million of failed, bungled, or pivoted home care startups – leaving the traditional home care industry largely unchanged. A far-reaching change began in 2018 to expand benefits for the chronically ill -- resulting in the likelihood that in 2019 non-skilled in-home care services will be reimbursed under the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, which covers a third of Medicare beneficiaries. This change will no doubt drive 2019 interest in labor-saving caregiving technology in both home care and senior living settings.

[NOTE: If you receive this blog post through email, please click on the website Aging in Place Technology Watch to see latest news articles, trend reports, press releases, and more].

Click on the 2019 updated report in this attached link.



Have posted via Twitter as well. FANTASTIC INSIGHTS! Thank you! And forwarded to a view investor friends.

Invaluable content Laurie!!!

THE go-to source for AIP Technologies! Well done Laurie!

Thank you for the consolidation and reporting of this valuable information.

Clearly the need, demand, and opportunity for great technologies in this space are growing. I also like that the focus is starting to shift from the kids making choices for seniors and recognizing that the seniors want to choose and more importantly don't want products that highlight their infirmities but augment them as people.