Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Next week is Active Aging Week -- let the trade show season begin

Next week is Active Aging Week 2014.  According to the International Council on Active Aging, there are 3000 events (all over the place) to celebrate beginning tomorrow -- there are "never more reasons to get off the couch."  So now there are 43 million people age 65+ in the US. (Remember when it was 39 million, back in 2012?) Today there are many reasons for older adults to get up and get moving. Seniors are saddled with ever-lengthening life expectancies (one in four of today's 65-year-olds will live to 90! They are stuck in their awkward and costly houses, with questionable health status and a propensity to be overweight.  Meanwhile, more than half of those aged 65+ rely on Social Security -- with its average payment of $1294/month -- for more than half of their income

Meanwhile, for family caregivers, it's a struggle and costs add up.  Caring.com just published a survey last week of its own viewers, asking them how much they money and time they spend on caregiving.  And many of these caregivers are struggling with their own health, combining caregiving responsibilities with work.  Meanwhile, the role of technology in caregiving is limited -- even though many visions have come, a separate software market never emerged, and many tech innovators are long gone  -- replaced by…smartphone apps?   I certainly hope that family caregivers are enjoying their smartphones -- between necessary upgrades, screen touch sensitivity, app security and privacy risks -- smartphones really do seem like they should remain in the category of nice-to-have, cool for sending texts and playing games in airports, but if you're really busy with caregiving, maybe a paper spiral-bound planner would work just as well. And let's just not talk about the utility of health records and how disappointing they are to doctors.

The technology market targeting older adults is morphing.  Marketers struggle to define a market, let alone what they need. If one in four 65-year-olds will live to 90, are they seniors at 65, with 25 years still to go?  Average life expectancy in 1940 added another 13 years for men, 14 for women.  By the standards of the day, those folks probably felt 'senior' in comparison to the population around them. Today, the personal emergency response market targets people aged 75+ -- and for women, 46% of them live alone.  Even though it is still less than a quarter of the market, the mobile devices (usable outside the home) makes more and more sense, as does carrying a smartphone -- with so many functions -- as a camera, a music player, a fitness and calorie tracker, a book reader, GPS turn-by-turn directions, store and restaurant locator.

Events help product, service, resellers and care providers find innovation and each other. Quite a few of them coming up -- take a deep breath:  LeadingAge 2014 in Nashville in October (non-profit senior housing), AgeTech West in Seattle in November -- a LeadingAge West Coast event), Connected Health Symposium in Boston in October, Home Care and Hospice in October in Phoenix,and mHealth Summit in Washington in December. Then there are numerous in 2015 the Digital Health Summit at CES in January, 2015, NAPGCM (Geriatric Care Managers) in Denver in 2015, the American Society on Aging in Chicago in March (with its What's Next Boomer Business Summit).   No doubt our paths will cross at one or another of these.

Comments

I hope the comment in the first paragraph is a misplaced word when you state, "Seniors are saddled with ever-lengthening life expectancies..."

Would be curious to get first person feedback if we feel like we're 'saddled' tolive longer to enjoy life, friends and family.

Very poor choice of words.

'Saddled' was used in the context of 'not planned for', 'not ready for' and along with their families, 'may struggle to cope with.'