Meet or hear Laurie in one of the following:

Webinar: Tech-Enabled Home Care in 21st Century, Jan 24, 2019

Washington DC, February 7-8, 2019

HIMSS, Orlando, February 11-12, 2019

Washington, DC, May 30, 2019

Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit, June 5, 2019

Related News Articles


Amazement and dismay at the show floor of CES in the context of tech for older adults.


More CES offerings -- including "automating guilt."


Tech that will help older adults stay independent.


 Another possible deal for subsidizing the cost of the watch. 


At this year’s CES, products to help older people with daily life and health issues.

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

You are here

Retailing AIP Tech: Early Observations from the Fair

Fried at the fair. This year, we were selected to have a retail stand at the San Diego County Fair. There are 1.4 million people expected to attend the fair during its 22-day run from June through July 4. In addition to the infamous Chicken Charlie’s fried food (fried Kool Aid is this year’s hit, many people attend the fair for the shopping — four large halls full of Sham Wows, Vitamixes and assorted pitchmen and gizmos.

We were allowed to bring an assortment of AIP Tech plus a few accessory products. One of our goals was to observe people’s reactions to the products as well as educate people about the availability of AIP Tech. Products displayed and demonstrated include the Presto email system, TV Ears 2.3 and TV Remote (, Med-e-lert medication dispenser, ASUS Skype Videophone, Moshi talking clock, ezRead Visual Aide Magnifier, a variety of motion-activated, battery-run LED lights and the Small Personal Item Belt . We also included the Spork since it is an easy-to-hold combination utensil for folks with hand or gripping concerns. Our signage does not mention age.

Here are some early observations after the first 500,000 attendees. Men, aged 35 to 59, are particularly interested in anything that looks techie. Most stop and gaze at our products and read all the signs. Some come up and inspect a bit closer as well. Not many buy. Women control the money. We have some mainstream products — the SPIbelt and the Spork —that appeal to all age groups. Invariably, when a male decides to purchase an item, they need to hurry down the aisle to find their spouse to get funds (and approval). Multigenerational family groups that have an elder in a wheelchair or a scooter never stop to shop at our booth. Even though the caregiver of the group is furtively looking at our products, they will not stop.

Professionals AND caregivers are unaware of AIP tech. An RN geriatric care manager asked for a demonstration of every product and was very excited to know that AIP tech was available. A vision-specialty nurse immediately recognized the importance of Carson’s EZread to her patients with macular degeneration (but had never seen it before.) Individual caregivers are unaware of AIP tech and family dynamics play a role in final purchases. Many recognize the benefits when they see a product that will work for their particular situation but are worried about getting reimbursed by their parent or their sibling that controls the finances. They are also worried about insulting their parent or spouse by bringing the product into the home, even though they are clearly having serious issues (medication dispensing issues were common.) Compliance and usability were also concerns and, even a 30-day money back guarantee policy could not overcome the worries in most cases.

The “I’m not quite ready for that” syndrome is alive and well with leading edge boomers. While many older boomers have stopped to shop and express interest in particular products, we’ve heard the “not old/frail enough” mantra over and over. TV Ears is the most recognized product and the one that consistently generates testimonials. It also is the product that seems to be gaining a younger demographic. One older gentleman with booming voice gave us a lecture about how every man starts losing his hearing at 40 and TV Ears should be mandatory. Made me laugh.

Every single AIP tech product needs to be demonstrated. Manufacturers need to create one minute “commercials” for their product – electronic pitchmen – to get the point across quickly. This video has worked well for us with the Skype videophone. People are not spending money yet. The recession is still on many people’s minds and, according to the other retailers at the fair, this year is slower than normal (prerecession).

Thoughts welcome.