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Laurie Orlov's blog

Five technologies for older adults from CES 2017

CES 2017 – an overwhelming 'tech-o-rama' that defies categorization.  So do not expect insight here about why, where, or what was intriguing to journalists and geeks, including the Wall Street Journal.  There will be no discussion of how Vegas may be different in a year where the show, which attracted 175,000, ended on a Sunday. [Rant on] And the Silver Summit at CES is long gone, first replaced by Lifelong Tech in 2015 and then fully absorbed into the Digital Health Summit last year and this year. And there will be no discussion here about why, oh why, do all of the demonstration videos of nearly everything have to limit the viewer imagination to the young people being shown? [Rant off] Okay, there is no existing aggregator source for tech that could be useful to older adults -- spanning multiple categories -- nor to caregivers who care for them, either professional or family. Note that some media articles grouped items: a)  tech related to hearing loss, b) tech to assist people with disabilities, and c) an Accessibility Marketplace.  In addition to those offerings, here are five that so far caught my eye -- drawn from various sources:

Six observations from Tech-Enabled Home Care 2017 Research

Tech-enabled home care -- what does the interview research reveal? The report will be posted later this month, but specific insights emerged after speaking with 21 leaders in the home care business and technology segments.  The interviews are completed and the report is drafted. Here are six predictions that are drawn directly from that process:

Living to 100 – On the cusp of CES, what technology will we need?

At an event this week with that title – it makes you wonder. What will living to 100 be like in 40 years?  In 2014, there were 72,197 Americans aged 100 or older, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That number is up 44% since 2000, so that is presumably the good news. Moving forward, the projection is for an even more impressive number – 603,971 anticipated by 2060. The bad news?  The cause of death from Alzheimer’s disease among centenarians has also increased by 119% since 2000.

Four slightly cynical wishes for 2017 and beyond

Consider the following possible though unlikely 2017 tech advances.  On the cusp of the new year and the 2017 CES announcement extravaganza, let’s hope. And beyond CES, here are a few semi-optimistic (or glass half-full) wishes for our technology lives – and the corollary of technology media coverage. Let's consider dropping the click bait media fawning over ever little twitch of self-driving cars.* Let's ask car manufacturers to consider simpler user interfaces (like this reviewed VW) for easier-to-manipulate temperature, audio and driving controls.  And what else should we hope for?

Six 2016 Tech Announcements for Older Adult Safety

Safety matters -- both to older adults and their loved ones.  For those who worry about the elderly, home safety monitoring technology and personal emergency response offerings provide a degree of reassurance -- following the entry of MobileHelp as one of the first, most of the viable Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) vendors in the market today have a mobile device, enabling the older adult to leave the home, walk the dog, and wear a device while on trips. In addition, automatically-generated check-in technology can provide another degree of comfort for caregiving families and professional providers. During 2016, a number of new variants of safety-related introductions were made, including, but not limited to the following launches: 

Six technology-enabled innovations for older adults from 2016

Tech announcements spew forth, fast and furiously – but most do not help older adults.  Stay tuned and hopeful if you can, to the hundreds of announcements that will pour forth in the coming weeks from CES 2017 – hopefully a number of them focused on or at least interested in the care and/or services related to an aging population – and yes, according to the CDC, if one lives to age 65, life expectancy is unchanged. In the meantime, let’s reflect on 2016, which saw the rise in awareness of future caregiver shortages, shortages in family time, but not shortages in investor money:

We still don't have insurance to protect from a disruptive technology future

We buy many insurances – just in case.  Car, homeowners, apartment, flood, personal liability – all are hedges against the unknown and unwanted.  Seeing a business opportunity, insurers created a long-term care insurance market for a benefit the customer might not need for another 25 years. We can buy a service contract to cover repairs of our appliances.  Yet so it continues that when we purchase technology, carrier, or software services, the offering changes ever more quickly -- and our technology becomes obsolete. So we toss the products (and services) into the soon-forgotten gadget graveyard with 135 million mobile phones discarded in 2010 alone -- the last date for which there are EPA statistics.

Four University Research Programs about Technology for Older Adults

From the universities and their affiliates – research about older adults.  Since this website was launched in 2008, periodic looks at who is doing what in the area of research on aging have repeatedly revealed little in the way of commercialization determination or practicality of offerings.  But funding is found – and several of these programs seem driven to reward innovation that can be commercialized – or they are funded by organizations that want and need results.  Here are four from a recent scan -- there are more, of course, and if you know one that is more robust, please send it along or provide a comment:

Mitigating loneliness – what is being, can be done?

You may notice that it is the Christmas cheery season. [Rant on] Isn’t it great to see the sleigh-bell imagery, decoration excess, and TV Christmas-caroling crowds? Observe all the promotion, advertising and shopping discounts for must-have stuff. One guesses that Christmas must matter to self-identifying Christians, now only 75% of the US population, down from 80% in 2006. Yet the Christmas season is not about religion. It is a platform – a springboard for irrational spending, financial hangovers, 30% of annual retail sales, and the result -- goods that the recipient doesn’t want, need and can’t store – and that the giver can’t afford. 

Facebook usage is up -- what does its growing media role mean?

Pew new social media numbers tell a story – sort of.  Now we know, that despite of -- or perhaps because of its inadvertent dissemination of fake news, Facebook usage is up. So consider that 62% of online age 65+ adults use Facebook.  Also note other Pew data:  only 58% of adults age 65+ are online.  So translate that into 36% of the total 65+ population (or 16 million) using Facebook.  Observe that 83% of American older adults aged 65+ have grandchildren. Is there a relationship between having grandchildren and needing to view updates on Facebook?  Look at AARP Tek Facebook training. It is just too basic given Facebook's role as both dominant news media source and influencer. 

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