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Laurie Orlov's blog

Why are older adults demeaned by the health and tech industry?

What is the point of sneering at older people? Rant on. Consider an upcoming HIMSS event in Orlando with the charming title: "Monitoring Grandma: Adoption of Connected Health Tech by Seniors." That version of the title is spelled out here because the presenter has been alerted and agreed that the title was condescending – so MAYBE it will be changed.  But this is just the tip of the condescension iceberg:  Go ahead, Google ‘technology grandma’.  Just check out the first page or two of the millions of identified references – including the images of older women ‘holding it wrong’ or ‘ confused.’ 

Six new technologies for safety, health and in-home monitoring

Elder Home Monitoring 2.0 – it may fill a growing need.  Several companies noted were at CES or with announcements at or around that time offered up the possiibility of a dashboard or collected insights about the wellbeing of an older adult at home.  These may signal not only the next generation of in-home monitoring, but also the next generation of predictive analytics used to help older adults stay longer at home and/or out of the hospital. The timing is good as the oldest Baby Boomer turns 74 this month – and more older adults are staying longer at home. Information is from the company websites or press materials:

CES 2020: Ten Intriguing New Technologies for Older Adults    

CES 2020 – walking the land of the new.  What has 170,000 attendees, long lines, baffling arrangements of booth numbers across multiple, gigantic locations and more robots than you can shake a motion sensor at?  That was CES 2020.  This gigantic parade of the international new and possible can be perused online in detail (and perhaps more usefully) without walking a step or sniffing cigar smoke.  This time, seen (somewhat) in person, here are 10 new offerings from the show that may be relevant to the older adult technology market. Descriptions are drawn from show booth presentations, sessions, websites, and press releases:

The most-read tech and aging blog posts from 2019

Voice First -- The year began and ended with speaking.  And shouting. Strolling is not the right word, but as we approached the Las Vegas Convention Center last January, Google Assistant was on giant billboards all around – with competing and nearby giant Amazon Alexa signs.  We are attending again this year – and I cannot imagine what is left to say, so to speak. But I am sure the blaring will begin at the door. Here are the most read blog posts from 2019.  Happy New Year – and onward to 2020, the publication of the now-completed Voice, Health and Wellbeing 2020 report on Friday, January 3, and so many more (and counted) CES steps -- more wearables, virtual experiences, smart and not-so-smart speakers. See you there!

Sampling technology for managing diabetes

Diabetes is a critical health problem.  More than 30 million Americans have diabetes – but 23 million of them, according to the CDC, are undiagnosed. Today, the obesity rate for adults 60 and over has risen to 41%. It is estimated that 30% of the overweight adults have diabetes – and most diabetics are overweight. Another third of the adult population has pre-diabetes – including 23 million of the 65+.  A survey of technology offerings reveals a plethora of apps and information sites, not to mention devices that are part of the diabetes management equation. So what technologies are viewed as useful for the millions with diabetes? Here is a sampling:

Apps: Nutrition tracking apps for monitoring diet and blood sugar (from Healthline) include Glucose Buddy, DiabetesConnect, and SugarSense.  Health2Sync (‘round the clock diabetes care’ provides a logging tool as well as encouragement. In addition, apps that help educate individuals with diabetes include Fooducate, which explains the sugar and carb content of various foods. The tracking of blood sugar has been gamified in MySugr, which has at least 1 million users in 52 countries.)

Five Technology Offerings from the Washington Innovations in Longevity Summit 2019

The second year of the Summit tackled issues in town and far away.  In the portfolio of the 2019 events produced by Mary Furlong and Associates, the Washington Innovations in Longevity Summit is relatively new, in its second year. But it is unique in its objectives – topics spanned the regulatory environment and included insights and innovations outside of the US.  The event capitalizes on the presence of numerous Washington government agencies, including National Institute on Aging and HHS, as well as representation from DC-based organizations like NCOA and AARP. This event was keynoted by AARP’s Executive VP Nancy LeaMond and George Vrandenburg, Chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. Here are five of the technologies that were presented and discussed at the event:

Voice, health, wellbeing -- notes from January 2020 report

Is the healthcare consumer ready for voice assistants? Not quite.  There is a technology overhaul underway – the biggest change in user experience since the introduction of the web browser in 1991. Voice First technology – the ability to use natural language to speak to and be spoken to by devices and software – has become at least one mandatory user interface in every business and consumer interaction.  From Voice recognition technology to Smart Speakers to Voice Assistants, it is now pervasive – in the year 2020, 50% of all searches will be by voice. From a sheer quantity standpoint, the plethora of devices from Amazon (claiming sales of 100 million gadgets at the end of 2018, plus a dozen new ones introduced for the 2019 holiday sales period) captures the stampede nature of the market.  However, by end of January, 2019, Google claimed to have Google Assistant running on 1 billion devices – and by the summer, began declaring a new version – Google Assistant 2.0.

Older adults deserve more from media when it comes to scams

Who do you trust? Rant on. A long WSJ article details how trusting people can be and why robocall scams work.  A woman listened to a voice mail message saying that it was the FBI and that her identity had been stolen. (That was the first and only robo-dialed call).  When they spoke, the caller told her to turn over all savings, further telling her not to tell anyone about his step-by-step instructions as to where to move the money, nearly $340,000. Why did this 60-something oncology nurse listen to this caller over a several-day period?  Why did she agree to stay in a hotel for two days while the money was in motion?

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Five new health and caregiving technologies November 2019

LeadingAge in San Diego and more.  Entrepreneurs clearly see the opportunity for providing tech-enabled services to help care for older adults.  Large events like Leading Age, Argentum, and sub-events within CES and HIMSS all point to the business potential that draws startups as well as new offerings from existing players – in what may become an increasingly crowded market. Here five recent announcements, two from the Startup Garage at Leading Age in San Diego -- adding three others from recent press releases.  All information is drawn from the websites of the companies themselves.

Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter

Medication non-adherence – it’s serious. This medication non-adherence (not filling prescriptions or missing dosages) is a major health issue – resulting in 10% of hospitalizations, 125,000 deaths, and costing the healthcare system up to $300 billion/year.  Consider that 1 in 5 Medicare patients are re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days after discharge – half of them because of medication non-adherence. In a study by Walgreens, researchers found that every 1% improvement in adherence saves about $50 in healthcare spending.

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