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Laurie Orlov's blog

Technology to help care for individuals with dementia

The Early Stage Of Dementia. In the early stages, families will worry. A family member may say or forget things that make them wonder if it’s dementia or just a normal part of aging. They should consider persuading their loved one to get an evaluation from a professional. If their loved one is hesitant, a self-assessment could be used to encourage a visit to a professional. A doctor can help determine the type and stage of dementia and whether it is likely to be Alzheimer’s disease or some other type. If it is Alzheimer’s disease (60-80% of those with dementia), there is typically a slow progression over time. The chances are good that their family member can remain at home through early stages, even continuing to live alone. Even after a diagnosis, they'll continue to wonder whether it really is dementia and look for another test they can do at home. But maybe they'll also be concerned with the day-to-day activities of daily living (ADLs), especially if their loved one is living alone. Perhaps there is an unrelated health issue, and they're concerned about whether he/she is taking medications correctly or making it to medical appointments. Issues such as these can be addressed with calendar or reminder technologies.

2020 - What about those Ten Tips for Launching a Product? A Recap

Today or soon you will launch a boomer/senior, home health tech product or service, or maybe a caregiver advisory service.  As your company gets ready to travel into battle or a booth with the sound of pitches all around, it is time to for you to revisit this guidance. Perhaps sometime soon, your new or existing company will officially launch a new product or service, or perhaps a long-awaited, over-described and much-anticipated offering will finally ship. First read existing content and research reports on your particular market segment.  Look over this updated checklist that continues to hold true – with updated links and references. If necessary, refine tactics:

2020 Technology trends that benefit older adults and caregivers

In 2020, focus sharpens on technology market categories of aging and caregiving.  AARP published a new report that showed growing interest in technology among those aged 70+.  CES 2020 saw several exhibit areas and innovations focused on older adults and what they need. This past week, Cambia Health released a survey of caregivers, 64% of surveyed caregivers use at least one digital tool to help them with caregiving.SamsungBest Buy and Amazon now group offerings that could be helpful for older adults and those who care for them. What other changes matter for this market? 

Audiologists can help combat social isolation

The hearing loss statistics are daunting. The number is sizable – 38 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. But probably the most startling statistic is related to older adults – half of those age 75+ difficulty hearing. Of those age 70 and older with hearing loss, only 30% have hearing aids.  How is this the status quo?  Even though age is the single greatest predictor of hearing loss, many people wait 7 or more years before attempting to address it. That could include purchasing a sound amplification product (PSAP), hearing aid, or the newest amplification category, hearables. The consequences of untreated hearing loss include social isolation, which itself is related to poorer health outcomes.  

Where is the detailed survey of older people?

AARP recently published several new reports -- all worth a read.  Rant on. The survey reports, about the 50+ gamers and 50+ tech trends, each identify an age band of the 70+, something AARP began a few years ago and kudos to them, that banding continues among some of their research reports.  Not so the Longevity Economy Outlook, which lumps the wealth of the population for those aged 50-100, but no breakout was offered about the spending potential for the population at the higher end of the age bands. From an economic standpoint -- what will they (or their families) spend money on, how is their health, what is the cost of their care, where do they live? Who knows?

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.)

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