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Four Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from September, 2021

September 2021 – it got away. But much happened during the month, including the release of the 2021 Linkage technology survey of older adults, rarely fielded and so their tech behavior is poorly understood. Meanwhile, September was a month to consider the business practices of social media monopolist, Facebook – in print (WSJ, Washington Post), on 60 minutes, and as some might say, blah, blah, blah. Will regulation happen? Will people seek a new platform, search for other online photo sites, find an offline hobby, go outside? At this moment, investors doubt anything will change, despite plenty of posturing. Here are the four posts:

AI technology matters in the care of older adults

AI – it’s everywhere, including tech for older adults. So what is AI? Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI can use machine learning based on large data sets, and has a number of well-known applications, including recommendations from Netflix, Siri and Alexa, bots and robo-advisors. AI plays an increasing role in healthcare, including the growing use of chatbot tools used by patients. In addition, there are multiple examples of use in the care of older adults. In some cases, these are the result of partnerships, in others from product development. Here are five recent examples leveraging AI, with all information coming from vendor announcements and websites:

Caspar.Ai Granted Additional U.S. Patent For Artificial Intelligence Applications

05/04/2021

SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Patent Office has granted additional patent to BrainofT, Inc., Redwood City, CA d/b/a Caspar.AI. The announcement was made by Caspar.AI CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Ashutosh Saxena and Dr. David Cheriton, Caspar.AI Chief Scientist and Co-Founder. The company applies artificial intelligence to the senior living market.

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Four Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from August, 2021

August should have been a sleepy month – but no. Multiple interesting acquisitions during August make tech and older adults intriguing. Early in the month, the largest franchised home care company (Home Instead) was acquired by a tech upstart, Honor – to ‘scale up home care’. Connect America, which had already acquired the 'aging and caregiving business of' Philips Lifeline, then acquired a remote patient (RPM) monitoring startup and AI-virtual assistant company called 100plus. Investor interest in age-tech startups is growing, older adults are certainly aging – synergy between these phenomena will certainly follow. The blog posts for August:

AI, Broadband, Privacy and Flip phones – Four blog posts from July 2021

Nobody wants to live in a nursing home. Yeah, yeah. We get it. The NY Times offers up an opinion echoing what Politico writers and all older adults believe -- until the need actually arises. You’ve read those echo chamber opinions (and about the Green House alternatives with 10 residents each) for the past 19 years. The traditional nursing home model of 100+ residents (funded by Medicare for rehab and Medicaid for long term stays) was declared dead in 2009. Still, there are at least 1.4 million seniors who live in traditional nursing homes today. Why? You know why. Older adults with dementia or other high-care health issues, economies of scale for staffing, cost of private pay assisted living, cost of private pay home care, no near-by or any family members. No news there. Changing the subject, here are four blog posts from July 2021:

Almost useful: AI and machine learning in our lives as we age

Like the obsessively observant HAL, today's tech is always learning your behavior.  You mention a concept or product in an e-mail – and are surprised to see that ‘offer’ (displayed or pushed) in your next interaction.  Snoopy software tools like the A-word are persistent with the ‘insights’ gained from perusing your text. I see you have asked about such and so – would you like me to order it?  Snooping on your actions is fundamental for advertising and the revenue, uh, continued market valuations of A-words (oh, yes, absolutely, we protect privacy!).  Plenty of other privacy issues  persist with Twitter, the various G-words (health data too!), and the like.  These products build their value by ‘getting smarter’ all the time about you, but there are multiple well-documented and alarming privacy problems.

To help older adults, smart home tech should wise up

Smart home tech – if it can be invented, it has been.  It is the ultimate tinkerer’s fantasy, something from an ‘Open the Pod Bay Doors, Hal’ future.  As we signal our car’s arrival on the street near our house, the home’s temperature is automatically adjusted, the garage door opens automatically. Soon music will begin playing in the kitchen, the oven will begin preheating, and the newly purchased Echo Show 10 is in position to swivel towards us as we enter and present the recipe of the day. The trash can has already changed its own bag, the litter robot changed the cat litter, and knowing it has been a dry day, the smart sprinkler has just completed its cycle.

From the 2021 Market Overview Technology for Aging

It's 2021 and baby boomers turn 75. It took the combination of 71 million boomers, a pandemic emergency, and the sheer size of the aging population to transform a 2009 market niche into this 2021 market category worthy of investment-- less about products specifically designed for older adults as it is about the marketing of many existing offerings as useful to them.  But this is January, 2021, in the time of Covid-19 and the time of the all digital Consumer Electronics Show -- this time with at least 70,000 online attendees from around the world and the tech industry -- and so new companies are surfacing with technologies that will generate interest and even excitement during 2021. The entrants that can help older adults fit into categories like:

Selected tech trends from upcoming 2021 Market Overview

Looking ahead to 2021 -- pre-CES, what trends will persist?  So that's just about enough of 2020 -- a year worth putting behind us, if ever there was one. Much creativity and stopgap solutions were the signs of the Covid-19 times.  There was an awakening about older adults as targets of ageism and victims of social isolation, true. But there was also an awakening to the significance of aging in place, the investment category of older adults, the market power of older adults, including the 65+ population of 54 million. And who knew that the fastest growing subsegment was those aged 80+?  Innovators in 2020 helped mitigate social isolation, enable in-home strength training for seniors, provided the tech mechanics (regardless of infrastructure) to connect older adults to families? All that and more make up the new entrants in the 2021 Market Overview of Technology for Aging.

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