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Technology for dementia care needs more innovation in 2016

 With so much digital health talent and money in Silicon Valley, little aims at dementia.  Is it because the consumer doesn’t complain enough in surveys? Let’s face it, most tech for dementia care is stunningly rudimentary, consisting of (at best) warn and lock doors, cameras to watch for wandering, and if the residents are lucky enough – engagement technologies (like SingFit or iNTL) may be deployed or are at least being considered. If there are 2.5 million people in the US living in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living, more than 50% of them have some dementia. (My opinion – it is much higher than that.)  The rest of the 5.3 million who have some sort of dementia are still living at home.

Tech for age-related markets: learn, select, study workflow, train -- repeat

LEARN: How does useful technology find the older adults who need it?  The new tech laundry list is a staple of our fast-paced tech times. What is new right now, this minute that could, might, or maybe be useful to older adults -- six new technologies for this, five more for that. An exhibit area at aging-related event features more than 50 startup logospitches for pilots and advice on preparing to pilot.  Perhaps a technology could fill a real need of frail seniors – like a wearable band that notes dehydration and suggests a drink. Note that Nobo’s B60 was developed for athletes and the doctors that treat them. The company is aware of the senior need, but it might take a proactive third party to pull them towards that opportunity.

What mattered -- blog posts in aging and technology in 2015

2015 was an intriguing year for technology and aging. The market opportunity has become more apparent, as the oldest boomers reached aged 69.  Just for instance: there were multiple age-related fund launches; home care with tech underpinnings began to attract the lemming-like VCs; PERS offerings began to be integrated; speaking to devices (not typing) became increasingly possible; smartphones became tablet alternatives; senior housing organizations attempted re-branding of their offerings, likely to better match boomerdom. As we get closer to 2016 and summarizing key forward-looking trends, consider blog posts from 2015.

Why do aging services organizations change their names?

What's in a name? At last week’s LeadingAge, CCRCs became Life Plan Communities. The change was made because "continuing care" implies a setting where older adults are being cared for. (Duh.) And apparently 84% of consumers younger than 65 didn’t know what a CCRC was.  Probably young folks also didn’t get it when AAHSA became LeadingAge in 2011. To the outside observer who last attended in 2010, the LeadingAge conference seems unchanged, and the business of the members? Also unchanged. The book of session topics, exhibit hall booth purchasers, and the roles of executives attending – appears to be the same old, same, as it were, old – not-for-profit CCRCs, uh, Life Plan Communities. Oh, and the for-profit equivalent, ALFA, will not to be outdone namewise - that association is now called Argentum (Latin for 'Silver').

Six Offerings from the 2015 Louisville Innovation Summit

Louisville, Kentucky is the aging-industry capital of the United States. The city is a very big player in long-term care, host to a variety of "headquarters in nursing home, rehabilitation, assisted living and home health administration." Last week the city (and a variety of its long-term care industry sponsors) ran an industry summit that included two days of sessions and a bevy of live pitches. It is striking to contemplate the simultaneous growing blur and yet near-complete disconnect between health-related innovations involving doctors and the world of aging care. There has long been a need for disruptive innovation in the long-term care industry -- which, like the health care industry overall, struggles with lower reimbursements, which in turn have resulted in further industry consolidation.

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