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senior living

Who knows technology adoption of the real seniors -- aged 75+?

Accenture exaggerates wildly -- but what should we think?   Rant on. Accenture, seeing a void of 'information' to use to gain new clients, put out an obfuscating headline in a press release last week that precipitates pause. More than pause -- the need for a willing suspension of disbelief: Tech-Savvy Seniors Seek Digital Tools to Manage their Health.  To generate that headline, they surveyed 9015 adults internationally, including the US -- and, get this, of those, they included 200 aged 65+ Medicare recipients. Of course, 2 percent of the survey responders is what led some PR genius at Accenture to grab attention with that headline. So what's a senior, anyway?  Accenture was pitching global consulting services, naturally, and promoting the report that sat behind the headline -- intended for companies filled with young marketers trying to penetrate the mystique of consumers. But when Accenture foists a fact-like assertion, doesn't this make you want to know -- so what IS the technology adoption rate of the real seniors in the US? In September, Pew's researchers sent this along about those aged 76-80: 8.3% have a smart phone, 60.8 have a regular feature phone and 30.9% have neither type. Odds are that the 30.9% population is not online and thus won't be seeking a digital tool to manage their health.

Turning Around Troubled Long-Term Care Facilities

11/14/2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

It is never a single problem or issue that creates a “troubled” long-term care facility, says Alan Funk, President, Pomeroy Health, Inc. To be able to identify the underlying issues and develop appropriate strategies to deal with them, Funk suggests that difficult situations need to be broken up into different components. Funk believes the battle has to be addressed on several fronts,

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Using Tech to create Smart Walls and Tables for Dementia Care

Dementia care – it’s 4:00 and what’s happening?  In a nearby memory care unit in an Assisted Living community, the movie has ended, the credits rolled. Next up – visitors hear loud yelling and observe a staff member separating and redirecting an able-bodied resident. Count the number of residents in wheelchairs -- nearly half of the unit -- awaiting some physical care before dinner. These residents seem ever-more frail -- likely because they are delaying move-in until the need is urgent. Often it appears that staff is supplemented with home health or companion services -- note that these providers are assigned to individual residents, not the group -- just like the resident-specific role played by visiting hospice workers. It may appear that there are many staffers around, but minus the one-on-one folks, there aren't enough staffers to keep everyone else occupied. Now consider the dependency on staff to engage these otherwise-bored and idle residents. Soon it will be dinner time and the activities person will have left for the day. Staff members (who earn a national average of $11.10/hour) get busy with ADL-related chores before/after meals and before bed.

Senior products and services -- how about delighting the customer?

Reinventing the aging experience – who will transform this market? Over the weekend I saw a Woody Allen movie (he is now 77 and in trouble in Mumbai), read an article about Robert Redford (he is also 77), noted that Bill Cunningham -- the NY Times bicyclist-about-town -- is now 85, Betty White (accused of ageism this week) is now 91.  These are well-to-do and well-noticed folk – likely they feel secure in their limos, the NY streets or wherever. You wanna bet that none is considering or would ever consider moving into a CCRC or an Assisted Living, or wearing a PERS device around their neck, mobile or otherwise?  

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Do contests propel innovation in an industry that lacks infrastructure?

Incubators and contests -- do they enable innovation?  Paul Krugman's interesting article about GE’s competition to find a new design raises a question about how to boost innovation and lower its cost. If you read the article, entitled 'Complexity is Free' – you will discover how a simple contest, fielded internationally, generated a design improvement at almost no cost for GE: "The winning prize pool [was] $20,000, spread out across 8 finalists, with awards ranging from $1,000 to $7,000 each." So for $20K, GE got something it wanted, layered that something into a design process that enables continuous revision to designs without new infrastructure investment (the 'free' in the title.) Does anyone else find it interesting that there was no internal engineer who could figure out how to design a lighter-weight bracket component -- and that a contest was required? Or was this a publicity stunt to generate good will for GE? 

Decline of median income stats are in – will anybody notice the 65+?

Consider the data, check elsewhere, and discard this report. This kind of thing catches my eye. You know by now which single age demographic income group saw a statistically significant increase in median income since the recession (supposedly) ended in 2007. The New York Times helpfully tells us – it was those 65-74 folk. Says the Times insightfully: “helped perhaps by the decision of some older workers to remain in the work force or re-enter it.”  A long way down in the article, we learn that the 5.1 percent increase for those 65-74 put them at a median income of $43,000 -- the national median rose to $52,100 in June -- even though in many cases the head of the household was retired. Guess those 65+ must be doing okay.

Crisis avoidance with web cameras and other technology – why not?

Why wait for a crisis to decide to deploy web cameras in senior care?  Did you know that, according to the Administration on Aging, this  is the year of elder abuse prevention? Perhaps it should be the year for webcam deployment in all senior care settings, especially now that that the Frontline story aimed an investigative spotlight at assisted living. So I heard a story this week about an elderly person abused by a home care worker – not surprising, really, when a care recipient is frail and no one is around except the care provider.  The family subsequently placed a web camera in the home.  According to a family member, it was quite a deterrent for the subsequent hires, made aware from the start about its presence. Plus, it was as an enabler for day-time check-ins while an adult daughter was at work.  So why aren’t web cameras ubiquitous in senior care settings – especially to observe care activities like entrances and exits of workers when residents are less mobile, in bed or stranded in wheelchairs? Your opinions are welcome:

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