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Washington, DC, December, 11-14, 2017

 

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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baby boomers

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baby boomers

For boomers, there is no such thing as keeping up with tech change

When boomers are 84 – there will be no keeping up. Just the same as when they are 64.  Many boomers disagree with that statement, finding it insulting or pessimistic or both. They will repeat plaintively that baby boomers are very different than their parents’ generation. They are comfortable with technology. See how many have smartphones! They text, use Facebook and YouTube.  Many book travel online, read TripAdvisor reviews, and even call for car pickups with an app!  So what’s the problem? Tech change is occurring faster than boomers at 64 or 84 will want to use. Groups of people who used to participate in one social network will leave in 11 million-at-a-time droves and without explanation.  And, as with Facebook, the departed will include your children and grandchildren who left to use Instagram and Snapchat. They will leave without notice – the social network equivalent of changing a phone number – with parent/grandparent only learning about it when they tried to place a (now-obsolete) phone call. Eventually they will also leave those tools behind, and so on and so forth.

The WSJ offers bad advice – move into a CCRC sooner vs. later

he Wall Street Journal offers advice to well-to-do older adults.  This time the advice comes from Glenn Ruffenach, a frequent writer for the WSJ retirement section.  The query comes from a healthy couple in their early 70s who wonder if it is time to move into a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community). They hesitate, observing that the residents seem decidedly older. A good observation – they are!  Glenn says to move now, rather than wait. Really? For people in their early 70s? The median age of move-in to CCRCs is climbing – noted as of 2016 to be age 81 – and the residents’ average age is now 85.  The CCRC has been a buy-in offering combining independent living homes, assisted living and skilled nursing facility (SNFs). Many faith-based non-profits are structured that way. But the nation’s largest for-profit firm, Brookdale, offers a ‘rental’ model -- Caring.com’s 2017 description – why? People are deferring the move. In 2016, CCRC occupancy has reached 90% in only one quarter

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Mary Meeker’s 2017 report highlights the health tech distortion field

Health tech future: you have to love the wording – and this time, the press ate it up.  Apparently at the time no one really noticed the 2016 Rock Health report on ‘willingness’ to share health data.  But times have changed. So Mary Meeker’s report, which everyone now quotes, cites that data as though it were important input for brands.  And now it is really and inaccurately famous. She opines, that of the ‘brands well-positioned for digital health’ – the leader is Google.  The oft-quoted answer (see Tech Crunch “Pretty neat” insight): “Meeker’s report says a full 60 percent of us were willing to share our health data with Google in 2016.”  That does sound pretty neat, huh?

Five Tech and Aging Blog Posts You May Have Missed - July 2017

 It’s summer – and the reading is easy.  But there are many opportunities to fall out of touch with what’s happening in the world of tech and aging – for example, in the market innovation category, most recently there have been announcements about robot offerings for seniors, and some new capabilities for sharing photo content that can help record moments of our family lives that may soon be lost.  In the spirit of sharing, hoping that those who can are going to attend the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit next week, July 20, in Berkeley – if so, will see you there!  Meanwhile, here are five other blog posts from the past month that you may have missed:

Independence Day – How Old Age is a (New) Number

Movin' up – so goes the definition of old age. Maybe this confirms what you have already observed, and the Society of Actuaries (which also uses Social Security Life Tables) has also calculated. According to Stanford economist John Shoven, the definition of "old" is rising, ridiculously compared to the 1920s, but very interesting, nonetheless. Says Shoven: For women, "old" is approximately age 73, with women transitioning out of middle age at 65. For men, he asserts that "old" is around age 70, with transitioning out of middle age at age 60.  The assumption underlying this are based on "risk of dying" within 1, 2 or 4 years. If it is 1% or less, a person is is middle-aged. Good graphic, and no surprise, it's another document in the litany of advice for deferring Social Security payments until late, late, late, despite the actual behavior in which 42% of men and 48% of women are claiming it at age 62.

Say it ain’t so -- will boomers age into a technology divide?

Boomers and technology – it’s a given.  Yesterday yet another baby boomer reporter asserted what is believed by many to be the obvious.  Baby boomers will not be tech-phobic (presumably like their parents) – but will be willing and able to use the newest technology in their later years.  What’s the proof?  They use it now – for example, 83% are using the Internet, look at Facebook pages for health information, form social connections, research online, etc.  And baby boomers, many of whom are now ‘seniors’, expect technology to help them remain independent as they age. This is such a significant possibility that tech designers are actually encouraged to consider them when designing a new product.

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