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Time to worry much more about data privacy and profiles

The irony, the irony – everyone saw Europe’s data privacy initiatives.  Why has this taken so long here? In a word – lobbying. The congressional hearing droned on, and Mark Zuckerberg tried so hard not to sound condescending towards his techno-light questioners about the so-called ‘Facebook Scandal.’ Which could have been the Google scandal, the Twitter scandal, or eve Amazon -- consolidation of industry players and using the data to sell them (or make ads ‘more effective’) or as with Amazon, sell them more stuff. The real scandal? Not the Cambridge Analytica role, which didn’t exactly sneak around in the long-time and paid analysis of Facebook data. The real scandal might be last year's $30 million of lobbying spent to avoid controls (and user protection) actions like those considered and in process in Europe.

Voice First: What you say should help get what you need

What makes Voice First special for older adults?  This blog has discussed the emergence of Voice First technology -- speech-enabled interactions with technology -- on multiple occasions. But this occasion is different -- it marks the publication of a research effort and resulting report linked here called The Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults 2018.  Today's blog post offers a short excerpt of key differences between Voice First technology and prior tech generations that apply to all users – but are unique for seniors -- future research will continue to explore that uniqueness. So what has inspired multiple organizations, including Benchmark Senior Living and Carlsbad by the Sea, to begin their programs? They see that while Voice First technology is an early market with some (noted) limitations, it also represents, unlike prior technology generations, benefits for users.  For users and tech managers, Voice First is:

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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