Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Four tech and aging blog posts from August, 2019

The last gasp of August and Labor Day's hurricane Dorian is behind us.  Note how a devastating Hurricane Dorian already has become a past tense Wikipedia entry (!). Now we must contemplate the fall season of tradeshows and events, rev up anticipation for impending technology announcements, consider that technology anti-trust investigations are launching in multiple states. Meanwhile, the older adult technology market is still comprised of four main categories, into which the new entrants and inventions, including wearables, sensors, AI, and predictive analytics, will fit. The research report, Voice, Health, and Wellbeing 2020 has now launched and interviews are underway. Interest has grown in the use of technology to mitigate social isolation – more on that topic later this week, and the US population aged 65+ passed 52 million in 2018. What to make of all this? Here are the blog posts from August for consideration:

For older adults, consider that transitions are going to take longer

The baby boomer generation’s later years will be unprecedented.   Each time the population aged 65+ is counted, it’s a bigger number. That onslaught, now at 52 million, bears repeating.  The boomers, turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day, are pushing and prodding assumptions, deadlines, and pundit predictions. As they do so, they will force industries to change offerings – and drive considerable change in technology that underpins their lives. Consider signals from today's older adults that will only become more pronounced as the boomers move past today's upper age of 73. Today's emerging trends are showing that:

Older adults and screen time – what’s it mean?

Pew’s latest examined screen time for older adults.  The highlight of this document published in June – from age 60 to 80 and beyond, older adults spend more time on their screens (watching TV or videos) than on anything else other than sleep. And that includes time spent working. And one other interesting tidbit – 40% of those in their 60s are still working, which of course includes the un-retired. But 14% of people in their 70s are still working, according to Pew, along with 4% of people in their 80s. The report also notes that 73% of the 65+ are Internet users, and 53% are smartphone users.  As with the younger population, reading and socializing time has ticked down.

Older adult finances and future senior housing options are out of sync    

Rant on. A sad tale - reading the lament about the numbers of seniors who will not be able to afford assisted living in 10 years. The report is from NIC – the National Investment Center that provides research to the senior living industry. The upshot – 54% will be unable to pay the $60,000 average annual cost of assisted living (make that $93,000 in Washington DC), even if they sell their home. If one member of a couple is still living in the home, the number rises to 81%.  According to the study, 60% of the population aged 75+ will have mobility, cognitive impairment or chronic conditions that would characterize them as good candidates for assisted living services and settings – but will not have the savings to enable them to move in.

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Focus on Technology for Older Adults Sharpens in 2019

2019 Technology Market Overview is online this week. When assembling the 2019 tenth anniversary version, it was apparent that this year reflects change -- in the supply-demand balance in the overbuilt senior housing market, in policy changes driving health care services into the home, in market forecasts, and in the mix of vendors who serve the market.   It's in many ways a good-news/bad-news story.  Awareness is growing about an aging demographic, working longer and with longer life expectancy than previous generations.  At the same time, the technology market continues to expand in complexity, privacy and interoperability issues, while not effectively lowering cost of access or prices of useful devices -- and not necessarily boosting the availability of training on their benefits or use.  Here are four updated premises from the 2019 Market Overview of Technology for Older Adults:

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