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Boomer-Senior Tech Business

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Boomer-Senior Tech Business

Ziegler Link•Age Funds Invest In Bluestar SeniorTech 2020

07/02/2020

CHICAGO, June 30, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Ziegler Link•Age Funds announced today that they will invest in and partner with BlueStar SeniorTech of Rockville, Maryland to support BlueStar's growth efforts nationwide. BlueStar SeniorTech provides aging-in-place technologies to help American seniors stay safe, healthy and connected in their homes as they age.

BlueStar SeniorTech joins a cadre of Ziegler Link•Age Fund investments fostering innovation and new care delivery models in the post-acute and aging market.

What use is a PERS smart watch without a call center?

You see PERS news releases on occasion. PERS -- Personal Emergency Response System -- is a long-time market dominated by pendants worn around the neck. Recently Parks Associates sized the PERS market to be $1.1 billion by 2024 -- others think it is a $3.1 billion market today. Also early in the year, Vidapoint was announced as a 'global' low cost offering. LifeStation announced Mobile LTE, small and fast, a pendant linked to a sizable 24-hour call center.  Then in April, Verizon does it again, launches a PERS, this time a smart watch offering, called the Care Smart Watch for seniors.   Let us remember Verizon’s last short attention span for this space. Its Sureresponse™ PERS pendant was new in this research conducted in 2012. The quotes are from executive Jonathan Hinds who departed in 2014, not coincidentally when Verizon stopped selling it. Sureresponse was mostly erased from the Internet by 2016, except for user documentation,  online reviews, some not so hot.   

The growth of telehealth is a plus for seniors – if they can use it

Telehealth – the genie is out of the bottle.  In March, the government announced expansion of telehealth access, noting that it would raise the reimbursement rate for telehealth visits during the Covid-19 pandemic to match the doctor’s rate for in person visits, as Seema Verma, the head of CMS noted: ‘the genie was let out of the bottle’ and won’t likely be put back in. The regulatory change enabled "the use of smartphones, video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, and messaging services like WhatsApp; and the ability to provide care across state lines in 48 states."

Consider tech adoption trends to contemplate what might be next

Will results change when older adults are surveyed later this year? So we know that ‘remote care’ and ‘caring’ in its various forms, including telehealth, seem to be heating up as a priority, whether for senior living organizations, families, healthcare provider organizations, and putting more emphasis on the need for home healthcare and home care, especially in times in which the care workers hesitate to enter a home and which families are locked down and not visiting.  Here is where we were on technology adoption at the start of the pandemic, and the wave of telehealth interest heated up.  As one tech company told me, a one-year-pipeline compressed into a month of demand.  And a plethora of companies raised their hands to offer their engagement technology for free.  So if this is the baseline of adoption, what’s next when the surveys come around again?

After Covid-19, When the Care Recipient is Elsewhere, What’s Next for Technology?

Technology usage has climbed sharply during Covid-19. Pew Research notes 53% of responders in April consider the Internet as ‘Essential’ although, no surprise, the oldest did not. And Nielsen observed that the pandemic was a catalyst for the rise of tech use for working at home and shopping, among other uses. In addition, telehealth usage has skyrocketed, with virtual doctor visits expected by Forrester Research to top 1 billion by years end. The spike has been attributed to a) the declaration of a state of emergency in March; b) introduction of Medicare/Medicaid coverage matching in-person visits; and c) encouragement from hospitals and medical practitioners.

Side effect: Covid-19 Should Close Remaining Older Adult Tech Gap

The older adult coronavirus statistics skew toward oldest. There are more than 69 million people aged 60+ in the US. The oldest adults that appear to be at greatest risk dying from Covid-19 are not those of a specific age, but those in the oldest age ranges, particularly with 'underlying conditions.' From the CDC released April 8: Rates of hospitalization (4.6 per 100,000 of population) during the month of March indicated 13.5% of those hospitalized were aged 65+. And 90% of hospitalized patients identified through COVID-NET had one or more underlying conditions, the most common being obesity, hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. The US statistics do what nearly all US data analysis does – 'older adult' equals 65+. But look at South Korea (in an article intended to make millennials nervous), the death rate in Covid-19 patients ages 80 and over was 10.4%, compared to 5.35% in 70-somethings, 1.51% in patients 60 to 69, 0.37% in 50-somethings.

Exclusive Technology Roundtable Final Report

AARP led process for brainstormed in November 2019, identifying and ways to overcome barriers to technology adoption. 

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