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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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cell phones, smartphones

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cell phones, smartphones

Tech use and seniors, ridiculed in media, otherwise ignored

Tech adoption of the 65+ is now buried in a Pew appendix. If age were an ethnic or racial minority, outrage at technology ageism would be vocal and constant.  The 65+ are a mere 46+ million Americans – a group larger than the sum of all of the teenage population non-shoppers.  So their tech adeptness, rather than being viewed as an opportunity, is naturally ignored in surveys.  For example, scroll down and further down on this Pew fact sheet to note level of ‘Digital Readiness’ among demographic groups.  Note that 6% of the 65+ demographic is 'digitally ready' compared to 17% of all age groups. Note that 33% is characterized as 'unprepared.'  And the same percentage applies to those aged 50-64!

Your Money or Your Life: AARP Fintech and Amazon Show

So many head-spinning numbers to describe the 50+ Consumer.  In making the case for the 'Fintech' innovation market opportunity, AARP’s new Financial Innovation Frontiers report (aimed at the Fintech industry) freely fires off a wide range of market segment numbers.  Is the report about the population aged 50-100?  There are 111 million Americans aged 50 and older, 35% of the US population, described as a 'generation.'  That includes three segments of baby boomers as well as their parents. The report is not about the growing life expectancy of those who live to age 65 with their predicted longevity  (88.8 for women, 86.6 for men). Instead, the report focuses on the 50+ Consumer (their term) aged 50-60 who is a decade away or less from ‘retirement’, an increasingly obsolete term. They are confronted with a range of financial challenges -- the report suggests fintech tools that could help them deal with retirement savings shortfalls resulting from career setbacks ($4.3 trillion savings gap), unplanned withdrawals ($4.1 trillion) and student debt ($1.3 trillion).

The default sharing of you -- a data privacy nightmare

You go, business pro, and so goes your privacy.  [Rant on] You loved your phone but one day a useful part of it breaks…a sad day all around -- amazingly right at the end of the 2-year contract with a carrier. We’ll just call that a coincidence. Today that time period is referred to as a payment plan [and one has the option of paying for the phone in full.] But that is not the topic for today – nor is the topic about the default on Chrome that can no longer be switched off which automatically plays videos.  Advertisers must and will find you. No, today’s rant is about that other torment, shall we say, the Tyranny of the Default – which made an unwelcome appearance, in every sense of the word, on my new phone. That bit of psychology is what is built in to new versions of software – it is both condescending and malevolent at the same time.

AARP Innovation 50+ Live Pitch 2017 – Some familiar, some new

AARP’s Innovation 50+ Live Pitch starts today – what's new?  This marathon tried to put 20 pounds of entrants (culled from many more) into the 10-pound bag of a two-day pitch event across two broad categories. So following this trend towards compression, we will leave FinTech to others and just focus on the Caregiving Health Technology firms. While the pitch may be fresh, some, as noted, may not be new. Placed in context by taking note of what’s in (or was in) market and similar to these finalists. In the alphabetical order presented and updated with winners noted -- link to available websites or descriptions -- minus Twitter handle:  

The mythology of caregiver technology's non-adoption

Pundits perpetuate the myth of non-use of so-called caregiver technology. [Rant on.] According to AARP, 40 million caregivers are taking care of an older, sicker person -- so says an oft-quoted 2013 AARP Public Policy Report statistic. A different AARP/Catalyst 2016 survey asserts only 7% of these caregivers use technology to help them. What is the 'technology' they won't use? And what is the theory as to why they won’t? Says Jeff Makowka of AARP: "Since many such caregivers also hold down regular jobs, they simply don’t have time to try some new technology." But if they’re working (or of working age), three-fourths of them have smartphones. And given the data-hogging nature of smartphones, all are fairly new. But wait, he also cited an example of an Amazon Echo as deployed for a family member with dementia -- enabling endless repetition of questions like 'What time is it?' etc. Okay, we have to ask, is the Echo a 'caregiving technology?' How about Facebook, described as a caregiver 'mecca'? Do survey respondents consider those technologies when asked?

Smartphones and older adults – the good and not so good news

On the positive side, smartphone ownership for older adults is up. You have seen older people with their smartphones – they’re in concert halls and restaurants staring at their screens, fascinated -- scrolling through emails, studying photos, watching videos, seated next to other 80-somethings, who might be envious, texting on their very, uh, compact feature phones. Says Pew Research of their 2016 survey data: 42% of the 65+ population have smartphones.  Not surprisingly, only 7% of that population fit the Pew definition of smartphone dependent -- that is 'reliant on their smartphone for Internet access.'  Juxtaposed with Pew’s tracked history of Internet access over 15 years, for the 65+ population, as of 2016, 64% of these smartphone owners are users of the Internet.

Predicting the future of health tech and baby boomers – are we there yet?

Baby Boomers, Wearable and Mobile Health Tech – A status report. During 2015, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) sponsored a research project to evaluate the future likelihood of wearable and mobile health tech. This Boomers and Wearable Health Tech 2015 report considered wearables and health apps -- and the likelihood of these technologies helping baby boomers (the oldest is now 71 and 6 years along with Medicare) manage their own care and avoid unnecessary services and costs.  After all, the mobile health app market alone was predicted in 2013 to reach $26 billion by 2017.  Consider the status of each of these predictions – which were based on 21 expert interviews held during 2015. Were the experts correct or overly optimistic?  Both. Here are the 2015 predictions and what has happened since:

VAPORSTREAM SECURES FIVE NEW CUSTOMERS IN LONG TERM & POST-ACUTE CARE MARKET

02/21/2017

 Vaporstream, a leading provider of secure, ephemeral and compliant messaging, today announced five new clients in the long term and post-acute care (LTPAC) industry. The company’s secure messaging platform is becoming a first choice among LTPAC facilities and home healthcare workers who must rapidly collaborate among care team members, and communicate with patients outside the traditional provider setting – all while maintaining HIPAA compliance.

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