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cell phones, smartphones

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cell phones, smartphones

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.

Pew Fact Sheets Shed Light on the Tech Adoption of Older Adults

The upshot: older adults are not buying into the trendiest tech.  Maybe it is because they can’t afford it, aren’t aware of it, or are unconvinced of its value.  Or maybe the unconvinced who could afford to spend the money fear privacy violations or identity theft. Or are burned out at staring at too much information on Facebook or Twitter.  Considering their twenty years of life expectancy at age 65, perhaps overcoming technology adoption resistance and gaps should be a greater priority for those who want to help those in the oldest decades live their best lives. Looking at the update from Pew, observe:

AARP charts Tech Adoption among older adults -- what does it mean?

What’s happening with older adults and tech adoption?  Not much. Let’s take a look at the AARP 2016 Technology Trends Among Mid-Life and Older Americans. Hint, the report focused most of its analysis on boomers and below. So that leaves the rest of us to look more closely at what they found about older ages, since it seems that this is the most recent set of material on this topic.  From Page 10: “Adults age 70+ are the least likely to have adopted any device.”  And on Page 12: only 29% of those aged 70+ own a smartphone – and of non-owners in that age group, only 4% plan to buy one in the coming (2017) year.

Four slightly cynical wishes for 2017 and beyond

Consider the following possible though unlikely 2017 tech advances.  On the cusp of the new year and the 2017 CES announcement extravaganza, let’s hope. And beyond CES, here are a few semi-optimistic (or glass half-full) wishes for our technology lives – and the corollary of technology media coverage. Let's consider dropping the click bait media fawning over ever little twitch of self-driving cars.* Let's ask car manufacturers to consider simpler user interfaces (like this reviewed VW) for easier-to-manipulate temperature, audio and driving controls.  And what else should we hope for?

We still don't have insurance to protect from a disruptive technology future

We buy many insurances – just in case.  Car, homeowners, apartment, flood, personal liability – all are hedges against the unknown and unwanted.  Seeing a business opportunity, insurers created a long-term care insurance market for a benefit the customer might not need for another 25 years. We can buy a service contract to cover repairs of our appliances.  Yet so it continues that when we purchase technology, carrier, or software services, the offering changes ever more quickly -- and our technology becomes obsolete. So we toss the products (and services) into the soon-forgotten gadget graveyard with 135 million mobile phones discarded in 2010 alone -- the last date for which there are EPA statistics.

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