Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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cell phones, smartphones

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cell phones, smartphones

Why don’t home care agencies offer tech support?

Maybe Best Buy has an idea worth copying from Amazon. In 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Home Services, which fairly recently added tech services, including sending a local tech professional to your home. The work might be setting up a router; connections for 4 devices; password protection; and use and troubleshooting instructions. Recently, Best Buy launched Assured Living, a service to help long-distance adult children monitor older family members’ well-being, including setting them up with smart home technologies (costing as much as $1000 for all of them), possibly some of the list is in the ‘official’ definition. Oh yeah, and there is a service charge of $1/day.

Six Tech and Aging Blog Posts -- September, 2017

It was the autumn of disaster.  As summer waned, a series of storms (and oddly-off forecasts about path) wreaked havoc across a vast area, with terrorized older adults left sitting in water or trapped on highways -- stuck in interminable traffic, sweltering heat or homes crushed and no place to go. Hurricane Harvey assaulted Houston, then Hurricane Irma pummeled multiple areas of Florida and Caribbean islands, there were earthquakes and aftershocks in Mexico, followed by a mind-boggling crisis from Maria in Puerto Rico. Throughout all of these, people were heroic. But technology failed or disappointed in almost every way -- from cell phone batteries to power companies, from internet availability to forecasting of storm paths. If one were to look back a year later, it will almost be too much to be believed. Here are six blog posts from the month of September, most prior to Hurricane Irma:

Irma: hurricanes, tech and older adults – what can be learned?

First there was too much information.  At the forecasters became more insistent that Irma would hit Florida – the state with the highest percentage of older adults -- as a Category 5 hurricane, many of the possibly 4 million older adult residents appeared to leave first – when the highways were still passable. Then more tried to leave and were stuck in monumental traffic jams.  Finally, there were the stalwarts determined to stay, in the Keys, in Miami, in Bonita Springs, in Jacksonville. And for senior living communities, evacuation seemed near-impossible. Ultimately for some with no place to go – and no help – they died due to neglect and lack of followup by a state agency.

Five Tech and Aging Blog Posts You May Have Missed - July 2017

 It’s summer – and the reading is easy.  But there are many opportunities to fall out of touch with what’s happening in the world of tech and aging – for example, in the market innovation category, most recently there have been announcements about robot offerings for seniors, and some new capabilities for sharing photo content that can help record moments of our family lives that may soon be lost.  In the spirit of sharing, hoping that those who can are going to attend the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit next week, July 20, in Berkeley – if so, will see you there!  Meanwhile, here are five other blog posts from the past month that you may have missed:

Why older people are less connected -- location and money matter

Dial-up lives on -- and not necessarily out of preference. You may have read this last week: Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.  That was disturbing on multiple levels, starting with the obvious.  Even people who could afford better access can’t get it – they drive to a gas station parking lot to obtain Internet speeds fast enough to do online business. Study the map in the article and ponder the status of elderly who live in these low-bandwidth locations. The article notes 23 million people (39% living in rural areas) who lack access to any type of broadband. Older adults make up a larger percentage of rural Americans, 16% than in the US as a whole and “people aged 75+ are more likely to have chronic diseases and disabilities."

Home technology ecosystem chaos – there’s no app for that

Technology gadgets – ecosystem incompatibility.  Look around a very digital home filled with parallel and incompatible ecosystems – and sigh.  So many parts, so little integration – it seems vendors compete to death to NOT work together. Consider iMessage – like insider trading, it works well for iPhone execs and phone owners. Consider Bluetooth – it must be turned on so a device can pair with that cool in-room speaker, but turned off to save energy.  Really. A smartphone isn't witty enough to know that it is in the room with a Bluetooth-compatible speaker or fitness band and perhaps should be enabled? And not smart enough to turn bluetooth off when the phone departs the room? But the device is now smart enough to suggest a WiFi network to pick -- in fact every time your car passes a location that has WiFi enabled.

Where is the Internet Service plan to train on new technology?

Surveyed about technology, but untrained in its use.  Does this describe someone you know?  According to Pew’s latest report, Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults, but the glass is less than half full when 48% of seniors say that this statement describes them very well: "When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it."  In fact, the numbers reveal multi-age tech insecurities and the need for training. Consider if you include those who answered that the statement described them Somewhat Well:  62% of those 50-64 and 73% of those 65+ need help in dealing with a new device.  

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