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Did you miss one? Check out September’s Aging & Health Tech blog posts

September brings falling leaves, rising and falling hopes. Turns out that VCs are waking up to the opportunity in the longevity economy. Recognizing that people may live a lot longer, perhaps even to 100. How do you prepare for such a long life? Behold the rise of the active adult lifestyle, now enabled with a boom in 55+ rental communities. Combine that change with the ‘Forgotten Middle Market’ of senior living. Consider the Chicago Tribune article about tech for aging in place. Now add in the shortage of workers in home care, health care, and nursing homes. If there was a time to look at the role of monitoring and engagement technologies that augment and assist the worker in the care of older adults – it would seem that this is the time. Here are four Sept blog posts on these and related topics:

Will robots help us in our homes – now and within 10 years?

Context matters: consider the likely status of people in 10 years. It makes you think. Asked this question recently and pondered. What will be the context at that time? A decade from now, the oldest baby boomers will be 86. Women will outlive men by a few years – living on average into their late 80s. They may be solo agers – no children, spouse or partner. They may struggle financially – including the 15% of women who rely primarily on Social Security income.  By 2030, 20% of the US population will be over the age of 65 -- and likely to be obese and living for at least 8 years with some level of disability. The demand for home care workers will grow by at least by 37%.  According to PHI analysis, the job pays so poorly today that 40% live in low-income households and 43% rely on public assistance.  Put all that together and at least the concept of helpful robots sounds pretty good.

CENSUS: Senior care growth means tech change will be mandatory

The Census knows the growth and potential explosion of care needs and older adults. Consider their newly published document explaining the industries to those who may still not see what’s happening. "Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly saw a 34.4% increase in revenue from 2013 to 2020.  Home Health Care Services experienced an even larger increase – 50.5% -- during the same period." These assertions are built on the Service Annual Survey (2021).   The U.S. Census Bureau projects that in 2050, the U.S. population ages 65 and over will be 83.9 million, nearly double what it was (43.1 million) in 2012.

It’s 2022 – has technology use progressed in senior care?

There is a labor shortage everywhere -- ditto in senior care. We know that one of the biggest issues in senior living (and home care, nursing homes, home health care) today is a shortage of labor. This roll-up of statistics shows more than 400,000 employees lost between 2020 and 2022, with long-term care facilities (aka nursing homes) being the most impacted. There is quite a bit of chatter in long-term care publications about the need for more technology use, and providers are asked to offer best examples of tech use to win an award (separate categories for senior living, home care, and skilled nursing) at the upcoming Leading Age event in October. Remember that memory care is a sub-category within both senior living (aka assisted living) and skilled nursing facilities (aka SNFs).

Eight new technology offerings for older adults

Are you starting to notice a pattern, so to speak?  There seems to be a growing number of tech offerings that can see, sense, detect, and learn about behavioral patterns as part of new tools for older adults and their caregivers. Changes like these and others in this space will be addressed in a new report launching this month: "The Future of Sensors and Predictive Analytics for Older Adults."  In the meantime, here are eight new offerings in the market that are designed to improve wellbeing and care.  All text is drawn from the websites of the companies -- they are presented here in alphabetical order. 

Six Aging and Health Blog Posts from the Prolific Month of June 2022

The Meta Pixel problem – who would have thought? Never a dull moment in tech world. Meta (how tiresome, we know it is Facebook) has been sending patient data from hospital systems back to Facebook (appointments, doctor, and a host of other patient-specific data) through the use of a tracking pixel.   Results from a study identifying the problem are now published, and the first of possibly multiple lawsuits are being file for mishandling personal patient data. The point of the pixel was to help in tracking consumer responses to advertising. Like many privacy violations and data misuse on the Internet, consumers are usually powerless other than voting with our feet. With this lawsuit, coupled with government attempts to crack down on big tech, is the tide is turning? 

Beyond Google – Is it a problem finding care and related resources online?

Is there a search problem to solve? Or are we just lazy searchers? The Atlantic tried to assess the Decline of Google as a search tool, citing a variety of fairly technical arguments as to why, sourcing commentary from bloggers and ‘experts’ who track and analyze search engines. The major complaint over time seems to have been the growing presence of ads and perception of selective ranking in favor of Google’s own products (like showing YouTube videos) and/or business alliances. And certainly there are multiple blogs out there that condemn Google as a search tool, suggesting one of many other search tools out there, including Microsoft Bing, Yahoo and (mostly) non-tracking DuckDuckGo. The conclusion of the Atlantic article would seem to be facetious – ‘Google is still useful for many’, considering that 91% of searches are done with it. 

Falling short on solving the care crisis, now and in the future

 A well-known consulting firm assesses the growing care gap. Boston Consulting Group analyzed the care crisis recently asserts that the lack of paid or unpaid care workers to provide care of children or aging parents may prevent them from filling unfilled jobs, noting the 99 million people today who are not in the workforce. y do an interesting analysis built around the premise that some people who could work do not because of care responsibilities. The conclusion -- the one hand, quality affordable care could be subsidized so that more would want to do the work, filling the unfilled care jobs (day care, elder care). And family members could thus remain in jobs that they would otherwise abandon to provide care. Okay, hard to argue with this macro view, but there are some key points missing. Take a look at Exhibit One in the document which asserts that nearly 50 million people, aged 18-64, could become part of the care labor force, particularly those that have children and remain at home to care for them.

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