Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Home Care

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Home Care

When information transparency is an ‘innovation’ in senior housing and home care

Eyes, ears and status matter nearly as much as care for families of seniors.  Imagine having to hire a private duty care worker to visit your family member in senior housing, notice today’s status and provide an email about what’s going on for long-distance family. Seem silly? Yet there has long been a ‘tree falls in the forest’ communication problem for families of memory-challenged residents, whether in home care or senior living. Yet providing simple status of loved ones (did she eat, did he go for a walk, how is the skin rash) is so simple. For many of the circumstances in which assisted living or home care services are engaged, the care recipient cannot clearly communicate the activities of the day, let alone if a rash is healing. So are family expectations forcing a change in the way care status is communicated? No data exists. And that communication is not an attribute in care search sites like Caring.com.

New tech-enabled home care initiatives emerge – what does it mean?

Last year’s VC investment in the tech-enabled home care segment caught industry attention.  2015 was a banner year of capital infusion for the 2.0 version of the home care industry. As Honor revved up with a $20 million investment, Home Hero raised a $23 million round and launched a software platform and converted workers to W2 employees. CareLinx received a $3 million round in May and then just into the new year, Hometeam upped the ante with a $27 million VC round.  Meanwhile, at the start of 2016, an eye-popping market sizing from AARP/Parks Associates of $279 billion for all things caregiving-related further underlined a perceived business opportunity, including the projection of an additional 1 million jobs in home care.

Home is where the money goes when it comes to long-term care

Are individuals who need care where they should and can be? You may have noticed last week. There were four articles and press announcements within just a few days – sourced separately that belong together. No insurance or government program is all that transparent or straightforward, but policy and practice variations across states seem to have one victim – the person who needs care.  They ability to obtain that care at home (or in the right setting) depends on the state you live in and what the policy, practices, and costs in that state. Genworth’s newly-updated report is revealing about long-term care costs in multiple settings and categories.

The Future of Tech -- Mismatched with the Logistics of Home Care

Caregiving is hot – but practicality is not.  The letters to the editor in today’s WSJ print edition were on point following Ezekiel Emanuel’s May 3 article about the Independence at Home program. The article described care in the home provided for an 87-year-old diabetic, post-stroke, oxygen dependent woman receiving six hours of daily home care, supposedly more than she would receive in a nursing home. One doctor observed: “What happens at the seventh hour when she needs help in transferring, falls from her wheelchair or when her blood sugars go out of control?” What happens indeed? And the next letter: "The backbone of home care remains 'Low-paid, low-skill home service workers who cook, clean, bathe and help clients around their home.' And the process for overseeing this industry of workers who help the neediest elderly – actually it’s not much of a process at all. And the distinction in the media between private duty non-medical home care, home health care, geriatric care management, or hospice care in the home?  Not much. 

Technology and the Logistics of Home Care

The US faces a shortage of professional in-home care workers.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected both the growing availability of home care jobs and the shortage of people to fill them. Some states will confront daunting shortages within the next few years: Minnesota will need to fill almost 60,000 direct-care and support positions by 2020, particularly as the state shifts funding toward care in the community rather than in nursing facilities.  The problem is worse in Alaska – where many care workers are nearing retirement age themselves.  Over time, as AARP has predicted, the care gap will widen as boomer population ages – and their care needs catch up with them.  And finally, in nursing, the future has arrived. “Between 2006 and 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (2007) projected that registered nurse job growth in the home healthcare sector (39.5%) will be larger than in the hospital sector (21.6%).” 

AARP Health Innovation@50+ Live Pitch (April-27-2016) Finalists

It’s really too bad that AARP ended its national events. The last one was in Miami last year – it was a good one – and Atlanta must still be reminiscing about that spectacular 2013 Life@50 event – which provided a pavilion and ramp-up for its AARP TEK training program.  From 2013: “AARP TEK’s activities in Atlanta also will include youth volunteers known as “Tech Wizards” from 4-H Clubs of America and local colleges and universities, who will help boomers and seniors learn technology basics and how it can enhance their lives day-to-day."

In 2016, has the Future of Home Care Technology been achieved?

Imagine the coordinated care scenario that includes…home care.  In July of 2012, The Future of Home Care Technology was published, based on interviews with 21 industry executives and a survey of 315 home care managers (including non-medical care, home health care, geriatric care managers, organizations and franchises) who represented 34,509 workers across multiple states. And as market research reports tend to do, this one tries to predict the future use of technology.  It s worth a look back, both to re-read a much-downloaded report and place it in 2016 context of actions, announcements, and industry change.

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