Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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senior living

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.

Technology for dementia care needs more innovation in 2016

 With so much digital health talent and money in Silicon Valley, little aims at dementia.  Is it because the consumer doesn’t complain enough in surveys? Let’s face it, most tech for dementia care is stunningly rudimentary, consisting of (at best) warn and lock doors, cameras to watch for wandering, and if the residents are lucky enough – engagement technologies (like SingFit or iNTL) may be deployed or are at least being considered. If there are 2.5 million people in the US living in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living, more than 50% of them have some dementia. (My opinion – it is much higher than that.)  The rest of the 5.3 million who have some sort of dementia are still living at home.

Tech for age-related markets: learn, select, study workflow, train -- repeat

LEARN: How does useful technology find the older adults who need it?  The new tech laundry list is a staple of our fast-paced tech times. What is new right now, this minute that could, might, or maybe be useful to older adults -- six new technologies for this, five more for that. An exhibit area at aging-related event features more than 50 startup logospitches for pilots and advice on preparing to pilot.  Perhaps a technology could fill a real need of frail seniors – like a wearable band that notes dehydration and suggests a drink. Note that Nobo’s B60 was developed for athletes and the doctors that treat them. The company is aware of the senior need, but it might take a proactive third party to pull them towards that opportunity.

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