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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Seniors

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Seniors

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.

Community well-being should factor in older adult population

Consider the Gallup-Healthways survey about community well-being.  Naples, Florida, is at the top. Really? Perhaps this caught your eye last week when you saw the Gallup survey about well-being.  For those who missed it, the survey ranked well-being of adults 18 and older in a community (town) by specific factors -- Purpose, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical.  At the highest level, Naples was followed by the town of Barnstable on Cape Cod. Consider that the attribute ‘Physical,’ for example, meant “Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.” So look past the survey. These towns are comparatively wealthy by national measures -- the median income for a household in Naples is $66K and for those over age 75, it is $71K.  For Barnstable, median income is $62.1K – and note that 20% of the Barnstable population is 65+, higher than the 135 national percentage. In Naples, the median age is 60 and an eye-popping 42% of the population is aged 65+.

Finding Paid Care -- Introducing the Paid Caregiver Support Ratio (pCSR)

Shortage of paid care workers – a growing problem, not well-quantified by region.  As AARP predicted in 2013, by the time the boomers arrive in their 80’s, just nine years from now, there would be a population deficit of prospective care providers aged 46-64 – the caregiver support ratio (CSR). But perhaps the more intriguing question – where are the workers who could, should, or would provide care? In a study released in December 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the compound annual growth rate for home care services, particularly personal care aides, between 2014 and 2024 would be nearly five percent, the highest among all industries. Compare the number of workers that provide direct care ( for example, personal care aides) to retail – these jobs are low-paying at approximately $11/hour and most would say the work is physically more difficult than other low-paying categories.  And tech-enabling the care, while streamlining sourcing and tracking, does not close the available labor gap.

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