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Seniors

Adoption of wearables by older adults -- what are the barriers?

For wearables to be useful to older adults, some barriers need to be overcome.  As has been the case with other technology innovations that can provide great benefit to seniors, the value of wearables may be great for older adults -- especially when personalized to the characteristics and needs of an individual. However, the implementation and/or data integration may be lacking. And there may be significant concerns about being tracked or where the data resides. Reviewing the impediments to this useful category actually being adopted -- these may include:

Hearing aids, the elderly, and listening to music

Hearing aids and music -- why is this so difficult to solve for the elderly?  The pandemic isolated everyone, but it may have been even worse for the hearing-impaired. Consider the oldest -- they are aged 85 or 86, love music and enjoy getting together with others in restaurants. The man loses one of the uninsured hearing aids and has to switch to backups that emit whistles or screeches, and cannot hear accurate sounds from a grand piano. The replacement cost of the single hearing aid is $2195 bundled with audiologist assistance. That pair worked well with his TVlink unit – enabling him to hear the TV at the right volume, and his spouse to listen at the broadcast volume. The older woman is isolated during restaurant lunch time conversation because she can’t sort out who is speaking – she is described as ‘looking lost’.  She also has a piano she won’t play because of hearing aid sound distortion.  Both can easily afford the best hearing aids, service, and guidance available. Both are frustrated at their inability to fully mitigate these issues.

Older adults and broadband access -- picking up the pace of adoption

What is broadband and why should seniors want it?  The buzz about broadband and older adults has grown louder since the start of the pandemic – which worsened social isolation for so many older adults. A just-released report sponsored by the Humana Foundation and OATS called Aging Connected, made the case that nearly 22 million seniors (age 65+)  lack wireline broadband access at home. Not a surprise -- that follows other reports over the past year or two like Pew (2019), which noted that only 59% of the 53.7 million aged 65+ have home broadband.  This new report has a point of view -- despite surveys that indicate that people use their smartphones (wireless versus "wireline") to access the Internet, truncated screens can be problematic. The report notes difficulty with financial and document management/editing – as well as limitations in using social networking and engagement technology.  Issues have often been noted that act as barriers to accessing services like telehealth for example. In fact, lack of access to a portal for vaccine appointments has recently emerged as a new broadband divide.

Oasis Everywhere Offers Refuge from Social Isolation for Older Adults Nationwide

01/14/2021

January 14, 2021 – The Oasis Institute, a nonprofit educational
organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adults ages 50+, has
announced the launch of Oasis Everywhere, a virtual lifelong learning
platform with an expansive menu of online classes aimed to provide seniors
with social connections and enrichment as they continue to shelter in their
homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Market Overview -- 2019 Technology for Aging in Place

The market increasingly is less about products specifically designed for older adults as it is about the marketing of many consumer offerings that could be useful to them. This includes smartphones, tablets, smart home technology, Voice First hardware and virtual assistants, and in-home sensors. Each of those devices is enabled for older adults by either more targeted marketing and packaging, enabling software, or bundling into solutions for in-home caregiving and/or healthcare.

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