Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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seniors and aging policy

Hearing aid pricing and weak insurance – older adults lose out

You may have seen that rechargeable hearing aid commercial.   What was most striking about the commercial to a hearing industry outsider is the upfront commentary on what sounded like the predatory price of hearing aids – providers “charge whatever they can get.”   Several interesting aspects to that commercial – but the most interesting was that comment.  Who is ‘they’, how much can they ‘get’, and is there insurance that pays for them?  This is in an era where hearing aids have evolved to incorporate embedded AI, fall detection, direct connections for phone calls, and numerous other features and functions.

Real Seniors lack essential technology – Consider an Older Americans Technology Act in 2019

When Pew stops tracking senior adoption, does that imply a market saturated?  Note this Fact Tank aggregation of technology adoption statistics (tech overall among seniors, last reported in 2016) – and the most recent data cited on Internet use, seniors were quoted in a 2016 survey, 44% of responders did not use the internet. Of those that do, older adults aged 65+ said they had little to no confidence in their ability to use electronic devices to perform online tasks.  Let’s think about their non-confidence (not broken down into the 65-74) and the 75+ who are the Real Seniors

Help Yelp serve families with information about nursing homes

Consider CMS Five Star Rating system and how it ‘serves’ families.  Rant on.  No doubt you know someone who was baffled at how a terrible nursing home gets a 4 or 5 star rating from CMS’s Five Star Rating System, while a good one can appear to have a lower rating, applied from an inspection before management overhaul several years earlier.  Why, you ask? Indeed.  Others have asked as well – noting the obvious missing link, family satisfaction with the nursing home, including dealing with the staff. For starters. Retiring outdated information, next. 

Self-driving cars - not yet for older adults or anyone else

In a taxi in DC – the driver wends his way around buses and pedestrians.  It’s the day after the self-driving car killed a pedestrian. The next day, you can find scores of link references to a police comment that the car was likely not at fault though no investigation has completed – or even been started. In another tech publication (“Big Think – your daily microdose of genius”), you can read that in over 1.5 million miles of testing, one year ago was the first time the car had been at fault when it crashed with a bus. Really? How does the writer know this? Because Google says it was a ‘misunderstanding in the car’s software and from now on, the car will understand that large vehicles and buses will be less likely to yield.’

Do older adults have good reasons to resist technology change?

Surveys affirm increasing tech use among older adults, but for some, not so fast. Whether it is new data from Pew or AARP, some older adults refuse or are unable to use newer technologies, whether it is smartphones, online banking services, or (perhaps especially) social media.  Maybe they prefer feature phones (450 million shipped in 2017!) They may not be interested in being the first to test a new gadget or service.  Maybe they can’t get the packaging for a wearable opened without a hacksaw.  For that matter, how many of us are storing a pliers in their kitchen for vacuum-sealed containers?  But the tech of the day is particularly an anathema to a number of people, whether it is due to costly Internet plans, pricey and fragile smartphones, or hacker-improved, uh, enriched social media.

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