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smartphones, cellphones

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smartphones, cellphones

Did you miss one? Aging and Health posts from (almost) February 2024

The frustration of the user experience. February was short but busy – but a topic emerged on the last day of January that is beginning to take shape in the form of interviews and insights from others.  All agree that the user experience, whether it is a car, a microwave, Google Gemini or a smartphone is deteriorating, possibly due to nearly-endless but not necessarily useful ‘innovation’ from developers.  Whether it is the ‘cockpit’ of a car that may now have three screens, an authentication process on a website that requires another device, or an app that expects a password that has not been used in the past five years.  Here are the blog posts:

Consider ever-changing tech hurdles for older adults

The more technology changes, it’s a step back for some.  You probably think the inevitability of tech change is mostly positive. And in a macro sense, maybe it is. But for some older adults, it’s one negative experience after another. The closing of thousands of bank branches in favor of online banking, the elimination of paper social security statements, the near-elimination of paper savings bonds for the grandchildren, and the ubiquitous introduction of the QR code in restaurants – saving labor.

Five worrisome aging and health blog posts from August 2023

August, so warm, so replete with nursing home doomsayers and endless scam calls.  You may be one of the dwindling population (34% are homeowners) who have landlines in the US (even digital phone-service based). You may feel like it is a waste, especially given the remarkably robust phone-scam industry populated in noisy call centers by reps who know nothing about the so-called Do Not Call list, and whose measurement must be based on getting you to pick up the phone again and again.  Your relatives only text. Even your dentist and doctor prefer text. So why keep it? Maybe you run a business and need to call clients. Maybe you are legitimately afraid of not being found by emergency services (see below).  Maybe you are an older adult living alone and just want to chat with someone.  Here are the five blog posts from August:

Spam calls targeting older adults – Unstoppable without crackdowns

You may know someone of Medicare age with a phone?  Since age data is widely available, and even well-organized lists are available for purchase, it is not surprising that phones of older adults ring multiple times per day. Did you know that 60% of all phone calls in the US are robocalls or spam? This, despite ostensible government efforts to prevent continued use and/or resale of the lists. Sometimes the call begun with a recording about possible additional Medicare Advantage benefits that are available. But this is sloppy scamming based on weak data – maybe the caller only knows phone numbers, despite spoofing the geographic location so that it appears to be a neighborhood call.  Next, the robocall is then transferred to a ‘supervisor’ in a noisy call center who then attempts to obtain actual age, and whether the call recipient has Medicare. Presumably after that step is successful, the so-called ‘Medicare Advantage’ pitch can begin.

The death of landlines -- yes, it DOES harm older adults

You may not have noticed much about the death of landlines. But it has been underway for a while, and now the government is supporting their demise. For some time now, telephone companies like AT&T have been trying to eliminate landlines and are no longer required to maintain these copper connections. You probably think, well that must be good, because those landlines cost as much as $55/month. So that’s a cost savings, right? But wait.

Five Dementia Care Offerings in 2023

New progress for dementia care.  Home Care Magazine provided details about the just-announced Dementia Care policy changes, called the GUIDE Model, including care coordination services, support and payment to family caregivers to help keep care recipients out of nursing homes, as well as obtain respite help.  This is an 8-year program, and a part of the CMS Innovation initiatives. Notably, the GUIDE Model currently does not note or suggest any of the available technology, including home automation, that could improve dementia care. So here are five new technology offerings or update announcements, information from company websites or news media, that may help in the care of those with dementia:

The cellphone (50 years old) connects everyone

The cell phone – imagine a connected life without it. The story of that invention, particularly the context of an AT&T monopoly of the time period, is instructive about what it takes to get an innovation into the market – when many are involved, including government agencies; and obstacles, in-house and competitors, are all around.  According to interviews and his many anecdotes in his book, Cutting the Cord, Marty Cooper, aged 94, it was just one thing after the other to get the cellphone fully designed, manufactured, and into the marketplace as a mobile phone – when even his own company, Motorola, thought that the car phone market was the real opportunity.  Motorola’s own estimates of the cell phone market opportunity in the 1970’s was a wild underestimation, predicting that millions of devices sold.  Today the total number is closer to 18 billion phones worldwide. Many of those users in other countries own no other device.

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