Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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smartphones, cell phones

For boomers, there is no such thing as keeping up with tech change

When boomers are 84 – there will be no keeping up. Just the same as when they are 64.  Many boomers disagree with that statement, finding it insulting or pessimistic or both. They will repeat plaintively that baby boomers are very different than their parents’ generation. They are comfortable with technology. See how many have smartphones! They text, use Facebook and YouTube.  Many book travel online, read TripAdvisor reviews, and even call for car pickups with an app!  So what’s the problem? Tech change is occurring faster than boomers at 64 or 84 will want to use. Groups of people who used to participate in one social network will leave in 11 million-at-a-time droves and without explanation.  And, as with Facebook, the departed will include your children and grandchildren who left to use Instagram and Snapchat. They will leave without notice – the social network equivalent of changing a phone number – with parent/grandparent only learning about it when they tried to place a (now-obsolete) phone call. Eventually they will also leave those tools behind, and so on and so forth.

Innovation today: Making tech you don’t want, can’t use or doesn’t work

Rant on.  Forcing tech onto the customer is standard operating procedure for companies. Because of advertiser pressure, for example, we have to make an effort to stop auto-playing videos in news feeds, news sites, ads, etc. – completely missing the possibility that the viewer might be staring at a smartphone in the train’s quiet car, or up early when a spouse is still asleep.  Or worse, the news feed shows a video that no one should ever see --but has yet to be taken down by one of the 3000 take-it-down new hires

Why don’t home care agencies offer tech support?

Maybe Best Buy has an idea worth copying from Amazon. In 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Home Services, which fairly recently added tech services, including sending a local tech professional to your home. The work might be setting up a router; connections for 4 devices; password protection; and use and troubleshooting instructions. Recently, Best Buy launched Assured Living, a service to help long-distance adult children monitor older family members’ well-being, including setting them up with smart home technologies (costing as much as $1000 for all of them), possibly some of the list is in the ‘official’ definition. Oh yeah, and there is a service charge of $1/day.

Six Tech and Aging Blog Posts -- September, 2017

It was the autumn of disaster.  As summer waned, a series of storms (and oddly-off forecasts about path) wreaked havoc across a vast area, with terrorized older adults left sitting in water or trapped on highways -- stuck in interminable traffic, sweltering heat or homes crushed and no place to go. Hurricane Harvey assaulted Houston, then Hurricane Irma pummeled multiple areas of Florida and Caribbean islands, there were earthquakes and aftershocks in Mexico, followed by a mind-boggling crisis from Maria in Puerto Rico. Throughout all of these, people were heroic. But technology failed or disappointed in almost every way -- from cell phone batteries to power companies, from internet availability to forecasting of storm paths. If one were to look back a year later, it will almost be too much to be believed. Here are six blog posts from the month of September, most prior to Hurricane Irma:

Irma: hurricanes, tech and older adults – what can be learned?

First there was too much information.  At the forecasters became more insistent that Irma would hit Florida – the state with the highest percentage of older adults -- as a Category 5 hurricane, many of the possibly 4 million older adult residents appeared to leave first – when the highways were still passable. Then more tried to leave and were stuck in monumental traffic jams.  Finally, there were the stalwarts determined to stay, in the Keys, in Miami, in Bonita Springs, in Jacksonville. And for senior living communities, evacuation seemed near-impossible. Ultimately for some with no place to go – and no help – they died due to neglect and lack of followup by a state agency.

Five Tech and Aging Blog Posts You May Have Missed - July 2017

 It’s summer – and the reading is easy.  But there are many opportunities to fall out of touch with what’s happening in the world of tech and aging – for example, in the market innovation category, most recently there have been announcements about robot offerings for seniors, and some new capabilities for sharing photo content that can help record moments of our family lives that may soon be lost.  In the spirit of sharing, hoping that those who can are going to attend the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit next week, July 20, in Berkeley – if so, will see you there!  Meanwhile, here are five other blog posts from the past month that you may have missed:

Why older people are less connected -- location and money matter

Dial-up lives on -- and not necessarily out of preference. You may have read this last week: Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.  That was disturbing on multiple levels, starting with the obvious.  Even people who could afford better access can’t get it – they drive to a gas station parking lot to obtain Internet speeds fast enough to do online business. Study the map in the article and ponder the status of elderly who live in these low-bandwidth locations. The article notes 23 million people (39% living in rural areas) who lack access to any type of broadband. Older adults make up a larger percentage of rural Americans, 16% than in the US as a whole and “people aged 75+ are more likely to have chronic diseases and disabilities."

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