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Did you miss one? The Four tech and aging blog posts December 2021

So much happened in 2021 that should benefit older adults.   It should be more feasible to purchase hearing aids ‘over the counter’ without an exam (offered for many years in Japan, but whatever...) and at a price point that is more reasonable for largely uninsured devices.  Honor bought Home Instead – which should result in more technology used in the home care industry -- and soon, hopefully, for an industry suffering from  a severe labor shortage. LifeStation (never a first mover) became the latest to introduce a PERS watch, which should be the non-stigmatizing form factor for Personal Emergency Response devices. Big tech revealed growing interest in older adults and investors saw the potential in firms like Papa, which provides (reimbursed) varied assistance to older adults. Lowe’s prioritized helping older adults and partnered with AARP, which should help older adults benefit from smart homes.  And maybe the big deal starts now -- the oldest baby boomers turn 76, which should trigger even more investment in 2022 and beyond. Here are the four December posts:

Wrapping up 2021 – trends to watch plus 10 most-read blog posts

For tech and older adults, the year 2021 was pivotal. It was the year of age-tech gaining AARP visibility as AgeTech. It was a year in which hearables moved into the mainstream of hearing assistance, and lower cost over-the-counter hearing aids became more likely. It was a year in which wearables for older adults began to make sense – as predicted in 2020, replacing the PERS pendant with a wrist-worn wearable. It was a year in which radar-based fall detection became a non-wearable alternative within the smart home.  Radar, in fact, may join motion sensors, AI, cameras, and voice first technologies as no longer separate and disconnected, but instead part of an integrated smart home infrastructure. Imagine the home as a ‘participating caregiver’ with an in-home team of technologies that help enable older adults’ desire to age in place.  Imagine “Family on Demand” as a form of insurance-reimbursed services. And imagine what might happen in 2022.  Let's imagine it together -- starting next week. The blogs:

LiveFreely Announces Apple Watch Version of 'BUDDY,' the Predictive AI-Driven Digital Health Assistant for Seniors and Their Loved Ones

12/22/2021

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LiveFreely, Inc., a Silicon Valley digital health company that develops innovative technology to improve the health and well-being of seniors and their loved ones, today launched BUDDY for Apple Watches. The BUDDY app uses AI and machine learning to predict, prevent, and detect health challenges while providing support and data for seniors and their caregivers.

Did you miss a November blog post about tech and older adults?

Tech for an aging population – niche or not.  November is done. But recent announcements about tech and older adults make one wonder about the category. Should it be special, unique, with well-designed hardware by well-meaning and enthusiastic engineers? That sounds good – but is it?  The oldest baby boomer turns 76 in January 2022.  That sounds old.  Does that place baby boomers squarely in the ‘I had a grandmother who fell down’ design target?  The PERS industry, maybe a cash cow for persistent resellers, has actually not grown in the past four years – market sizing numbers have been stable at around $1.5 billion. But consider other trends -- the older population has grown, the Apple Watch was introduced and fall detection apps are available from Best Buy and FallCall, Philips Lifeline withdrew, Amazon has partnered with Vayyar (radar-based fall detection) in Alexa Together. What was once a sizable niche may actually be a hanging-on, but low growth market for the foreseeable future.  Blog posts from November:

Tech-enabling the future of Villages

Beacon Hill Village created a concept out of need... Long ago, the topic of aging in place was born within the pioneer community of the ‘Village’ movement -- Beacon Hill Village.  Judy Willett led the way 19 years ago in Boston to help neighborhood seniors stay in their homes longer. That’s not a small trick if you consider that Beacon Hill is a neighborhood of steep cobblestone streets, no easy-in subway stop, and --- argggh – every year, residents, most in their 70’s at that time -- must cope with winter! Today Beacon Hill Village has 400 members who benefit from aggregated services that include "social clubs, weekly exercise classes and lectures, transportation to doctors’ offices and grocery stores, and access to reduced-fee home medical care and home repair services."

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