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wearables, smart watch

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wearables, smart watch

Beyond the medical alert -- old marketing and products are obsolete

PERS Insider helpfully listed the most common PERS Google searches. The result was bleak and informative. Their website identifies the top item (16,000 searches, results with ads) as a 'medical alert bracelet'. Except for the deep-pocketed Medical Guardian which bought ads everywhere, these were all bracelets to help emergency workers determine a health issue. The next one, Medical alert systems (14K searches) turned up ads for multi-vendor sales sites with names like 10 best, 5 best in Florida, and look, there's Medical Guardian! The US News site was not an ad itself, but the article was filled with ads for devices. Ditto for ConsumerAffairs.com.' Best and worst companies – more ads -- and Medical Guardian. Even 'I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up' is one of top four search terms (4800), no doubt from those miserable LifeAlert ads

The Census Really Knows: Tech usage and the 65+

When it comes to people, the US Census has all the data.  From its American Community Survey (ACS) summary files and detailed tables, we know as of November, 2021, for example, the US population (315 million), the number of housing units (133 million) and whether they are owner-occupied. Further, it tells  the number of people in geographic locations, education and marital status, employment status (173 million), the percent aged 65+ (more than 55 million as of the date of the most recent survey).  The questionnaire is publicly available on the Census website. While many of the questions are intriguing (and used for redistricting) and the data results are much-reported, technology ownership is rarely discussed.  So here are some snapshots of changes in the ACS data from 2015 to 2021: 

Leave no trend behind – yet another PERS smartwatch ticks on

Another long-time PERS player sees a watch, makes a watch. Rant on. Last January 2021, WaterStreet, a healthcare investment company, coughed up a mind-bending $100 million to Medical Guardian, a long time (2006) privately-held PERS provider, to ‘fund expansion.’ Medical Guardian already had a PERS watch (from Omate) – which Amazon reviewers did not love; other than HELP and telling the time, there wasn’t much to it anyway. By June 2021, they partnered with Black&Decker to offer more PERS capabilities – a wearable with fall detection, but maybe that lacked a wow factor. So the newly developed one has more features – including step-counting, a voice-assist charge warning, and communication (from the watch) with a care circle. With deep pockets, Medical Guardian can afford to develop its own device – and maybe this one's the charm for current customers, though it lacks fall detection.  Otherwise the market has moved on.

Did you miss one? Four Tech and Aging Blog Posts from February 2022

March 2022 – in-person annual trade shows are back.  For so many who have been Zooming, Teaming, and WebEx’ing, lo, these many months, it’s actually comforting to know that the big exhibit shows are back.  This will be exciting for firms hoping to actually meet prospects in person, including events like HearTech Expo, sponsored by the American Academy of Audiology in St. Louis on April 1 – and next week’s VIVE 2022, the new health IT event in Miami. Upcoming, Argentum’s Senior Living Executive Conference in Minneapolis in March, then the American Society on Aging’s annual conference, On Aging, in New Orleans in April.  LeadingAge is holding its Leadership Summit in Washington, DC this month and its annual Conference and Expo in Colorado in October.  Hopefully all will be well-attended and business deals will be done, just like in the old days.  And to stay up to date, here are the four blog posts from February, 2022:

Something new -- Apple Watch ad sells fear to the young

Perhaps you have seen the scary Apple Watch ad about 911 calls. If not, here it is, short but it’s a doozy. Three examples of desperate 911 calls. Young woman trapped in car filling with water, young man paddle-boarding, wind pushing him out to sea, and a farmer who fell and can’t move (at the end, we calm down because all were rescued by emergency responders.) So this is the argument for the $749 or more for Series 7 Apple watch with Cellular access? Not an 82-year-old woman living alone, but instead, selling heart-racing fear to the young. Why it could open a whole new market of watch buyers and upgraders. So what could go wrong – and what about this IS wrong?

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.

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