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wearables, smart watch

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wearables, smart watch

Big tech wants to serve older adults -- initiatives are accumulating

Apple gets it that its customers are aging – and have their devices.  That was not always the case. Long ago, maybe as early as 2009, a query was placed to the analyst relations team at Apple to find folks to discuss Apple and technology adoption of older adults.  The answer was: "Apple does not do aging."  Then in 2010, on behalf of an AARP-sponsored research effort to contact a few of multiple Apple groups already involved one way or the other (Apple Health!), got no response to requests to interview execs that would have been interested based on their roles.  That was then. Fast forward to 2021 and the fact that baby boomers have all the money (and many health issues, too). Note Apple Health, Apple Accessibility, fall detection on the watch, detection of gait changes, changes in AirPods that clearly target conversational hearing issues. And that doesn’t count the health-specific features on the watch that will no doubt include blood pressure checks.  

10 barriers to boosting tech adoption by older adults in 2021

Technology access is a vital sign.  Non-adoption is not an option. Post Covid-19 we have reached a technology dependency level that is worrisome (see remote hacking), problematic for young people (see social media impact), positive/negative impact on depression in older adults. But when viewed in aggregate, lack of access may be worse. Consider categories like smartphones and text messaging, voice assistants, wearables, cameras, computers, tablets, digital health, medication management, home security services, fall detection, fintech, hearables, location tracking, online shopping and more. What? You know older adults who could use a few of those categories, but likely are not. Why not? Perhaps they are worried about barriers, from A to Z:

From Wearables to Smart Homes -- Four Blog Posts June 2021

June was a short, but pivotal month for aging and health.  Months of research with executives from 27 organizations resulted in the completion of new report, The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021.  It was presented on a panel at The What’s Next Longevity Venture Summit in June with 3 of the interviewees, Dr. Hon Pak of Samsung, Jeff Ray of Omron, and Mark Gray of Constant Companion.  Although current adoption is relatively low, the future of wearables has great potential for older adults, particularly in alerting to health issues between visits to the doctor. June was a season for new health-related product announcements from Apple and an oddity of an announcement from Amazon.  Also during June, preliminary research has begun on another, potentially connected, future report topic about Smart Homes and older adults. Here are the four blog posts from June:

The Future of Wearables and Older Adults - report plus May posts

Wearables are new (now) to most older adults in 2021. But that will change in the coming years as broad market acceptance drives interest among the 65+ population. Adoption will grow as the price points become more affordable; and most important, as the data from wearables becomes more actionable, informative, and predictive of future change. Within five years, doctors will see the benefit in guiding older adults to their usage. Chronic disease monitoring through wearables will see the most substantial growth.  And stigma-free and lower cost hearables will provide customizable sound improvements to a far broader population than current hearing aids.  Check out the new report:  The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021.  And the other blog posts from May 2021 that drove the report content forward:

The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021

Wearables are new to most older adults in 2021. But that will change in the coming years as broad market acceptance drives interest among the 65+ population. Adoption will grow as the price points become more affordable; and most important, as the data from wearables becomes more actionable, informative, and predictive of future change. Within five years, doctors will see the benefit in guiding older adults to their usage. Chronic disease monitoring through wearables will see the most substantial growth.

For older adults -- What attributes of wearables will help in the future?

What does the future hold for wearables and older adults? Change is ahead. Older adults in 2021 are at the same point of awareness and adoption of wearables as was once the case for Voice First.  According to AARP's recent technology survey, most, especially those aged 70+, have not adopted wearables. They may be particularly unfamiliar with those that capture and track health-related status.  But that will change, as general market adoption drives interest among older adults and those who care for them.  Price points will become more affordable and data will become more actionable, informative, and predictive of future change. As the technology evolves, wearables will be:

Adoption of wearables by older adults -- what are the barriers?

For wearables to be useful to older adults, some barriers need to be overcome.  As has been the case with other technology innovations that can provide great benefit to seniors, the value of wearables may be great for older adults -- especially when personalized to the characteristics and needs of an individual. However, the implementation and/or data integration may be lacking. And there may be significant concerns about being tracked or where the data resides. Reviewing the impediments to this useful category actually being adopted -- these may include:

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