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End fragmentation in 2024 -- where are the AgeTech solution suites?

The 2024 media message touts aging in place. It’s what everyone wants to do, even those with homes that are difficult to navigate, long distances from family, and must have major modifications to enable remaining there. Yet you read this message nearly every week  -- Next Avenue lauds the benefits, sponsored by Lively from Best Buy Health.  Fortune tests home monitoring systems they say are critical to Aging in Place.  And USA Today publishes a survey that underscores the desire to age in place. So what is the market of tech that will support this goal?  AARP calls it AgeTech – and has a startup directory of new entrants, including categories of health, mobility, caregiving and more.  But that is a list, not a solution.

AARP 2024 Tech Survey: Change Continues to Outpace Older Adults

The 2024 survey is out – some might say it is positive about tech adoption.  Older adults (age 50+) own nearly every tech owned by those age 18-49. They have smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, wearables – with the same disinterest in smart home technologies. The cynical among us might say that some tech change (like the 3G to 5G cutover) forced smartphone adoption.  And so the growth in smartphone ownership is led by older adults And it’s pretty tough to buy a ‘dumb TV’ these days even if you wanted one, though it’s feasible.  

The cost of long-term care -- could technology help lower it?

What care delivery has seen an uptake in technology adoption? People imagined that post-Covid-19, technology would become much more compelling in all types of care delivery. And for sure, the pandemic institutionalized the role of in-home telehealth, with CMS reimbursement presumed to become permanent, or at least regularly renewed. In fact, 23% of respondents to a government survey had used telehealth during a 6-month period in 2021. Also for sure, the use of healthcare portals has seen increased penetration – in 2020, 60% of patients in the US were offered access to a portal, and 40% accessed their records through it.   

Five smart clothing technologies for older adults

The opportunity for embedded and AI-enabled sensors in smart clothing. The growth of the sensor market has created an opportunity for more focus on smart clothing, which has been around a long time, including for use in dementia care, but may have its greatest utility ahead. Researchers are beginning to notice the potential in the care of older adults, including the assertion that "Smart clothing is more natural to wear compared to the other wearables and covers a wider area for monitoring." Here are five examples of sensor-enabled smart clothing:

Aging and Health Technology Watch 2021 Research – A Recap

2021 – even less travel than previous – so for many, it was the best of times. Not just for Zoom, the company, but for many who wished to spend more time thinking and less time in airports. That meant it was still feasible to write monthly blog posts, publish client white papers and complete interview-intensive research reports.  It was feasible to consider topics such as AI and machine learning, Home Care technology, the role of big tech companies and older adults, barriers to tech adoption, broadband access, predictive analytics, voice first, and the role of tech in Villages. And that was in addition to doing a CES 2021 blog post about ten and with too many companies, posting a second one. Likely this coming CES 2022 will have two blog posts, not to mention more press releases. 2021was a year of research about wearables and smart homes – plus a fully updated Market Overview. Here are the summaries of those reports – in case you missed them:

New Report: Beyond DIY -The Future of Smart Homes and Older Adults

Within five years, predictive, proactive and adaptive smart home solutions that support health and wellbeing, comfort and safety, and engagement and entertainment will emerge to meet the needs of older adults, including subscription-based services that are integrated with wearables. Remote configuration and updates will be standard, and health insurers will be interested in smart home technology as a deterrent to hospitalization. With the addition of predictive analytics and machine learning, the home can become a participating caregiver for the oldest and frailest. What are a few of the trends that will make that feasible?

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A new data source to help track technology adoption and interest

It’s a slog searching for data about tech adoption of older adults.  So many years of searching and trying to understand gaps in adoption, less and less usable data. Survey organizations exist that track adoption by age (think Pew Research, Nielsen, AARP) – but the frequency with which they publish surveys about technology has diminished over the years.  Checking out the main page of Pew, for example. See how so many other topics are more click-worthy than their Internet and Technology material.  AARP’s tech surveys are annual – and this year slipped into April. Others like Forrester, Gartner, and Parks Associates survey, but do very little analysis based on age.

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