Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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wearables, smart watch

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wearables, smart watch

Four tech and aging blog posts from August, 2019

The last gasp of August and Labor Day's hurricane Dorian is behind us.  Note how a devastating Hurricane Dorian already has become a past tense Wikipedia entry (!). Now we must contemplate the fall season of tradeshows and events, rev up anticipation for impending technology announcements, consider that technology anti-trust investigations are launching in multiple states. Meanwhile, the older adult technology market is still comprised of four main categories, into which the new entrants and inventions, including wearables, sensors, AI, and predictive analytics, will fit. The research report, Voice, Health, and Wellbeing 2020 has now launched and interviews are underway. Interest has grown in the use of technology to mitigate social isolation – more on that topic later this week, and the US population aged 65+ passed 52 million in 2018. What to make of all this? Here are the blog posts from August for consideration:

Wearables for health and wellbeing

How do wearables contribute to health and wellbeing of older adults? Did something happen recently propelling sales up 51% that pushed consumers out the door to buy a wearable, like a fitness band or a smartwatch? Was it the coolness of the Apple Watch? Was it fear of ailments that worsen with lack of exercise?Or to put the question another way, what is it that these devices do that can help maintain or improve health, noting that 32% of baby boomers today get no exercise whatsoever, according to the CDC. However more than 50% are striving for 30 minutes per day and want feedback about how they're doing. Today’s wearables have functions that are relevant because they:

Highlighting Eight Technologies from the 2019 Market Overview

The new trend – tech/services for older adults, not just tech.  When the 2009 Market Overview was completed a decade ago, there were gadgets galore, most introduced with maximum enthusiasm and a shoestring of cash.  Today, perhaps due to pending boomer bulge, innovators and their funders may be having a somewhat easier time, at least in some market categories – health, home care, transportation come to mind.  The other apparent trend is the enthusiasm of partners (health care, senior living, home care) to try out new tech-enabled services that target a problem or opportunity that may have existed a decade ago, but is truly apparent today. Finally, the pace of tech improvement is notable – lower cost and improved utility of on body (or in-room) sensors, predictive analytics, and device integration – with smartphones, health systems, and broader solution sets.  Here are eight of the 33 new offerings from the 2019 Market Overview (material from the vendor/news sites) that deserve a closer look – future posts will highlight others:

BlueStar SeniorTech Partners with Bellpal

01/29/2019

Rockville, MD (December 7, 2018) — BlueStar SeniorTech announced today that it will partner with BellPal of Sweden to provide BellPal’s unique medical alert system in the United States. BellPal provides a discreet, simple, and stylish watch to keep families and their loved safe and connected in the event of an emergency.

Recapping the most-read blog posts from 2018

Fewer software platforms, but new and more interesting offerings.  Two major changes happened in 2018 that are having and will continue to help older adults. First there is the significant uptake of voice-enabled technology, was forecast to be transformative, and so it was, in senior living, in the homes and families of seniors, and as an interface in newer cars to make giving and hearing directions easier.  Not so newsworthy, but perhaps more important, the hearing technology industry and audiologist specialty were disrupted in favor of self-service and offerings at a significantly lower cost.

Apple accidentally shines a light on its technology ageism

Consider the Apple Watch fall detection age default.  Rant on. By now, and for most, no big deal, you may know that the Series 4 watch has fall detection. The setup includes your ‘emergency contacts’ acquired from your Medical ID, assuming you have Wrist Detection turned on.  Still with me? And perhaps you have also turned on the Health app (somewhere) and entered your birthdate. Still with me?  Assuming that Apple knows your date of birth AND it is 65+, the default setting turns the Fall Detection feature on – you then have to turn it off.  Which, since it is set to call Emergency Services unless you Cancel, might, as it has been with Apple Watch emergency calls, be a problem

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