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Five technology innovations to help older adults – August 2017

As August winds down, startups wind up.   For some, maybe they still think that summer is winding down and all is quiet in business and beyond. But no -- back to school, back to work, and back to starting companies.  Aging 2.0 finalists have been announced, conference media organizations are ramping up, and a few leaves begin to turn – fall is in clearly the air and around the corner.  Before August disappears altogether and the media engines shift into gear, here are five announcements of new technologies designed to help older adults and/or their caregivers.  All material is derived from the websites of the firms:

Wearable tech and older adults – It’s 2017 – moving beyond PERS

PERS is the most recognized wearable for older adults -- but what's next?  Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) -- a long-standing $3+ billion market (30+ years!) that has evolved only slightly from its fear-inspiring origins. The 'I’ve Fallen' message is still 'inspiring' families and seniors to acquire one.  But 30% of the market’s sales are for mobile devices. This makes sense in this time of substantial life expectancy at age 65, that 46% of women aged 75+ live alone; and now we can add older adults’ newly-discovered extended middle age.  Mobility demands mobile devices which in turn boost confidence to be out-and-about. Consider walking the dog -- since one third of the 65+ population has one. 

Seven technology offerings from 2017 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit

Startups and pitches – for funding and more.  Last week was the start of a boomer-senior two week marathon – the 2017 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit, Business Plan Competition and associated pre-conference Boot Camps – to be followed this week by TechDay at IAGG 2017.  Here are seven that played a role at the Silicon Valley event in Berkeley, some just (barely, and not yet) starting, some related to the needs, including manufacturing, for startups. The material is extracted from the content of these companies:

Six new technologies for health and aging in place -- June 2017

Recent announcements, interesting offerings are worth a look. AARP recently completed the judging process for its Innovation Champion Awards; and upcoming, the Boomer Venture Summit in Berkeley in July, will select business plan startup winners – see last year’s winner.  Here are six technology-enabled offerings (some in market, some in process of getting to market) that can be helpful to older adults and those who care for them and about them (listed in alphabetical order): 

Tech use and seniors, ridiculed in media, otherwise ignored

Tech adoption of the 65+ is now buried in a Pew appendix. If age were an ethnic or racial minority, outrage at technology ageism would be vocal and constant.  The 65+ are a mere 46+ million Americans – a group larger than the sum of all of the teenage population non-shoppers.  So their tech adeptness, rather than being viewed as an opportunity, is naturally ignored in surveys.  For example, scroll down and further down on this Pew fact sheet to note level of ‘Digital Readiness’ among demographic groups.  Note that 6% of the 65+ demographic is 'digitally ready' compared to 17% of all age groups. Note that 33% is characterized as 'unprepared.'  And the same percentage applies to those aged 50-64!

AARP Innovation 50+ Live Pitch 2017 – Some familiar, some new

AARP’s Innovation 50+ Live Pitch starts today – what's new?  This marathon tried to put 20 pounds of entrants (culled from many more) into the 10-pound bag of a two-day pitch event across two broad categories. So following this trend towards compression, we will leave FinTech to others and just focus on the Caregiving Health Technology firms. While the pitch may be fresh, some, as noted, may not be new. Placed in context by taking note of what’s in (or was in) market and similar to these finalists. In the alphabetical order presented and updated with winners noted -- link to available websites or descriptions -- minus Twitter handle:  

Predicting the future of health tech and baby boomers – are we there yet?

Baby Boomers, Wearable and Mobile Health Tech – A status report. During 2015, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) sponsored a research project to evaluate the future likelihood of wearable and mobile health tech. This Boomers and Wearable Health Tech 2015 report considered wearables and health apps -- and the likelihood of these technologies helping baby boomers (the oldest is now 71 and 6 years along with Medicare) manage their own care and avoid unnecessary services and costs.  After all, the mobile health app market alone was predicted in 2013 to reach $26 billion by 2017.  Consider the status of each of these predictions – which were based on 21 expert interviews held during 2015. Were the experts correct or overly optimistic?  Both. Here are the 2015 predictions and what has happened since:

We still don't have insurance to protect from a disruptive technology future

We buy many insurances – just in case.  Car, homeowners, apartment, flood, personal liability – all are hedges against the unknown and unwanted.  Seeing a business opportunity, insurers created a long-term care insurance market for a benefit the customer might not need for another 25 years. We can buy a service contract to cover repairs of our appliances.  Yet so it continues that when we purchase technology, carrier, or software services, the offering changes ever more quickly -- and our technology becomes obsolete. So we toss the products (and services) into the soon-forgotten gadget graveyard with 135 million mobile phones discarded in 2010 alone -- the last date for which there are EPA statistics.

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