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The future of caregiving tech is unbelievably large

Is there more caregiving gold in those Silicon Valley hills?  The CES gadget landscape was, on the one hand, rich with cool wearables fitness and smart cars and clothes.  And on the other hand, there were quite a few sessions about health and caregiving, Doctors see a pushy tech industry that isn’t helping them provide better care, never mind without the doctor – though poor healthcare apps could be costly for hospitals. But the biggest surprise last week was when AARP/Parks Associates released a report about the super-sized, ginormous 'caregiving' tech opportunity in the upcoming period, that is starting now, of 2016-2020.

That’s a jaw-dropping market size. The individual six categories (down from the previous version of nine) that made up the prospective revenue and grand total included Daily Essential Activities, Health and Safety Awareness, Caregiver Quality of Life, Care Coordination, Social Well-being, and Transition Support. Agreed, these are necessary categories for caregivers and their care recipients. But those are adding up to a credibility-straining summary that was rolled up in Senior Housing News into a $279 billion in senior tech opportunity. That number strains the mind and must be inspected for what it included, which was payment from just about everybody – insurance, social service, advertisers, care facilities and employers as well as $60 billion in out of pocket spending by caregiving consumers.

Ah, those pesky percentages – more numbers to wake up the reader.  It is absolutely the case that the Caregiving 'market' is hot, hot, hot with VCs – $73 million investing in just three home care startups (Honor, Home Hero, and Hometeam) within just the past year. And underpinning that, uh, froth, the AARP/Parks report could further fuel the hyper-excitement. It is filled with examples and statistics, though individual data points may startle. Did you know that (per Pew) 50 percent of people age 65+ are using Facebook?  Uh, no, didn't know that – and actual Pew data contradicts it. The most likely correct answer is 28%. [First find the percent of 65+ that use the Internet (59%). Of those folk, note the Pew number of 48% of Internet population using Facebook.] 

Who are those guys anyway? This is a rich report of numbers that can excite industries like Home Health with predictions (13% growth!) and its page after page of possible market players. It’s not clear that caregivers (or investors) could shop from this report, however appealing that might be. While the report is filled with Examples in the Market icons that can be included on pages of market OverViewers, the devils are in the details. Some offerings cannot be purchased in the near term for love or money; more may be have gone out of business or been acquired; and some are just plain startling by being presented on the same page with each other -- consider home builder lobbyist NAHB on a page with the (departed?) smart cane Isowalk.  But for those of us scanning to see what’s new and what might even be next, this report is a must-scan.


Great thoughts, huge numbers


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