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CENSUS: Senior care growth means tech change will be mandatory

The Census knows the growth and potential explosion of care needs and older adults. Consider their newly published document explaining the industries to those who may still not see what’s happening. "Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly saw a 34.4% increase in revenue from 2013 to 2020.  Home Health Care Services experienced an even larger increase – 50.5% -- during the same period." These assertions are built on the Service Annual Survey (2021).  Consider the details shown in tables below: The U.S. Census Bureau projects that in 2050, the U.S. population ages 65 and over will be 83.9 million, nearly double what it was (43.1 million) in 2012. The first table shows absolute values and the second table shows growth of the individual categories of employer firms.

The conundrum of today – short-staffed, needing to change. Based on conversations with executives for a new research report, some organizations see today’s labor shortage in senior care as a catalyst for deploying new technology like sensors that can produce meaningful information and even predict health outcomes or memory issues. Today's tech companies that serve senior care organizations see the need for tech change. Execs cite the potential for improvements in staff utilization, resident health and wellbeing, family communication, and more. But so many of these technologies that are a fit for senior caregiving require upfront investment in high-speed internet connections in all units or in private homes; willingness to retrain staff on new care processes; integration into electronic records systems; and IT support to help staffers with new workflow.

Precede long hall check-in walks with remote monitoring and check-in. For both assisted living and nursing homes, checking in on residents at night while they are sleeping may still be the standard of laborious practice. And despite 2014 guidance from HUD enabling newer technology, pull cords could still be the resident’s only means of reaching the front desk staff. But wearables, RADAR/LiDAR or Wi-Fi based remote monitoring and fall detection technology could replace pull cords – and be the basis for dashboards showing staff the status of residents in each room. The long hall check-in will then only be necessary for those who need assistance.























Figure 1 Estimated revenues from care related services 2013-2020



Also, the consolidation that is happening will also increase the value/necessity of the right technologies in place...in addition to the growing labor shortage.

2022 Largest Provider report in descending order from Argentum.

Worth a close look in conjunction with the Census numbers and forecast.

Major marketing campaign is needed to communicate with this important target audience. Long learning curve for mass adoption means we've got to start now.

he 20th Century residential care models miss the mark on the 21st Century lives and changing demographics. PACE, home renovations, age-friendly communities, and similar models enable us to live with multiple chronic conditions at home. This is an exciting time in home and health care.

The Boy-Scout’s motto “Be Prepared” means that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise. So it is with aging, we all know that it is inescapable, and certainly coming, if we accept that or not, living in denial and trying to ignore it makes the route of aging a gamble and living reactively, kept together with glue and Band-Aids. It’s giving the business world an opportunity to thrive on this pandemonium. Massive marketing to change behavior or being content with the “exciting times of the status of home and health care” are both fuel on the fire of chaos. The senior care industry is “Thriving on Chaos” to use Tom Peters 1987 book tittle. All is expensive because there is not enough competition and demand is increasing for decades to come. An expression to use here is “There are enough suckers out there and they keep on coming” a most lousy marketing term used for decades in this blasé industry and contradicting market, driven by a negative demand, a battle between the victim and opportunist as there is lots of money in aging. Mass adoption will not occur until collective programs from the top-down (NGO’s) are created or marketing companies have produced products at scale reaching 5% - 10% of the senior population. The today’s proliferation of products and services is the same as the early days of the personal computer, at which time you had to buy software for any single purpose, i.e. a spell-checker, a grammar-checker, a disk-cleaner etc. possibly 100,000 separate software companies were there, today all to be found into one MS operating platform. So it is with long-term care, unless integrated, user-friendly supportive programs and products are established, the culture around aging and late-life living will be filled with distress and anxiety and a plethora of companies will continue to thrive on this chaotic market at work.        

Interesting read from Laurie Orlov, who address the progress of technology use in senior care.

“In the past decade, there has been much talk (and media) about technology innovation in senior care. But is the commitment to investing in technology still sporadic? Is it just isolated to a demo of VR here, a few robots there, a free pilot of voice tech for those with high enough broadband speeds to benefit? Is it possible that you will still find buildings where there is no Wi-Fi access in resident rooms, only in common areas or hallways?”

How advanced is your community in using technology to provide better care and improve engagement to your residents?

In our communities we bring first the connectivity of residents to the highest level, so that human capital is used first and technology is always second or third. This so seniors who do not like or want technology can live there with the support of their peers. We integrate technology in a passive and active way, in other words, residents can turn it on or of to their liking. Our platform is open for any technology or support program a resident or their family would like to use (buy or subscribed to) in addition to ours. This keeps our program flexible and open for whatever comes next. Simple but complex.