Looking back ten years, a lot has changed in the aging industry, especially for those living at home. From an uptake of WiFi in senior subscribers to mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems. In 2009, the iPad had not been announced.
Digital Health was on the horizon and so was voice technology. AARP’s Healthy@Home had just published, forecasting technology in the home, to be $20 billion by 2020.
The oldest Baby Boomer turns 73, at least half of adults age 65+ have broadband and insurance incentives push tech-enabled healthcare in the home since seniors face a shortage of home care workers. And family members are so transient that older parents cannot rely on them either. What are we to do?
Lori Orlov, a Tech analyst says, “Expect tech adoption for the 75+ age range to ratchet up, along with lengthening age 65+ life expectancy.”
What’s interesting to me is policy changes are affecting the senior market. Earlier this year, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released interoperability advice, connecting people to their care, between a patient and another person.
And in February, the department proposed a rule change that would allow individuals to securely and easily access structured Electronic Health Information using smartphones and other mobile devices.
Wearables and Personal Emergency Response Systems are now 30% mobile, from smartphones to smart speakers to smart watches with emergency buttons. But the apps back then are augmented and sometimes replaced by speaking.
The insurance and technology focus more on keeping us out of the hospital and healing at home — who knows, maybe telehealth will keep us there. Even Best Buy is in the senior market.
It was 2009, when living in Austin — I contacted HEB (a big grocery chain in Texas) to consider delivering groceries to older adults at home. Their spokesperson responded, “We’re thinking about it.” Now there’s a lot of competition in food delivery. Everyone from Walmart to Amazon to Target to all the big grocery chains offer it.
And back in 2002 when helping my parents, I remember looking for family caregiving information online — the only websites I could find were the Area Agency on Aging, Alz Association, the Federal and State Gov official websites and a few others. And the content was very limited. Today, we’re on information overload.
Another interesting point, 80% of older adults live at home and the U.S. Census says at least 34 percent of them (65 + women) and the 20 percent (men) — live alone. Most are forced to stay there because of finances. What’s troubling, when the 65+ turns 90, they will need to sell that home to pay for health care costs.
For the next few weeks, I’ll talk more about aging in place trends.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com. She holds a Certificate in Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.