From Wearables to Smart Homes — Four Blog Posts June 2021

June20image 0June was a short, but pivotal month for aging and health.  Months of research with executives from 27 organizations resulted in the completion of new report, The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021.  It was presented on a panel at The What’s Next Longevity Venture Summit in June with 3 of the interviewees, Dr. Hon Pak of Samsung, Jeff Ray of Omron, and Mark Gray of Constant Companion.  Although current adoption is relatively low, the future of wearables has great potential for older adults, particularly in alerting to health issues between visits to the doctor. June was a season for new health-related product announcements from Apple and an oddity of an announcement from Amazon.  Also during June, preliminary research has begun on another, potentially connected, future report topic about Smart Homes and older adults. Here are the four blog posts from June:

Wearables are new (now) to most older adults in 2021. But that will change in the coming years as broad market acceptance drives interest among the 65+ population. Adoption will grow as the price points become more affordable; and most important, as the data from wearables becomes more actionable, informative, and predictive of future change. Within five years, doctors will see the benefit in guiding older adults to their usage. Chronic disease monitoring through wearables will see the most substantial growth. And stigma-free and lower cost hearables will provide customizable sound improvements to a far broader population than current hearing aids. Check out the new report: The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021. Read more.

Apple recognizes that aging is at the core of a device/health strategy. Several features were announced at Apple’s developer conference this week that were specifically relevant for an older demographic. Perhaps that population, likely aged 70+, may not (yet) have an iPhone or an Apple Watch. Noting the tech adoption gaps cited by AARP (wearables) and Pew (smartphones), Apple wants to change that, whether via family member gifts and/or pressure, possibly from healthcare providers. iPhones will offer real-time assessment of walking steadiness and fall risk, based on balance, stability and coordination while carrying the phone, not the watch. In addition, Apple added ‘opt-in’ health data sharing with other iOS users, such as aging parents, so that caregivers or family can see any worrisome trends like fall risk. No, data can’t be shared with Android or PC users. Why not, since, oddly, those users can launch a FaceTime call? Just because. Read more.

The innovation competition season has begun. The What’s Next Longevity Venture Summit is over and the Aging 2.0 Global Innovation Search voting process has begun. These are two substantial initiatives that often reveal interesting and useful companies to help with aging well and to mitigate various issues of aging and caregiving. Note that these five companies, selected from these two conference initiatives, are early stage (or even really early stage) and are included here because they may have concepts, offerings or approaches that are worth noting and thinking about. A link to the websites for more information is included. Read more.

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