Insights from Aging in Place Technology Watch


Laurie Orlov is one of the smarter people in the field of tracking, assessing and predicting what is and will be happening in the area of technology associated with support of our aging population. In here recent newsletter, she writes (among other items):

By the numbers, seniors want to remain at home – but who will provide care? Switzerland has been ranked the number one country for care of the elderly, but the price of dementia care makes some residents leave. And not just from Switzerland.  At an average of $41K per year for assisted living in the US, the sale of an average home in the US of $272K does not enable early move-in, especially for a married couple. According to the industry, however, cautious building of new units has kept overall occupancy high at 89%. Besides the cost of residential care, family caregiving is coming under increasing pressure; home care is pricey at $51K/year full time on average (never mind turnover and vetting), and we are headed for trouble from a population perspective – as boomers age, fewer people will be available to provide care. However, home care and home health workers received minimum wage and overtime protection in 2013 and so far, the world did not end.

PREDICTION: Still not much resident-oriented tech deployed in the senior housing industry and no sign that the home care industry is focused on equipping either workers or care recipients with technology in the home.  However, we have not seen the true impact of potentially changing Medicare/Medicaid coverage, doctor shortages, or the corresponding demand for low-cost ‘telepresence’ aka remote video consultation either in the home or senior housing – although remote consultation via roaming robots seems to be of interest to rural hospitals.  In fact, 2014 may be the year in which all of these trends begin tipping. From a resource perspective — too few medical professionals and too much demand will intersect.

TECHNOLOGY

Laurie is, as usual, on target with her observations. Overall, the non-clinical home care industry is not equipping workers or care recipients with tech tools to improve health care. At Support For Home – along with several other companies – we are committed to changing that. Along with Northwestern University School of Medicine and Wellspring, out of Chicago, we have applied for a Medicare Innovation grant to address some of that gap in a new and meaningful way. We should know in a month or two if the grant comes through. Our fingers, toes and eyes are crossed on it. 🙂

As Laurie points out, there are too few medical professionals and too much demand for geriatric health care. Folks in the non-clinical home care industry have a huge role to play in addressing that gap, and we are ready to play it.

Best wishes, Bert

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2 responses to “Insights from Aging in Place Technology Watch

  1. Couldn’t agree more! We at GrandCare are committed to providing a technology vehicle that enables faster, more predictive, proactive and preventative care. The GrandCare System is a tool that caregivers can remotely use to monitor activities of daily living, telehealth patterns, provide reminders and medication prompts and socialize with the resident. It’s very interesting to hear what you are doing at Support for Home. Very interested in keeping up with your progress! We are keeping our fingers crossed on the grant!!
    best, Laura & The GrandCare team

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  2. I definitely agree is the key in healthy and secured aging in place. The long term care industry should adapt to the fast-changing demands and needs of seniors these days. Sure there are a lot of senior care facilities out there but there are still some who prefer to receive care at home and be close to their loved ones. The industry should put this on their priority list and provide concerned individuals with tools or medical equipment that will make their homes senior-friendly. They should give people more options when they opt for retrofitting like chairlifts and other equipment that will make it safe for seniors to move around their homes. I do hope that the industry will accept the fact that technology has already revolutionized home caregiving and in turn will provide more equipment and devices that will keep seniors safe and comfortable while receiving care at home.

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