So what about technology enabled care in America?

Continuing my theme of statistics from my previous blog, gleaned from my trip to the Boomers Summit and Aging in America events in Washington, here’s some related to technology specifically:

  • Over half of older people use the internet – this is up from 7% in 2000
  • In a 2015 Pew Survey, 39% of people 65+ are not online
  • By 2019 one out of 5 boomers/seniors will have wearable technology
  • 106m seniors are responsible for $7.1 trillion economy

I was impressed with Lauri Orlov’s new report “Technology for Aging in Place” from which these stats were taken. She hit the nail on the head when she said that what matters is the service, and that products should be designed for all, but with customisable software. That’s exactly Tunstall’s philosophy.

I heard more stats about millennials. For example John Zogby said that 66% of millennials have a passport and have travelled abroad. In 2008, 23% said they expect to live and work in a foreign capital at some point in their life, that figure has grown to 40% today.

Every boomer needs a millennial technical concierge
He went on to jokingly say that every boomer should have a millennial technical concierge – someone on hand to show you how to use your wearable or piece of tech. Which leads me to ask, how is technology really going to improve people’s lives? Well it’s not – not by itself and it will never do so. It’s got to fit into your life and you need to have someone – a person – to support you when you need it.

Then there’s the little problem of finding what you need. One speaker described how he went into a Target store to look for some health monitoring equipment. He found the connected scales in the bathroom department, the BP cuff near the counter, the Fitbit with the TVs. Where do you go?

Preparing for the silver tsunami
During the Tunstall debate “Preparing for the Silver Tsunami” the panel discussed the future of technology in healthcare – is it going to be just part of the fabric of our lives? It reminded me of life before mobile phones – how did we ever arrange to meet people, let alone email, search the web or navigate? It’s now become ubiquitous, and as technology progresses further I can see the Tunstall service becoming ever more vital as the intersection between humanity, technology and healthcare.

Our Tunstall America’s colleague Venkat Sathiyamoorthy, finished the session with a heart-warming tale of how technology brings communities together like never before. He takes up the story “We had some very bad floods in India recently and a friend of mine who lives in Texas found out that his parents lived in the affected area. I put out a question via WhatsApp to see if anyone could help and my friend in Australia asked his friend in Singapore who had a brother in Dubai, whose brother lived in a neighbouring town in India. He got in his car and went to help my friend’s parents who were in their 80s, rescued them and took them to his house for safety.”

All of these interactions occurred in 20 minutes across the world – wow that’s the power of technology.

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