A continuing feature of Boomer Tech Talk is supporting adult children in discovering and evaluating what technology has to offer them as they endeavor to support parents facing aging challenges including aging in place.
The Technology and Aging Peer Group trends and opportunities discussion hosted by conveners Ginna Baik and Scott Peifer at the 2019 ASA Aging in America Conference was an excellent spot to hear from a variety of communities with experience and interest in that kind of technology. Both Ginna and Scott are board of director members of American Society on Aging.
Tech Coverage Expected at future ASA Aging in America conferences
Peer Groups are just one of the many special formats offered at Aging in America conferences (among the 100’s of sessions you can choose from during the four days of the conference.)
Expect additional tech focused sessions at AiA21 in San Diego April 6-9 2021.
There were to be two peer groups run by NEST council members during AiA20 on Wednesday late afternoon as well as an all day NEST program. NEST stands for Network on Environments, Services and Technologies and is an ASA constituent group. A recent ASA blog provides more details on NEST.
Flow and Purpose of the Technology and Aging Peer Group
The Technology and Aging Peer Group discussion was well organized, lively and informative. The objective was to invite companies offering technology, those very interested in using technology in their work with aging populations, as well as investors, to learn from each other and to identify trends and opportunities. In attendance this time, also professors, interior designers and architects, estate planners.
Our peer group began with brief self-introductions including organizations we were with and what we were most curious about.
Ginna created post-it notes for each self-introduction and put them in categories which we proceeded to cover:
Caregiver / Caregiving Tech
Aging in Place / Smart Home Tech
Some of the discussion points during our technology and aging peer group:
Social Isolation while Aging in Place
Ginna Baik has been involved with technology in the older adult environment for more than 12 years.
67% of 85 year olds are actually on the internet.
33% feel ‘I’ve lived without this this long, why do I need it now’
Isolation can grow out of not being digitally engaged. There is “Phubbing” (snubbing + phone) for example at the dinner table.
Inexpensive Tech Solutions to Social Isolation
ElliQ from Intuition Robotics
A participant saw ElliQ in Japan and was impressed by multi-modal, proactive expressions including suggesting having a drink of water or offering to play trivia.
(Intuition Robotics was founded in 2016 and is based in Israel with offices in San Francisco. Intuition Robotics’ investors include: Toyota AI Ventures, Samsung NEXT, iRobot and Venture Capital firms from California, Israel, Japan and China.
Still in “Pre-Sale” after launching at CES 2019. Pricing in the USA: $1,499 + applicable sales tax. This price includes: 12 month premium subscription and support, home installation, and shipping. Not charged until shipped.)
Scott Peifer brought up Ohmni Labs in this category for their telepresence capabilities.
‘OhmniLabs, Inc., a Silicon Valley based robotics company was founded in 2015 by robotics experts Jared Go, Tingxi Tan, and serial entrepreneur, Thuc Vu, graduates of Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University, OhmniLabs’ purpose is to accelerate robotic development through 3D printing and additive manufacturing.’
(BEAM Robots – Blue Ocean Robotics / Suitable Technologies is another player in this field)
Scott also mentioned Breezie. One of several voice assist systems that are offered for senior living and integrate with smart home systems like Google Home.
(Breezie is a UK based company and an Aging 2.0 Academy cohort member 2014-15 with investment from Ziegler Link•Age Longevity Fund, L.P. in March 2015.)
Scott pointed out that building on a system that is already ubiquitous like Alexa or Google Assistant, has advantages in cost and scale.
Listening Tech Analytics Plus and Minus
Amazon’s Alexa is a potential player in social connection. HIPAA issues were discussed.
Concerns with how listening devices might be abused was mentioned. One of the participants had a client whose POA had directed Alexa’s listening to himself without disclosing. (He was removed).
Some people can be more comfortable talking to a computer / robot than a human being in sharing personal things. Some anecdotal successes with PTSD and estate planning shared by participants.
A participant brought up Skip Rizzo, a psychologist who developed Ellie. Ellie is a computer program that analyzes voice and facial expressions.
Google has a database of every senior that has been on Google. Could voice be an indicator of cardiac stress?
MyndYou (Israel) is also in voice analytics to detect cognitive decline.
Elderly Issues Being Addressed
Finger tips are dry so a tablet works better with a special layer added
Macular Degeneration. Iris Vision. 1500 use cases. Ugly but allows people to see better.
Singfit is working on a product (CDW will be partnering with) that uses the caregiver or adult child’s voice to sing a message like “it’s time to go to the bathroom”.
Linked Senior is a cloud-based dementia and therapy engagement platform for the senior care market out of Washington DC.
Applied Virtual Reality (VR) can provide calming experiences like going to a farm and petting animals. A potential healthier and less expensive replacement for calming drugs.
VR for training: Embodied Labs creates immersive VR experiences for caregiver training and family engagement for organizations in long-term care and home health.
This September 2019 CNBC article highlighted seven aging related tech advances including Embodied Labs.
Related: Resistance, Privacy Concerns, CDW White Paper
Ginna mentioned during self introductions that she saw caregivers resistance to technology in caring for her own parents in the home.
End-User Resistance to Monitoring devices:
This short film shown at AiA18 by Lilian Myer, Executive Director StarterStudio provides a nice illustration.
Privacy Concerns – The Google Super Bowl Ad
Shelley Palmer comments
None of this would bother me if the ad had a disclaimer, or if the ad started with a younger relative adjusting the widower’s privacy settings in advance of his experience.
Ginna Baik is Strategic Business Development Manager for Senior Care at CDW-Healthcare which recently published a CDW-senior-care-IT-Overview white paper.