Tech eases aging

Technology Changes Lifespan

tech eases aging

tech eases aging

The US market for what has been dubbed “active-aging” technology includes 85 million Americans—more than one quarter of the US population. And because this total includes seniors as well as their family caregivers, the innovation and independence offered by consumer tech can improve lives across age demographics.

The Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) new white paper CTA Market Report: Active Aging reports this segment represented a $24.4 billion market opportunity in 2015. And that figure is expected to grow to $42.7 billion by 2020. That’s a 12% compound annual growth rate over the next five years for tech products that support a proactive way of living, balancing growing older with the active pursuit of a happier, healthier independent life.

As a welcome bonus, these consumer benefits can translate into billions of dollars in savings for the health care industry. The US is facing a retirement wave in the coming two decades—the Baby Boomer generation (roughly 76 million Americans) is beginning to reach age 65 and, at the same time, the “Silent Generation” is expected to live much longer than the boomers. Because of this, most longterm care service providers are dealing with rising demand amid a capacity shortage and restrained funding. Greater adoption of consumer technology will allow for more preventive care.

The report, created in partnership with the CTA Foundation—a public, national foundation with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives—finds there are many opportunities for assistive tech as the market for active aging technology expands and the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves. Among the solutions consumer technology offers to seniors:

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• Safe and Smart Living: This includes safety monitoring using sensors such as Grand Care’s remote caregiving tool that supplies reminders, medication prompts and social communications. Smart living solutions also provide emergency response solutions and home living support services including Amazon Home Services.

• Health Device and Remote Care: Personal health technology can empower consumers to track some personal health indicators that, in the past, could be collected only at a doctor’s office. Examples include Omron Healthcare’s blood pressure monitor, worn easily on the wrist and remote diagnostic and monitoring solutions such as Vancive’s Metria Informed Health platform, a portfolio of products for physiological monitoring of health, wellness and clinical applications. And virtual consultation acts as a supplement to in-office visits.

• Wellness and Fitness Solutions: Wearable fitness activity trackers, such as Fitbit and Greatcall’s newest Lively Wearable, combine the functionality of a fitness tracker with an always-on emergency response service. Solutions also include diet and weight loss tools that encourage healthy eating and age-appropriate exercise and wellness monitoring tools and apps that help seniors address a range of niche wellness needs like sleep quality tracking or hearing loss.

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Technology is fundamentally changing the way we live, and active-aging tech can amplify the intelligence of our lives as we age across multiple dimensions: physical, social, emotional and cognitive. The CTA Foundation has funded programs helping teach older adults how to use these various technologies in communities from San Diego to New York, and we are hearing about lives being changed. These innovative technologies not only enable seniors to live safer, healthier and longer lives but also allow their caregivers to be more closely connected while they care for their aging loved ones. And that’s something we all can celebrate.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and author of The New York Times best-selling books, Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses and The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. Twitter: @GaryShapiro
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