Notes from the Aging 2.0 Optimize 2017 Conference

Aging 2.0 OptimizeLast week, I attended Aging 2.0’s flagship OPTIMIZE conference. This was my third major Aging 2.0 conference (you can read my comments on the first one here, and the second one here), and it’s neat to see how the aging innovation community has grown and evolved since Aging 2.0 was founded in 2012.

I live-tweeted the conference (that’s part of why I get to go); you can read the Storify collection of my tweets here, or at the bottom of this post.

In this post, I’ll cover a few highlights that I found especially interesting, namely:

  • The Aging 2.0 Great Challenges
  • Bill Thomas’ keynote
  • The “elder workforce” best practice session
  • The AI and IOT-enabled engagement and fall prevention session
  • The winner of the Aging 2.0 Global Startup Search

The Aging 2.0 Great Challenges

Aging 2.0 announced the launch of a Grand Challenges initiative earlier this year.

The Grand Challenges are:

  • Engagement & Purpose
  • Financial Wellness
  • Mobility & Movement
  • Daily Living & Lifestyle
  • Caregiving
  • Care Coordination
  • Brain Health
  • End of Life

You can learn more about these grand challenges here.

The topics are “the result of five years of bottom-up and top-down dialogue with stakeholders from across Aging2.0’s interdisciplinary, intergenerational, international community of older adults, senior care providers, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs.”

Although all eight topics are innovation priorities for Aging 2.0, they announced at the conference that in 2018 they will particularly focus on caregiving & brain health.

Challenges such as this are kind of interesting to think about. I think that they are partly a conceptual model to frame the way a community thinks about opportunities/problems, and also partly a marketing approach.

As the saying goes, no model is perfect, some are more useful than others. [Read more…]

Interview: Upcoming Aging 2.0 Optimize Conference & Important Problems in Need of Solutions

Aging 2.0 OptimizeTime for me to take another look at what’s most interesting and promising, when it comes to innovations to help older adults and their families.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to attend an Aging 2.0 conference. So next week, I’ll be going to Optimize, their flagship conference which will be taking place in San Francisco.

Recently, I had an opportunity to interview Anne Tumlinson, of Daughterhood.org, for the Better Health While Aging podcast.

Like me, Anne has a particular interest providing practical help to those helping aging parents. She’s also an experienced health policy analyst, with a special focus on long-term care, and a nationally known speaker on aging and caregiving issues.

In this conversation, we talk about some of the problems that are most pressing for older adults and families. We also talk about some particular innovations and ideas that will be presented at Aging 2.0.

To listen to this conversation, visit the episode page:

Interview: Innovations to Help Older Adults & Family Caregivers

Or read the transcript below.

Then let me know in the comments: Will you be Optimize 2017 next week? What kinds of innovations and solutions are you hoping to hear about?

Transcript: GeriTech & Daughterhood talk about needed innovations & Aging 2.0 Optimize

[Read more…]

AARP’s 6th Innovation@50+: GeriTech’s Take on the Caregiving Health Technology Finalists

On April 12 & 13, 2017, AARP hosted its sixth Innovation@50+ LivePitch event, an event that allows a group of chosen start-ups to pitch to a consumer audience and a panel of venture capitalists.

This year, the event had a “dual focus on Caregiving Health Technology and Financial Technology.”  AARP presented two slates of 10 start-ups,  one for each focus area, each with its own panel of judges.

In this post, I’ll list brief descriptions of the finalists for the Caregiving Health Technology group. I’ll comment on how promising they seem to me — in terms of improving the healthcare of older adults and the lives of family caregivers— and tell you which products I’m most interested in. [Read more…]

Omron home blood pressure monitor 786N: Good hardware, bad app design

omron home blood pressure monitorIf there is one device that I think most older people should have at home, it’s a home blood pressure monitor. So a few years ago, I wrote an article for the Geriatrics for Caregivers blog with tips on choosing and using a home BP monitor.

At the time, I didn’t recommend a specific device because I hadn’t tried any. But recently I decided it would be much better if I could suggest a specific device to patients and families.

So I looked on Amazon and looked for a home BP monitor that could meet my specifications:

  • Measures BP at the arm
  • Easy to store, review, and share BP readings, which means some type of wireless data transmission capability
  • Smartphone/tablet not mandatory to use the device

When I wrote a blog post in April 2014 about my specifications, Omron did not seem to offer a device with wireless data transmission.

But earlier this year I noticed a Bluetooth-enabled Omron monitor on Amazon.  So I bought an Omron 786N earlier this summer and have been trying it out.

Pros & Cons of the Omron 786N Home Blood Pressure Monitor with Bluetooth

Here are my thoughts so far: [Read more…]

GeriTech’s Take on AARP’s 5th Health Innovation @50+ LivePitch

On Wednesday April 27, 2016, AARP hosted its fifth Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch event, an event that allows 10 chosen start-ups to pitch to a consumer audience and a panel of venture capitalists.

This year the event’s description seemed a bit different than in prior years, with a new emphasis on caregiving: “Innovation@50+ is a one day pitch competition for emerging startups in the healthy living space with a focus on caregiving.”

As in prior years, there did not seem to be much judging or input from anyone whose primary work and expertise is to improve the health of people aged 50+, or to improve the lives of family caregivers for that matter.

In this post, I’ll list brief descriptions of the finalists, comment on how promising they seem to me — in terms of improving the healthcare of older adults and the lives of family caregivers— and tell you which products I’m most interested in. To see what I’ve thought of past LivePitch finalists, here’s my coverage of the first, second, third, and fourth cohorts.

GeriTech’s quick take on the AARP LivePitch finalists

Here are the AARP descriptions of the companies/products presented at the LivePitch event, along with my initial reactions. I took a quick look at everyone’s websites, and for certain web-based products tried them out for a little bit, but have not tried any of these products in depth.

Cake: “Cake is the easiest way to do end-of-life planning. We break down a daunting and difficult task into simple, bite-size chunks, and provide experts who can answer your questions. Your online CAKE profile is a living document of your end-of-life preferences that is easy to access, update, and share.”

GeriTech’s comments: [Read more…]

New PCAST Report on Independence, Technology & Connection in Older Age

Yet another major report was released this month: “Report to the President: Independence, Technology, and Connection in Older Age,” from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

PCAST convened a blue-ribbon working group for this report, which included several prominent experts who have done terrific work in improving the health and wellbeing of older adults.

So I was a bit surprised to find myself a bit disappointed by the report and the recommendations. Every now and then I read something that leaves me thinking “Wow, this really clarifies what’s happening, what’s important, and points towards solutions that are viable and likely to improve the problems we face.”

This report did not leave me with that feeling. But perhaps it will do more for you? In this post I’ll summarize some key highlights from the report, and then I’ll share a few thoughts on what I’m hoping to see in future expert reports.

How PCAST framed its report

PCAST identified four areas of change in aging, which offer opportunities for technology to help: [Read more…]

Still Waiting on A Personal Emergency Response System to Recommend

I’ve been interested in the PERS (personal emergency response system) offerings for quite some time, because families routinely ask me about these. The classic PERS device is a pendant device with a button to push, and often I see older adults in assisted-living facilities wearing these. (Do facilities offer residents a discount on these? Are facilities getting a commission? Or does it help facility staff do their work? I’ve never known.)

Residential facilities aside, in my work PERS devices come up especially for vulnerable older adults who live alone. I know many seniors who have fallen, fractured something or otherwise been injured, and have not been found for hours or even days. Needless to say, lying injured on the floor is often disastrous for health, and such falls often prompt a permanent relocation to a more supportive — and generally more expensive — living situation.

So I certainly understand why people are drawn to PERS devices, assuming an older adult is willing to wear it — but many forget or don’t want to. A PERS also has to activate when an emergency occurs, either by automatically detecting a fall or problem, or because the user triggers it.

Should we be using PERS devices that require users to call for help? Studies generally find that most older adults do not trigger their call system after a fall. Here’s a quote (emphases added by me) from this very interesting study of older adults and falls: [Read more…]

Notes from the Institute on Aging’s Tech Conference

 

Last week I attended another one day aging & tech conference. But it was very different in feel compared to most events I go to, because this one was not hosted by an organization with an entrepreneurial background. Instead, the event was hosted by an aging services non-profit: the Institute on Aging (IOA). (Conference agenda is here.)

For those who aren’t familiar with the IOA,: it’s a terrific organization that has spearheaded a number of innovations related to better care of older adults over the past 30 years, including launching the first fellowships in geriatrics and creating the Friendship Line, the nation’s only crisis hotline to address isolation and suicide risk in seniors. (For more on the history of the IOA, see here.) The IOA has also often collaborated with the City and County of San Francisco on aging services.

This conference provided continuing education credits for nurses, social workers, therapists, attorneys, and residential facility providers. So the audience mainly seemed to be those individuals, rather than entrepreneurs and innovators.

This struck me as a bit of a pity, because the content of the talks seemed more focused on what aging people need — rather than how to make your entrepreneurial venture succeed — and I think the more entrepreneurs can hear about this, the better.

In truth, my overall impression was that this conference was “by the aging community, for the aging community” whereas most tech and innovation conferences are “by the innovation business community, for the innovation business community.”

Is there a way to merge these two groups more?? I don’t know the answer to that.

At the end of this post, I’ve embedded the Storify with all my tweets from the day, which hopefully will share a sense of the event, for those who weren’t able to attend.

A few particular talks that I really enjoyed

[Read more…]

Notes from the Aging 2.0 Global Innovation Summit

This past week, I attended the second Aging 2.0 Global Innovation Summit.

I wrote about the first one here. It’s now a year later, and I would say that the health and aging experience of the average older adult still hasn’t changed much.

But this perhaps isn’t so surprising. It’s been said that

“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

So presumably we’re on track. The aging innovation community certainly seems to be growing and expanding its horizons, and this year again, I heard about many intriguing ideas and technologies.

I did live-tweet most of the summit, so for details on what was covered and what technologies were presented on stage, see the Storify here, or below. (Full disclosure: Aging 2.0 graciously extended a complimentary invitation to me.)

In the rest of this post, I’ll share some thoughts on what stood out to me during the conference.

Key Themes of the Aging 2.0 Innovation Summit

[Read more…]

Advance Care Planning Online: GeriTech takes a look at MyDirectives.com

A few weeks ago, a visitor to Geriatrics For Caregivers sent me a message via the contact form.

He explained that he is a hospital chaplain and that his workplace is considering using MyDirectives.com to help their patients with advance care planning.

“I would love to hear your opinion of the service,” he wrote.

I’d actually never heard of this service, but that’s not so surprising…new healthcare services for consumers emerge and evolve so quickly that even if I followed tech for aging adults full-time, I’d have difficulty keeping up.But I have a soft spot for advance care planning. So I decided to take a look at this website, in order to let the chaplain know what I thought.

And, as an experiment, I also decided to try recording myself visiting this advance care planning site.

So if you are wondering what I thought, or if you’d like to see what a practicing doc might do when a patient asks about some new-fangled web-based service, you can watch me explore MyDirectives below. (For audio-only, click here.) [Read more…]