It’s no secret that seniors and their family caregivers have not been the target for much of the technology innovation we’ve seen the last several years at the International CES.
Okay, maybe they’re not the primary target, but the benefits are clearly there and growing nonetheless. We at Senior Care Corner see that as great news!
Even better, seniors are clearly on the minds of many global innovators, who’ve discovered that older adults and their family members are willing and able to spend money on technology to make the aging years better. Silvers Summit and Digital Health Summit continue to be leaders in painting the picture but many others are clearly taking up the brush as well.
How “in” are seniors at the upcoming CES 2014? One of the most popular parties, Monster Products‘ Retailer Awards, will feature a concert by a group of seniors, Fleetwood Mac (yes Lindsey, we know you have one more year before you get there). Who says seniors and technology don’t go together?
Who could be more appropriate for the Global Stage for Innovation than those who told us “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow”?
Innovations Getting Wide Coverage
There are many areas of innovation that will be addressed in multiple sessions of CES 2014, not to mention also covered in some of the keynote addresses to be given by industry leaders. We see a handful of these topics as positive signs of what’s to come for seniors and their family caregivers.
- Wearables – digital devices that are typically worn on the body, either directly or as part of the clothing, that connect and feed data to our smartphones or computers, generally related to our fitness activities.
- Smart Homes – houses where the devices are connected and can be controlled remotely or even by another device in the home that acts as a manager.
- Health – discussions of how innovation is helping to keep us healthy and improve healthcare.
- Internet of Things – an unusual name but an important area, as it includes discussions of how we are going to manage the growing number of devices in our lives that are connected to the web and all the data they produce.
We can hear some of your comments now – those are great tech topics but, other than health, you don’t really see how they apply to most seniors or the family caregivers in their lives. Oh, but they do!
Today’s Innovations, Tomorrow’s Senior Benefits
How do those innovation areas apply to seniors and caregivers? It’s really not a reach. Here’s why we’re excited about them.
- Today’s wearables are tomorrow’s sensors (and some already here) that will connect aging in place seniors with their healthcare providers, passing along vital signs that can help to spot a crisis requiring medical care right away – if not before it happens. This could give more seniors the ability to live independently longer than they can today.
- Being able to control the appliances, comfort systems, lighting and other aspects of their homes without having to move throughout their home will make living at home easier for those with limited mobility. It will also let them give remote family caregivers access to those systems if they choose for added peace of mind.
- The topic of health is, of course, key to seniors. Technology that makes care more accessible to seniors, especially those living on their own at home, and less costly can make a real difference. As our population ages we are likely to continue seeing a drop in number of physicians per senior, reducing the availability of care unless we can extend the capability of doctors and other healthcare providers through technology.
- While “internet of things” sounds like a geek term that doesn’t immediately call to mind benefits for seniors, it is very meaningful. Developing devices that connect us to healthcare providers, family caregivers and others via the web doesn’t do us a lot of good if the web itself isn’t able to handle those connections and the information being communicated. In addition, as we flood our care system with tons of data (figuratively speaking) there must be means in place to use that data in providing care.
Silvers Summit Still Leading Innovators to Senior Markets
It was the appearance of Silvers Summit on the CES agenda several years ago that first convinced us the event needed to be on the Senior Care Corner schedule. Living in Digital Times, the producers of Silvers Summit (as well as Digital Health Summit and several other events at CES) have done a great job getting the senior market on the minds of innovators and look to be stepping it up even more for 2014.
We see aspects of each of our innovation areas in the session topics for Silvers Summit 2014, with a group of speakers that already have us excited about what they’ll have to say. The opening session, “From the Eyes of Giants: Constructing the New Vision of Aging,” should really get the day going. Kathy and I had a great conversation recently with the speaker, Daniel Hubbell of Microsoft, who is enthusiastic about the vision of what technology can mean in the lives of seniors.
Rather than walk through the whole Silvers Summit agenda here, let’s just say that we look forward to reporting what we hear from a day of great speakers from a broad range of perspectives.
Digital Health Summit – Expecting Two More Days of “Wow”
Last year at the Digital Health Summit we were treated to the amazing story from Dr. Sanjay Gupta of a battlefield operation by a surgeon thousands of miles away — and two days of speakers kept us wowed after that. Somehow the 2014 agenda and list of speakers steps up the discussion even further.
What is really intriguing about Digital Health Summit now is that it has gone from “what could be” to a combination of “what will be” and even some pictures of “what is” when it comes to the impact of technology on our healthcare system and our health.
Action Packed CES for Seniors & Caregivers
What might be best about CES 2014 is that there is much more that interests your Senior Care Corner staff beyond Silvers Summit and Digital Health Summit. There are four days of sessions filling our draft schedules which means many times we have to make a tough decision between several important sessions. It’s going to be difficult to decide which ones we have to miss!
Beyond the conference sessions and keynotes, there are the exhibits that are the flash and dazzle of CES, the innovations and people that are the heart of the show. One could spend days just seeing all there is to see and hearing the stories from not only exhibitors but those from around the world who will pack the halls and Las Vegas for four plus days.
We can’t wait to see it and tell you all about the innovations for our seniors!
Have a question for the manufacturers, producers or speakers? Do you have an unmet need you think a technology innovation could fill? We would love to hear your feedback and share during the conference of experts!