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Connecting on a Budget: Video Chat Solutions for the Pandemic

Our thanks to Jim Vogel for this contribution to our blog.

Learn more about the mature consumer market at The Business of Aging.

The longer the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, the harder it is to remain isolated from friends and family. However, for older adults and other vulnerable groups, traveling and attending big family gatherings is still too risky. The need to connect safely during the pandemic has given rise to a demand for affordable, user-friendly video chat technology for older adults. But while tablets and gadgets are cheaper than a plane ticket, they still put a dent in older adults’ budgets.

How can older adults reap the benefits of social technology on limited budgets? These cost-saving solutions keep older Americans connected through the pandemic.

Free Apps for Staying Connected

For older adults on a tight or limited budget, free apps are the best place to start. Free apps for the social distancing era include the following:

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is a great tool because most of us are already on Facebook. In addition to chatting with friends, Facebook Messenger supports video calls for up to eight people and Rooms for 50.

FaceTime

FaceTime’s biggest drawback is that it’s only available on Apple devices. But for Mac users, this free iOS app is one of the simplest out there.

WhatsApp

Big family? WhatsApp supports group chats for up to 256 people so everyone stays in the loop. WhatsApp also supports video calling for connecting face-to-face.

Skype

Skype is another video chat solution that works no matter what type of device or operating system you’re using. Skype supports one-on-one or group video and voice calls.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo is the best app for families separated by time zones. Rather than chatting in real-time, Marco Polo lets users send video messages that can be stored and viewed any time. While Marco Polo’s premium version costs $5 a month, users can access the app’s core features for free.

Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party)

Whether families want to view a new release or a holiday classic, Teleparty lets them do it together with synchronized playback and group chat. Users need a Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or HBO subscription to watch, but the Teleparty app itself is free.

How to Save Money on Video Devices

When it comes to new technology, older adults prefer to keep it simple. Devices with complicated interfaces and batteries that constantly need charging are likely to end up in a desk drawer.

Tablets and smart displays are the best options for video calling. More comfortable than tiny smartphone screens, these gadgets are both feature-rich and easy to use. Unfortunately, they’re also pricey: Most smart displays start around $200. These include the Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub, and Facebook Portal. Meanwhile, popular tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab run anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to $1,000-plus.

Two notable exceptions are the Echo Show 8 and Fire HD. While these devices offer smaller displays than the other options, at around $100 they’re great options for buyers on a budget. Alternatively, buyers can wait for price drops on the most popular video calling devices. Watching the Daily Deals at Best Buy is a great way to get a steep discount on new technology. Shoppers can also use a Best Buy discount code to save at any time.

Not everyone wants to purchase a new device to video chat. Whether they’re minimalist or just on a budget, older adults can upgrade their video calling experience without spending hundreds. Many of the most popular webcams, including the Logitech C310 and Microsoft LifeCam, cost less than $50 and come with built-in microphones. A ring light or LED light panel ensures even lighting and good video quality at any time of day.

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected. While some older adults assume anything high-tech is out of reach, connecting face-to-face during the pandemic is more accessible than you might think. Whether an older adult has $50 to spend or $1,000, there’s a video calling solution that’s right for them.

How Technology is Extending Life at Home For Older Adults

Our thanks to Karen Smith for this contribution to our blog

Bio: Karen Smith has been working for MePACS as the Head of Sales and Marketing for the last four years and has over 20 years experience in health, technology, digital and finance industries.

No one enjoys getting old, but unfortunately it happens to all of us eventually. More older adults are choosing to age at home, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The countless virus outbreaks in aged care homes have made people wary about putting their aging relatives into these facilities. In Australia, a survey that was conducted this year found that only 15% of Australians between the ages of 60 and 80 trusted the aged-care industry.

While older adults are happier living at home, this comes with its own challenges as families can be concerned about their elderly relative’s safety. In the US, 27% of people aged 60 and over live alone and more prosperous countries tend to have smaller households. Technology is able to support independent living for older adults by keeping them safe, helping them with daily tasks and staying in touch with others.

As we age we tend to go out less and it’s estimated that older adults spend 80-90% of time at home. This means that the chances of having an accident are much more likely to occur around the home which is why many older adults are starting to embrace smart technology that is helping to keep them safe.

The global population is aging

By the year 2050, one in six people will be over the age of 65 according to the United Nations. Advances in healthcare and technology are also allowing people to live longer, which will put increased strain on hospitals and aged care homes. We need home healthcare technology to meet the demands of our global aging population.  

Unfortunately, getting old comes with a higher chance of health problems. Some common conditions that happen with old age include:

–   Hearing loss

–   Cataracts

–   Diabetes

–   Dementia

–   Heart disease

–   Back and neck pain

It’s not uncommon for a person to experience many conditions at the same time. People who are overweight, have an unhealthy diet or don’t do exercise can also be more likely to develop health conditions later in life.

We now have smart technology that can monitor heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels without even needing to see a doctor. It’s important to note that technology isn’t a replacement for seeing a healthcare professional, but rather a way of collecting and tracking personal data so you can make an appointment to see someone if something is wrong.

Devices that help older adults stay safe

While there are many devices available on the market that are helping older adults to age at home, here are a few that deal with key issues affecting people in the older age bracket.

Smart kitchen appliances

Kitchens can be a dangerous place for older people, which can be due to:

–   Forgetting to turn off a tap or switch off an appliance which could lead to water overflowing or starting a fire  

–   Falling over with a hot object due to lack of balance

–   Forgetting how to use something in the kitchen due to a medical condition

If you’re looking to make your kitchen or a family member’s kitchen safer, there are smart stoves and ovens that can automatically shut off if they detect smoke. There are some devices that can also detect motion in the kitchen, so if someone were to walk away and leave the stove unattended, it would automatically switch off.

There are also a number of other devices that can make the kitchen a safer place including smart refrigerators that monitor food consumption and can alert you when supplies get low.

Smartwatches with fall detection

While medical alerts for fall detection are nothing new, a stylish smartwatch with automatic fall detection is much less bulky. The added bonus is that the wearer has all the benefits of owning a smartwatch including telling the time, in-built GPS and fitness tracking that can motivate them to do daily exercise.

Falls are the most common injury in older adults and they can have devastating consequences. Not only can they cause hip fractures or broken bones, but they can cause a person to lose confidence in their own ability. If the person is unable to move and lives alone, help is difficult to get which is why a fall-detection smartwatch can be a life-saving device.

Medication reminders

Many older people can be on several types of medication. Forgetting to take medication or doubling up on doses can have serious consequences, which is why technology can help to alleviate this problem.

Smart speakers that include a voice-activated virtual assistant can be set-up to remind the person to take their medication. There are also smart sensors that can be placed around the home that use artificial intelligence to learn the movements of a person and can alert them if they forget to take their medication or remind them that they have already taken it.

For those that are more forgetful, there are automatic pill dispensers that can be filled up by a caregiver or a family member so that the person cannot access the pills unless they come out of the dispenser.

Data privacy concerns

Any device that collects its own data and can communicate via a network is part of the ever-growing gadgets known as the Internet of Things (IoT). When it comes to collecting health data, this raises concerns about regulation and who has access to this data.

For example, an older adult with health conditions might be happy to share their personal data with their doctor but wouldn’t want that same data being shared with a third-party.

While virtual assistants and home sensors are improving the lives of older adults wishing to live at home, there is growing concern about what companies are doing with all that data.

As our society comes to rely more and more on technology to make our lives easier, the industry needs to design tough privacy regulations to keep vulnerable adults safe.  

Top 5 Reasons Older Adults Are More Productive Becoming Entrepreneurs

Our thanks to Mohit Sharma for this contribution to our blog. 

 

Presenting the new age entrepreneurs, They are all above 65!

An unexpected generation of entrepreneurs is transpiring in the market. You may see new age people, young and full of notions and impulsive energy, passionate about business and working for more than 100 hours per week. Full time retirement has become underrated and so many seniors are preferring to work even after their retirements from their full time jobs!

Just for a sec, imagine you are 75! What picture pop ups in your mind? A retired old person, correct? We live in an ageist society, where your dreams are a threat to others. People try to threaten you. But so many older adults have proven this wrong. There are so many entrepreneurs over 50. We will discuss the benefits of being an entrepreneur for senior adults.

According to a study by Forbes “people over 55 are twice as likely as people under 35 to launch a high-growth startup.” This could be any business, be it traditional brick mortar business or any online business. So no matter what they – senior adults choose to start up with, they have a lifetime of experience which is enough to get started.

Starting a business is the best way where the old adults can use their experience to the fullest. Among older men, business is trending as they desire to be their own boss. Among older women, it’s a long time held passion that they want to fulfill.

Though there are challenges and opportunities such as getting funds, lack of support from society, ageism – it knocks down the confidence. But at the same time, being in this age is an interesting time, you can open up new surprises!

The online business has boomed among senior adults who are looking to start a business from home. Let’s see the reasons:

1. Freedom of Time

As you are retired from a full time job, you can give time to your own, for your business or for a new startup. So you have all the time with you now. With this precious time, so many tasks can be achieved. This is the beauty of time, it is like a freedom, once you are retired, you have it all, it is all yours.

So, adult entrepreneurs can focus more and be more productive as they can give it time and focus. You have all this time, you can work on multiple things simultaneously for example, you can be a Consultant for ecommerce and at the same time become a Shopclues seller. It is very good ecommerce marketplace to earn good profit online.

2. Rich Experience

It is beyond doubt that starting your business at an older age means you have ages of experience to use. You are seasoned and it is truly valuable. If you have been in huge organizations, you have gained valuable experience and skill set. Such organizations offer excellent skills to lead your own enterprise through all the growth stages.

The new startups need advice from a highly skilled person who has an excellent experience. Let’s say if you are someone who has knowledge about selling items on paytm as a paytm seller, you can become a consultant for people looking out to sell on paytm. This new e-commerce marketplace has very high number of users searching for new products everyday.

3. Age is an asset

I have seen senior adults becoming Snapdeal Seller’s and earning good income. They have worked very hard setting up their online store on the marketplace. According to various adults, they take their age as an asset. The Rich experience and network that they have gained their entire life is noteworthy and is worth more than hundreds of degrees.

So whichever niche senior adults choose to start business after retiring, they are surely like to excel. According to a study by Stanford Center, the senior adults are considered as the pillars of the company. ”They are better collaborators, and they are more loyal. They make excellent mentors!”

So considering their age as an asset, unleashing their true potential is the major concern.

4. Rich Network

As you have been around for a longer period of time, the contacts or network of people is relatively wider for you. This network can be a source of investors, partnerships, advisors who can help you out when in need. Perhaps, the many years spent in the corporate built in professional contacts will help you now!

5. Passion to start something new

Working the entire life sometimes leads to saturation. People want to try out different things. There is an unnerving passion which is seen in the older adults. As they are fully aware about their capabilities, skills and expertise, knowing what will work for them or not is not even a question for them anymore.

Young entrepreneurs are generally not sure about their success. But older adults are sure about their success as they have a passion and sense of self awareness.

Options to start:

1. Starting an Online Business

Ecommerce or online business are the latest trends in the business domain. Building an online store and selling products online is easier because of ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and it is a great option. You can sell on amazon very easily, just get started with the seller registration process and list your products. Your e-store is ready in a few simple steps!

Starting a business after years of experience in retail or sales, it can be a new area of expertise for you. E-Commerce is an elevation which does not even require a physical retail location. So this is an excellent option to start an ecommerce business.

So if you have decided to go for this option, you can either create your own website from scratch with a team of IT professionals else, start selling on the trending marketplaces which are already well built, you just need to set up your products.

The decision is yours of course. Based upon your ideas, goals, available resources and the target audience one must come to a conclusion.

If you are planning to sell on various marketplaces, I am here to help you!

2. Content Writing For Blogs and E-Commerce Products

If you are fond of writing and sharing your experience, blogging is the best way to share your skill and create an audience for your own firm or, you can work as a freelancer for other firms. Companies these days are hugely concerned about their online presence. Indexing plays an important role. To be on the top notch, content and blogs are the key.

So when any company wants to start with a serious blogging, they go to professionals with rich experience in the respective domain. If you are someone who wants to blog for other companies then there is Upwork and Elance which can get you started.

So, decide your area of expertise, what do you want to convey to the people with your blog, what do you want to accomplish, etc.

3. Business Coaching and Speaker

Senior adults are highly experienced and skilled retirees for whom business coaching or consulting is the best option to get started. The young people need someone to show direction. There is an extreme need of experienced people, who can guide and lead the way to visualise businesses.

I have met a senior adult who had a rich experience as a flipkart seller, so being in this area for so long, he has started consulting the young. He provides coaching to the young who are in dire need of a direction.

Every course in the world is available online. Most of the senior adults have valuable life learning lessons to teach. One can create online courses or webinars to share their expertise meticulously. So many portals such as Udemy, Unacademy and Techable allow users to create their own videos, easy to create and share with the audience.

4. Social Media Agency

With the increased use of social media, social media marketing is trending these days. Social media marketing is marketing or promotion of products using social media. As everyone is aware of social media these days, this business to promote products on social platforms is a huge benefit.

So if you are someone with a background of marketing, and knowledge about various tools this is the correct profile for you. You can start your own social media agency, be your own boss! Lovely isn’t it.

5. Graphic Designing

Graphic designing has always been in high demand. If you have an existing knowledge in this area, you can build your own business to provide graphic designing services. Freelancing is the best option here.

People with startups, need logos, designs for their websites, prototypes etc. So this is an evergreen field which is always in demand.

Author Bio:

Mohit is an ECommerce Enthusiast and Owner of MohitECommerce. He is Working With Many Vendors in Different Categories of Products Across Various Marketplaces. He is Very Good at Amazon Seller Training, Amazon FBA, Amazon Seller Registration, Amazon Brand Registry, Amazon Account Suspended (Making Plan of Action). He Likes To Help All Type of Businesses Mainly Small and Medium Businesses Which are eager to Step in Online Business.

10 Innovative Apps for Seniors

Our thanks to Artur Meyster for this contribution to our blog. 

Smartphones each year are farther away from being a cellphone and closer to being a mobile supercomputer. Therefore, it is undoubted that they play an essential role in our daily lives. The rapid advancements of technology have allowed developers to create apps that can make our lives easier—especially for seniors. Whether or not you are a fan of tech, below are some innovative apps that might come in handy and bring about positive impacts in your life.

1. FallSafety

The app offers help when you need it the most. With its intelligent fall detection feature, FallSafety can detect when a user experiences a fall and will automatically send an alert to an emergency contact or healthcare organization. The app takes a few seconds after the fall to send the alert, in case it’s a false alarm. The app is available for Android, iOS, and Apple Watch users.

2. Red Panic Button 

This app is for everyone to use in emergencies. If you find yourself in a threatening situation or if you worry about your safety, you can whip out this app and press the red button that will immediately send a text message and an email containing your GPS coordinates to your emergency contacts. This app is especially great for seniors who have problems with mobility as it will ensure they get the right help at the right time, with just a push of a button.

3. Lumosity

Lumosity is a brain-training app that can help improve a user’s memory and focus. While we could all use a little brain teaser every now and then, seniors especially can benefit tremendously by using Lumosity as it keeps the mind active in a fun way. The app offers various interactive features to sharpen your problem-solving skills and math abilities, among others.

4. Seniors Phone

At the rate of which technology is advancing, it is understandable how some seniors might find it overwhelming. That is, however, a problem of the past. Seniors Phone is an app that changes the user interface of any smartphone to a simplified version. You can customize everything—from the size of the fonts to the buttons—to make it easier for a user to navigate the smartphone. Some other features include bright-colored widgets for better identification and an SOS button which can send a distress signal to an emergency contact. 

5. VizWiz

Many seniors have deteriorated vision which can make daily activities a real challenge. Enter the VizWiz app, which allows a user to take a photo of their surrounding and receive the corresponding descriptions. According to its developer, the app combines automatic image processing, anonymous web workers, and members of the user’s social network in order to collect fast and accurate answers to their questions.

6. EyeReader

This is another app that is meant to help individuals with visual impairments. The app is essentially a unique reading magnifier that can help many who find it difficult to read the smaller print. As we age, our visions will likely deteriorate, therefore this app can prove to be really helpful for seniors to perform daily tasks that involve reading.

7. MedMinder

MedMinder is not only an app, but it is also hooked to an automated pill dispenser. This innovative device helps seniors to stay independent by alerting them about the right time to take their medications. Its safety features ensure that pill mix-ups are a thing of the past. The dispenser will be locked at all times unless it’s time to take a pill. First, the compartment will flash, then the device will make a beeping noise before sending an alert via the mobile app. If the patient fails to take the pill at the right time, the app will notify all caregivers. 

8. LibriVox

We all love a good story but what happens when your vision starts to deteriorate and reading becomes more of a hassle than a hobby? Opt for audiobooks. LibriVox offers an extensive list of audiobooks that are recorded by volunteers, available on the free public domain for anyone and everyone interested. Users can either choose to listen to the audiobooks online or download them for later. 

9. Yesterday USA

For those who are feeling nostalgic about the old times, Yesterday USA is the perfect app for them. The app is an internet radio station that broadcasts old radio shows from the 1920s to the 1970s. Now in its 31st year, the best part about Yesterday USA is you can tune in any time of the day as it operates 24 hours. 

10. Medisafe 

Medisfe is an app that works with Machine Learning and AI. The app is for seniors to keep track of all their medications. It gives reminders of when to take each pill and also alerts users when the prescription is running low. Medisafe also lets users enter their caregivers’ information, allowing the app to send alerts if the users forgot to take a pill.

What to Do With Your Home After Transitioning to Assisted Living

Our thanks to Jim Vogel for this contribution to our blog. 

When seniors transition into an assisted living facility, there are many questions raised about the home they’re leaving behind. After spending years of their life in their house, it can be difficult to determine the best option. Generally speaking, there are three choices seniors are faced with: selling their home, renting it out, or giving it to a family member. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It would behoove seniors and their loved ones to consider their financial and overall life circumstances before deciding on one of these options.

Sell the house to pad your savings.

The traditional step to take when moving out of a home is to list it on the market and put the proceeds toward a new property. Even though you’re not going to purchase a new home, you can still use the money to help cover the cost of the assisted living facility (assisted living in California averages $3,750 a month) or to pay off prior debts.

Before listing your home on the market, it’s important to take note of the average price of similar properties in your area to help determine what to do with your own (Alameda homes have been selling for an average of $979,000 over the last month). You want to avoid missing out on potential earnings from underpricing and prolonging a sale due to asking for too much. If you have the resources, hiring a real estate agent can also be a great way to sell your house smoothly.

Entrust it to a family member.

If you don’t like the idea of losing your home or renting it out to tenants, you can always entrust it to a family member for safekeeping. You’ll be able to maintain ownership of the property without having to worry about maintenance or upkeep. You might even find a relative willing to live in the home while paying a small fee. You’ll have the benefit of monthly income without the hassle and responsibility of dealing with renters.

Some seniors may want to go a step further and legally transfer ownership of their old home to a family member. This can be done immediately following your transition into an assisted living home or set up for a posthumous transfer of ownership. Either way, you can be sure that the home is taken care of and stays in the family.

Find tenants for a monthly income.

It’s a sad fact that millions of seniors in the United States are struggling financially, but if you’re willing to put in a little effort, your old home can be an excellent source of passive income.

The first step to turning your home into a rental property is making any necessary updates and renovations to make it livable and appealing. Next, you’ll need to find reliable tenants with good credit scores, little to no debt, and no criminal history. You may also have to hire a property manager to care for the property while you’re away. It can be a small yet necessary cost for seniors who don’t have the physical ability and time to keep a rental property up and running.

Moving into assisted living raises many questions about what to do with the home you’re leaving behind. When you have such an emotional connection to your home, it can be difficult to make the right choice. Before making the final call, make sure to consider your current circumstances and think about which option is most suitable.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Sharing Hacking Longevity Research with California Assisted Living Association (CALA)

I am excited to be sharing insights from our latest research project, Hacking Longevity, with members of CALA on June 6th, 2018 in Sacramento. We’ll be discussing generational differences that make communication across three generations of older adults trickier, plus looking at Generation X as the new generation of family caregivers.

The theme for this year’s CALA Spring Conference and Trade Show event is “Elevate”:

el·e·vate / eləˌvāt / verb

  • raise or lift (something) up to a higher position.
    synonyms: raise, lift (up), raise up/aloft, upraise
  • raise to a more important or impressive level.
    synonyms: promote, upgrade, advance, move up, raise, prefer

We look forward to helping Senior Living professionals find new ways to elevate and shape the care and services they provide while enhancing residents’ quality of life through greater understanding.

To learn more, or to attend CALA’s Elevate Spring Conference and Trade Show, click here.

To learn more about Hacking Longevity, click here.

The Business of Aging reports on how older adults are “Hacking Longevity”

Hacking Longevity is the first study to examine how three generations of adults over the age of 50 – Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Silent Generation – are thinking about and planning for longer lives. Until now, the idea of increased longevity has been mostly conceptual and aspirational. Through a rigorous research process, Hacking Longevity examination, provides insights on how brands and organizations can better serve consumers of the longevity economy. The study was conducted in the Fall of 2017 and Winter of 2018 and led by Lori Bitter at The Business of Aging.

The study debuted at AARP’s Living 100 event in Washington DC in April. This timeline illustrates key inflection points in people’s lives as they age, as revealed in the data. To learn more about Hacking Longevity, join us in June at The Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit where we will provide a briefing for attendees.

Hacking Longevity was conducted in partnership with Collaborata, and underwritten by AARP, Wells Fargo Advisors, GreatCall, and Proctor and Gamble Ventures.

On my radar: Death Cleaning

On my radar are trend bytes – a gathering of observations – that indicate a larger trend is at work. 

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo for a boomer-focused blog. It’s a hot trend right now. In my research I consistently hear older adults say that they have a lot of stuff. They tell me it keeps them from moving and “rightsizing” their living situation. They say it makes them depressed. Most of all they tell me their kids don’t want their stuff! After hearing about the Kondo method on television, I thought I’d check it out. I tried it in my own house (and am continuing to use it)! It is freeing to rid yourself of things you no longer wear or use.

Just this week, I was sitting in on a focus group for my latest project and heard of a twist on this idea. When asked about their passions, one woman in the group said she was really excited about “death packing.” She went on to describe a process similar to Kondo’s but is about gradually getting rid of things so that your loved ones don’t have to.

What is Death Cleaning?

The process, called Death Cleaning, is Swedish. The Swedish word is dostadning. It means slowly decluttering your life until you die; it generally begins in your fifties and is done so no one else is responsible for your leftovers! There is also a book about it by Margareta Magnusson, titled “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter.

We have a television show called Hoarders: Buried Alive and consignment shops have successfully sprung up across the nation. In some cities, there are waiting lists for self-storage units, even though there are 50,000 storage facilities in the U.S. — five times the number of Starbucks. That’s 2.3 billion square feet. The backyard shed business is a lucrative one – 25% of people with two-car garages can’t park a car in one. We use eBay, craigslist, and NextDoor to unload things.

It’s a Trend!

Richard Eisenberg wrote an excellent article on the trend for NextAvenue called, Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff. This quote is particularly startling:

“For the first time in history of the world, two generations are downsizing simultaneously,” referring to our oldest population and the boomer generation.

With the youngest of the boomer generation in their mid-50s, there are years of opportunity ahead for companies who can help people plan, organize, store, and get rid of their possessions. I wrote about this trend for MediaPost a year ago and heard from many people going through this with their parents. There are high tech and no tech solutions here, some with very little start-up cost for the solopreneur. What do you think about the issue of being “over-stuffed” and the idea of death cleaning? I would love to hear from you!