social media

Preparing to Pilot (P2P) Aging Service Technologies

Innovation is a critical skill and practice for aging service providers – and may in fact mean the difference between being able to continue fulfilling their mission (i.e., staying in business) and being disrupted by a competitor, new entrant into the space or missed strategic opportunity. It is far better for providers to recognize their “blind spots” and disrupt themselves by innovating service models and ways of doing business. Technology plays a big part in not only transforming the service experience in traditional care models, but also in scaling new models to achieve sustainability.

As we look forward to the return of the “Pitch-for-Pilots (P4P)” in partnership with Aging2.0 at AgeTech’s “Sync in Seattle: Transforming the Aging Services Experience” Conference and Tech Expo on November 17th, I want to encourage senior living and aging service providers to take a moment to consider how your organization is ‘preparing to pilot (P2P)’ the integration of new technologies. Whether the opportunity to test new technology is generated at the conference or elsewhere, there are several important elements to keep in mind to ensure a valuable and “successful” experience for all parties – providers, residents/consumers, and tech companies – whether or not the pilot turns into a scaled deployment.

At Sync in Seattle, attendees will first hear from three providers who’ve had successful pilot experiences launched at the P4P last November in San Jose – Hallmark Rehab, Eskaton and Front Porch. Providers will discuss their piloting experience, share video interviews with participating residents/clients, and convey the perspective of their tech company partners. They will then give their experience-based recommendations for conducting a successful pilot.

Immediately following will be the live 2014 Pitch for Pilots, where technology companies give a 4-minute pitch in hopes of landing a compatible provider pilot partner from the audience. Attendees will vote in real-time on the quality and content of the pitch, and have the opportunity to submit applications to be a provider pilot partner.  Vetting and pairings will be made following the conference. AgeTech and Aging2.0 will provide pilot partners with tools such as sample MOUs and participant consents.

In preparation for technology deployment opportunities, get a team together to clearly articulate the challenges or opportunities you are interested in enabling with technology, make sure you have “buy in” from leadership and have a staff champion to lead the project, and agree on process for regular planning and communication among staff, residents/participants and your technology partner. Make sure too that you have the applicable infrastructure requirements in place (e.g., campus WiFi) to deploy the technology.

These and other topics are addressed in Aging2.0 co-founder Stephen Johnston’s article “Top Ten Tips for Successful Partnerships,” recently published in CALA’s quarterly publication, the CALA News & Views, and in an article by Lola Rain, Eskaton’s Director of Social Media entitled, “Innovation lab: Evaluating a pilot project in long-term care,” recently published in McKnight’s Long-term Care.

Remember, pilots are just the way to start, not the end objective, but getting started down the tracks of technology integration is paramount to increasing your “Innovation Quotient (IQ)” and taking advantage of today’s technological advances to enable your best possible care and services.

Scott Peifer, Executive Director, AgeTech West


Facebook plots first steps into healthcare

Venturing into healthcare for the first time, Facebook is exploring how to help and connect users suffering from various health issues. Online support communities where Facebook users can seek advice and share experiences, and apps to help encourage healthier lifestyles are under consideration. “Facebook’s plans to create online “support communities” and related “preventive care applications” for people with chronic conditions and other support needs, and their move to review personal health devices could have significant benefits for older adults living alone,” said AgeTech West Executive Director Scott Peifer.

Read the full article.

A portrait of the Facebook logo in Ventura



USA Today: AARP program hopes to bridge tech gap

AARP announced plans today to help bridge the gap between old and new technology for the 50-plus crowd.

The program, called AARP TEK (Technology, Education and Knowledge), includes an online platform and hands-on education sessions that will help older folks understand how to navigate new hardware, software and social media. The goal of AARP TEK is to “give the 50-plus audience the skills and confidence to use technology and stay connected.”

Read the full article in USA Today here.

Visit the AARP TEK – Technology Education Center here.

AARP TEK - Technology Education Center - Technology, Education,

Study Reveals Trends in Seniors’ Internet, Social Media Usage

A keyboard showing well-known social media brands AgeTech West partnered with Link-age Connect on age-stratified study of older adult technology habits.

Responses from a total of 1,778 older adults from part of AgeTech West’s aging service provider network (LeadingAge CA, OR, WA) and Link-Age Connect’s provider network show that the digital age is having a greater impact on senior lifestyles and habits than generally thought.

Conducted as a re-field to a Pew Internet Project study, the Link-age Connect-led research found several demographic and internet usage trends among older adults, comprised of older adults between the ages of 65 and 103. The study revealed that 67 percent of this demographic is online and half of those are active on social media channels.

Specific findings from the study include:

  • 67 percent of the 65-plus population is online
  • 35 percent of online older adults are using social media
  • Roughly 50 percent of online users between the ages of 65 and 75 use social media
  • There are no skews in education level or household income among older adults using social media
  • 72 percent of the non-online population indicated they were “not at all” interested in becoming an email or internet user

What’s more, when results are stratified by 5-year age increments, the study reveals that among older adults online, nearly half (48%) of 70-74 year olds use social media as do 38% of 80-84 year olds, and more than a quarter (28%) of 96-99 year olds!

*Special thanks to AgeTech Premier Provider Partners ABHOW, Eskaton, the Hearthstone, Pacific Retirement Services, and Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community for disseminating the survey among their service settings. This served as a “beta test” of AgeTech’s ability to build a “senior survey network” among residents/clients of the West Coast LeadingAge memberships. Given the strong response rate, AgeTech plans to conduct more senior market research through the network.

Click here on the link to download the Social Media Study summary report.

Report Evaluates Role of Social Media in Chronic Disease Care

icons_smallA social media network can offer an individual education, motivation and support. According to a new report from the eHealth Initiative, it can also help individuals with chronic diseases achieve personal goals, correct high-risk behavior and better manage their conditions, thereby reducing the burden of chronic disease on the healthcare system. However, several challenges must first be addressed. These include:

  • Balancing transparency and anonymity;
  • Concerns about privacy and HIPAA compliance;
  • The digital divide among elderly and minority populations; and
  • Authenticity of online information since content is typically user-generated

Benefits include improved access to health information and providing a new tool for communication among caregivers and family members to discuss shared experiences. The full report is available here.