Although this blog concentrates on aging in place in the outdoors, I have found a great deal more information about aging in place inside the home, and in getting into and out of the home (ramps, etc.). So I thought we could spend the last bits of winter chatting with some Aging in Place gurus, even though they may not address outdoor living per se, and letting you know where their passions are taking them. There are many experts to whom I will introduce you in this series.
Our interview today is with Laurie M. Orlov, the founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, a market research firm that provides thought leadership, analysis and guidance about technologies and services that enable boomers and seniors to remain longer in their home of choice.
She has been featured on Caring.com, MatureMarkets, SilverPlanet, Mobile Health News, and her blog entries are widely syndicated. She has been quoted in USAToday, Forbes, Kiplinger, the Toronto Star, and the New York Times. She has been profiled in the New York Times and the Huffington Post. She has a graduate certification in Geriatric Care Management from the University of Florida and a BA in Music from the University of Rochester. Laurie has consulted for AARP and is a participating expert on the Think Tank for the Phillips Center for Health and Well-Being.
What kind of technology are we talking about here? Well, we’ve all seen ads for products such as the medical alert pendant that monitors the wearer and will answer if the wearer needs help (“Help, I can’t get up…”). As long as the wearer will wear the pendant, it can be a real life-saver in an emergency such as a fall, and can permit the wearer to live alone without the worry of no one to be there if they need help. This is the kind of technology that is coming out in many variations for those who might live alone – variations such as computers that monitor the home, built-in to TVs so as not to be so intimidating, or even cameras that can be monitored if the person might not be able to push a button and let someone know that they need help.
Now there are apps being developed for one’s smart phone and other home-use devices and services that will measure one’s heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, urine, temperature, etc. All sorts of technologies are being developed that will help the aging population stay in their homes, stay in touch with others while they live alone, and get around their communities. These are the technological products and services Ms. Orlov follows and analyzes.
Laurie, tell us how you got involved in aging in place:
I became an ombudsman for long-term care facilities in Florida, certified in Geriatric Care Management, self-published a book about caregiving, and saw that the technology market for older adults lacked an industry analyst. So I decided to become that person.
Because of leading-edge Baby Boomers beginning to retire, is there a groundswell for aging in place or is it still too soon? Is the present economic climate still too much in a downturn?
For themselves and parents — have or do a home assessment — could you or they continue to live in their current home if they became disabled or frail, even temporarily?
Are there transportation alternatives if they became unable to drive? Do they have enough tech capability to maintain high quality communication with family members who live elsewhere? Does the community have services (transportation, home shopping and meal delivery, social programs that make it desirable to remain) — or could one become trapped in one’s home?
Wow, Laurie, that’s a tremendous help and important guidance for us all! I want to thank you on behalf of all our readers for your cogent and timely advice as we grow older and want to help ourselves and others maintain their health and well being as long as possible.