November 19

Intersection of Technology & Healthcare: MIT AgeLab


Intersection of Technology & Healthcare: MIT AgeLab by Peter Gordon{4:20 minutes to read} I am a proud member of the Orion Resource Group, a membership organization of senior and elder care specialists who work for the benefit of their clients and loved ones. Members are professionals with expertise who possess a deep passion and caring for what they do, and empathy for those they serve.

I joined the group when I first became a Daily Money Manager and regularly attend their gatherings. A few weeks ago Robert S. Madden II, Regional Vice President – Advisor Consultant at Hartford Funds, gave a great presentation about the MIT AgeLab. I love gadgets and technology so the information really drew me in.

The MIT AgeLab began almost 20 years ago and its purpose was to create new ideas and translate technologies into practical solutions to improve people’s health and enable them to do things throughout their lifespan.

The presentation was titled Five Ways Technology Will Change How You Age.

  • Staying on the job

65% of Baby Boomer workers plan to work past age 65, or do not plan to retire. 34% plan to work for enjoyment.*

Technology promotes this in many ways. First, it allows for greater flexibility in an existing position by enabling remote work from home. Second, many people are finding second careers in retirement. Online education forums, such as EdX and Coursera, broaden or update existing skillsets, or teach entirely new skills. Third, the “gig” economy offers non-traditional employment. AirBNB, Uber, and Lyft are excellent examples.

  • Staying connected to friends and family

Loneliness can be a major health risk for seniors, and personal interaction can decrease significantly in retirement, especially after the loss of a spouse. Technology has already taken strides to reduce the distances between families and friends with internet-based apps such as Skype and Facetime. In retirement communities, the Connected Living program provides the equipment and a medium to give seniors access to digital social lives. Plus, there are senior-specific dating websites, such as OurTime and Stitch, to facilitate building new romantic relationships as clients age.

  • Staying mobile

When driving is no longer an option, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft may be a solution by providing on-demand transportation through free smartphone apps. They can also provide flexible employment as clients age; Uber has stated that some of their most popular drivers are retirees. And in the not-so-distant future, driverless cars will offer independence to those who would otherwise be unable to drive.

  • A house that keeps itself

Most Americans say they want to age in place, but simple required maintenance can become difficult or unsafe to manage as we age. Today, apps such as Handy and TaskRabbit pre-screen handymen or contractors for home improvement projects. For more frequent day-to-day needs, there are apps like Instacart to make grocery delivery simple, or Washio, which delivers laundry and dry-cleaning to a client’s door. All household items will be able to be accessed by voice-activated controllers like Siri, Google Home, or Amazon Echo.

  • Machines that monitor health

People will able to more proactively manage their health with the help of devices and apps at home. From smart toilets that can measure weight and vitals; to smart clothing that can track activity levels; to carpets that can detect a fall, developers are working to integrate technology into everyday objects to monitor clients’ health and detect changes or problems immediately. And when outside help is required, apps like Honor can provide peace of mind that trained professionals have been screened and are qualified to help an aging client.

*Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, Ready or Not: Baby Boomers are Revolutionizing Retirement, 12/18/14

Click here for the Hartford Funds presentation. To learn more about the MIT AgeLab, visit their website here.

If you want information on how technology might be able to help you or your loved ones, or just want to talk about the latest app, give me a call or drop me a line.




AgeLab, baby boomers, boomers, health care, MIT, MIT AgeLab, New York Financial Organizers, peter gordon, seniors, technology

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