AgeTech is the general designation of technologies, digital or not, that are developed to target the problems of old age, Up until very recently, these were often “big, beige and boring”, as they were designed assuming the old population as a homogeneous mass of people that are too old to have any interests and likings. In recent years, however, there is an active effort to build solutions, specially when thinking of remote monitoring and sensors, that are appealing, can pass as bijouterie or a piece of decoration. This reflects a big improvement on the way old people are seen in our society and hopefully means that progressively we will stop disregarding old people’s experiences, opinions and existence. Of course, the practical reason for this is the fact that currently the boomer generation is the generation with the highest buying power, making them a very sought after market. Boomers are also quite picky (and I say this humorously): as a generation, they are used to a certain (high) standard of life, they have some technological expertise, and they have (obviously) interests and likings.
Due to increasing life span, the boomer generation is not only buying AgeTech products for themselves, but also for their parents. Which brings us to the title of this post. Who is paying for AgeTech? The users or their care givers and governments? Often, AgeTech is chosen by payers looking for help taking care of their loved ones, which creates a disparity in expectations and usage. Caretakers often want to get access to the highest possible amount of data about their loved-ones, whereas the older population – that needs to use these products continuously for that aim to be achieved – often feels vulnerable in sharing the type of data that highlights their frailty.
To overcome this, and according to “The AgeTech Revolution”, it is important to identify the end user and “empathise with their fears and concerns an tailor our products accordingly”, for example, by allowing “customizations and have certain features that are “opt-in”, specially those regarding privacy.