Aging and Tech, An Expanding Marketplace

Jul 16, 2020

By John Sharp, Director, Thought Advisory, HIMSS and the Aging and Technology Task Force of the Personal Connected Health Alliance

It is well known that the aging population is growing. What is less well known is that technology has stepped up to meet the needs of this fast growing cohort. The range of technology now available has expanded from some basic tools to more high tech solutions.  Emergency response bracelets and necklaces have been in the market for many years and are widely adopted. But now it is evident that smartphones and tablets are widely used with an AARP survey of those aged 70+ showed 62% owning smartphones and 40% with tablets. With this adoption comes the potential for the use of apps and devices which connect to apps. Technology adoption by those over 65 and their caregivers is a growth area according to several recent surveys.

The Range of Technology Available

The identifies 14 market segments with a range of establish companies to startups including:

  • Independence
  • Senior Living Communities
  • Cognitive Care
  • Wellness
  • Social and Communication
  • Retirement 2.0
  • Health
  • End of Life Planning
  • Tech-enabled homecare
  • InsureTech
  • Caregivers

It is encouraging to see this level of innovation to serve the growing number of seniors with many of these market segments being related to health and healthcare.


This sector includes not only smart home technology but also wearables, fitness and fall protection. As with the independence sector, there is some overlap. For instance, mobility and sensory aids may also intersect with wearables and fall prevention. Smart homes have not scaled as much as initially anticipated but are gaining some traction with voice tech enabling most smart home technology. Parks Associates research sees costs as a “persistent barrier” to adoption but potential for early adopters and affluent households as the ones to watch. Fall prevention is a major target because of the high risk of falls both due to balance issues and memory loss. Several companies bringing forward solutions from those more on the prevention side focusing on balance, for instance, to those using wearables like belts and watches or video to detect falls.

Caregiver Tools

Apps and devices for family and professional caregivers have also grown. Many are for home care providers including niche offerings to broad platforms which address everything from telecare to social engagement and cognitive stimulation. Match making services enable families to find reliable help in the home. Some provide direct support to family caregivers in a team approach including messaging and access to community resources. Yet other innovators are providing support and training to healthcare providers including training of health aids and management tools for senior living communities and assisted living.

Social Tools

Social isolation for seniors is not just an emotional issue, it has been shown to directly impact physical health. This has been exasperated by the pandemic. Companies in this sector provide voice and robotic tools to reduce that isolation. Online social networks particularly for those over 50 are another solution. Others provide resources to find co-living or homeshare arrangements.


For those of you in healthcare information and technology, especially innovators, take a closer look at the technology trends for this growing sector. Throw out the attitude that those over 65 will not adopt technology.

Watch our webinar on demand: PCHAlliance Innovation Exchange: How Connected Health Tech Addresses Loneliness Among Seniors.