Analysis and Exploration

Most of our research is designed to help older adults and their families make decisions and choices about topics that impact quality of life as we grow older — choices like which products and services can help older adults live independently for longer, and delay the time at which growing older gets in the way of living life to the full.

In addition, some of our work is designed to help innovators develop products and services that older adults like us will actually want and find useful.

Recent Analysis and Exploration

Alexa Routines: Examples

As we explore various smart home solutions useful for "better aging", we get requests for some specific "kit lists" that contain a collection of the products needed to implement some of the DIY solutions found on this site.

This page is where we keep the lists of specific Alexa Routines which you can use in each of those "kits".

Hearables for better hearing

Hearables: Better Hearing, Less Stigma?

Hearables, which include smart wireless earbuds and some types of hearing aids, have the potential to deliver the benefits of better hearing to a far broader segment of the population than is served by today’s hearing aid industry. This includes people with quite modest hearing loss, and people who are put off by the perceived stigma or cost of conventional hearing aids. This article explains exactly what hearables are; who they are good for; and why they are important.

Watching TV

Hearing the TV Better: Older Adults Explore

The community of Longevity Explorers are exploring different hearing gadgets — to see which ones help in various situations, and to share products individual explorers have used and wish to recommend. This article summarizes what we learned thus far about gadgets that can help people hear better while watching TV and movies.

Robotic Pets ready for patients

Robotic Pets for Dementia Patients: Our Experiences

Wondering if Robotic Pets for Seniors are a good idea? Here is a real world report of the author’s experience deploying robotic pets for dementia patients in an assisted living and memory care facility in San Francisco. Learn what the reactions were to the robot stuffed animals, and what some of the issues were to make sure they were a benefit to the patients.

Aging in Place Technology and Gadgets

Aging in Place: Why Technology & Gadgets Matter

In my mind, there is a compelling argument that the right gadgets and technology can make aging in place more successful and less expensive. And by more successful, I am thinking in particular of higher quality of life, more autonomy, and less dependence on the kindness of strangers. I don’t think this argument gets made much in the media or by the aging services industry though. So here it is.

Smart Bathroom Features

Smart Bathroom Features for Older Adults

This article covers several smart bathroom features that author Frank Engelman has found useful for family members or friends — and that focus on challenges of particular relevance to people as they age.

This is part of our Smart Home Features for Older Adults series, in which we share specific recipes and kit lists for individual smart home features — organized on a room by room basis.

Passive monitoring helps when it snows

Passive Monitoring: Better Care For My 96-yr-old Aunt

I am the primary caregiver for my 96-year old Aunt who lives alone, a 10-minute drive from my home. I am always looking for ways to help her more, while maintaining a balance between her independence and her “safety”.

I have been trying out a new product that provides “passive monitoring” to help watch over her when I am not there. I liked the product, and this report is to share how I used it, and why it was helpful.

Smart Home Kit Lists

Smart Home Kit Lists

As we explore various smart home solutions useful for “better aging”, we get requests for some specific “kit lists” that contain a collection of the products needed to implement some of the DIY solutions found on this site.

This page is where we keep the lists of products for each of those “kits”.

Loop Digital Picture Frame

Loop Digital Frame

The Loop digital picture frame is designed with one specific goal in mind: to create greater engagement with a person who lives at a distance, by means of sharing and viewing photos and videos. One of our explorers had exactly this scenario in mind, and bought the product and tried it out. The overall experience was positive, and the explorer “likes” the product. Here are the details.

Smart home for Seniors

Smart Home for Seniors: What, Why?

What is a “Smart Home for Seniors“, we wondered? And how is it different from a normal smart home? And who would want one, and why? And, can you just get some specific smart home features relevant to you — in your current house? Or do you need a whole new house?

This article explores these questions.

Medical Guardian, Mini Guardian

Medical Guardian, Mini Guardian

This is a go anywhere mobile alert with fall detection. It is included in our comparative evaluation of mobile medical alerts. This product was a new entrant to the field in 2020. It is quite similar to its “companion product”, the Medical Guardian, Active Guardian in terms of the basic features. However it is smaller and lighter.

WellBe medical Alert Plus

HandsFree Health, WellBe Medical Alert Plus

The WellBe Medical Alert PLUS incorporates the key features of a conventional medical alert into the format of a watch — and includes several smartwatch features as well.

Best Medical Alert Systems with GPS

At Tech-enhanced Life, our community of technologists, Longevity Explorers, and children of aging parents have been conducting hands-on, comparative evaluation of a wide variety of different medical alert products for years. In this article we dive into a specific sub-category of medical alerts: medical alert systems with gps — with the goal of helping people choose the best products in this category.

Tech Support: Older Adults Explore

The good thing about modern technological innovations — like smart phones, smart homes, computers, video call technology, or telehealth — is that they can improve quality of life in a variety of ways. But tech gadgets are only useful if you keep them working. And today’s gadgets often need quite a lot of tech support for that to happen.

In 2020, the Longevity Explorers explored the different approaches to keeping all your gadgets running — especially during the COVID pandemic, when face to face visits are hard or impossible. Here is what we learned.

Theora Connect watch

Theora Care, Theora Connect

The Theora Connect is a smartwatch designed to be used by older adults — especially those with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

SOS Smartwatch medical alert

Bay Alarm, SOS Smartwatch

The SOS Smartwatch is one of the “easiest to use” products in the “medical alert watch” category. It functions quite well as a medical alert, looks quite stylish, and has the key smartwatch attributes of telling the time, and step counting.

Kanega Watch

UnaliWear, Kanega Watch

The UnaliWear Kanega Watch incorporates the key features of a conventional medical alert into the format of a watch — and tells the time. Unusually for a medical alert watch, it also includes a fall detection algorithm.

low vision products for seniors

Low Vision Products: Older Adults Explore

The community of Longevity Explorers are exploring different “low vision products” to see which ones help in various situations, and to share products individual explorers have used and wish to recommend. Ever have difficulty reading menus in a dim restaurant, or the fine print on a pill bottle? Or maybe you or a friend have more significant visual issues — like cataracts or macular degeneration — that get in the way of living life as you wish? If so, this article is for you.

Gerontechnology Innovation

Gerontech Products We Wish Existed

Here are some high-impact, gerontechnology product concepts that do not yet exist as commercially available products — although the technology to enable them already largely exists. Our hope for products like these: to significantly postpone the time at which frailty and functional disability get in the way of “living life”

Technology for Older Adults: Notable from 2020

There are a lot of things that have been memorable about 2020. Many of them have been pretty horrible. But, in the area of innovation as it relates to the lives of older adults, we actually see some positive developments, and room for optimism about the future.