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
Medical Alert Recommendations: 24/7 Care Persona
This page contains specific medical alert recommendations for a specific type of person: one that fits a “persona” we call the “Needs 24/7 Care” persona.
An App to Make New Friends: Intergenerational Brainstorming
Ever thought “I need to make new friends: There should be an app for that“? Longevity Explorers and design students brainstormed the features they would like to see in an “App to make new friends” at an intergenerational design workshop at the 2018 Stanford Centre on Longevity Design Challenge.
Medical Guardian, Active Guardian
LifeFone, At-Home & On-the-Go GPS, Voice-In-Pendant
Smartwatch as Medical Alert?
For years we have been hearing older adults complain about how ugly and stigmatizing medical alerts are. As one lady told us: “My medical alert button makes me look like I escaped from the Intensive Care Unit. So I hardly ever wear it“.
A handful of medical alert watches have come to market that look like smart watches, and have some or all of the functionality of stylish smartwatches, but also work as medical alerts. We wanted to see how well they worked, and set out to test them — hoping they might change this dynamic. Here are the results, updated for 2021.
Technology & the Future of Aging
This is a live recording (slides and audio) of a talk given by Richard Caro entitled “The Future of Aging, & the Intersection of Aging & Technology“. This talk was given in March 2019, at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco.
Apple Watch as Medical Alert
The Apple Watch is one of several products we compared in a piece of research called “Smartwatch as Medical Alert”. This review is about using the Apple Watch with only its native emergency alert software (called Emergency SOS).
FallCall Lite + Apple Watch
The FallCall Lite App (+ Apple Watch) is one of several products we compared in a piece of research called “Smartwatch as Medical Alert”. To use this product you start with an Apple watch, and then download an App called FallCall Lite. The App adds the medical alert functionality. Because all the functionality of the Apple watch is still there too, you get the full capability of a smartwatch, plus medical alert capability.
Isolated and Lonely: How Can We Avoid This?
How do you avoid becoming isolated and lonely as you get older? Are there things you can do to help prevent this?
Isolation and loneliness is a very real fear for many older adults. Many of us know of someone suffering from it, and it can be very sad. Our Longevity Explorers came up with some practical tips to help avoid this problem.
When to Stop Driving: Who Decides, & How?
No-one wants to cause an accident. But for many older adults, being able to drive is a sign that they are still in control of their own destiny, and a strong symbol of liberty and freedom. So the question “When to stop driving?” is a thorny one. Equally important are the questions: “Who should decide it’s time to stop driving?” and “How to decide?“
Intergenerational Design Opinions
What happens when you bring together a group of older adult Longevity Explorers and the teams participating in the Stanford Longevity Design Challenge? You get some interesting and contrasting opinions about what the differences should be between designing for a 25 year old and designing for an 85 year old.
What They Want vs What You Think They Need
I’ve said it before. Most of the products for older adults that we see are frankly not very good. This article is about two especially common pitfalls. I think of them as the “eat your broccoli” error, and the “I know how to market to 40 year olds” issue.
Artificial Intelligence and Robots: What Older Adults Want
While there has been lots written by academics, companies, and futurists about the potential of robots and AI in aged care, the voice of the older adult is generally absent from these discussions. Here are the opinions of the Longevity Explorers as to problems they wish a robot, smarthome, or Artifical Intelligence could solve for them.
Staying Independent as an Older Adult: The Challenges
Staying “Independent” as long as possible is one of the most important priorities for many people as they age. But what do older adults really mean when they talk of being “independent”, and what are the obstacles to staying independent?
Quickly Getting Help for a Friend in Need
“Hi, this is Lisa. I’m not sure I can take care of myself right now. Can you bring me some food?” I found that scary sounding message on my voicemail one Saturday morning. It started me on a journey to coordinate care for a close friend. I learned several things that I’ll share with you. I hope that if you are ever faced with a similar situation, my experience will help you.
How a Continuing Care Retirement Community Works
How a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) works is a question that often pops up when our explorer discussions turn to where and how to live as one gets older. This article explains how this model of retirement living works, and discusses their financial model.