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
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.
Alexa Questions & Answers
After writing several “How To” articles, relating to Alexa and related products, explorer Frank Engelman has been getting quite a few questions about things not covered in those articles. This page is to collect some of the common questions, together with detailed “how to” answers.
Tablets with Simpler User Interfaces: Interview
After completing a comparative evaluation of products in the category we call “senior-friendly tablets”, lead reviewer Frank Engelman was interviewed by Richard Caro, co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life.
Exploring Grandparent Apps
“Once you are a grandparent, almost nothing seems as important as interacting with your grandkids, and helping them and their parents as much as you can.” But, if you can’t visit, or live a long way away, how do you maintain the sorts of deep interactions you long for?
This group of four older adults from the Longevity Explorers thought “there should be an App for that”, and set out to explore the space of “Grandparenting Apps”.
Alexa Care Hub: How To Advice
Amazon has a new feature in its Alexa artificial intelligence (AI) app called the Alexa Care Hub. It has the potential to help quite a lot in a situation where you are worried about, or caring for, someone who lives at a distance, and on whom you can not just "pop in" yourself — like your parent, or elderly relative, for example.
We are getting quite a few emails suggesting it is not at all easy to set up in certain real life situations. So we wrote this article to introduce you to what the Alexa Care Hub can do, and help you get it working successfully.
Best Senior Tablet: How to Choose
This article is about a category of product marketed as senior tablets, or tablets for seniors. We explore which type of person would benefit from a senior tablet, rather than a more mainstream product like an iPad, and how to decide which is the best senior tablet for a specific life situation.
Scams & Older Adults: What to Do?
This series focuses on helping readers of all generations learn the fundamentals of scams, what scammers are after, how they use mail, email, mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers to steal your identity, your money, and even the Internet bandwidth you pay for every month to access the internet.
Elderly Scams: When You Need to Take Control
What to do when a parent shows signs of falling for “scams” — and seems unable to take the appropriate actions to avoid them? While it is often appropriate to let older adults worry about their own “scam-proofing”, there are some situations in which an intervention is appropriate.
How Scams Work (with Examples)
Learn how scams work, with examples. Because, the best protection against exploitation by scammers comes from having a general understanding of how people try to con the elderly into sending/wiring them money or worse, giving them the electronic keys to their financial kingdom.
How to Avoid Scams and Defend Against Them
Here are some very specific actions you can take to avoid the sort of scams that impact older adults. This article also includes some easy-to-follow “spam avoidance rules”.
Oscar Family is an example of a product category we call “Senior-friendly Tablets“. This in-depth review evaluates the Oscar Family tablet’s individual features, and explores how well it works as a tool for non-tech-savvy older adults.
The Claris Companion is an example of a product category we call “Senior-friendly Tablets“. This in-depth review evaluates the Claris Companion’s individual features, and explores how well it works as a tool for non-tech-savvy older adults.
GrandPad is probably the most widely publicized example of a product category we call “Senior-friendly Tablets“. This in-depth review evaluates the GrandPad tablet’s individual features, and explores how well it works as a tool for non-tech-savvy older adults.
Location Devices and Trackers for Dementia
Location Devices and Trackers can play an important role in dementia care and management, as well as for people with mild cognitive impairment. The hope: A location tracking device can help some older adults stay independent for longer, and relieve caregiver stress.
We explore the scenarios in which different types of location devices and trackers for dementia and mild cognitive impairment can be useful, and look at a variety of specific product types and individual products to see which are most suitable in different life situations.
Dealing with a Wandering Loved One with Alzheimer’s
Before my wife passed away from Alzheimer’s, she went through a period of wandering outside the home that I could control with a few simple devices. I want to share what I did, and the solutions I used, in the hope they will be useful for others in the same situation I was in.
DIY Technology Solutions to Things Bothering My Aging Relatives
My relatives and their friends are in their 70’s and 80’s and 90’s now, and I am finding they have some recurring “problems” that get in the way of life being as enjoyable as I think it should be. I have come up with a variety of DIY “Tech Solutions” to these problems that I have implemented for them. I hope they will be useful for you too.
Summoning Help in an Emergency: Devices; Emerging Trends
Listen and view a live recording and slides of a talk on Medical Alerts and related technologies. The talk was given by Dr. Richard Caro to the Chicago Hyde Park Village in September 2020.
How to Set Up an Amazon Fire TV Cube
Recently, a product called the Amazon Fire TV Cube has become available and I am finding it often helps me solve challenges I am working on on behalf my older friends. I have developed this "How to" guide to help other people like me set up a Fire TV Cube for their friends, relatives, or aging parents. I include instructions for how to enable various features I have needed for the solutions I have created for my friends and relatives.
Making TV Useful For My 94-yr-old Aunt
This is about how I took advantage of the ubiquity of TV in the lives of many older adults. By adding various smart integrations, I turned the TV from simply a source of background noise into a useful tool — that helps my 94-yr-old aunt accomplish all sorts of things she previously had trouble with.